Spinelli signing one of his books
1 February 1941 |
Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA
|Genres||Children's and young-adult novels|
|Notable award(s)||Newbery Medal
Jerry Spinelli was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania and currently resides in Phoenixville, PA. At the age of sixteen, his love of sports inspired him to compose a poem about a recent football victory, which his father published in the local newspaper without his knowledge. It was at this time he realized that he would not become a major league football player, so he decided to become a writer instead.
At Gettysburg College, Spinelli spent his time writing short stories and was the editor of the college literary magazine. After graduation, he became a writer and editor for a department store magazine. The next two decades, he spent his time working "normal jobs" during the day so that he had the energy to write fiction in his free time. He found himself writing during lunch breaks, on weekends, and after dinner.
His first few novels were written for adults and were all rejected. His fifth novel was also intended for adults but became his first children's book. This work, Space Station Seventh Grade, was published in 1982.
Spinelli graduated from Gettysburg College in 1963 and acquired his MA from Johns Hopkins University in 1964. In 1977, he married Eileen Mesi, another children's writer. Since about 1980, as Eileen Spinelli, she has collaborated with illustrators to create dozens of picture books. They have six children and 21 grandchildren.
||This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (November 2010)|
|Space Station Seventh Grade||1982|
|Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?||1984|
|Jason and Marceline||1986|
|Night of the Whale||1988|
|Maniac Magee||1990 – Newbery Award|
|The Bathwater Gang||1990|
|Hallie Jefferys Life||1991|
|Fourth Grade Rats||1991|
|Report to the Principal’s Office||1991|
|There's a Girl in My Hammerlock||1991|
|Do the Funky Pickle||1992|
|Who Ran My Underwear Up the Flagpole?||1992|
|Crash (Spinelli novel)||1996|
|The Library Card||1997|
|Wringer||1997 – Newbery honor book|||
|Blue Ribbon Blues: A Tooter Tale||1998|
|Knots in My Yo-Yo String||1998|
|Milkweed: A Novel||2003|
|My Daddy and Me||2006|
|Smiles to Go||2008|
|Jake and Lily||2012||
George Plimpton related an anecdote about Spinelli's having bought at auction an evening with the Plimptons, in New York City, during which George Plimpton introduced Spinelli to writers and editors dining at Elaine's, and two months after which Spinelli wrote Plimpton to announce the publication of Spinelli's first book (a children's book) by Houghton Mifflin.