Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos

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JACK GANTOS Email: gantosbooks@gmail.com (for school visits) Website: www.jackgantos.com GANTOS SHORT BIO: JACK GANTOS is the author of over fifty books for children from the ROTTEN RALPH picture books, collections of JACK HENRY short stories (5 in the series), upper elementary and middle school JOEY PIGZA novels (5 in the series), DEAD END IN NORVELT (Newbery Award) and FROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE, young adult novels--THE TROUBLE IN ME, LOVE CURSE OF THE RUMBAUGHS, DESIRE LINES, and an award winning memoir, HOLE IN MY LIFE, which is required reading in High Schools. His work can lead readers from the cradle to the grave. Mr. Gantos was a professor at Emerson College where he developed the Masters Degree Program in Children's Literature, Writing and Publishing. He now spends his time writing and is an active speaker at book and literacy conferences, schools and libraries. His works have received a Newbery Award, Scott O'Dell Award, Newbery Honor, Printz Honor, Sibert Honor, National Book Award Finalist honor and he is the 2010 recipient of the NCTE/ALAN AWARD for his contribution to the field of Young Adult and Children's Literature. DEAD END IN NORVELT received both the 2012 John Newbery Award and the Scott O'Dell award for Historic Fiction. The companion novel, FROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE. His most recent releases are THE TROUBLE IN ME (middle/high school memoir) and WRITING RADAR: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories--the best selling book on how to become a great young writer. GANTOS: LETTER TO YOUNG WRITERS Dear Readers and Writers, I am no different than any other writer in that the desire to write came to me after my desire to read. It is the reading that saturates the imagination with vast possibilities. Not just the possibility of creating a story, but with the possibility of holding a book in your hand that has your name printed on the cover. In school I was a library helper. I shelved books and you can probably guess that the G section was my favorite. I would walk my fingers across the spines of the G authors until I came to my slot with GALDONE on one side and GEORGE on the other. I could imagine my book, with my last name fitting on the shelf between those two authors. Every school day I would pass that G shelf and imagine my book, with my name on it, proudly reaching out at me. Of course, when you are young, it is easy to imagine a book with your name on it, but as I grew older I realized a bit of effort was going to go into the construction of a book. So I bought a small black writing journal and on the spine I took a pen knife and carved my last name into the black cover. I wasn't sure what to title the book and so I didn't. After a while I just called it my "Black Book." I took that book everywhere. I wrote very unorganized stories in it. But I did have an eye for the odd moment. I saw my dog eaten by an alligator. I wrote about it in my Black Book. I saw an airplane crash in my neighborhood. I wrote it down. I broke my brothers arm--three times! I wrote it down. And I kept filling up the Black Book. And when it was full of odds and ends and bits and pieces of stories I made a fake library call number and pasted it on the spine of my book. I glued a card pocket on the inside back cover and slipped a Date Due card inside. Then I carved my title on the spine: JACKS BLACK BOOK. When no one was looking I went to the book shelf and slipped it between GALDONE and GEORGE. Each day I would pass it in the library. Weeks went by. It didn't move. Then one day it was gone! I was thrilled. But after many long weeks went by I thought maybe it was pretty foolish of me to put the only copy of my book on the shelf. Whoever checked it out was probably laughing at me. I was feeling pretty dejected. The empty gap on the shelf where my book had been now looked like a sad missing tooth. Then it came back. I was working in the library and found it in the BOOK RETURN bin. I quickly flipped to the back where I had written a note on the last page asking the reader if he or she liked the book. They had responded. Eagerly I read: "Whoever wrote this book should seek mental help." I did. But it wasn't a doctor. I went to my teacher and told her what I had done and asked for help on how to organize my stories. She did help me. She, and reading more books, made me a better writer. Now I've published WRITING RADAR: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. In this book I've put in my best 'how-to' writing tips for your writers who want to be published writers! I went to college for creative writing. I have published forty-five books from the ROTTEN RALPH series to the JACK HENRY series to the JOEY PIGZA series to HOLE IN MY LIFE and more--all the way to DEAD END IN NORVELT, the 2012 Newbery Medal winner. I have won many awards, but the Newbery Medal tops them all. My next job as a writer is to top myself. Now, FROM NORVELT TO NOWHERE has just been released with Starred Reviews. In the fall of 2014 THE KEY THAT SWALLOWED JOEY PIGZA was published. It is the final Joey Pigza book. When you read it let me know what you think. Now Out Is: WRITING RADAR: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. All Best, Jack Gantos
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