New York Times bestseller and Newbery Medal winner Katherine Applegate is one of the featured children’s authors at the Miami Book Fair International.
Millennials know Applegate under the pen name of K.A. Applegate, author of the hugely successful Scholastic series Animorphs, which she co-wrote with her husband Michael Grant. The series sold more than 35 million copies worldwide. Independent readers know her for the beautifully written, heartwarming book The One and Only Ivan. It has been a Sunshine State book and won the 2013 Newbery Medal, the top literary award for middle-grade books. It also hit the top spot on the NY Times Bestseller list.
Ivan is the story of a gorilla that lives in a glass cage in a shopping mall. It was sparked by a true story of a gorilla that lived in a cage at a mall for 23 years before being moved to the Atlanta Zoo. “I found Ivan’s story in the NY Times 20 years ago,” Applegate says. “It took a long time between that moment and when it turned into a book.”
Ivan’s story is also being turned into a picture book called Ivan: The Remarkable True Story. It is being illustrated by Brian Karras and Applegate says she is thrilled with the illustrations.
Applegate has another picture book in the works, one to be illustrated by Marc Rosenthal, and an animal fantasy middle grade called Crenshaw.
“It touches on questions of hunger and homelessness that you see in our country with kids,” she says. “It’s part of the story. Most importantly about the return of an imaginary friend who is very real.”
She is also working on a middle-grade fantasy series titled Endling.
“My son came across this word on Reddit,” she says. “An endling is the last animal in a species. That’s such an interesting concept. I pitched it to HarperCollins as a trilogy.”
Applegate says Endling is more of an old-fashioned fantasy set in an alternate world
“There is more action, as would be expected in a trilogy,” she says.
Applegate says moving from the 50-plus Animorphs series to singletitle books was quite a change for her. She says she made the switch because she wanted to experiment more with form. Her first big middle- grade solo title was Home of the Brave, which won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award and was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Now that she is returning to the series mode for Endling, she says she is a little nervous about once again working in the long form. But she says writing picture books is even more worrisome.
“I have finished three picture books,” she says. “Those are harder. It’s poetry. There’s not a lot of room for error. And you are collaborating with an invisible partner (the illustrator).”
At the Miami Book Fair, Applegate will participate in the Generation Genius school group events and read with elementary school students on Friday, Nov. 21. She also will read at Mr. Wembly Wordsmith’s Storytorium in Children’s Alley on Sat., Nov 22, 11 a.m.
More than 600 authors will take part in the 2014 Miami Book Fair, continuing through Sunday, Nov. 23, at the Miami- Dade College Wolfson Campus, 401 NE 2nd Ave. The Street Fair is scheduled for Nov. 21-23.
For more information, go to www.MiamiBookFair.com or call 305-237- 3258.