Hi, guys, this is the Great and Powerful CARLMAN. If you remember, a few weeks ago the feuding between Darth Bill and Master Zack got so bad that one of our readers commented on it and I had to COMMAND the two guys to read one book together. It's Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. This story is about someone who tries to get two warring parts of town to come together. Sounded like a good thing for this Sith and Jedi to read. It was one the first books I read when I started working for the library and I never forgot its tremendous emotional punch. This one doesn't have a lot of battles, sword fights, magic, or things that blow up, yet it's still one of the great guy books of all time. Why? Because Jerry Spinelli writes about things that all guys deal with; bullies, taking responsibility, friendship, and facing your fears. It also talks about racism, unthinking hatred, and trying to overcome those things. There's so much that happens to Maniac Magee that you hang on every page to see how he'll handle it. He also does a lot of amazing things that make him a legend in his town. He'll become a legend in your mind too.
He wrote some other good books about being a guy and growing up. One is Wringer, another is Fourth Grade Rats, and the third is Loser. Click on the titles so see reviews. Click here and here to read his biography and here to see a good link about some of his books. And here's a funny incident from his life:
Jerry Spinelli's memoir, Knots in My Yo-Yo String, makes it clear that he has always had a knack for drawing attention to himself. When he was in second grade, he dressed up in a cowboy outfit one day and headed off to school, sporting golden cap pistols and spurs on his boots. It was not Halloween. The teacher noticed his getup, of course, and asked if he "would like to do something for the class." Jerry got up and sang "I Have Spurs that Jingle, Jangle, Jingle."
Shortly thereafter he ceased to be a singing cowboy and decided to become a baseball player. "I played Little League in junior high and high school," Jerry writes. "I only hit two home runs in my career, but I had no equal when it came to standing at shortstop and chattering to my pitcher: 'C'mon, baby, hum the pea.'"
Then, in eleventh grade, Jerry wrote a poem about a high school football game. When it was published in the local newspaper, Jerry knew he had found his calling. He traded in his baseball bat for a pencil and became a writer.
What a guy! And now, Heeeere's Bill and Zack:
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli - This was a really cool book to read and I enjoyed it. The basic premise is there is this kid everyone calls Maniac Magee because he performs feats that amaze everyone that lives in town. Maniac Magee is a orphan who is living on his own trying to find his place in the world. The town he lives in is divided in many different ways, between black and white people, poor and rich, kind and cruel, etc. Maniac is constantly on the move meeting all kinds of different people and finding out the wonder that is in each human being. Yet something always seems to happen that makes him run from the people in which he forms bonds of friendship and love. I really liked this book because it showed that bottom line, people are pretty cool if they can just get beyond the superficial. Great Stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, it hurts me to say this but I agree with Bill (ouch, the PAIN!). Maniac Magee is great stuff!!!!!! I know what it is like to move around a lot and that part of the book spoke to me. Going from place to place makes you meet a whole lot of people and it is always surprising to see how different, yet alike, every place and its people are.
The CARLMAN picked an outstanding book for us to read this time. I wonder how Darth Bill is coming along with the Gregor books?! I am currently reading Lightning Thief which I'm sure will make everyone happy (I know, about time!).
Thanks, guys! Ah, but it feels good to restore balance to the Force. Maybe we can all spotlight another author sometime--if those two don't slice each other in half before then!!