Meet the Author

Jerry Spinelli

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.

Read the following quote from Jerry Spinelli, and then discuss it with a partner. Do you think being a kid is an adventure? What are some of the "firsts" in your life that you remember best?

"Each of us, in our kidhood, was a Huckleberry Finn, drifting on a current that seemed tortuously slow at times, poling for the shore to check out every slightest glimmer in the trees … the taste of Brussels sprouts … your first forward roll … cruising a mall without a parent … overnighting it … making your own grilled cheese sandwich … the thousand landfalls of our adolescence .… And now we know what we did not know then: What an adventure it was!"

Jerry Spinelli
Find out more about Jerry Spinelli at his Web site.

Other Books Written by Jerry Spinelli

  • There's a Girl in my Hammerlock
    (illustrated by Randy Barrett)
  • Maniac Magee: A Novel
  • Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?
  • Knots in my Yo-Yo String
  • The Library Card
  • Fourth Grade Rats