Tag Archives: Social emotional books

Best Books: The One and Only Ivan

In a world where we are being faced with bullying, loneliness, and school shootings it is hard to completely understand the fears, isolation, and loneliness that children and teens are dealing with. As adults, we see the world as it is, but children are still learning how the world functions, and how to deal with the emotions that result from living in that world. Sometimes children need help to understand those emotions.

Katherine Applegate’s book, The one and Only Ivan introduces a lonely and isolated Gorilla that has lived in captivity for 27 years. Ivan meets a baby elephant named Ruby that has been taken from the wild. Throughout the novel the two interact on a human level, they share their fears, their hopes, their dreams. As readers, we get to see the world from Ivan’s perspective. It details the essence of childhood. The limits of understanding, the boxed in protection that becomes a cage, the loss of innocence as the real world takes shape around them, but through it, all is a friendship and humor that helps them to navigate this strange world. The world that Applegate has created allows children to place themselves in Ivan’s place and follow him on his journey of self-actualization and his quest into the real world of adulthood. Throughout this journey, the readers are able to confront their own emotions and reconcile their own experiences with loneliness and isolation.

The one and only Ivan

The book brings humor, joy, and sadness as it tells the story of Ivan and Ruby. Readers will enjoy the friendship and humor as they learn some deeper lessons. It makes for an excellent read, and if parents read it as well it can open up doors and opportunities for discussion about what kids are really going through today.

Free Spirit Publishing

Everyday life presents many challenges for kids, from home to school to the wider world. No matter how many choices, changes, and opportunities young people face, Free Spirit has had the same mission for over 27 years: to provide children and teens—and the adults who care for and about them—with the tools they need to succeed in life and to make a positive difference in the world.

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Free Spirit Publishing is known for its unique understanding of what kids want (and need) to navigate life successfully. Their reputation as the leading publisher of Self-Help for Kids® and Self-Help for Teens® is grounded in books and other learning materials that are practical, positive, pro-kid, and solution focused. They are not afraid to tackle tough topics such as teen depression, kids and anxiety, grief and loss, juvenile justice, and conflict resolution. Free Spirit also offers sound advice with a sense of humor on relevant issues including stress management, character building, puberty, school success, self-esteem, service learning, and more. They aim to meet all kids—toddlers, teens, and in-betweens—where they are (not where we wish they were), and support them to develop their talents, build resiliency, and foster a positive outlook on life so they can reach their goals. In early 2007, Free Spirit formed an Advisory Board of Educators, a diverse group of K–12 teachers, counselors, librarians, administrators, and social workers who provide us with valuable feedback about their products. In early 2008, Free Spirit added the Teen Advisory Council, whose members contribute opinions on design, art, and content. With the boards’ input, our books stay current, credible, and extra beneficial for children, teens, and adults.

A Little History

A former classroom teacher and gifted-education specialist, Free Spirit founder Judy Galbraith remembers looking in vain for kid-friendly information that addressed the real-life issues her students faced. In 1983, she made a decision to begin filling that void, starting her own company to offer accessible, contemporary books to help young people develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually. More than two decades later, Free Spirit Publishing continues to be the leader in Self-Help for Kids® and Self-Help for Teens®, building its list from just a few titles to over 285 award-winning books and products, with new titles being published every year.

What People Are Saying About Free Spirit

Free Spirit Publishing has won accolades and notice from educational leaders, the publishing trade, and the general media. Free Spirit Publishing’s books have been critically hailed and honored by:

  • The American Library Association
  • Parents’ Choice
  • Dr. Toy
  • Parent Council
  • Parent’s Guide to Media
  • International Reading Association
  • Youthworker Journal
  • Gifted Child Quarterly
  • CAG Communicator
  • Children’s Book Council
  • YALSA (Young Adult Library Society of America)
  • VOYA (Voice Of Youth Advocates)
  • School Library Journal magazine
  • Parenting magazine
  • Teaching Tolerance magazine
  • Early Childhood News magazine (Directors’ Choice Award)
  • New York Public Library
  • National Mental Health Association
  • Learning magazine (Teachers’ Choice Award)
  • USA Today
  • and many more

As a member of the Green Press Initiative, Free Spirit Publishing is committed to the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Whenever possible, we print our books on recycled paper containing a minimum of 30% post consumer waste. At Free Spirit, it’s our goal to nurture not only children, but nature, too! To find out more about Green Press Initiative go to www.greenpressinitiative.org.