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Jerry Spinelli

A few of Jerry Spinelli’s books:

Maniac Magee - See Newbery Medal 1991

Wringer - Newbery Honor Book 1998
Space Station Seventh Grade
Crash
Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid 1998

FALL 2000: STARGIRL

STARGIRL"She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music.

She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school.

She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl.

"She saw things. I had not known there was so much to see."

"But it was there; it was happening.... I could feel it in myself. I felt lighter, unshackled, as if something I had been carrying had fallen away. ...I enjoyed the feeling and watched the once amorphous student body separate itself into hundreds of individuals. The pronoun 'we' itself seemed to crack and drift apart in pieces." 

"I should show Stargirl and the world that I wasn't like the rest of them, that I appreciated her, that I celebrated her and her insistence on being herself. But I stayed inside.

"... every once in a while someone comes along who is a little more primitive than the rest of us, a little closer to our beginnings, a little more in touch with the stuff we're made of."
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FALL 2007 - LOVE, STARGIRL - The sequel 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. We hear the voice of Stargirl herself as she reflects on time, life, Leo, and - of course - love.

SPRING 2002: LOSER

LOSER"There are winners everywhere .... The sidewalks. The backyards. The alleyways. The playgrounds ...

Except for Zinkoff. Zinkoff never wins.

But Zinkoff doesn't notice. Neither do the other pups.

Not yet.

Zinkoff is like all kids -- running, playing, riding his bike. Hoping for snow days, wanting to be his dad when he grows up.

Zinkoff is not like the other kids -- raising his hand with all the wrong answers, tripping over his own feet, falling down with laughter over a word like "Jabip." The kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it.

Once again, Newbery Medal-winning author Jerry Spinelli uses great wit and humor to create the unique story of Zinkoff as he travels from first through sixth grades. Loser is a touching book about the human spirit, the importance of failure, and how any name can someday be replaced with "hero.
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SPRING 2008: SMILES TO GO - 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 SpinelliWhen I was sixteen, my high school football team won a big game. That night I wrote a poem about it. The poem was published in the local newspaper, and from then on I wanted to become a writer.

But first I became a grownup. And I thought, as many grownups do: Okay, so much for being a kid; now on to the important stuff.

For a writer, this meant writing grownup books about important stuff. I wrote four of them. Four big-deal, important, grownup, adult novels.

Nobody wanted them.

Well, at least somebody wanted me. I got married. Boy, did I get married! I married someone who already had a bunch of kids. Instant fatherhood.

Early one summer morning I opened the refrigerator to get the fried chicken I had left there the night before. I had left the chicken in a bag. Five pieces. I planned to take them to work for my lunch that day.

Well, the bag was still there, and so was the chicken. Chicken bones, that is. It seems that one of our angels sleeping upstairs had had a little snack the night before.

At lunchtime that day, instead of picking up a drumstick, I picked up a pencil and I started to write:

"One by one my stepfather took the chicken bones out of the bag and laid them on the kitchen table. He laid them down real neat. In a row. Five of them. Two leg bones, two wing bones, one thigh bone.

"And bones is all they were. There wasn’t a speck of meat on them. "Was this really happening? Did my stepfather really drag me out of bed at seven o’clock in the morning on my summer vacation so I could stand in the kitchen in my underpants and stare down at a row of chicken bones?"

Little did I know that I was beginning to write my fifth novel. With one big difference—this one would be published. It was called Space Station Seventh Grade.

Crazy, huh? I write four big-deal, important, grownup books; and nobody wants them. And then I write a book about a kid and some chicken bones, and the dream that I’ve had since I was sixteen comes true.

And today? Today, I have as many books out about kids as I have kids. Could it be that chicken bones and girlfriends and football and pimples and bellybutton lint and all that other kid stuff—could it be that all that is important too?

I still don’t know which one of those sleeping angels snatched my fried chicken. Was it you, Kevin? Or you, Barbara? Or Jeffrey or Molly or Sean or Ben? Whoever, I have just one thing to say to you:

Thank you.