Value: Friendship/Determinism/Animal Rights

Time: long- this is a chapter book! Time varies with reading speed and activity choices. 

Appropriate Ages: 10+


  • Book: 

    • Available on Amazon HERE​

    • For the optional art extension activity:

      • 20 pieces of paper​

      • art media, such as coloring pencils/crayons/watercolors/finger paints



After completion of the text, consider posing the following questions for discussion:​​

  • Ivan's identity has many different labels and admirers. Some see him as fierce and ferocious, others as an artist, others as kind, others as playful, others as protective and capable. How does Ivan feel about himself?

    • How does this change throughout the book?

    • What are some of the many and conflicting labels you give to yourself? How might others label you?

  • Ivan's promise to Stella ends up being what he lives for.

    • How does Ivan display determinism in keeping this promise?​

    • What promises do you have to yourself or other people that you are determined to keep?

      • When do you feel like giving up on these goals?​

      • What do you do to help you persevere and achieve your goals?

  • Ivan has many different friends from the mall, and all of them are very different from the gorillas he came from and the gorillas he ends up living with in the end.

    • How are these friends different?​

    • How does Ivan benefit from his friends unique characteristics?

    • Have you ever benefited from surrounding yourself with friends that are very different from you? Explain.

  • Why was Ivan's lifestyle living with humans or in the mall inappropriate, even though he was not abused and had what he needed to survive?

    • Do you know of any animals who are currently experiencing the same type of inappropriate lifestyle? 

Activity Options:

  • Rent the movie "The One and Only Ivan" (coming 2020) and watch it together with popcorn!

  • Experiment making an artistic collage like Ivan does, and consider working together as a team and splitting up parts of the collage.

    • Decide on what the big picture will be of ahead of time.​

    • Decide on how the picture will be split up until squares the size of pieces of paper.

    • Decide who will create each square.

    • Create and assemble!

  • Research endangered or abused animals that may be in or near your local community. What can you do to advocate for their rights or protect them better? Make a plan and do it!

  • Think of a story you barely remember from your childhood. What do you remember about it? Can you record it?