The One and Only Ivan Wins Newbery

Ivan Won!


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!

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8 thoughts on “The One and Only Ivan Wins Newbery

  1. Dear Mrs Hembree,

    Wow wow! all the way from Australia. I was so happy to read this post about The One and Only Ivan winning such an outstanding award.

    I feel so very lucky to have a copy right here and signed by this amazing author and all because of YOU!

    I love what Katherine wrote in the book just for you and I agree with every single word she wrote. Your are such an amazing person who makes you want to read and that you really are an amazing librarian. You have this wonderful nack to bring books to life.

    I am so glad that I have found you as a blogging pal and I truly hope that one day we can meet.
    Thanks Mrs Hembree for making me enjoy reading again!
    From your pal,
    AA 🙂

    • Dear AA,
      Happy Birthday! I am a few days late and I am sorry about that! I hope it was a terrific day for you and your family.

      I shed many happy tears yesterday when Ivan won the Newbery! I’m thrilled that we’re both happy!

      Have you read Wonder by RJ Palacio yet? That’s the next book to add to your list! Someday we are going to sit down in your backyard in the shade and talk books. I know it!

      From one reader to another,
      Mrs. Hembree

  2. You can tell just how special and deserving this book is, just by reading your post and appreciating the emotional response it received upon winning this honor. I don’t know anyone who read this book and wasn’t touched by both Ivan’s story and the beautiful way Catherine Applegate chose to share it. Isn’t it fitting that the honor was announced here, close to where Ivan’s story took place? Also fitting, was that YOU were in the audience as you have done so much to share this book not just with our school but a large on-line audience. I am also glad that this award may lead more readers to Home of the Brave, which I think was also deserving of an award : )

    • Dear Judy,

      Yes! Home of the Brave is fantastic too! That’s why I put it on my Best Books in 2012 list. It was written a few years ago, but that doesn’t matter to me.

      I came back with bunches of advanced reader copies. Stop by and pick out a couple with Josa! We need to find out which ones may rise to the top for 2013!

      Mrs. Hembree

  3. Dear Mrs. Hembree,

    I can’t believe that Ivan won!!!! It was so exciting to see that one of my very favorite books won! It was also very exiting because one other of my favorite books called Splenders and Glooms got nominated! I am going to selebrate Ivan’s win by reading it to my dad!!!

    Your friend Josa

    • Dear Josa,
      Spendors and Glooms is going to move up in my “to-read” book pile! I admit that the cover bothered me. It didn’t say, “pick me up! Read me!”
      Sometimes it’s wrong to judge a book by its cover.

      I hope your dad enjoys Ivan!
      Mrs. Hembree

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