The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate won the coveted Newbery Award this morning at the American Library Association Conference here in Seattle! I sat in the audience as the awards were revealed at the press conference.
At the press conference, the ALA announces the winners of numerous book awards such as the Coretta Scott King Award and Geisel Awards. Then it’s time for Caldecott and Newbery – last in line. These two awards are the most prestigious and coveted in the US for the writers and illustrators of children’s literature.
I was thrilled to see my personal favorite picture book win the Caldecott! There lots of happy clapping and screaming in the audience (yes, librarians scream – loudly!) as we saw the winning book show on the big screen!
Then it was time for the Newbery. One by one the titles of the Honor winners were released. I held my breath as I saw Spendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Bomb:The Race to Build – and Steal- the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin and Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage win the honor awards.
I think most of the audience inhaled and waited for the final slide to show. What book would it be? The whoops of joy filled the room and tears filled my eyes! I tried to take a photo of the slide showing that Ivan won, but all I got was a photo of the ceiling when I jumped out of my chair! It was a magical moment to be in a room filled with all that love for a book that has touched the hearts of thousands of readers around the world. I tried taking a picture again, but it sure came out blurry! My hands were shaking too much to be very good at holding still.
Lots of hugs were shared with fellow librarians. Especially happy was Mr. Schu, who visited the real Ivan last summer and possibly has the only copy of the signed book by both Ivan and Katherine Applegate. You can read his very moving post about what it meant to meet Ivan at the Atlanta Zoo here. We shared some tears together as we realized that our shared love for a very special book won top honors. Here is a photo courtesy of John Schu showing both the author and Ivan signatures.
After the press conference was over, I went to the exhibit hall to visit the HarperCollins booth. They published The One and Only Ivan. I got there in time to see one of the representatives place the gold Newbery sticker on the book! Notice that Ivan is looking at the sticker!
Ivan also had his picture taken with “Ivan” at the booth!
A few minutes later, Anne Hoppe, the editor stopped by too! If you remember, she visited with Katherine and Julia last April when they came for our school visit. She shared that it is very special experience to be the editor of a book that wins a Newbery.
I can’t even think of the words to describe what it was like to see a book that has so totally touched my heart and changed my life win the Newbery. I just hope now even more thousands of children pick it up and share the story. Like so many of you who purchased a copy last spring, we now own a signed Newbery book! How absolutely fantastic is that???
I wish Katherine and her family could have been in Seattle to experience announcement in person. The good news is that they will have the opportunity to receive the award in person in Chicago in June!
Never heard of Ivan and want to know more? Here is the trailer I made last year. I hope you will watch it and then run to your local library or bookstore and get a copy!
Skyping! Skyping! I’m SO glad someone invented Skyping!
Today Ms. Holder’s library class skyped with author Stephen McCranie. Stephen is the author of the Mal and Chad graphic novel series.
Instead of having the author come to our school, we visited with him virtually.
A few weeks ago Mrs. Hembree found out on Twitter that Stephen was offering to skype with teachers and librarians. She signed up and our school is one of over 70 schools Stephen will “virtually” visit this fall.
During the call we watched him draw on his computer. First he taught us that comics are stories + pictures.
Then to develop our own story, he had us answer two questions:
- What does my character want?
- What is preventing my character from getting what he or she wants?
We decided that our character, Tara, wanted to own a bakery, but her family wasn’t very supportive of that idea. She ran away, met a baker and learned how to become the baker she always wanted to be.
After that we had a quick demonstration on how to draw a picture. We learned it’s easy if you use shapes like circles, squares or triangles. As Stephen drew on his computer, we tried to guess what famous characters he was drawing!
In the last portion of our visit, Stephen asked us to start a story. Then before our eyes, he drew a scene from our story.
While he was drawing, he also answered our questions.
We found out that he has loved comics since he was about 5 years old. He drew his first comic strip for a school newspaper in college. He likes comics because they are a great way to express yourself. They are an artform with a lot of potential.
He reads lots and lots of books and really enjoys the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Stephen said he believes that creativity is like a muscle in your head. When you practice you get better over time. If you want to get better at drawing , you need to draw and practice every single day. The tools for drawing don’t really matter. Pencils, crayons, pens – use whatever you want and draw, draw, draw.
We will be sure to buy a few copies for the library! After about 30 minutes, our time was up! It was a great first Author Skype experience! Thank you Stephen for visiting the Bulldog Readers! If you are looking for Stephen’s books, here they are. We have both available for check out in the library. You can also link to his Mal and Chad website here.
What do you think our story was about?
Have you ever skyped with anyone? Do you like it?
What is your favorite graphic novel or comic series?
Last week our kindergarten, first and second graders were treated to a special visit from children’s author Catherine Follestad. Catherine lives in Arizona, but was in the Seattle area for a visit. Mrs. Banchero knows Catherine and arranged for her to visit our school!
Catherine talked to us about her books. The Itty Bitty Kitty is a story about a kitty that yearns to make friends with other cats who think she is too small. Author and illustrator Catherine Follestad uses her talents to show how Itty Bitty learns a valuable lesson about friendship in her quest to make friends.
I Think I Would Like to Be invites young boys and girls to imagine what they could be. Would you like to be a pirate on the deep blue sea or a race car driver at the Grand Prix? This story is an that will have you flying planes, hitting home runs, and even training lions! This is a book for every child who’s ever thought…I Think That I Would Like To Be…
We enjoyed listening to Catherine read her books to us and many purchased autographed copies! Our library also has both books now, for anyone who would like to check them out. She shared that she has more books in process and her book trailer for The Itty Bitty Kitty will soon air on some children’s television channels. You can learn more about Catherine and her books on her website: http://cfollestad.tateauthor.com/
How have you made new friends?
What would you like to be in the future?
Ivan, the 50 year old Western Lowland Gorilla died today at Zoo Atlanta. And so, today, I am sad. His story touched me deeply.
If you have not read Katherine Applegate’s novel The One and Only Ivan inspired by the real Ivan, I urge you to borrow a copy at your library or buy one at your local bookstore and read it. His story will make you laugh and make you cry. Mostly it will make you feel. This link will take you to the official book trailer.
I would like to thank Katherine Applegate for telling Ivan’s story. I would also like to thank Mr. John Schu and Ms. Kouri for sharing their photos this summer of their visit with the real Ivan at Zoo Atlanta. Their photos will now be the closest way I can fullfill my dream of meeting Ivan. You can view Mr. Schu’s photostream here.
Everyone at our school knows that I am a little bit crazy about the book,
The One and Only Ivan!
They know that the highlight of our school year was the day
Katherine Applegate, Julia and Anne visited our school!
I have given this particular book to my family, friends and blogging buddies as far away as Australia.
Fast forward to July 2012!
I am writing this post today in green, because I am green with envy!
Because the Super-Librarian Mr. Schu visited the real Ivan yesterday at Zoo Atlanta.
He and Donna, another librarian, are on their annual summer reading trip. This year they called it “Let’s Go South 12″ and they decided to drive to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the real Ivan in person! I am very envious of their experience! I have never been to Georgia and to see Ivan up close would be pretty awesome. He has given me permission to share these photos with you.
The traveling plush Ivan got to meet the real Ivan too!
How could a trip like this be any better that that? By getting the real Ivan’s autograph!
Congratulations Mr. Schu for visiting Zoo Atlanta and sharing your photos with us! You can follow the other places they visit on the Let’s Go South 12 blog. You can also read more on Mr. Schu’s blog Watch. Connect. Read. He’ll be writing in greater detail about his visit with Ivan.
In the meantime, I am getting ready for my trip next week to the Microsoft Partners in Learning US Forum to showcase our Kid Lit Movies project. I’m also bringing Ivan, the inspiration for our book trailer project. Check back next week for updates and photos on this incredible experience! Did you know our student book trailers have had over 6,700 views now from people in 150 different countries? How’s that for incredible?
How did seeing the real Ivan make you feel?
Is there a place you would like to visit because of a book you read?
Amazing, fabulous, wonderful, spectacular, superb! Those are only a few of the ways we could describe our visit with Katherine Applegate this week!
Katherine came with her daughter Julia, and HarperCollins editor, Anne Hoppe and gave us a presentation on her book The One and Only Ivan. Ivan is dedicated to Julia, and her name is also used for one of the main human characters in the book.
Katherine is the author, and co-author with NYT bestseller Michael Grant of over 150 books for children and young adults, including Animorphs, which has sold over 35 millions copies. In the library world, she is a ROCKSTAR, yet, a nicer, more humble author you could not meet.
In a fabulous presentation created by her 15 year old son Jake,Katherine led us through the story of Ivan, the “shopping mall gorilla,” who spent 27 years in the B & I shopping Mall in Tacoma, and the inspiration of her novel. After reading a newspaper article many years ago when Ivan’s future was being debated, Katherine learned about this silverback gorilla stuck inside a 14 x 14 cement cage. She later saw a National Geographic documentary on urban gorillas that included Ivan’s history. “I couldn’t get this story out of my head,” she told us.
She told us she remembered Toni Morrison’s quote,
She did research through the years and even went to Tacoma to get more information. Yet, she knew his story would also have to be fictionalized. Stella, the older elephant and Bob, the dog didn’t really live with Ivan in real-life, and neither did Ruby, the baby elephant. These were the touches she added to his story to give it depth, poignancy and heroism.
Students also had a chance to ask Katherine questions where she let us know that her best advice for student writers is summed up in two words:
what if ….
Put yourself in any situation, and ask yourself “what if” and you have the basis for a new story! It’s as simple as that! She also urged student writers to be proud of what they write. She spent many years as a ghost writer for some well known series like Sweet Valley High, or used pseudonyms before she took the plunge to write under her own name.
The culmination of the morning was lunch for eight lucky students, who spent an hour with Katherine, Anne and Julia talking about books, Ivan and her life as a writer.
We even had a special cake made for the occasion! I got the idea for this cake from Mr. Schu. You can visit his blog here.
Following lunch, Anne signed a book for each of the “Applegate Lunch Bunch” and had their picture taken with her.
Sadly, the morning came to an end and we waved Katherine, Julie and Anne goodbye! They we off to enjoy the day in Seattle and then return to Parkplace Books in Kirkland for another visit the following day with students at two other local schools.
If you live in the Seattle area, she will be at Elliott Bay books this afternoon, Wednesday, April 18th at 3pm doing another book signing!
We can’t thank you enough for visiting our school! It was truly an honor and a day I will personally treasure close to my heart.
Here is the special bulletin board we prepared especially for her visit.
Katherine with Mrs. Hembree and her husband. Mr. Hembree remembered visiting Ivan in Tacoma when he was a child.
Have you ever met an author in person before?
What is your “what if” story idea?
Do you have a special animal story?
Twenty five entries!
We have eight students who will be having a special private lunch with Katherine Applegate, author of The One and Only Ivan, and me on Monday, April 16th!
In addition, courtesy of our school PTSA, each student will receive a copy of The One and Only Ivan, which Katherine will sign when she is at lunch with us!
All of the entries were fabulous and I could quickly see that our students spent a lot of time thinking about what they would write on their lunch application.
Because The One and Only Ivan is an intermediate book and the reason Katherine Applegate is coming, entries were limited to grades 3-6, plus students in Mrs. Adair’s combo class.
There were two portions to the application. Part one was a Persuasive Essay where students had 100 words to convince me:
Why should you be selected to have lunch with Katherine Applegate?
The second part consisted of writing five questions the student would like to ask Katherine during our reading and writing conversation at lunch.
If you could ask her some questions, what would they be?
Do your research, what do you want to know more about?
What became clear to me from reading these applications is that we have a lot of students who adore Katherine Applegate’s books and we have some students who already know they want to be writers! So, drum rolls please…..here are our winners!
If you have not had a chance to read The One and Only Ivan, we will have books on pre-order April 9 – 13th. Forms will be coming home Monday with students in grades 3-6. Katherine Applegate will be signing books after her classes visits and lunch. then she will be heading to Parkplace Books for a visit with some other students and an evening author show!
You can also view my book trailer on The One and Only Ivan as a teaser!
It’s easy to hug dogs or cats or bunnies or goats. But how to you hug a porcupine! Author, Laurie Isop, author of How Do You Hug a Porcupine visited our school for World Read Aloud Day to help us find out! This was also the day we dressed up as favorite book characters!
Laurie presented to the kindergarten – second grade classes. First she talked to them about porcupines and their quills.
They even had a chance to touch a giant quill from an African porcupine.
She explained that after she won the Cheerios -Spoonful of Stories Award last year, Cheerios put a small paperback copy of her book in both English and Spanish in every single Cheerios box! Then her publisher Simon & Schuster published the book in the hardcover version. You can read about this prize here.
Then she treated the students to a reading of her book.
We had a special raffle and 4 students won one of the paperback copies and one student won a porcupine puppet.
Following her presentation, students who purchased copies of her book stayed in the library and watched Laurie sign their book.
Laurie’s visit was courtesy of our local independent book store, ParkPlace Books in Kirkland! Thank you Park Place!
When Laurie is not writing books, she and her husband Paul run a wedding photography business. All of the photos for this blog post were furnished by Paul Isop of Studio 6.
What authors have you met at your school?
What do you think about Cheerios offering books in cereal boxes?
If you could have any author visit, who would it be?
Some of our current and former Bulldog Readers had the opportunity of their lives on Sunday, when they met the author Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson and the new Heroes of Olympus series! He has over 30 million books in print and his books have been translated into over 37 languages in 36 countries.
“The gods may live on Mt. Olympus, but they vacation in Olympia,” declares the tagline of the winning proposal by the Tumwater Timberland Library.
Rick Riordan’s visit to Olympia was part of a week long tour promoting the second book, Son of Neptune, launch in the Heroes of Olympus series. He only made seven stops in the US and Canada on his book tour.
Hundreds of proposals were submitted to Disney Publishing Worldwide for the Olympia Week contest. The proposal title “Poseidon’s Fish Market” developed and written by Joella Peterson, was chosen for its creative ideas in planning activities to celebrate the series and love of reading.
Riordan arrived by yacht and then spoke to his audience before signing books. The audience members could participate in any of the activity booths available while they waited for their time to meet Mr. Riordan.
Elizabeth, Julia and Bridget were able to make it down to Olympia to be part of this amazing day. They got their books signed and one for our library too!
On Monday, I had a chance to get Julia’s thoughts about here experience meeting Mr. Riordan.
How did you find out about Rick Riordan’s visit to Olympia?
How I found out about Rick Riordan’s visit to Olympia was from one of my best friends, Elizabeth. Her aunt, Linda, works at the Tumwater Timberlake Library; the library that sponsored this event. The event was held at the Port of Olympia and was called Poseidon’s Fish Market.
How did you get the tickets?
My mom and dad drove us to Tumwater Library a week ago where we got the tickets. I was kind of let down when I was told I was the 750th person to get their book, but at the event, I got my books signed within an hour!
What was it like? Tell us about the experience there? Lots of people? Did you listen to him talk?
The event was crowded. At first, I was one of about a hundred people. In the next 45 minutes, I was probably one of two thousand people. In was fun in the beginning though. Elizabeth was working at the Fish Facts and Barnacle Bubbles station and I helped her with the crosswords and word searches that kids got to fill out. The prizes for completing the word search was either a poster of The Son of Neptune or a golden drachma key chain. Other booths were about fishing, face-painting, and information about the sea’s environment. When Rick Riordan arrived by yacht, I got pictures of him coming off the boat, he and his family were waving from the boat. He got off, answered questions about his latest book and then went to his book-signing booth.
What were the best parts of the experience?
The best parts about “Poseidon’s Fish Market” were Rick Riordan arriving, because the crowd suddenly went quiet when they saw him and then the kids and parents started screaming their guts out. Also, finding out about the books he’s planning to write in the future. The third book in the Kane Chronicles is coming out in May 2012 and then Rick Riordan is planning to write a series about Norse mythology after he completes the Heroes of Olympus series.
Bridget also filmed Rick Riordan’s entire talk in Olympia! If you wish you had been there, but couldn’t go, here is the next best thing!
If you want to learn more about Rick Riordan and his books, visit his website www.rickriordan.com Many thanks to Bridget, Julia, and their parents, Elizabeth and to the Timberland Regional Library for sharing their photos, film, and background information for this blog post. ************
We now have two copies of Son of Neptune in our Bulldog Library. Stop by and put a reserve slip in to reserve your place in line to read it!
Have you ever been to a book signing?
Who would you like to meet?
Please leave us a comment and let us know!
If you want to learn more about Rick Riordan and his books, visit his website www.rickriordan.com
Many thanks to Bridget, Julia, and their parents, Elizabeth and to the Timberland Regional Library for sharing their photos, film, and background information for this blog post.
Mrs. Hovis remembers her. Mrs. Stoghill remembers hearing her name. Mrs. Stanphill was her cooperating teacher and taught her her how to teach when she was just entering the profession 24 years ago!
Who do they remember? Ann Haywood Leal, author of Also Known as Harper and A Finders Keeper’s Place.
Mrs. Leal grew up in the Seattle area. Home was Auburn, Washington and Lake Tapps was her summer playground. She visited the 5th and 6th grade Bulldog Readers this week when she came home to the west coast to visit and promote her latest book A Finders Keeper’s Place. She shared photos and stories of her childhood and route to literary success.
Like most authors, she didn’t achieve success easily.After writing her first book in elementary school, she sent it off to a publishing house, when Judy Blume, her idol urged her to in a letter. The rejection letter she received soon after was one of many she received over the years, but it never keep her from writing.
One of my favorite stories Ann told was how she found a special manuscript box which was filled with stories and ideas written by a family member who had long since passed away. This woman lived her life raising a family on a dairy farm, but spent her spare moments writing adventure stories. Some of her ideas were on paper, and many others were written on whatever scrap of paper she had available to her. The back of a dairy receipt or ripped slip of paper–each held a handwritten sentence, paragraph or idea for a story forming in her imagination.
Ann realized she was not the first author in her family. She was also very lucky to have a family who believed in her talent from a very young age. Her mother kept her notes and her stories as a little girl- even her apology notes with misspelled words and cross outs from when she got in trouble!
Now Ann is a published author and teacher. She teaches first grade in Connecticut and writes as much she can, which can’t be easy when you have two full-time jobs! She has a support group of writer friends who help her with every step and paragraph along the way. These are women who are not afraid to say, “No Ann, Harper wouldn’t say that or do that. Fix it!”
And fix it, she does. Bringing a manuscript from A Finders Keeper’s Place, Ann showed the kids what it’s like to get her novel back from her publisher. Marks in one color from one person, marks in a different color from an editor. Sticky notes that are not allowed to be removed from a page. These are the realities of revising for an author.
But where do the ideas come from? How does a woman who teaches first grade and lives a middle-class life write realistic fiction novels about the harsh realities of homelessness or the cruelty of mental illness? Ann’s novels are not cutesy books about love-torn teenagers. Her novels are real. Perhaps too real for some readers.
Yet when everything is awful and the pain seems too cutting, Ann brings a sliver of hope into her books. She finds a way to introduce the idea that while maybe life right now may be really, really bad—it’s a moment in time. There is always hope. The possibility for things to get better, change and improve is always there.
Still where do those ideas come from?
Some come from her life. We all have our realities of life that others may not know about. Other ideas come from newspaper articles, places she’s been or seen. Take a fenced in and abandoned local swimming pool filled with algae covered rain water –a place she has seen–and twist and turn it. Suddenly it’s the place Harper discovers with her new friends in Also Known as Harper.
Go to the grocery store and see a young boy outside of the store staring at a station wagon pulling away with his family inside, while leaving him on the sidewalk, and you have a scene from A Finders Keeper’s Place. Her books are the sum of her experiences, with a mixture of fiction thrown in.
So, readers and would be writers, what is her lesson to you? Save everything! Don’t throw away your first stories or silly notes you wrote. Save your doodles and beginning attempts at drawing. They are your beginning. They are the first rungs of your writing ladder.
Someday, perhaps, you will look back at them, like Ann has done and be able to say, “I knew when I was in elementary school that I would be a writer, just like Ann Haywood Leal.”
Ann’s books are best for readers ages 9 and up.