Excellence in children's literature is just a few page turns away

The One and Only Ivan - Patricia Castelao, Katherine Applegate

I have a lot to say about The One and Only Ivan so get ready. Firstly, I'd like to thank Katherine Applegate for getting it. She understands the importance of children's literature and how it can fundamentally change the life of a child when they find the "right" book. I bet that this book would be just exactly right for a lot of children (and adults if they gave it a shot). As frequent readers of the blog will know, I am passionate about cultivating lifelong learners and lovers of reading. It is heartening to see this passion take the form of an excellent book for children. Secondly, I had no idea that the seed of this story was based off of a true tale. There really was a gorilla that lived in a shopping mall for almost 3 decades. (Just typing those words makes me ill.) Of course, the rest was fictionalized as the story is narrated by Ivan and it would be impossible to know what he was actually thinking and/or feeling during and after his captivity. Thirdly, I appreciated that the back of the book included Applegate's Newbery Medal acceptance speech. She touched on the importance of allowing children to read books that might make them sad or angry. For some reason, parents are always wary of allowing their children to experience any kind of negative emotions in literature. Do they truly believe that kids have no concept of pain, fear, or sadness? Wouldn't it be better if they read about it and discussed it with their parents afterward in a safe and loving environment? What if by reading a book that made them think and question the world around them they became more well-rounded human beings? In conclusion, don't censor your child's reading. If they want to read a comic book, let them. If they want to read a series with a gazillion books in it, let them. If they want to read Little Women, let them. And if they want to read this book, read it with them.

Source: http://readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com