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-mirror to Jerry himself "I Can Be Anything!" Born: February 1, 1941
Grew up in Norristown, PA
Education: Gettysburg College - Undergraduate
Johns Hopkins University - Graduate Studies
Married: Eileen Spinelli, also a writer
Has six children and twenty-one grandchildren
Wrote his autobiography Major Works Awards Maniac Magee- 1991 Newbery Medal
-1990 Boston Globe-Horn Book
-1993 Parents' Choice
-1993 Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award Has published 30 books
Primarily writes picture books, short stories and young adult literature
Published his first book,
Space Station Seventh Grade
Maniac Magee - 1990
Wringer - 1997
Loser- 2002 Wringer- 1997 Newbery Honor Criticism and Praise A Picture Book by Jerry Spinelli "Some critics disapproved of the crude humor in the novel, but judged that Spinelli accurately represents the adolescent milieu. " "Voice of Youth Advocates contributor James J. McPeak called the story "first-rate," and Twichell, writing in Horn Book, deemed Space Station Seventh Grade a 'truly funny book.'" "a master of those embarrassing, gloppy, painful and suddenly wonderful things that happen on the razor's edge between childhood and full-fledged adolescence."
Washington Post Book World Spinelli is additionally recognized for creating novels in which he balances substantial moral issues with a simple, light-hearted prose style. "creates realistic fiction with humorous dialogue and situations, but his stories go beyond humor: Spinelli's characters stumble and blunder through their lives until they emerge from the fog of adolescence guided by an optimistic light that readies them for their next challenge."
-St. James Guide to Young-Adult Writers "Although some critics felt that Spinelli dilutes his message about the absurdity of racism by presenting Maniac Magee as a fable, others cited the author's focus on such an incident as noteworthy." "Alison Teal, in her New York Times Book Review appraisal, judged that "Spinelli grapples … with a racial tension rarely addressed in fiction for children in the middle grades," and Washington Post Book World contributor Claudia Logan lauded Spinelli's "colorful writing and originality." In a School Library Journal review of Wringer, Tim Rausch cited the novel for "Humor, suspense, a bird with a personality, and a moral dilemma familiar to everyone," characters who are "memorable, convincing, and both endearing and villainous," and a "riveting plot." Suzanne Manczuk, writing in Voice of Youth Advocates, commented that "Spinelli has given us mythic heroes before, but none more human or vulnerable than Palmer." New York Times Book Review critic Benjamin Cheever also had high praise for Wringer, describing the novel as "both less antic and more deeply felt" than Maniac Magee, and adding that Spinelli presents Palmer's moral dilemma "with great care and sensitivity." Some reviewers found the novel one-dimensional and heavy-handed; as Ilene Cooper noted in Booklist, Spinelli's protagonist is so unbelievable that "readers may feel more sympathy for the bourgeois teens than the earnest, kind, magic Stargirl." "As always respectful of his audience," wrote a reviewer for Publishers Weekly, "Spinelli poses searching questions about loyalty to one's friends and oneself and leaves readers to form their own answers." Peter D. Sieruta noted in a Horn Book review that through the novel's "present-tense, omniscient narrative," readers are introduced to another one of "Spinelli's larger-than-life protagonists," and praised the novel as "a wonderful character study." In School Library Journal Edward Sullivan called Donald "a flawed but tough kid with an unshakable optimism that readers will find endearing." Kirkus reviewer dubbed Loser "a masterful character portrait; here's one loser who will win plenty of hearts." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called this 1998 memoir a "montage of sharply focused memories," and concluded that as "Spinelli effortlessly spins the story of an ordinary Pennsylvania boy, he also documents the evolution of an exceptional author."