April 25, 1991 |
Jerry Spinelli did not envision winning the John Newbery Medal for children's literature as he penned Maniac Magee on his lunch hours at Chilton Publishing Co. "It's not the kind of thing you tend to be emboldened enough to think about winning," Spinelli said. "Well, I may have fantasized about it once or twice in the shower. " Spinelli had written other books while a senior editor at Chilton - Space Station Seventh Grade, Dump Days and Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush - with a less prestigious but more practical goal than winning a Newbery: He wanted to make a living as a writer.
October 11, 1990 |
The first three paragraphs emerged about midnight. The voice erupting from those first words compelled Phoenixville author Jerry Spinelli to write Maniac Magee, a novel about a homeless boy who fosters brotherhood in a racially torn town. Spinelli's sneaker-clad hero has won the author the 1990 Boston Globe-Horn Award for excellence in young-adult fiction. The engraved silver bowl from an Oct. 1 fete in Sturbridge, Mass., graces a wooden table in Spinelli's home, with furnishings he describes as "early garage sale.
March 6, 2002 |
When Ann Scull moved to North Carolina in 1960, she was shocked to discover that drinking fountains were separated by race and buses seated white passengers in the front and black passengers in the rear. Fran O'Brien grew up in the 1930s and '40s on 116th Street in Manhattan, where she and her family walked every week into the heart of Harlem to buy food at a market. To a fifth grader in Medford, a time before the civil rights movement may seem impossibly remote, a world of black-and-white images that exists only in textbooks.
April 23, 1997 |
Picture books for toddlers. Software for preschoolers. Learning-to-read books for first graders. Fiction for fourth graders, multimedia encyclopedias for sixth graders, biographies for eighth graders. Recommendations of the best in children's books and software will be offered by Free Library experts beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday as part of Children's Book Day at the main library on Logan Square. Tickets are $15 for the 9 a.m.-to-3 p.m. event, and that includes registration, coffee and a box lunch.
January 16, 1991 |
Phoenixville's Jerry Spinelli was named winner of the 1991 Newbery Medal Monday in Chicago for his book Maniac Magee. The award, given by the American Library Association, is considered the Pulitzer Prize for children's literature in America. David Macaulay, famed for his book The Way Things Work, was given the association's 1991 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in the children's picture book Black and White. The Newbery honor book was The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, while two Caldecott honor books were named - Puss in Boots, illustrated by Fred Marcellino, and More, More, More Said the Baby, words and pictures by Vera B. Williams.
February 4, 1991 |
The phone rings at Jerry Spinelli's Phoenixville home for the seventh time, maybe the eighth, in about an hour. "Well, thank you," Spinelli's wife, Eileen, can be heard saying in the next room. "Yes, we are excited. " Spinelli, 50 and every inch the rumpled, middle-aged writer, seems embarrassed by yet another intrusion. He shrugs almost apologetically, then says, "It has been like this ever since the award was announced. " It was Jan. 14, with the nation on the cusp of war, that the mild-mannered, self-effacing Spinelli got the phone call that changed his life.
November 28, 1991 |
Once upon a time in a not-so-far-off land called Haverford, there was an elementary school called Coopertown. Coopertown was a nice little school, with teachers and classrooms and a nice new library that used to be a gym. Coopertown children were smart and hard-working and went by the name of Highlanders because of their location at Coopertown Road and Highland Lane. Many Highlanders loved to read. So one day they invited some grown-ups to their Coopertown castle for a book fair.
April 2, 1992 |
Jim Trelease, best-selling author of The New Read-Aloud Handbook, told a Phoenixville crowd Tuesday night that research shows reading aloud to children helps them perform better in school. But that is not why he read to his two children, now ages 23 and 27. "The only reason . . . was because my father read to me. And it made me feel good," he told 500 people at the Phoenixville Area Senior High School. "I didn't want my children cheated out of that good feeling. " Trelease told parents, teachers and administrators that listening to books read aloud both in school and at home helps children improve their performance in school, become lifelong readers, bond with their parents and develop what Trelease calls a higher "HQ" or heart quotient: learning lessons of love, justice, courage and compassion that literature offers.
March 19, 1992 |
Award-winning children's novelist Jerry Spinelli said he learned how to write after the first minute of his first day in the first grade. "I was at a desk in the front row, and sitting to my right is the foxiest girl I'd ever seen," Spinelli told 150 eighth graders on Author Day at Pitman Middle School last week. "She had pigtails, she was missing two front teeth - what else could a first-grade guy ask for? "I thought to myself, 'I've got to meet this chick!' " the author, who was born in Norristown, Pa., told the laughing children.
May 4, 2008 |
Don't tell Jerry Spinelli you can't go home again. The popular and prolific author of more than 20 young adult novels regularly makes the trip across the Schuylkill to Norristown, the working-class community where he was born and raised. Spinelli calls these junkets "little pilgrimages back into my memories. " They help inspire books like Maniac Magee, the Newbery Award-winning saga of an orphan in a blue-collar river town. "Jerry is the William Faulkner of Norristown," says Roger Adelman, a prominent Washington attorney who has been friends with Spinelli since they were 6. "He has used Norristown as the basis for many of his books in the same way Faulkner used Yoknapatawpha County.