It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 9/16/19

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers and share all of your readings of the week.

Happy Monday Everyone! My main focus on this weeks reading was a Newbery Award winner called The One and Only Ivan but I also snuck in some extra reading for the week. So, here we go…

The One and Only Ivan written by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao

This Newbery Award winning book is sure to tug on your heartstrings and make you think. Based on a true story and written in the first person point of view of Ivan, a silverback gorilla, The One and Only Ivan tells the story of life at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan has lived in captivity there for 9876 days. He has gotten used to being behind the glass wall in a shopping mall. He watches tv, eats and makes art. Along with Ivan, Stella an elephant and Bob a stray dog live in the mall with him. When a baby elephant, Ruby arrives from the wild, Ivan realizes that he needs to do something to save her from a lifetime of captivity. Ivan and Ruby semi-escape captivity and are transferred to Zoo Atlanta where a whole new set of challenges await them.

Ivan’s story is bittersweet and captivating but what really gives it qualities to be a Newbery Award winner? Well first, we have to know what goes into choosing a Newbery Award winning book. If you want to see all the criteria, visit the American Library Association’s (ALA) page. Here are some key points that I really feel apply. Newbery awards are given “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children…” ALA committee member must consider the “interpretation of the theme; presentation of the information; development of plot; delineation of characters; delineation of setting; and appropriateness of style.” Of these criteria, I feel like The One and Only Ivan‘s greatest strengths are its interpretation of the theme and delineation of characters.

Katharine Applegate does an amazing job at making Ivan humanistic and relatable. Ivan is simple and literal with all his words and does not waste words as he thinks humans do. He is loosely based off a real gorilla but Applegate takes it to another level. You can feel Ivan; he speaks to you.

“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot…They chatter like chimps, crowding the world with their noise even when they have nothing to say” (pg. 2-3).

Readers are faced with Ivan’s loneliness at the very beginning of the book. Throughout the novel, you see Ivan change from simply accepting his fate to a character that no longer sees the mall as a domain or home but instead a cage. The book is morally complex and dense at times, addressing issues of animal abuse and the consequences of confinement.

“People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback./The names are mine, but they’re not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan ” (pg. 2).

I honestly loved this book and would recommend it for anyone and everyone. The end of this book was perfect! Ivan is a giant gorilla that was raised in captivity, so truly there is no ideal ending for him. The book still highlights his problems with being introduced to other gorillas after being alone for so long. Kids can relate to Ivan not only because he is and animal but he shares similar experiences that other children do as well such as moving, losing old friend, and trying to make new friends.

Official Book Trailer

The Book of Mistakes written by Corinna Luyken

This book is a book is all about how we make mistakes. We cannot dwell on our mistakes but should instead use them to inspire our creativity. The illustrations were incredible! This is a great picture book for K-2nd grade to incorporate art and to make predictions of what will happen next. How will the author fix the mistake next?


Unplugged written by Steve Antony

This is a cute story of Blip who loved her computer but one day gets unplugged. She ends up OUTSIDE! Blip makes new friends and gets a new perspective in the end. An adorable book for all elementary grades to teach the value of getting outside and exploring new things. This would be great to read before going outside or on a fieldtrip.


The Table Sets Itself written by Ben Clanton

After setting the table the same way for many meals, Izzy is bored. She ends up finding some creative ways to set the table. Young readers will have fun reading about Izzy and her friends. It is full of puns and cute illustrations but I found it hard to engage in.


Lucy and the String written by Vanessa Roeder

Lucy finds a string that is attached to a bear’s pants but doesn’t know that at first. Throughout the book, Lucy tries to fix a mistake she has made. This book was very simple, cute and charming. I am honestly not sure that I would implement this book in the classroom.


Rabbit and the Not-So-Big-Bad Wolf written by Michael Escoffier, illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo

I honestly did not enjoy this book very much. It is about a rabbit who is hiding from the Not-So-Big-Bad wolf who turns out to be a child in a wolf costume. The illustrations were very good but I had a hard time engaging in the book overall.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone written by J.K. Rowling

Whew, I finished it! I started this book last week and fell even more in love with the series. I hope to continue growing my love for Harry Potter and finish re-reading the series through the course of this semester.

16 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 9/16/19

  1. Destiny,
    You did a great job summarizing The One and Only Ivan. I love the fact that it’s based upon a true story. It really has a way at tugging on my emotions knowing that. The other books you read this week also look very interesting. It seems to me like the book “The Book of Mistakes” could be used in all grades, not just lower elementary. Do you think it’s important and useful to read children’s books to older students to teach them lessons and remind them of simpler things in life?

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    1. Hi Avery! Thank you for your kind words. I thought The One and Only Ivan being based on a true story was great too. Yes, of course it’s important for older students to read children’s books. They even teach me as an adult. I just thought it would be most fitting for those grade levels but I agree that it would work for any.

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  2. I like the way you related Ivan to students who are having a hard time fitting in. How Ivan struggled when he was reintroduced to other gorillas. I didn’t really think about how good that is to relate to for those students. You summarized the book very well. Plus you read a few more! Great Job!

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  3. Oh my goodness, I loved The One and Only Ivan! It might be time for a re-read of that one. And I’ve been meaning to read Unplugged for a while, now. Guess I need to bump that one up on my list! Thanks for the shares, Destiny!

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  4. The One and Only Ivan is a fantastic book. I love anything Applegate writes, really. I’m doing a Harry Potter reread as well this year, isn’t it nice to travel back to Hogwarts and that world? Have a great week.

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    1. Hi Wendi! This was the first book I’ve read by Applegate but I will he looking for more soon. Oh my gosh…so nice! I grew up on Harry Potter and I really enjoy diving back in. If only I could visit Universal Studios Harry Potter World once I was done. You too, happy reading!

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  5. I’ve read The One and Only Ivan a number of times, but the best was the time I read it to a wild group of grade 5/6’s who came into the library for prep. It was the only time I ever saw the whole class so intently absorbed. I started out by reading them the nonfiction picture book about the story first, so that might have really helped.

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  6. You’ve got an awesome list of books with several of my favorites. Lucy and the String is new to me, so I’ll need to get over to the library and check it out. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

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  7. Destiny,
    You had a wonderful summarization of The One and Only Ivan. It has been one of my favorites! My daughter read it last year with her class and she kept telling me how much I was going to love it. She was absolutely right! I read half of it before I had to take a break, otherwise, I would have finished it in one sitting! I can definitely tell that you are an avid reader. The other books you chose to read sound like they would be worth reading also. I am particularly intrigued by Unplugged. Our children are so disconnected from the real world as they connect so deeply to technological advancements. So many parents allow it and they lose the imagination that comes with fresh air and playing in the dirt. Which one of these was your favorite?

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    1. Hi! Thank you for the compliments. The One and Only Ivan skyrocketed up my favorites list for sure. It’s funny how kids know what books you might enjoy. Out of the other books Unplugged was far above the rest for me. Unplugged would be great for parents and teachers to help teach kids that technology isn’t everything. I think it would be great as a teacher to use and before recess. Happy Reading!

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