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?
I never saw Ivan at the old, run-down shopping mall in Tacoma, but my husband did. He got sad thinking about Ivan, the silverback gorilla confined inside a dirty and cramped cage on show for whoever came to visit him. For 27 years he lived there and endured the humans who stared at him day after day, year after year. It was a dismal existance for a mighty silverback gorilla.
Ivan’s story began in 1962 when he was captured as an infant and sold to owners of a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. He lived there for 27 years before the public pressure prompted his move first to the Woodland Park Zoo and then to the Atlanta Zoo. The Atlanta Zoo is home to the nation’s largest collection of western lowland gorillas. Ivan is now 49 and thriving in his zoo home.
Katherine Applegate’s new novel, The One and Only Ivan was inspired by the true story of Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla. The novel is told through Ivan’s eyes and captures both the anguish and the heartening moments of friendship between him and his mall animal friends. It’s a book that will stick with you long after you turn the last page. It compelled me to create a book trailer, which I hope you will enjoy.
Have you ever heard of Ivan before?
Do you want to read this book now?
Do you like to visit animals at the zoo?
What’s your favorite zoo to visit?
Enter into the world of talking animals with Thelonious Chipmunk! All the animals wonder….did humans really exist or are they just some kind of ancient legend?
Everyone tells Thelonious that humans aren’t real, but he believes he has proof they really did exist. Join Thelonious on his adventure from the City of Ruins to Fog Mound to find out where the humans really went.
The Fog Mound series by Susan Schade and Jon Buller are part graphic novel, regular novel, adventure, fantasy and science fiction!
Josa donated these books to our library and hopes you will join him on a Theolious Chipmunk adventure. He says these books are good because “they are the type of book with writing and comics. They tell a good story about a chipmunk on an adventure. It’s just so cool to imagine that a chipmunk could go on this kind of adventure!” You have to read them to find out more! Find them in our graphic novel section of the library!
He had everything… a rich professor, an antique New York apartment, walks in Washington Square, fancy grooming every week, favorite, salmon-colored collar, everything he can brag about to his so called “friend”. What else could he wish for? Gulliver, a sacred Lhasa Apso, had a perfect life, until one summer, while he and his professor were relaxing in Paris, his professor asked a hairy-dog-allergic woman to MARRY him!! Gulliver now had the worst worries on his mind. Will his professor give him up? Where would he go? He had bigger troubles now then thinking about what flavor of food he wants.
This book is great! Gulliver goes through hard life lessons like feeling rejection and then getting over it to open his heart to the ones that truly love him. He travels all the way from Manhattan to Paris. Gulliver is quite an amazing dog. This adventure, not only the dog can take, but all the interested readers out there too. I hope many others will pick up this book and enjoy it as much as I did!
This book is about a puppy that has no home. The family is the Peterson’s and they have a foster home for dogs and puppies. Mr. Peterson has a friend that works at a gas station. One day, Mr. Peterson got a call from his friend while the kids were at school. When the children were walking home, their dad was so excited and happy. When they were driving he said that his friend found a puppy at the gas station. When they arrived, they found a white Westie puppy that was about 4 months old. They name him Snowball. Will Snowball be a trouble maker or will he be good? What will all the puppies futures hold?
So far I like this book because it is about dogs and puppies and I like dogs and puppies. This book is interesting because there are happy and sad parts. I hope you will read it!