Ape Escapes! by Aline Alexander Newman

by  Authors on Call, iNK Think Tank

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A clever red ape, befuddled zookeepers, and a series of mysterious escapes. Put them all together and you get an amazing true story of animal behavior. Aline Alexander Newman will share stories of Fu Manchu, a captive ape who alerted scientists to the intelligence of orangutans, creatures so human-like that their name means "person of the forest." In this program, Newman weaves scientific facts into the parallel story of her book research and later struggle to find a publisher willing to produce a biography of an animal.

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About This Program


By Request: $300.00
By Request Premium: $270.00


30 minutes for pre-k students, kindergarten, grades 1 and 2. 45-60 minutes for grades 3-8.

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Character Education, Language Arts/English, Literacy, Sciences, Writing

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, etc...)

Booking Information

Sorry, this program is not currently available. To inquire about future availability, please contact Authors on Call, iNK Think Tank

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Provider's Cancellation Policy

No charge for programs cancelled due to unavoidable events such as snow days. In such cases, we will make every effort to reschedule. If that proves impossible, or the program is cancelled for some other reason, with less than two days notice, a $100.00 kill fee will be charged.

About This Provider

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Authors on Call, iNK Think Tank

White Plains, NY
United States

The Common Core State Standards have focused attention on process and using nonfiction in the classroom. Our Authors on Call from iNK Think Tank embody the CCSS. This team uses their extraordinary breadth of knowledge to transform today's classrooms into vital centers of learning. These authors are experts in processing enormous amounts of information, sifting through it and synthesizing it into works with added value. So why not talk to these masters of 21st century skillsand let them unpack their process for your students? They are eager to share their knowledge with you and to help you inspire your students with books kids love to read about subjects you're required to teach. So far our authors include Jan Adkins, Vicki Cobb,  Roxie Munro, Dorothy Hinshaw Patent,Carla Killough McClafferty, Kerrie Hollihan, Aline Alexander Newman, David M. Schwartz, Alexandra Siy,  Peggy Thomas, Marissa Moss, Jan Adkins, and Andrea Warren. Keep coming back as we add more authors and new programs.

Vicki Cobb

Program Details


1. Begins with an audio clip. Students are asked to identify the sound.
2. A series of images trace the author's history of writing about animals and great apes, in particular, ending with her writing for National Geographic World and National Geographic Kids magazines..
3. More images and animal stories follow concluding with a brief read-aloud of the true story of an orangutan escape artist named Fu Manchu.
4. Video clip of another orangutan preparing to escape.
5. We discuss orangutans in action, showing off their smarts.
6. Introduction of ape communication using sign language.
7. Author demonstrates several sign language signals used by apes and the kids follow her lead.
8. Another series of images and discussion of author research that leads to her writing a book about Fu.
9. Images that lead to a discussion of Table of Contents and editing process.
10. Video clip of interview subject
11. The finished book with Fu on the cover!
12. We conclude with a question & answer period, if time allows.


The participant will:
--develop an appreciation for the intelligence and problem-solving ability of orangutans.
--identify the meaning of the Indonesian word "orangutan" as a "person of the forest."
--list at least three activities engaged in by wild orangutans.
--demonstrate how to sign 2 or 3 words used by orangutans trained to communicate with humans.
--explain the difference between an ape and a monkey.
--develop an appreciation of the value of persistence.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.RF.1 -- Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.RI.2 -- Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.RI.6 -- Distinguish between information provided by pictures or other illustrations and information provided by the words in a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.RL.1 -- Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.RL.3 -- Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.RL.7 -- Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.SL.1c -- Ask questions to clear up any confusion about the topics and texts under discussion.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.SL.2 -- Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.SL.3 -- Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.W.2 -- Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.1.W.8 -- With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.2.RI.1 -- Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.2.RI.5 -- Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.2.RI.6 -- Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.2.RL.5 -- Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.2.W.2 -- Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.RI.10 -- By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 2–3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.RI.2 -- Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.RI.5 -- Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.RL.1 -- Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.RL.9 -- Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.W.4 -- With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.W.7 -- Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.3.W.8 -- Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.RI.3 -- Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.SL.1 -- Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.SL.4 -- Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.SL.5 -- Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.W.2 -- Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.W.2a -- Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.W.7 -- Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.4.W.8 -- Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.RI.1 -- Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.RI.2 -- Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.RI.3 -- Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.RI.7 -- Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.RI.8 -- Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.SL.2 -- Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.SL.3 -- Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.W.1 -- Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.W.2 -- Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.W.3 -- Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.W.5 -- With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and includin
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.W.7 -- Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.5.W.9 -- Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

State Standards

New York State
K-ESS2-2. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment to meet their needs.
1-LS3-1 Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that some young plants and animals are similar to, but not exactly like, their parents.
2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
3-LS4-4. Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
3-LS3-2. Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
4-LS1-2. Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.