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Jerry Spinelli


Graduated in 1963 from Gettysburg College and completed his MA in 1964


Served in the United States Navy Reserve between 1966 and 1972


1st February, 1941 at Norristown


Best known for his specialized novels intended towards readers in their early adolescence


The noted novelist and children’s author Jerry Spinelli, born on the 1st February, 1941 at Norristown in Pennsylvania, United States, is best known for his specialized novels intended towards readers in their early adolescence. His well-known books include his Space Station Seventh Grade (1982), the 1991 Newbery Medal winning Maniac Magee, the Newbery Honour-winning 1998 novel Wringer, the 2000 novel Stargirl and the the 2003 historical fiction novel Milkweed.

At the age of 16, Spinelli decided to be a writer, when his football team at high school conquered a tough opponent in a big game, young Jerry Spinelli composed a poem recognizing this achievement. To the surprise of Jerry Spinelli the poem was published the following day in the local newspaper. Spinelli started his professional writing career by attempting books for adults and not for children. However, these books were rejected by publishers and remained unpublished. Jerry Spinelli’s imagination flew one night when one of his six children ate fried chicken that was being saved for the following day. Spinelli described this event, and the description eventually turned in to the story line for his first published novel entitled Space Station Seventh Grade. Spinelli originally wanted it to be an adult novel but adult publishers rejected it since the central character was a 13 year old child and finally it became a famous children’s book.

Jerry’s Quotes

I was visiting a school in Fargo, North Dakota. We were having a Q-and-A session when a kid gets up, and I point to him, and he says, ‘Do you think being a kid helped you to become a writer?’ I don’t think I have ever been asked a better question.
My heart still remembers the cream-and-green, whitewall-tire Roadmaster bicycle in the kitchen one Christmas morning—love leaning on a kickstand.

The kids who leave their favorite authors behind do not in fact leave us utterly abandoned, but in due time drive children of their own to the bookstore and the post office.

I have to tell you I love living in a world without clocks. The shackles are gone. I’m a puppy unleashed in a meadow of time.

It’s a kid’s job to be a kid. Lightning-bug battler, cedar-chest smeller, puppy holder, railroad-car counter, tin-can stomper, dandelion blower, snowballs mover, paper-bag popper, wishbone puller, mixing-bowl licker. Such is the kid’s résumé—the original multitasker.

A child’s bedroom is as much a window to the universe as a scientist’s lab or a philosopher’s study.

She was illusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.

Angels and crows passed each other, one leaving, the other coming.



Space Station Seventh Grade




Knots in My Yo-Yo String






Maniac Magee

Spinelli’s 1984 novel “Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush? ” describes characters Megin & Greg who are inspired by his real life children Molly & Jeffrey. Next he created children’s books Jason and Marceline published in 1986 which is the sequel to Space Station Seventh Grade. In 1988, Spinelli wrote Dump Days. In 1990 the young adult author wrote Maniac Magee which won the Newbery Medal in the subsequent year. The novel has been developed in to a tv movie. His other major works in 1991 were There’s a Girl in My Hammerlock, Report to the Principal’s Office & Fourth Grade Rats. In 1992, Spinelli worked on The Bathwater Gang Gets Down to Business, Who Ran My Underwear Up the Flagpole? & Do the Funky Pickle. Spinelli’s novel Stargirl has also been developed into a movie due for release in 2009. He has also published his autobiography by the title Knots in My Yo-Yo String in 1998. His 2007 novel Eggs outlines a relationship that develops between two children out of loneliness. Spinelli published Love, Stargirl the sequel to his previous bestseller by the name Stargirl in 2007 . This novel was published by Knopf Books. His most recent novel is Smiles to Go published in 2008.

Jerry Spinelli graduated in 1963 from Gettysburg College and completed his MA in 1964 from Johns Hopkins University. Spinelli married Eileen Mesi in 1977 and together they have six children. Jerry served in the United States Navy Reserve between 1966 and 1972.

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