Reading Club: Teenage Literature | The One and Only Ivan - Εικόνα

We are excited to announce yet another get-together of our Teen Reading Club in June, hosted, as usual, by the author Stella Kasdagli. 

The book we’ll be reading this month is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

For this meeting, 22 members between 12 and 16 years old set a date for Sunday, June 27, at 19:00, to discover alternative worlds waiting to be created by the readers themselves – that’s us!

Don’t worry if you don’t have time to get through the whole book, or if you didn’t make it to our previous meeting: in any case, Stella will give the signal each month, announcing the book we’ll all be reading over the next few weeks. At the end of the month, the gang that has read the book (or half of it, at least!) will get together to share thoughts, impressions, feelings and concerns inspired by what we read – whether we liked it a lot, or not so much!

A bit more on June’s book

The One and Only Ivan is a wonderful book with a wonderful hero – as the New York Times put it: “reading Ivan, we will never again look at animals, and especially those in captivity, in the same way. A part of the beauty of Ivan’s soul will have passed, as if by magic, into ours”.  

“Hello. I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It's not as easy as it looks. People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback. The names are mine, but they’re not me. I am Ivan, just Ivan, only Ivan…” is how the captive animal introduces himself, talking only of the present, because he avoids thinking about his past and the happy life he once had in a tropical forest in Central Africa. One thing’s for certain: once you start reading this book, there is no way to avoid being moved by the power of a magical friendship that can transform the world. 

The Plot: Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping center, Ivan is used to people watching him. He very rarely thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself watching TV, spending time with his friends, Stella and Bob, and painting. When he meets Ruby, however, a little elephant who has just been captured, he is forced to look at their home and his art through different eyes.  

A bit more on Stella

Stella Kasdagli is an author, translator, co-founder of the non-profit organization Women On Top, and educator to teenagers and adults. She completed her degree (only God knows how) in French Philology in Athens, and went on to study Media Theory in London. She worked as an editor on Cosmopolitan magazine for a number of years, while also writing for other Greek and English-language publications and sites. She now designs and implements actions to empower women, writes on topics she’d like to see discussed more widely, translates foreign literature, and runs workshops for teenagers on body image, the internet and social change. She is also (phew!) co-founder of the Mentorkids network and the Bookworm online book club. She has written the books [], Ithela mono na horeso [I only wanted to fit], 30 gynaikes pou allaksan ton kosmo (kai pos boreis na ton allakseis ki esi) [30 women who changed the world (and how you can change it, too)], and the Princess Athena series. She has two daughters, and they grow up together in Athens. 


Sunday 27/06, 19:00


For boys and girls aged 12-16 years old
Up to 22 children
Free participation by online pre-registration

Pre-registration starts on Friday 04/06 at 12.00

To take part in the Reading Club, those who register must have read the book of the month (or half of it, at least). 

The One and Only Ivan is available in Greek translation by Psichogios Publications. 


Children should always be accompanied by parents or adult chaperones, who should stay outside the activity area for as long as the activity lasts.

The use of face mask and social distancing measures are mandatory in indoor and outdoor areas of the SNFCC, in accordance with Hellenic National Public Health Organization regulations.

Due to public health measures, there may be changes regarding either the staging of the event, or the maximum number of participants.

See also

Saturday 19/06, 18:30

Reading Club: Children’s Literature | Mary Poppins


Tuesday 22/06, 18:30

June Reading Club: Between Friends