Koko the Gorilla: an Essential Bibliography

Koko the Gorilla has died. According to my Facebook feed, every 30- and 40-something I know is devastated. I’m devastated. She was such a beautiful and gentle and brilliant creature. Like so many of us, she was a cat lady. Like not so many of us, she got to know celebrities. She taught children (and adults!) that apes are nice and have language and personalities and that we should respect them.

Unsurprisingly, such a miraculous life leaves behind a trove of lovely picture books, many written by her handler, Francine Patterson. With any luck, future generations won’t forget Koko’s kind spirit or her mammoth linguistic accomplishments. Below, an essential Koko bibliography.

Fare thee well, gentle friend.


Koko’s Kitten, by Francine Patterson (1985)

Koko’s Story, by Francine Patterson (1987)

Koko-Love! Conversations with a Signing Gorilla, by Francine Patterson (1999)

Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks to People (DVD, 2016)





About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the former Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist.

1 Comment on "Koko the Gorilla: an Essential Bibliography"

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  1. Cheryl Ross says:

    I am SO sad!! I’m a 70-something and have loved her for many, many years! I am very glad that she died-seemingly peacefully-in her sleep, but, am most worried about her handler and, lets face it, “mom”, Francine! While, yes, Koko was getting “up there”, it didn’t say she had been ill, so her death will have come as a shock.

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