Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking for Newbery (2013 style) The One and Only Ivan

Unlike Karen, I would not be in good shape.  I've read one and half of the books on the list.  I do have Bomb on reserve but haven't read it yet.  I read Liar and Spy, liked it OK, and couldn't get through Splendors and Gloom, just not my thing I guess.

Anyway, one book I hope to see on some award list somewhere is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  As you can see from my original post about Ivan, I loved it from the start.  In fact, after reading it from the book fair shelf, I told the kids it was THE BEST BOOK in the fair.  I'll stand by that statement. 

The book may be too simple for the Newbery people, too sweet.  For kids, however, it's perfect!  The members of this year's Newbery Club have chosen it along with One for the Murphy's as their preliminary winners.  They show good judgement and a keen eye for good writing in their selection.  I've learned through my 29 years of teaching that students are drawn to the free verse books, and Ivan is certainly no exception.  When asked why they like them so much?  They consistently say it's because they can read a lot in a short time and still have a good story.  They feel like they have accomplished something and that's a good thing when we are trying to get kids to love reading.

Beyond the free verse aspect of this memorable book, the kids love the characters.  Katherine Applegate does such a magnificent job of personifying Ivan and his mall friends that it's easy to forget that she is writing about animals. 

I have had students from grades 1 through 5 either read Ivan or have had it read to them and all of them love it, that makes it a winner in my book!


  1. I love Ivan too, & One For The Murphy's, & we've had many read them at school & love them. Hope they at least get some honors!