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Jerry Spinelli
Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.One night during high school, Spinelli... show more



Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.One night during high school, Spinelli watched the football team win an exciting game against one of the best teams in the country. While everyone else rode about town tooting horns in celebration, Spinelli went home and wrote "Goal to Go," a poem about the game's defining moment, a goal-line stand. His father submitted the poem to the Norristown Times-Herald and it was featured in the middle of the sports page a few days later. He then traded in his baseball bat for a pencil, because he knew that he wanted to become a writer.After graduating from Gettysburg College with an English degree, Spinelli worked full time as a magazine editor. Every day on his lunch hour, he would close his office door and craft novels on yellow magazine copy paper. He wrote four adult novels in 12 years of lunchtime writing, but none of these were accepted for publication. When he submitted a fifth novel about a 13-year-old boy, adult publishers once again rejected his work, but children's publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of children's books. Spinelli's hilarious books entertain both children and young adults. Readers see his life in his autobiography Knots in My Yo-Yo String, as well as in his fiction. Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home state of Pennsylvania in a book, while Maniac Magee is set in a fictional town based on his own hometown.When asked if he does research for his writing, Spinelli says: "The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I seldom plow through books at the library to gather material. Yes, in the sense that the first 15 years of my life turned out to be one big research project. I thought I was simply growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania; looking back now I can see that I was also gathering material that would one day find its way into my books."On inspiration, the author says: "Ideas come from ordinary, everyday life. And from imagination. And from feelings. And from memories. Memories of dust in my sneakers and humming whitewalls down a hill called Monkey."Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow writer, Eileen, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While they write in separate rooms of the house, the couple edits and celebrates one another's work. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.

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Birth date: February 01, 1941
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Community Reviews
FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt
FatherCraneMadeMeDoIt rated it 6 years ago
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-CycleThis book was really difficult for me to get into. As a kid, I remember a lot of my friends reading it. As an adult, I still didn't really know what it was about having never read it in school, so when I saw it in the Little Free Lending Library, I pic...
Jodi's Classroom Favorites
Jodi's Classroom Favorites rated it 6 years ago
Maniac Magee is such a rich text. I remember reading this book in the fourth grade and falling in love with the characters! This book is intended for an older audience. The messages throughout touch on homelessness, racism, and death. I know that young readers will connect with Maniac, from his knot...
My Never Ending List
My Never Ending List rated it 7 years ago
I felt so alone reading this novel. Here was a twelve-year-old girl living in a county prison with her father, the Warden, crying out for help. She was surrounded by individuals yet she was all alone. The one person she wanted, she couldn’t have and the one person she could have, was emotionally not...
Thender4
Thender4 rated it 8 years ago
He wasn't born with the name Maniac Magee. He came into this world named Jeffrey Lionel Magee, but when his parents died and his life changed, so did his name. And Maniac Magee became a legend. Even today kids talk about how fast he could run; about how he hit an inside-the-park "frog" homer; how no...
Mrs. McKee's Library
Mrs. McKee's Library rated it 8 years ago
This book teaches students that it is okay to be yourself and you don't have to try and fit in. This book would be great for a 4th grade class. I would have the students fill out a graphic organizer as they read the book. They could also pull out vocabulary words from the text.
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