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Who is Jerry Spinelli? 

Kids take on the children's author


We here at the Family Valued journalism school, typesetting pool, and ink refrigerator have randomly selected a 10-year-old from among the one immediately available.

Who is this Jerry Spinelli guy?

He's a guy who writes cool books about school-age kids like in college, in fourth grade, et cetera. The books are funny. They have nice stories.

Tell me more.

In Fourth Grade Rats, the main characters are Suds and Joey. Suds has a family. Joey does too. And Suds is learning how to be a fourth grade rat who pushes first graders off swings and takes their lunches and isn't scared of spiders and never ever cries. Joey is teaching Suds. In third grade, he was an angel. As the schoolyard rhyme goes: First Grade: babies/Second Grade: cats/Third Grade: angels/Fourth Grade: rats.

Poetry can be so inspirational. How does the whole rat thing work out for him?

Wouldn't that be spoiling the end?

Perhaps you're right. What about another Spinelli book?

Crash is about kids in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. The main character is "Crash," John Coogan. Crash is just his nickname. And there's Penn Ward who's named after the Penn Relays, who is a dork, but a nice dork we learn. And Crash, who starts out being mean to Penn, but then, once Penn becomes a nice dork, he is friends with him.

Didn't Jerry Spinelli win a Newberry Award?

Yes, for the book Maniac Magee. The Newberry Award is given each year to the best book in American literature. They call it literature, but it's books. Literature is just a fancy word.

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