We are reading The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. I found it when I was looking for books similar to Wonder. I wouldn't say it's similar, other than the reading level, but they both have very interesting covers. I don't know who came up with the phrase "Never judge a book by it's cover." That's silly. I will almost always pick up a book that catches my eye. That's how I found my favorite author of all time. How could you not pick up a book that looks like this? Although, the updated cover is even better.
So Ivan is a gorilla and this story is written from his point of view. It's a fictional story, but it's based on a real gorilla. You've probably heard of him, especially if you are in Atlanta since he lived at our zoo for 16 years. He died last August at the age of 50. Before he was at Zoo Atlanta, he lived in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington. His real story is fascinating and you can read the highlights at the Zoo Atlanta website.
Another story within the book is about Jambo, a gorilla that stood over a boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at a zoo. He was badly hurt, but while he lay unconscious, Jambo protected him.
We are only a short way into the book, but it's inspiring a lot of good discussions. Do animals know when they are in a zoo or a mall? Do they miss their natural habitats? Is it o.k. for humans to put animals on display? What does the sentence, "A good zoo is how humans make amends." mean? And what does it mean when Stella (the elephant) smiles sadly in response to Bob's (the dog) question about why she and Ivan aren't in a zoo?
Kids ask the most amazing questions.
I'm really looking forward to reading the rest with them.