The One and Only Ivan – About the Author

Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate was born in October 1956 in Ann Arbor in Michigan. She is an American author of fictional books for children and young adults. She lived in many different states of the US and also a year abroad in Italy. Now she is living in California with her husband and their two kids. Her husband, Michael Grant is her Co-author and their well-known books series is called ‘Roscoe Riley’.

Her most famous book is The One and Only Ivan. With this book she has won the Newbery Medal in 2013 which was given to her from the American Library Association. It is a medal which recognizes the previous years most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Besides of this she is also well known for the following books: Animorphs, Remnants, Everworld and the picture book The Buffalo Storm. Additionally, she has won two awards for her book ‘Home of the Brave’.

Check out her website about the novel for more Information.

Idea of the Book

The story is based on a real background. The gorilla Ivan has existed and Katherine Applegate got attention to it because of an article about Ivan in National Geographic.

Ivan was born in today’s Democratic Republic of Congo and he and his sister were caught there in an early age. His sister didn’t survive the transport to America. At first Ivan was raised in a private house until his owner couldn’t manage the situation anymore. As a result of this he was sold to a circus-themed shopping mall. There he spent 27 lonely years being an attraction for visitors. After an article about Ivan’s life was published by National Geographic, people got aware to the circumstances Ivan had to live in and wanted to change something about it. As a consequence there was a lack of visitors which lead to the closing of the mall. From then on Ivan lived at Atlanta Zoo where he became a celebrity and met others of his species in America.