The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Julie Hembree is a stupendous teacher-librarian at a K-6 school near Seattle, Washington. The one and only Katherine Applegate spent an afternoon in Julie's school library. I invited her to chat with me in a Google document about Katherine's visit. Thankfully, she accepted the invitation.

I wrote the words in red.

*We prepared for Katherine Applegate’s visit by reading Ivan in classes and watching our book trailer.

*You should read The One and Only Ivan because it is an extraordinary story that will touch your heart.

*Katherine Applegate told my students she felt compelled to tell Ivan’s story after reading a newspaper clipping.

*The One and Only Ivan cake was a delicious gift shared by Katherine and eight students.

*Ivan is now 52 and lives happily at Zoo Atlanta with other gorillas!

*My students will always remember that anyone can write. For ideas, ask yourself, “what if?”

*Author visits allow students to connect with authors and understand they are real people too!

* Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about how Katherine wrote to us and asked to visit our school!

Thank you, Julie, for your commitment to children and school libraries.

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


  1. Dear Mr. Schu,
    Thank you for inviting me to be part of Watch. Connect. Read! Our students had such an amazing time meeting Katherine, Julia, her daughter and Anne her editor. I think we could have talked with her for hours and hours about her life as a writer.
    She told me about "plush Ivan's" trip with you this summer. Make sure he has lots of bananas. Also remember like the real Ivan in Atlanta, he doesn't like to get his feet wet.
    If you ever travel to the Seattle area, please let me know so we can give you a warm Seattle welcome!
    From an Ivan fan and Nerdybook Club member,
    Julie Hembree

  2. My class of fourth graders spent 45 minutes Skyping with Katherine this past Thursday afternoon. She was so gracious and so giving of her time. Each of my students asked her a question that was about her personal life, her craft, or her books The One and Only Ivan and Home of the Brave. We gained so much insight, and we felt like we made a new friend! It was such an awesome experience for all of us.

    Congratulations on being chosen for the 2014 Newbery Committee! How exciting! The Committee is lucky to have you.

    From an Ivan fan, a Nerdy Book Club member, and a Mr. Schu fan,
    Debbie Robl


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