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Jerry Spinelli

Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.

One night during high school, Spinelli watched the football team win an exciting game against one of the best teams in the nation. While everyone else rode about town tooting horns in celebration, Spinelli went home and wrote "Goal to Go," a poem about the game's defining moment, a goal-line standalone. His father submitted the poem to the Norristown Times-Herald and it had been featured in the center of the sports page. He traded in his baseball bat for a pencil, because he knew that he wished to be a writer.

After graduating from Gettysburg College with an English degree, Spinelli worked full time as a journal editor. Each day on his lunch hour, he'd close his office door and craft novels on yellow magazine copy paper. He wrote four adult novels in 12 years of lunchtime writing, however, none of these were approved for publication. When he submitted a fifth novel about a 13-year-old boy, adult publishers once again rejected his work, but children's publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of children's novels.

Spinelli's hilarious books entertain both children and young adults. Readers see his life in his autobiography Knots in My Yo-Yo String, in addition to in his fiction. Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home state of Pennsylvania in a book, while Maniac Magee is set in a fictional town based on his own hometown.

When asked if he does research for his writing, Spinelli says: "The answer is no and yes. Regardless, in the way that I seldom plow through books in the library to gather content. Yes, in the sense that the first 15 Decades of my life was become just one re

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