K. A. Applegate: 2013 Newbery Award Winner

by Dave Schuler on January 28, 2013

Children’s and young adult author K. A. Applegate has been awarded the John Newbery Medal for 2013 by the American Library Association for her book, The One and Only Ivan:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Congratulations, Kay!

Previous winners of this signal honor include Hugh Lofting, Lois Lenski, Joseph Krumgold, and Madeleine L’Engle. The list of winners is a pantheon of children’s literature.

Not to diminish her wonderful achievement, much deserved, but I consider this tremendous award her second greatest accomplishment.

Ms. Applegate has been married for many years to co-author and fellow children’s and young adult author Michael Grant.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Tough woman.

Dave Schuler January 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm

It was love at first sight.

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I can afford it. Where do I get it?

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

She looks a lot like the vet I use for the birds.

Dave Schuler January 28, 2013 at 12:50 pm
michael reynolds January 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Thanks, Dave. It’s a very big thing for her. She’s come from the days when we ghost-wrote Sweet Valley Twins books to the highest honor you can get in kidlit. Obviously I am extremely proud of her.

On the downside this means all the arguments I used to win by saying, “Because I’m a New York Times bestselling author, that’s why,” will now be trumped with a simple, “Newbury: deal with it.”

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I talked to the head library honcho in our town. At least one of Ms. Applegate’s books is already in the library. I offered to buy a copy if it’s not on order.

You, Mr. Grant, are not. I don’t know why that is.

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Lois Lenski? I cried over Strawberry Girl!

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Amanda is ordering as we speak.

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Small towns can be fun and personal.

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm

So Ms. Applegate’s book will be offered at the Vidalia branch of of the Condordia Parish Library. I guarantee.

Janis Gore January 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Concordia. I hate typing.

Drew January 28, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Congratulations to Kay, Michael. Thanks for noting it, Dave.

Definately your, ahem, better half, Michael.

Andy January 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Well Michael, you and I certainly have one thing in common – we married up! ;)

michael reynolds January 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm

Drew and Andy:

Finally something we can all agree on. I saw her through a window, knocked on her door, and 24 hours later we were living together. She’s had many reasons to regret that rashness, I never have.

steve January 29, 2013 at 6:19 am

Congratulations! She must be patient and understanding as well as brilliant.


jan January 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

An amazing literary life you lead, Michael….Congratulations to your wife for her achievements.

Janis Gore January 29, 2013 at 5:02 pm

I’ve read that Miss K. has a truly great love of animals.

Michael’s put her in a condo in San Francisco so she can’t put together a zoo of her own, I’d guess.

TastyBits January 29, 2013 at 6:34 pm

@michael reynolds

Congratulations to your wife. From her Wikipedia page, it looks like she has an extensive body of work.

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