John Coy

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John Richard Coy
Publicity photo of John Richard Coy.
Born John Richard Coy
(1958-08-09) August 9, 1958 (age 57)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Occupation children's author
Nationality American
Period 1996-present
Genre sports fiction

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.


Early life[edit]

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, John Richard 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.

John's popular 4 for 4 series offers sports readers four novels about four friends engaged in four sports. Middle grade readers will enjoy Top of the Order',' which is all about baseball; Eyes on the Goal, which tells an exciting soccer story; Love of the Game,', in which the four friends hope to make the football team; Take Your Best Shot, a hoops story.

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.


Published works[edit]

  • 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
  • For Extreme Sports-Crazy Boys Only (2015)
  • Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game (2016), picture book, illustrated by Randy DuBurke
  • Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land (2016), photographs by Wing Young Huie

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 1997 Marion Vannett Ridgway Memorial Award [1] for first book, Night Driving
  • 2003 Reading Rainbow book [2], Two Old Potatoes and Me
  • 2004 Charlotte Zolotow Honor book [3] for Two Old Potatoes and Me
  • 2006 ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers [4] fiction category, Crackback
  • 2007 Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy Young Adult Choices for 2007 [5] for Crackback
  • 2009 Booklist's Top 10 Sports Books for Boxout

External links[edit]