The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is the latest Newbery Medal Winner. It is based on a true story, but the author decided to write a fictional account told from the viewpoint of Ivan the gorilla. Ivan lives at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade along with some other animals - including Stella (an elephant) and Bob (a dog). When a new baby elephant named Ruby joins them, Stella makes Ivan promise that he will try to find a way for Ruby to have a better life. I can't tell you if he is successful, that would spoil the ending. I can tell you that it is a great story and I understand why it was the gold medal winner.
The author does a great job of making Ivan's character come alive through his thoughts and speech and actions. By the end of the story, you feel like you know him very well. This is one of those books like Charlotte's Web or Because of Winn Dixie that has you connecting with the main character and almost forgetting that they are not human. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys those sorts of animal stories. We received a copy of this book through a DonorsChoose.org project over the summer.
There is a website for the book that includes information about the real Ivan and the author. And here is a link to the author's Twitter feed. You can also watch the trailer.