The Ivan Trifecta: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

I love Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan. When I think of her Newbery Medal winning masterpiece so many wonderful thoughts pop into my head: reading it aloud to my students, the Newbery Challenge, Mr. Schu and his road trip, Nerdy Book Club, the Newbery banquet. I could go on and on.

I feel honored to be able to celebrate Ms. Applegate and Mr. Karas’s Ivan picture book as a part of today’s trifecta with Mr. Schu and Nerdy Book Club.

I hope you enjoy my interview with the one an only Katherine Applegate.

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

Here are the rules:

1. I give the interviewee 5 questions

2. They have to answer • 1 question with 5 sentences • 1 question with 4 sentences • 1 question with 3 sentences • 1 question with 2 sentences • 1 question with 1 sentence

3. They get to pick which question which question to answer with each number of sentences.

4. Have fun!


1. Can you tell us a little bit about Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla?

In my novel The One and Only Ivan, I fictionalized what happened in Ivan’s life, inventing characters.

This is a non-fiction picture book that tells Ivan’s real story.

The book gives readers a chance to know what really happened.

Most importantly, it allows children and adults to experience it all, with the help of Brian Karas’ gorgeous and poignant illustrations.

It even features a moving piece from Ivan’s longtime keeper, Jodi Carrigan, about her dear friend.

2. What is your favorite thing about being a book creator?

When I tell my characters what to do, they have to listen.

I have not found this to be true with my children.

3. What’s the hardest thing about being an author?

Being an author is the perfect job, which means only a crazy person could complain about it.

The only part that really bothers me is worry that I might not have responded to a note from a fan or a tweet from a teacher.

I hope people realize that when they share their affection for a book, it means the world to an author.

I wish I could thank every single fan in person with a fireworks display and a parade and a hug.

4. If you could spend one day inside the world of any book which book would you pick?

I would pick Charlotte’s Web in the bard, mid-summer, flying through the air on the rope swing.


5. What advice do you have for the young writers in my classroom?

When you write something, your pencil is a magic wand.

Listen to your teacher, who will help you craft your spells.

Then listen to your magic heart, which will help you find your own special magic.

Thank you, Ms. Applegate. You’re the best!

Be sure to check out Mr. Schu’s interview with Brian Karas.

And don’t forget to read an interview with Katherine’s editor over at Nerdy Book Club.

nerdy monster


2 thoughts on “The Ivan Trifecta: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

  1. Of course, any “Ivan” fan will find this interview enjoyable, but the comments themselves are priceless, Katherine 🙂

    I love the fact that there’s a piece from Ivan’s keeper, Jodi Carrigan.

    You cracked me up with the fact that your children don’t listen as your characters do, probably because your children are “real characters” 😉

    “I wish I could thank every single fan in person with a fireworks display and a parade and a hug.” This is a beautiful sentiment I hope to be in a position to feel someday and love that you do 🙂

    This is a PERFECT metaphor!—-“When you write something, your pencil is a magic wand.”

    Thanks for this, Katherine and Colby 🙂


  2. I LOVE Ivan, and I can’t wait to read this book! My pre-ordered copy has shipped, and I will spend Saturday outside on my porch, waiting for the package.

    I adore Katherine’s 3-sentence answer to the last question.


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