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Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kidby Jerry Spinelli
Synopses & Reviews
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 games 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 childrens publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of childrens books.
Spinellis 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
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 anothers work. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.
Jerry Spinelli is the author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal. His latest novel, Stargirl, was a New York Times bestseller and an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults.
From first memories through high school, Newbery medalist Spinelli pens his early autobiography with all the warmth, humor, and drama of his bestselling fiction. Photos.
"A master of those embarrassing, gloppy, painful, and suddenly wonderful things that happen on the razor's edge between childhood and full-fledged adolescence" (The Washington Post), Newbery medalist Jerry Spinelli has penned his early autobiography with all the warmth, humor, and drama of his best-selling fiction. From first memories through high school, including first kiss, first punch, first trip to the principal's office, and first humiliating sports experience, this is not merely an account of a highly unusual childhood. Rather, like Spinelli's fiction, its appeal lies in the accessibility and universality of his life. Entertaining and fast-paced, this is a highly readable memoir-- a must-have for Spinelli fans of all ages.
About the Author
Jerry Spinelli won the Newbery Medal in 1991 for Maniac Magee, the sixth of his more than 15 acclaimed books for young readers. Jerry is known for his entertaining and funny books for children and young adults. He grew up in Norristown, PA. At one time, he dreamed of becoming a major league baseball player. All of this changed when his poem about a football game was published at age 16 in the local newspaper. From then on, he wanted to become a writer. After college, Jerry became an editor for a magazine about engineering. For many years, during his lunch hour, he wrote books for adults. None of them were published. Jerrys first book for children was published when he was 41 years old. Jerry's latest novel Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home state of Pennsylvania in a book. And, of course, to show the world a little bit of what jocks are made of.
He now lives in Phoenixville, PA with his wife, Eileen Spinelli, who is also an author of children's books. They have six children — five from Eileen before they married, and one of their own.
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