Maniac Magee Literature Guide

This Newbery Medal winner tells the mythical tale of a legendary hero: 12 year old Jeffrey Magee – known as Maniac Magee. An orphan with no place to call home, Maniac Magee enters the town of Two Mills, a town sharply divided by race. Magee's athletic skills, combined with his nonjudgmental way, lead the people of Two Mills to overcome segregation, racial profiling, and ignorance.
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Books by Jerry Spinelli

The Bathwater Gang
Grade Levels: Intermediate
Bertie's all-girl gang becomes involved in a harmless but heartfelt war with an all-boy gang, until Bertie's grandmother steps in with a perfect solution.

The Bathwater Gang Gets Down to Business
Grade Levels: Intermediate
When the Bathwater Gang fails to make money with its pet-cleaning business, Bertie comes up with a slightly dishonest idea to ensure success.

Blue Ribbon Blues: A Tooter Tale
Grade Levels: Intermediate
When Tooter Pepperday and her family move to her aunt's farm, she decides to impress everyone and win a blue ribbon at the county fair.

Grade Levels: Middle
Crash is a seventh-grade football hero, macho to the bone, who revels in his buddyhood with his neighbor Mike, the companionship of his beloved grandfather, and the fresh possibilities suggested by a pretty new girl in his class.

Do the Funky Pickle
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
Eddie's struggle to win the affections of Sunny is complicated by a dance called the Funky Pickle and an orange-haired girl called Angelpuss.

Dump Days
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
On the first morning of the first day of their summer vacation, J. D. Kidd and his best friend resolve to have an absolutely perfect day before the summer ends.

Fourth Grade Rats
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
Suds learns that his best friend is wrong. You don't have to be a tough guy, a "rat," to be a grown-up fourth grader.

Jason and Marceline
Grade Levels: Middle
In this sequel to Space Station Seventh Grade, Jason Herkimer describes his love for Marceline McCallister.

Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
The Newbery Medalist presents a humorous account of his childhood and youth in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

The Library Card
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
Four poignant and often funny tales of the life-changing effect a little blue library card has on the four young people who discover it.

Night of the Whale
Grade Levels: Middle, Secondary
Six rowdy high school seniors staying at a beach house for the summer are determined to devote themselves to partying until the night they encounter a group of beached whales.

Space Station Seventh Grade
Grade Levels: Middle
Seventh-grader Jason narrates the events of his year, from school, hair, and pimples, to mothers, little brothers, and a girl.

Grade Levels: Middle
In a moving and highly engaging tale about the vagaries of adolescent peer pressure, Jerry Spinelli tells the story of Stargirl, a high school student who is startlingly different from everyone else.

There's a Girl in my Hammerlock
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
Thirteen-year-old Maisie joins her school's formerly all-male wrestling team and tries to last through the season, despite opposition from other students, her best friend, and her own teammates.

Tooter Pepperday
Grade Levels: Intermediate
Hating to leave her familiar surroundings, Tooter resorts to sabotage when her family moves from their suburban home to Aunt Sally's farm.

Who Put that Hair in My Toothbrush?
Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
The sibling rivalry between twelve-year-old Megin and her older brother Greg intensifies after she ruins his science project and he retaliates by throwing her favorite hockey stick into the pond.

Grade Levels: Intermediate, Middle
Nine-year-old Palmer faces his future as a wringer - that is, one of the ten-year-old boys who strangle the pigeons wounded during the town's annual pigeon shoot. Palmer does not want to kill pigeons; in fact, by fate or happenstance, he has befriended one, a bonding that must be concealed from his bullying 'friends.'
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