The true story of a gorilla named Ivan who, after being captured in the jungles of the Congo, lived in a 14’x14’ public display in a Washington shopping mall for 30 years, inspired author Katherine Applegate’s novel The One and Only Ivan. “It was such a bizarre, heartbreaking, intriguing story; I knew there was a book there,” says Applegate. The lonely Ivan never thinks about his early life in the jungle, instead focusing on the few friends he has in the animal display and his painting. A new addition to the attraction, a baby elephant named Ruby, helps Ivan see his home and life with new eyes as he tries to capture his feelings in his paintings. “It’s a story with sad elements, yes, but ultimately it’s a hopeful and heartening story about friendship and courage,” says Applegate. “I’ve been quite touched by the way children have thoroughly embraced Ivan’s tale. Young readers have such big hearts.” The book, narrated with noble suffering by Ivan, is a must-read that will redefine what we know about a life lived behind walls. A question-and-answer period follows the reading.