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For 27 years, Ivan the gorilla lived alone inside a cage at South Tacoma mall, before moving on to make a life from himself at

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The Story of Ivan the Gorilla Wins Newberry Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature

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For 27 years, Ivan the gorilla lived alone inside a cage at South Tacoma mall, before moving on to make a life from himself at Zoo Atlanta, where he became something of a celebrity. The story of this famous silverback gorilla. The One and Only Ivan, has won the John Newberry Award for outstanding contribution to children's literature.

Written by Katherine Applegate, a well-known author of children's books, the story fictionalizes the kind of thoughts old Ivan may have had as he wiled away his years in solitary at South Tacoma's B&I.

As Applegate told The New York Times, after the award was announced ...

"I knew right away I wanted it to be written in first-person gorilla but really took some time to find the voice. I decided that he would be plain spoken and not waste a lot of words. The result was a book with a lot of white space. It turns out that was good for reluctant readers. The first chapter only has 3 or 4 lines, literally."

In winning her first Newberry, Applegate said she became interested in Ivan's odyssey after see in an article in The Times nearly 20 years ago, titled, "A Gorilla Sulks in a Mall as His Future Is Debated."

Applegate traveled to Zoo Atlanta, but never actually met Ivan, for it was a rainy day and the gorilla was "notoriously adverse to wet conditions" and never showed himself.

She did, however, attend his memorial when Ivan left this vale of tears last August and entered gorilla heaven.

See Also: Ivan the Gorilla's Ashes to Be Returned to Tacoma

 
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