"They say I'm wired bad, or wired sad, but there's no doubt about it -- I'm wired."
Joey Pigza's got heart, he's got a mom who loves him, and he's got "dud meds," which is what he calls the Ritalin pills that are supposed to even out his wild mood swings. Sometimes Joey makes bad choices. He learns the hard way that he shouldn't stick his finger in the pencil sharpener, or swallow his house key, or run with scissors. Joey ends up bouncing around a lot - and eventually he bounces himself all the way downown, into the district special-ed program, which could be the end of the line. As Joey knows, if he keeps making bad choices, he could just fall between the cracks for good. But he is determined not to let that happen.
In this antic yet poignant new novel, Jack Gantos has perfect pitch in capturing the humor, the off-the-wall intensity, and the serious challenges that life presents to a kid dealing with hyper-activity and related disorders. This title has Common Core connections.
"Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key" is a 1998 National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature.
About the Author
Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include "Hole in My Life," a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert Honors, "Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key," a National Book Award Finalist, "Joey Pigza Loses Control," a Newbery Honor book, and "Dead End in Norvelt," winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. Jack was raised in Norvelt, Pennsylvania, and when he was seven, his family moved to Barbados. He attended British schools, where there was much emphasis on reading and writing, and teachers made learning a lot of fun. When the family moved to south Florida, he found his new classmates uninterested in their studies, and his teachers spent most of their time disciplining students. Jack retreated to an abandoned bookmobile (three flat tires and empty of books) parked out behind the sandy ball field, and read for most of the day. The seeds for Jack's writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. He begged his mother for a diary and began to collect anecdotes he overheard at school, mostly from standing outside the teachers' lounge and listening to their lunchtime conversations. Later, he incorporated many of these anecdotes into stories. While in college, he and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, "Rotten Ralph," in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack's career as a professional writer. Jack continued to write children's books and began to teach courses in children's book writing and children's literature. He developed 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. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking. He lives with his family in Boston, Massachusetts.
“An accurate, compassionate and humorous appraisal of a boy with attention-deficit disorder.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“In his first-person narrative, Joey relates incidents that are heart wrenching and humorous. From the powerful opening lines and fast-moving plot to the thoughtful inner dialogue and satisfying conclusion, readers will cheer for Joey, and for the champion in each of us.”—School Library Journal
“In this rollercoaster of a ride, ingenuously and breathlessly narrated by Joey himself, readers are treated to an up-close introduction to life with attention deficit disorder-or being wired, as Joey puts it. . . . Readers of this compelling tragicomedy will know almost from the start that Joey's not just a good kid-he's a great kid.”—The Horn Book, Starred Review
“Joey; his gutsy, struggling mother; and his long-suffering teachers come to life in this highly readable novel that is sometimes funny, sometimes heartrending, and both entertaining and engrossing. . . . There are plenty of Joeys in schools today, and it is good to have one of their stories told with such skill and sympathy.”—VOYA
“The story is simultaneously comic and horrific; Gantos takes readers right inside a human whirlwind where the ride is bumpy and often frightening, especially for Joey. But a river of compassion for the characters runs through the pages, not only for Joey but for his overextended mom and his usually patient, always worried (if only for their safety) teachers. Mature readers will find this harsh tale softened by unusual empathy and leavened by genuinely funny events.”—Kirkus Reviews National Book Award FinalistAmerican Library Association Notable Children's BooksNYPL 100 Titles for Reading and SharingNCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Georgia Children's Book Award, Nominee
Wisconsin Golden Archer Award, Nominee
Great Stone Face Children's Book Award, Nominee
Iowa Teen Award, Nominee
Land of Enchantment Book Award, Nominee
Maine Student Book Award, Nominee
Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Award, Nominee
Prairie Pasque Award, Nominee
Sasquatch Reading Award Winner
Arizona Young Reader's Choice Award, Nominee
Sunshine State Young Reader's Book Award, Nominee
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award, Nominee
Flicker Tale Children's Book Award, Nominee
California Young Reader Medal Winner
Virginia Reader's Choice Awards, Nominee
Massachusetts Children's Book Award, Nominee
Judy Lopez Memorial Award, Nominee
Maryland Children's Book Award Winner
Iowa Children's Choice Award, Nominee
Lone Star Reading List
Pacific NW Young Reader's Choice Award Masterlist