Jerry Spinelli was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania and wanted to be a cowboy until he was ten; then he wanted to be a baseball player until he found out he couldn't hit a curve ball. When he was 16 he wrote a poem about a football game that was published in the local paper, and he decided to become a writer. It would be twenty-five years before he would publish his first book.

After graduating Gettysburg College, Jerry became an editor for an engineering magazine. For years, during his lunch hour, he wrote books for adults. He finished five adult novels. Nobody wanted them. A publisher made him an offer on the fifth - but wanted to market it as a children's book. Hence, Maniac Magee, which made Spinelli realize he liked writing for kids, and which ended up winning the 1991 Newbery.

About the word "writer," he says, "I find that I hesitate to put that label on myself, to define myself by what I do for a living. After all, I also pick berries and touch ponies and skim flat stones over water and marvel at the stars and breathe deeply and grin from ear to ear and save the best part for last. I've always done these things. Which is to say, I never had to become anything. Or anyone. I always, already, was. Call me a berry-picking, pony-touching star-marveler."

His wife is Eileen Spinelli, also a children's author. They have seven kids. Everything Jerry Spinelli writes is an absolute delight.


The Bathwater Gang

Blue Ribbon Blues

Book Cooks


Do the Funky Pickle

Dump Days

Fourth Grade Rats

In My Own Words (out of print)

It's Fine To Be Nine

It's Great To Be Eight

Jason and Marceline

Knots in My Yo-Yo String : The Autobiography of a Kid

The Library Card

Maniac Magee

Night of the Whale (out of print)

Picklemania (out of print)

Report to the Principal's Office

Space Station Seventh Grade


There's a Girl In My Hammerlock

Tooter Pepperday

Who Put That Hair In My Toothbrush?

Who Ran My Underwear Up the Flagpole? (out of print)


thanks to :
and as always

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.