Publicity photo of John Coy.
|Born||John Richard Coy
August 9, 1958
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
John Richard Coy (born August 9, 1958) is an American children's book author. He is best known for his books on basketball, Strong to the Hoop, Around the World, and Box Out, as well as Night Driving and his coming-of-age novel about sports and decisions, Crackback.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, John Coy was the oldest of four children. His parents were both educators: Coy's father taught college history and his mother taught high school English. Graduating from Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota, he later received his master of arts degree in children and creativity from St. Mary's University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Coy worked at a variety of jobs—dishwasher, tour guide, mattress maker—before deciding on a career as a writer.
His first picture book, Night Driving, was inspired by cross-country driving trips on which his father took his family of six when the author was young. John, the oldest, usually sat in front with his father, talking during the wee hours of the night, learning more about his dad than he did when the family was at home.
John's book Strong to the Hoop involved him in the National Basketball Association's Read to Achieve program. Strong to the Hoop was translated into Spanish as Directo al Aro four years later. The NBA asked that John write a book about basketball as it is played in countries all over the world. That book became Around the World.
Working with boys during school visits, talking to them, hearing the reasons they do and do not read, John has written books he would have liked reading as a teen. Crackback is set within the realities of high school football and Box Out perceptively follows a sophomore as he is called up to play varsity basketball, recognizing the myriad of decisions teens face every day.
Recently John began a series of books for middle grade readers. The first one, Top of the Order, was published in 2009 and it is all about baseball. The second book, focused on soccer, is called Eyes on the Goal. The third book is Love of the Game, in which the four friends hope to make the football team.
Strong to the Hoop, Night Driving, and Vroomaloom Zoom have been produced as children's theater throughout the United States.
John has worked as a librettist with the Minnesota Orchestra, an editor for the Youth Computer Center at the Science Museum of Minnesota, and a tour guide for the Minnesota Historical Society. He has also worked extensively with developmentally disabled adults and children.
- Night Driving (1994), illustrated by Peter McCarty, picture book
- Strong to the Hoop (1996), illustrated by Leslie Jean-Bart, picture book
- Vroomaloom Zoom (2000), illustrated by Joe Cepeda, picture book
- Directo al Aro (2002), ilustrado por Leslie Jean-Bart, traducido por Enrique del Risco, picture book
- Two Old Potatoes and Me (2003), illustrated by Carolyn Fisher, picture book
- Around the World (2005), illustrated by Antonio Reonegro and Tom Lynch, book
- Crackback (2009), novel
- Box Out (2009), novel
- Top of the Order (2009), novel, Book 1 of the 4 for 4 series
- Eyes on the Goal (2010), novel, Book 2 of the 4 for 4 series
- Love of the Game (2011), novel, Book 3 of the 4 for 4 series
- Take Your Best Shot (2012), novel, Book 4 of the 4 for 4 series
Awards and honors
- 1997 Marion Vannett Ridgway Memorial Award  for first book, Night Driving
- 2003 Reading Rainbow book , Two Old Potatoes and Me
- 2004 Charlotte Zolotow Honor book  for Two Old Potatoes and Me
- 2006 ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers  fiction category, Crackback
- 2007 Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy Young Adult Choices for 2007  for Crackback
- 2009 Booklist's Top 10 Sports Books for Boxout
- John Coy's Home Page
- NBA Read to Achieve program
- Science Museum of Minnesota John Coy and Libby Larsen
- Feiwel and Friends publisher of Top of the Order
- Scholastic publisher of Crackback, Box Out
- Lee & Low interview
- Children's Literature Network biography and complete booklist
- 2002 National Public Radio webcast, 12 June 2003
- 2007 Minnesota Public Radio webcast, with author David LaRochelle, 26 December 2007
- 2008 Atheists Talk AM950 KTNF Minnesota Atheists With Grant Steves, 17 August 2008
- 2010 Minnesota Public Radio webcast, with Marianne Combs, 23 April 2010
- 2010 Children's Literature Network interview, 10 May 2010