Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours

celebrate link up

I love ending each week thinking about all that I have to celebrate. Join Ruth Ayres who shares a Celebration Link up on her blog each week. Thank you to Ruth for the inspiration.

I celebrate Ivan, Mighty Silverback and his story, shared.

This week, we finished the brilliant, beautiful and special story The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. This is the third time I have read this book but the first time I have read it aloud. As a read aloud, it is pure magic.

Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu

My students have already shared their brilliant thinking on our classroom blog. This celebration post highlights our closure with the book. Finishing a novel this profound needs some time. We finished the story Thursday morning.  When I read the last few words, there was a brief silence. The power a read aloud has to create community was felt in the room. Some kids crawled into my lap, some asked to hold the book (I noticed that they hugged it before passing it on), many just sat and let the story wash over them. Big smiles. Big feelings. 

On Friday, we read the author’s note in the back and checked out three websites/videos.  We . . .

  • looked at the information and video from the Zoo Atlanta site about Ivan. The children found it incredible to watch the real Ivan move about. We had to watch the video two times in a row!

Here we are watching Katherine Applegate talk about her picture book Ivan:  The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla to be released in October 2014 (illustrated by one of our favourites: G. Brian Karas).

Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu

Watching the real Ivan in the Zoo Atlanta video. Absolute joy and fascination on their faces!

Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu

We ended the day with Ivan themed yoga! Thank you to the brilliant Miriam who led us through tree poses in the jungle, Ivan knuckle walking, downward dog poses to greet Bob and entwining elephant trunks in honour of Stella and Ruby.

Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours There's a Book for That #celebratelu

Before our yoga session, the children did a quick final response. Some excerpts here:

“The novel was amazing because the writing was just right. Ivan didn’t break his promise.”

“Ivan is one of my favourite novels because Ivan saved Ruby.”

“I wish we could go to the zoo to meet Ivan. Did he hang out with his friends?”

“I don’t like the way he was being treated. This was my favourite novel because it was emotional and it was read very slowly. I didn’t have to say ‘Can you say that again a lot of times.’ I feel happy he was in a zoo at the end and it made me happy. It made me even more happy to see the video.”

“So Ivan is a gorilla and he died. I am going to save him. I will dig a hole and I will find Ivan. I will use a defibrillator to make Ivan come back alive. And I will take him home to Africa.”

This little writer was particularly inspired and touched by Ivan and his real and fictional story.

“I’m excited for the picture book because all the kids or anyone should know the story. The picture book will be amazing because the illustrator is one of my favourites. I feel so awesome that people saved an animal that had a cruel life. And after they saved him, he had a wonderful life. I want to see Ivan’s artwork. I heard he’s a very talented artist.”

Isn’t it funny that this story of Ivan, a gorilla, teaches us so much about what it is to be human? Oh, how we celebrate this book!

38 thoughts on “Celebration: Ivan: One, Only, Ours

  1. Your post is clear evidence how a great book can be the center of our teaching! Your students will remember Ivan (as will we all) into their old ages because of the way Applegate made him come alive AND because of the way you made the book part of your learning community.

  2. I Loved, Loved, Loved this book! (Loved it!) I love that your kids loved it too! It reminded me of how thankful I am to have a kiddo in my own house that pushes me to keep reading more intermediate/YA books, so I can stay connected to him as he grows up. And we loved Ivan too. (Could I gush some more on your blog–sheesh!) Thanks for sharing this joyous post!

  3. Carrie,
    Seeing your students and classroom in action and the joy that both you and your books bring to them always puts a smile on my face! The perfect way to start my Saturday and a day of report card writing. My students too loved The One and Only Ivan. My favourite thing about reading this book to my kids was the attachment they made with the characters. You know it is book love when they miss being with the characters each day and they continue to make connections to them long after you’ve read the last page. Such a powerful novel! Thanks for sharing your celebration!!

    • Thanks Stephanie. I know that so many of us have had such special experiences with this book. It was such a delight to begin reading and have the room get a calm vibe as everyone listened. What a story!

  4. When I first read that book, I kept telling everyone I knew about it. I’d find pictures of Ivan at the zoo and tell them about him too. It hits hard, that book. I haven’t read it aloud. I think I will to my own children this summer. I have a couple on the docket to make sure we do together. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing so fully (as you always do).

  5. It is such a great book for everyone to read and love. I didn’t know about the picture book. How wonderful that now younger children can hear the story. Carrie, I love the yoga pictures, too. Such a connection to do that with the class. I imagine Ivan will be a book to savor for a very long time in classes. Thanks, & have a terrific weekend!

    • Thanks Linda. the yoga was such fun. We love doing yoga outside with Miriam. But even more special that it had an Ivan theme! I am very excited about this picture book!

  6. Thanks for sharing your journey with Ivan and the pictures of your students. I read the book two summers ago, but decided against reading it aloud because I thought it was too sad. Excerpts from your student’s responses show the depth of their experiences with this book.

  7. I smiled, because of the book, because of the connections, because of the pictures, because of your student responses. Thank you for your celebration.

  8. We loved Ivan too. He is such an amazing character. I am so grateful to have such great stories to share with my students. Here’s to Katherine Applegate. We are so lucky.

  9. I added Ivan to the syllabus for my Children’s Lit class this spring, and the class voted for that to be our one whole-class novel. It was a great choice. I think every student listed it as their favorite book for the semester. As I was rereading it to prepare for our discussion, I was thinking what a terrific read-aloud it would be. I’ll definitely be linking to this post in future semesters of Children’s Lit so that we can learn from your students!

  10. I miss doing read alouds of novels in classes. Ivan was a favorite of mine and watching the children respond was such an amazing experience. And I love the Ivan inspired Yoga lessons. How cool is that!

  11. Ivan is such a remarkable book and I cannot wait until October for the nonfiction book! This book will some day probably go on a list of top 10 books that have impacted my life…along with Wonder, Bridge to Terabithia, and Tuck Everlasting! Now I am off to read your students’ brilliant thinking!

  12. Carrie, excellent post and reflection on this very important book! I’m reading it now with 2 of my intensive 3rd gr reading students. I just love it! It’s going to be one of our summer book club picks too! I love how you brought so much together to celebrate this book. I can’t wait for October!

    • I can’t wait for this picture book either. I think it will be very special to share – especially with kids who know Ivan or to tempt others into wanting to read it one day. Thanks Michele.

  13. A post like this makes me want to be a classroom teacher. Your experience reading Ivan with your students is special and one that I can’t achieve in weekly lessons. I don’t begrudge you this though, I celebrate it! You and they will remember this experience for years to come. Ivan was indeed a special Gorilla and we are all so fortunate that Katherine Applegate brought him into our lives.

    • Absolutely – Applegate gave us all a very special gift by sharing Ivan’s story in her book. It’s true, a classroom read aloud builds community in a very special way. I celebrate this too!

  14. There is so much to celebrate in Applegate’s Ivan. I teach 8th grade and my students, too, love that book! It is ageless. I especially love the Ivan-inspired yoga!

  15. Pingback: Monday May 26th, 2014 | There's a Book for That

  16. So wonderful! I especially love the idea of Ivan themed yoga. What a treat. You have helped to make this book become even more meaningful with your students. They will probably never forget this time in your room.

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