Spinelli signing one of his books
1 February 1941 |
Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA
|Genre||Children's and young-adult novels|
|Notable awards||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 with his knowledge. It was at this time he realized that he would not become a major league baseball shortstop, so he decided to become a historian .
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.
Most of Spinelli's chapter books are geared towards upper elementary and middle school readers. He has written 30 books for young readers, which have earned him many awards and thousands of fans. His book, Maniac Magee, won the Newbery Medal in 1991. Spinelli's writing is often praised for its accurate and humorous depiction of adolescent life. Additionally, he has a special talent for combining humor with sensitivity. Although Spinelli writes books that involve all sorts of characters and cover a variety of themes, some recurring themes in his novels are bullying, nonconformity, diversity, and self-acceptance. Even now in his 70s, Spinelli continues to awe readers with his keen ability to remember what it is like to be a kid.
||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|
|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|
|Third Grade Angels||2012|
|Mama Seeton's Whistle||2015|
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.
- "Biography, Pictures, Videos, & Quotes". JerrySpinelli.net. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "He's a Man of Many Words". The Washington Post. June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "My Gen Club author Q&A: Jerry Spinelli". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 12, 2006. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "A video interview with Jerry Spinelli". WETA Washington, D.C. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
- "1998 Newbery Medal and Honor Books". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA). Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- Plimpton, George (May 10, 2014). The Moth Hour. NPR.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Jerry Spinelli|
- Official website
- Jerry Spinelli at Library of Congress Authorities, with 31 catalog records
- Eileen Spinelli at Library of Congress Authorities, with 90 catalog records (every one names an illustrator)