Author bio

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Jerry Spinelli - book author

When Jerry Spinelli was a kid, he wanted to grow up to be either a cowboy or a baseball player. Lucky for us he became a writer instead.

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania and went to college at Gettysburg College and Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 25 books and has six children and 16 grandchildren.
Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his book Maniac Magee. After his high school football team won a big game, his classmates ran cheering through the streets — all except Spinelli, who went home and wrote a poem about the victory. When his poem was published in the local paper, Spinelli decided to become a writer instead of a major-league shortstop.

In most of his books, Spinelli writes about events and feelings from his own childhood. He also gets a lot of material from his seven adventurous kids! Spinelli and his wife, Eileen, also a children's book author, live in Pennsylvania.

Jerry Spinelli is the author of books: Stargirl (Stargirl, #1), Maniac Magee, Love, Stargirl (Stargirl, #2), Milkweed, Loser, Wringer, Crash, Eggs, Jake and Lily, Smiles to Go

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Author Books

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Title
Description
01
A celebration of nonconformity; a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity--and the thrill and inspiration of first love. Ages 12+

Leo Borlock follows the unspoken rule at Mica Area High School: don't stand out--under any circumstances! Then Stargirl arrives at Mica High and everything changes--for Leo and for the entire school. After 15 years of home schooling, Stargirl bursts into tenth grade in an explosion of color and a clatter of ukulele music, enchanting the Mica student body.

But the delicate scales of popularity suddenly shift, and Stargirl is shunned for everything that makes her different. Somewhere in the midst of Stargirl's arrival and rise and fall, normal Leo Borlock has tumbled into love with her.

In a celebration of nonconformity, Jerry Spinelli weaves a tense, emotional tale about the fleeting, cruel nature of popularity--and the thrill and inspiration of first love.
02
Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn't made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run--and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.
03
LOVE, STARGIRL picks up a year after Stargirl ends and reveals the new life of the beloved character who moved away so suddenly at the end of Stargirl. The novel takes the form of "the world's longest letter," in diary form, going from date to date through a little more than a year's time. In her writing, Stargirl mixes memories of her bittersweet time in Mica, Arizona, with involvements with new people in her life.

In Love, Stargirl, we hear the voice of Stargirl herself as she reflects on time, life, Leo, and - of course - love.


From the Hardcover edition.
04
He’s a boy called Jew. Gypsy. Stopthief. Runt. Happy. Fast. Filthy son of Abraham.

He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He’s a boy who steals food for himself and the other orphans. He’s a boy who believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody.

Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli takes us to one of the most devastating settings imaginable—Nazi-occupied Warsaw of World War II—and tells a tale of heartbreak, hope, and survival through the bright eyes of a young orphan.


From the Hardcover edition.
05
From renowned Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli comes a powerful story about how not fitting in just might lead to an incredible life. This classic book is perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Carl Hiaasen.

Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip."

Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."

With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs.

The perfect classroom read.
06
Sometimes he wished it would come after him, chase him, this thing he did not want to be. But the thing never moved. It merely waited. Waited for him to come to it. In Palmer LaRue's hometown of Waymer, turning ten is the biggest event of a boy's life. It marks the day when a boy is ready to take his place as a wringer at the annual Family Fest. It's an honor and a tradition.

But for Palmer, his tenth birthday is not something to look forward to, but something to dread. Because -- although he can't admit this to anyone -- Palmer does not want to be a wringer. But he can't stop himself from getting older, any more than he can stop tradition.

Then one day, a visitor appears on his windowsill, and Palmer knows that this, more than anything else, is a sign that his time is up. Somehow, he must learn how to stop being afraid and stand up for what he believes in.
07
Meet Crash Coogan. Crash seems to be all brawn and no brains, but he will need more than mere muscles to face the upcoming challenges in his life. Now available in paperback, Award-winner Jerry Spinelli has created a hilarious, poignant story of a cocky seventh-grade super-jock. 


From the Trade Paperback edition.
08
Nine-year-old David has recently lost his mother to a freak accident, his salesman father is constantly on the road, and he is letting his anger out on his grandmother. Sarcastic and bossy 13-year-old Primrose lives with her childlike, fortuneteller mother, and a framed picture is the only evidence of the father she never knew. Despite their differences, David and Primrose forge a tight yet tumultuous friendship, eventually helping each other deal with what is missing in their lives. This powerful, quirky novel about two very complicated, damaged children has much to say about friendship, loss, and recovery.
09
Jake and Lily are twins. Even though they seem pretty different—Jake is the calm one and Lily has a temper; Lily is obsessed with trains and Jake collects cool rocks—they feel exactly the same, almost like two halves of one person. When one of them gets hurt, the other can feel it. They can communicate without words. And mysteriously, every year on their birthday, they sleepwalk to a train station in the middle of the night.

But the year they turn eleven, everything changes. Their parents announce it’s time for separate bedrooms, and Jake starts hanging out with a pack of boys on the block. Lily is devastated—not to mention really, really mad. And as she struggles to make friends and get a life apart from her twin, Jake finds himself dealing with a neighborhood bully and has to decide what kind of person he really is.

Beloved author Jerry Spinelli has written another perfectly on-target, humorous, and brilliant story about the struggles of growing up and discovering who you are.

This is a story about me, Lily.
And me, Jake.
We're twins and we're exactly alike.
Not exactly!
Whatever. This is a book we wrote about the summer we turned eleven and Jake ditched me.
Please. I just started hanging out with some guys in the neighborhood.
Right. So anyway, this is a book about
goobers and supergoobers
bullies
clubhouses
true friends

things getting built and wrecked and rebuilt
and about figuring out who we are.
We wrote this together
(sort of)
so you'll get to see both sides of our story.
But you'll probably agree with my side.
You always have to have the last word, don't you?
Yes!
10
What is stargazer, skateboarder, chess champ, pepperoni pizza eater, older brother, sister hater, best friend, first kisser, science geek, control freak Will Tuppence so afraid of in this great big universe?

Jerry Spinelli knows.