A book inspired by Ivan the Gorilla has won the John Newbery Medal for the year’s outstanding contribution to children’s literature, the American Library Association announced this morning.
Katherine Applegate’s “The One and Only Ivan” tells the tale of a gorilla who remakes his life after befriending a baby elephant and moving from his enclosure at a mall to a zoo.
The Newbery award is considered the most prestigious of its kind.
The tale was based on Ivan, a gorilla that spent 27 years in a steel and concrete cage at the B&I Shopping Center, which was once a circus-themed mall on South Tacoma Way.
The silverback gorilla died Aug. 20 at Zoo Atlanta, where he was moved in 1994.