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Jack Gantos

Author of Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

56+ Works 10,701 Members 505 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Jack Gantos was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania on July 2, 1951. He received a BFA and a MA from Emerson College. While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. show more His other books include Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist, Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book, and Dead End in Norvelt, which won the 2012 Newbery Medal. His memoir, Hole in My Life, won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors. Jack's follow-up to Hole in My Life is The Trouble in Me He also teaches courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He dev.eloped the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: By Slowking4 - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35041255


Works by Jack Gantos

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (1998) 2,280 copies
Dead End in Norvelt (2011) 1,693 copies
Joey Pigza Loses Control (2000) 1,655 copies
Hole in My Life (2002) 1,057 copies
Rotten Ralph (1976) 443 copies
I Am Not Joey Pigza (2007) 314 copies
From Norvelt to Nowhere (2013) 239 copies
The Trouble in Me (2015) 134 copies
Rotten Ralph Helps Out (2001) 105 copies
Worse Than Rotten, Ralph (1978) 90 copies
Desire Lines (1997) 65 copies
Not So Rotten Ralph (1994) 52 copies
Rotten Ralph Feels Rotten (2004) 43 copies
Willy's Raiders (1980) 28 copies
Zip Six: A Novel (1996) 8 copies
Greedy Greeny (1979) 8 copies
Swampy Alligator (1980) 7 copies
The Werewolf Family (1980) 4 copies
Aunt Bernice (1978) 4 copies
Fair-Weather Friends (1977) 3 copies
Code 6 (Serie Noire 1) (1999) 2 copies
Sleepy Ronald (1976) 2 copies
Genveje (1998) 1 copy
The Perfect Pal (1979) 1 copy
Rotten Raplp 1 copy

Associated Works

Guys Write for Guys Read (2005) — Contributor — 770 copies
Guys Read: Funny Business (2010) — Contributor — 692 copies
Half-Minute Horrors (2009) — Contributor — 279 copies
On the Fringe: Stories (2001) — Contributor — 181 copies
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure (2011) — Contributor — 61 copies
Guys Read: Heroes and Villains (2017) — Contributor — 46 copies


ADD (87) ADHD (287) anthology (60) autobiography (63) baseball (51) boys (98) cats (69) chapter book (103) children (61) children's (146) children's fiction (63) children's literature (83) death (62) family (174) fiction (563) funny (74) grade 5 (51) grade 6 (53) historical fiction (143) humor (382) juvenile (60) juvenile fiction (74) memoir (121) mystery (70) Newbery (103) Newbery Honor (71) Newbery Medal (94) non-fiction (108) Pennsylvania (59) picture book (75) prison (65) read (56) realistic fiction (386) school (91) series (143) short stories (199) small town (55) to-read (232) YA (147) young adult (171)

Common Knowledge



This book is about a kid named Joey. Everyone knew something was wrong with him, and everyone let him know. When Joey is on his meds, no one knows he has a disability. Joey has a lot of test trying to find out what meds would be the best fit for him. I think this book would be great for 4-5th graders. It can help show the kids what ADHD and allow kids to relate or understand their classmates.
aubreysmithh222 | 117 other reviews | Apr 15, 2024 |
Joey is told by everyone in school and at home that something is wrong with him, that he is wired wrong. But when he is on his meds everyone thinks he is perfectly fine. In this book we see Joey go through the process of getting diagnosed and new medicine given to him so he can sit still and pay attention in class without putting himself or others at risk. I would use this book in a 4th or 5th grade classroom, and maybe in middle school. The book is very interesting with a sense of humor in it and can be helpful to understand more of how someone with ADHD operates and also just to shed life on different life experiences.… (more)
mwik21 | 117 other reviews | Apr 12, 2024 |
I came across this book in my son’s school library...mind you, he’s in 5th grade. I started reading it to see if it was appropriate for him to read (it was definitely not) and ended up enjoying it myself. It was a good story I just felt it ended very abruptly. I’m not sure how quickly he wrote this after leaving prison but I expected a little more about his life after prison and it just wasn’t there. Glad I read it tho, and I’m REALLY glad my 10 year old did not
jbrownleo | 70 other reviews | Mar 27, 2024 |
An interesting newberry award winning book. While the older neighbor / kid friendship may be overdone, it’s still worth doing. At least the author gives a semi-plausible excuse for why a twelve year old would spend so much time with an elderly lady. Enjoyed the historical bits, but felt the murder plot wasn’t as strong as it could be
cspiwak | 135 other reviews | Mar 6, 2024 |



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