We haven’t read it yet, so we can’t recommend it, but 2013 Newbery Medal winner The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins 2012) is definitely on our must-read list.
This book is narrated by Ivan, a gorilla who was captured as a baby in Africa and has lived much of his life in a mall, a living exhibit for humans to gape at through glass walls. Ivan pretty much accepts his lot in life, until he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family (as he was taken from his).
The book is fiction, but is inspired by a real-life gorilla who spent nearly 30 years without seeing another of his kind. And although the book was written for middle-grade students, it has gotten rave reviews by older kids and adults as well.
The One and Only Ivan addresses a variety of issues, from animals in captivity, to compassion, to what makes us human, to the inconsistent relationships we have with other animals.
Check out reviews like this one for more about the book.
Have you read the book? What did you think?
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