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Jack Gantos - Author

About the Author

Jack Gantos was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. He remembers a lot of "pass the chalk" in Mrs. Neiderheizer's first grade. He was in the Bluebird reading group, which he later found out was for the slow readers. To this day he'd rather be called a Bluebird than a slow reader. His favorite game at that time was pretending that his clothes were on fire and rolling down a hill to save himself.

When he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British school, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing. Students were friendly but fiercely competitive, and the teachers made learning a lot of fun. By fifth grade, he had managed to learn 90 percent of what he knows to this very day.

When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. His greatest wish in life is to replace trailer parks, which he thinks will eliminate most of the targets for tornadoes and educate an entire generation of great kids who now go to schools that are underfunded and substandard.

The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided that he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories.

 

Books by Jack Gantos

Writing Radar Using Your Journal to Snoop out and Craft Great Stories

Writing Radar Using Your Journal to Snoop out and Craft Great Stories

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/06/2019

From Norvelt to Nowhere

From Norvelt to Nowhere

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/12/2015

This town is haunted by more than just ghosts . . . When Jack dresses up as a notorious local murderer for Halloween, he thinks he's found the perfect costume to scare away evil spirits. But when the real murderer returns and another old lady dies, he starts to worry that he might not be showing the best judgment. Together with Miss Volker, the last remaining original Norvelter, Jack sets out on a road trip through the dark side of America's history to track down the killer once and for all. Will they save Norvelt? Or are they going nowhere? From Norvelt to Nowhere is Jack Gantos's hilarious follow-up to Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and shortlisted for the 2012 Guardian Children's Prize.

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/01/2015

Joey Pigza is back in his fifth hilarious adventure, with illustrations by David Tazzyman.

Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

Author: Jack Gantos Format: eBook Release Date: 28/10/2014

The fifth and final book in the groundbreaking Joey Pigza series brings the beloved chronicle of thiswired, wacky, and wonderfulboy to a crescendo of chaos and craziness, as everything goes topsy-turvy for Joey just as he starts to get his feet on the ground. With his dad MIA in the wake of appearance-altering plastic surgery, Joeymust giveup schoolto look after his new baby brother and fill in for his mom, whohospitalizes herself to deal with a bad case of postpartum blues.As his challenges mount, Joey discoversa key that could unlock the secrets to his father's whereabouts, a mystery that must be solved beforeJoeycan evenhope that his broken family might somehow come back togetherif only it doesn't pull him apart first.

Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key

Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2014

Joey is a good kid, maybe even a great kid, but his teachers never know what he's going to do next. He sharpens his finger in the pencil-sharpener and swallows his house key. He can't sit still for more than a minute - Joey is buzzing! Told from Joey's own unique viewpoint by acclaimed American author Jack Gantos, this is an exceptionally funny and touching story about a boy with severe attention deficit disorder (ADD).

I Am Not Joey Pigza

I Am Not Joey Pigza

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2014

Everything changes for Joey when his crazy, long-lost dad returns home after a lucky lottery win. Now they're rich, Carter Pigza truly believes that his family can start a whole new life and that means embarking on a brand new career running a busy diner - and changing their family name from Pigza to Heinz. Can Joey handle becoming Freddy? And how does he really feel about the fact that he's going to become a big brother?

Joey Pigza Loses Control

Joey Pigza Loses Control

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2014

Joey's dad is well and truly wired! After months of nagging, Joey Pigza is finally allowed to spend the summer holidays with his dad. But he soon finds out why Mom was so worried. If people think Joey has problems, they should meet his dad! Joey's dad insists he can cope without medication and that Joey can too. Joey so wants to believe his dad is right - but Joey remembers just how manic he felt before he got help. Can Joey live life his dad's way - or will the chaos take over?

What Would Joey Pigza Do?

What Would Joey Pigza Do?

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2014

'Joey Pigza, you need a life!' Grandma wants Joey to find a friend, stop running around after his Nutty parents, and start looking after himself. But Joey's got other plans - he's going to be Mr Helpful. Can Joey the secret superhero succeed in his mission to keep everybody Smiling?

From Norvelt to Nowhere

From Norvelt to Nowhere

Author: Jack Gantos Format: eBook Release Date: 24/09/2013

Jack Gantos' rocket-paced follow-up to the Newbery Medal-winning novel Dead End in Norvelt opens in the 1960s, deep in the shadow of the Cold War and the Cuban missile crisis. But instead of Russian warheads, other kinds of trouble are raining down on young Jack Gantos and his utopian town of Norvelt in western Pennsylvania. After an explosion, a new crime by an old murderer, and the sad passing of the town's founder, twelve-year-old Jack will soon find himself launched on a mission that takes him hundreds of miles away, escorting his slightly mental elderly mentor, Miss Volker, on her relentless pursuit of the oddest of outlaws. But as their trip turns south in more ways than one, it's increasingly clear that the farther from home they travel, the more off-the-wall Jack and Miss Volker's adventure becomes. From Norvelt to Nowhere is a raucous road novel about roots and revenge, a last chance at love, and the power of a remarkable friendship.A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book of 2013

Desire Lines

Desire Lines

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/10/2012

Sixteen-year-old Walker has accidentally discvered that two female classmates are lovers. When a rabid evangelical preacher arrives in their town, a witch-hunt is launched against gay students and Walker, for some reason, is the prime target. Walker knows the quickest way to divert the attention would be to give away the girls' secret - but should he sacrifice their peace of mind for his? A powerful, unusual and thought-provoking read from an award-winning author.

Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/03/2012

Jack's summer has hit a dead end . . . After being 'grounded for life', Jack is facing a summer of doing nothing. But who's got time to die of boredom when there are so many more interesting ways to die in this town? He might crash in his dad's homemade plane, or catch the disease that makes you dance yourself to death, or fall foul of the motorcycle gang that wants to burn the town to the ground. Old people seem to be dying faster than Miss Volker can write their obituaries, and Jack is starting to worry that it might not just be the rats that are eating the rat poison . . . Dead End in Norvelt is Jack Gantos's hilarious blend of the entirely true and the wildly fictional, from one of the most darkly amusing imaginations writing today.

Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

Author: Jack Gantos Format: eBook Release Date: 13/09/2011

Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year's best contribution to children's literature and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction!Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "e;grounded for life"e; by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack's way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore-typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launched on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.

Guys Read: The Bloody Souvenir

Guys Read: The Bloody Souvenir

Author: Jack Gantos Format: eBook Release Date: 22/09/2010

It's here: Volume One of the official Guys Read Library. Jon Scieszka's Guys Read initiative was founded on a simple premise: that young guys enjoy reading most when they have reading they can enjoy. And out of this comes a series that aims to give them just that. Ten books, arranged by theme, featuring the best of the best where writing for kids is concerned. Each book is a collection of original short stories, but these aren't your typical anthologieseach book is edgy, inventive, visual, and one-of-a-kind, featuring a different theme for guys to get excited about. Funny Business is based around the theme ofwhat elsehumor, and if you're familiar with Jon and Guys Read, you already know what you're in store for: ten hilarious stories from some of the funniest writers around. Before you're through, you'll meet a teenage mummy; a kid desperate to take a dip in the world's largest pool of chocolate milk; a homicidal turkey; parents who hand over their son's room to a biker; the only kid in his middle school who hasn't turned into a vampire, wizard, or superhero; and more. And the contributor list includes bestselling author, award winners, and fresh new talent alike: Mac Barnett, Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate DiCamillo (writing with Jon Scieszka), Paul Feig, Jack Gantos, Jeff Kinney, David Lubar, Adam Rex, and David Yoo.Guys Read is all about turning young readers into lifelong onesand with this book, and each subsequent installment in the series, we aim to leave no guy unturned.

The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/04/2009

'I expect you might think the story I am about to tell you is untrue or perversely gothic in some unhealthy way . . .' Everyone loves their mother. but what happens when you love her so much you can't bear to let her go - ever? That's the sign of the Love Curse. And Ivy's got it . . . bad.

What Would Joey Do?

What Would Joey Do?

Author: Jack Gantos Format: eBook Release Date: 17/10/2006

Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigzas question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom hes never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better. But Joeys ailing, tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his unpredictable parents. Knowing that she is fading fast, she needs Joey to hurry up and show that he can break the Pigza family mold by making a friend in the outside world. The only potential candidate, however, is Olivia LappJoeys blind home schooling partner, who brags that she is blind as a brat and gets meaner to Joey the more desperate he gets for her friendshipeven if Joey senses theres more to her than meets the eye.In this dazzling conclusion to the Joey Pigza trilogy, Jack Gantoss acclaimed hyperactive hero is discovering that settling down isnt good for anything if he cant find a way to stop the people he cares about from winding him up all over again.

Joey Pigza Loses Control

Joey Pigza Loses Control

Author: Jack Gantos Format: eBook Release Date: 17/10/2006

Joey Pigza really wants his six-week visit with his dad to count, to show him he's not as wired as he used to be, to show his dad how much he loves him. But Carter Pigza's not an easy guy to love. He's eager to make it up to Joey for past wrongs and to show him how to be a winner, to take control of his life. With his coaching, Joey's even learned how to pitch a baseball, and he's good at it. The trouble is, Joey's dad thinks taking control means giving up the things that keep Joey safe. And if he wants to please his dad, he's going to have to play by his rules, even when the rules don't make sense.

Hole in My Life

Hole in My Life

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/01/2005

Jack Gantos, bestselling author of the Joey Pigza books, had a peripatetic childhood around the US and the Caribbean. At 18 years old, he was doing a dead-end job on a Caribbean island, looking for adventure and a way to fund himself through university. When he was offered $10,000 to sail a boatload of drugs to New York, he jumped at it. It resulted in a year in a federal prison - and a lot of thinking time. In prison, Jack discovered the library where he was able to indulge his passion for literature and continue to write the journal he'd started in childhood. Denied a diary of his own by prison regulations, he wrote his notes in a tiny hand between the lines of a Russian novel. Becoming ever more determined to get to university, Jack discovered that he didn't have to let one bad choice map out the course of the rest of his life. There are such things as second chances. Paroled after a year in order to go directly to college to study writing, Jack had his first children's book published within two years of being released.

Joey Pigza Loses Control

Joey Pigza Loses Control

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/06/2001

Joey's dad is well and truly wired! After months of nagging, Joey Pigza is finally allowed to spend the summer holidays with his dad. But he soon finds out why Mom was so worried. If people think Joey has problems, they should meet his dad! Joey's dad insists he can cope without medication and that Joey can too. Joey so wants to believe his dad is right - but Joey remembers just how manic he felt before he got help. Can Joey live life his dad's way - or will the chaos take over?

Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key

Joey Pigza Swallowed The Key

Author: Jack Gantos Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2000

Joey is a good kid, maybe even a great kid, but his teachers never know what he's going to do next. He sharpens his finger in the pencil-sharpener and swallows his house key. He can't sit still for more than a minute - Joey is buzzing! Told from Joey's own unique viewpoint by acclaimed American author Jack Gantos, this is an exceptionally funny and touching story about a boy with severe attention deficit disorder (ADD).

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