An Amazing Book Club Discussion with the One and Only Katherine Applegate

It is no secret that fourth-grade teacher Colby Sharp and I are on a mission to tell everyone about Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan. We give Ivan shout-outs in #nerdbery videos, exchange multiple messages per week about Katherine's pitch-perfect storytelling, text each other about our plan to get Ivan into readers' hands, and, most importantly, discuss how Ivan is on its way to classic status.

Colby and I created an Edmodo group for a small group of fourth- and fifth-grade students to discuss Ms. Applegate's masterpiece. I smiled whenever I logged into Edmodo and read their thoughtful and serious discussions. Message after message stressed how The One and Only Ivan touched their hearts and minds. Ivan's story inspired them to learn more about the real Ivan and become ambassadors for a future award winner.

Today, as a culminating event, our book club connected with Katherine on Skype. She talked about Ivan for fifteen minutes, discussing her research and writing process. After her inspiring and informative presentation, our students asked thoughtful questions. Her responses were articulate and brilliant. I wish you could have seen my smile.

As soon as the Skype session ended, my students thanked me over and over for including Katherine and Colby's students in our book club discussion.

Katherine and Colby, thank you for a memorable day. I'm off to Anderson's Bookshop to buy two copies of The One and Only Ivan.

Reader, if you're interested in owning a copy, please fill out the form below.

Borrow The One and Only Ivan from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Colby's students wrote this poem about The One and Only Ivan.


  1. Sounds awesome. I will have to share these with our kiddos that have read the book. I need to get more copies! Been talking it up and sharing with the kids how I used to go and visit Ivan as a kid. Don't remember buying anything at that mall so hopefully I didn't contribute to his incarceration. Anyway. Love the book and want to do something fun with it. Just haven't decided what yet. ;]


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