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Crashby 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.
Now available in paperback, Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli's hilarious, poignant story of cocky seventh-grade superjock Crash Coogan.
My real name is John. John Coogan. But everybody calls me Crash, even my parents.
It started way back when I got my first football helmet for Christmas. I don't really remember this happening, but they say that when my uncle Herm's family came over to see our presents, as they were coming through the front door I got down into a four-point stance, growled, "Hut! Hut! Hut!" and charged ahead with my brand-new helmet. Seems I knocked my cousin Bridget clear back out the doorway and onto her butt into a foot of snow. They say she bawled bloody murder and refused to come into the house, so Uncle Herm finally had to drag his whole family away before they even had a chance to take their coats off.
Like I said, personally I don't remember the whole thing, but looking back at what I do remember about myself, I'd have to say the story is probably true. As far as I can tell, I've always been crashing--into people, into things, you name it, with or without a helmet.
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. 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. 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.
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