I was so thrilled today to find out that The One and Only Ivan was awarded the Newbery Medal for 2013!!! Well deserved. I have not always agreed with the top choices of the Newbery committee, but this novel, by K.A. Applegate, was the best novel I have read in years! It’s simplicity (written in short chapters) only adds to the power of it’s message. I was so moved by this novel and the story of Ivan that when I found out about Ivan’s death this past summer I cried (like sobbing-cried).
My husband didn’t know what I was crying about and probably thought I was losing my mind. But I felt such a deep connection with Ivan from his story that his death left a hole in my heart.
I am so proud of the Newbery committee for choosing Ivan. I had only to convince one student in my class to read Ivan this fall, and now both copies in my library and my school library have been checked out with wait lists since! Ivan’s story reiterates all that is good and sadly, missing, from our world today: compassion, empathy, helping and caring for others, and what it takes to be a true friend (sometimes sacrificing what you want/need to help others). The fact that Applegate was able to show all of this through the story of Ivan, the gorilla, makes it almost more understandable and relatable than if it was from the human perspective.
Now I can’t wait to get a copy with that beautiful, gold medal on it! I think I’ll keep that one at home, proudly displayed on my own library shelf.
On a final note, kudos as well to awarding Katherine Patterson the Laura Ingalls Wilder prize for lifetime achievement. Well deserved as well!!