The one and only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ; illustrations by Patricia Castelao has been awarded the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature for the year 2013. This heart-moving tale about a captive silverback gorilla was inspired by a true story. Ivan has spent 27 years of his life at The Big Top Mall, a cheap roadside circus attraction, confined to an enclosure of glass, metal, and concrete. He has become numb to his existence, watching TV, dabbling with art, and eating food thrown to him. Bob, a spunky dog, and Stella, an aging elephant are his only friends and companions. Ivan's melancholy life begins to change, however, when Ruby, a young vibrant elephant appears on the scene and Stella dies from neglect. Stella's dying plea to Ivan is help Ruby escape. Ivan's dormant mind comes alive as he devises a daring plan to free Ruby. With the help of the kind daughter of the custodian, Bob, and a zoo thousands of miles away, Ivan's creative efforts may just succeed. Thought provoking and emotionally packed, this book should be read more than once to savor all of its nuances.
Newbery Honor Books for 2013 are: