Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos

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, and Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book. Jack was born in Mount Pleasant, 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.

National Book Awards Finalist

Newbery Honor Book

Newbery Medal Winner

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<a href="http://us.macmillan.com/author/jackgantos/#media">The Trouble In Me | Jack Gantos | in studio</a>

The Trouble In Me | Jack Gantos | in studio

This fiery autobiographical novel captures a pivotal week or two in the life of fourteen-year-old Jack Gantos, as the author reveals the moment he began to slide off track as a kid who in just a few years would find himself locked up in a federal penitentiary for the crimes portrayed in the memoir Hole in My Life.

Books by the Author

Writing Radar
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Writing Radar

Jack Gantos
FSG Books for Young Readers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Acclaimed author Jack Gantos's guide to becoming the best brilliant writer.

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Available 08/29/2017

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The Trouble in Me
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The Trouble in Me

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

This fiery autobiographical novel captures a pivotal week or two in the life of fourteen-year-old Jack Gantos, when he began to slide off track as a kid who in just a few years would find himself...

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The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza
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The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

Joey Pigza

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

The fifth and final book in the groundbreaking Joey Pigza series brings the beloved chronicle of this wired, wacky, and wonderful boy to a crescendo of chaos and craziness, as everything goes topsy-turvy...

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From Norvelt to Nowhere
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From Norvelt to Nowhere

Norvelt Series

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

This rocket-paced follow-up to the Newbery Medal–winning novel Dead End in Norvelt opens deep in the shadow of the Cuban missile crisis. But instead of Russian warheads, other kinds of trouble...

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What Would Joey Do?
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What Would Joey Do?

Joey Pigza

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

Sequel to Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book

Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza's question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated...

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I Am Not Joey Pigza
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I Am Not Joey Pigza

Joey Pigza

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

Joey's world is turned upside down when his deadbeat dad wins the lottery.

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Joey Pigza Loses Control
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Joey Pigza Loses Control

Joey Pigza

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

The sequel to Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist

When Joey Pigza meets his dad for the first time in years, he meets a grown-up version of his old out-of-control...

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Rotten Ralph's Rotten Family
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Rotten Ralph's Rotten Family

Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers

Jack Gantos; pictures by Nicole Rubel
FSG Books for Young Readers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Rotten Ralph's owner, Sarah, is fed up with her red rascal's behavior. Ralph is tired of Sarah trying to change him. He misses his cat family, which never made him alter a thing about himself. But...

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Dead End in Norvelt
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Dead End in Norvelt

Norvelt Series

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

Dead End in Norvelt is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for the year's best contribution to children's literature and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction!

Melding the entirely...

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Hole in My Life
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Hole in My Life

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

In the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring writer looking for adventure, cash for college tuition, and a way out of a dead-end job. For ten thousand dollars, he recklessly agreed to help sail a sixty-foot yacht loaded with a ton of hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York City, where he and his partners sold the drug until federal agents caught up with them. For his part in the conspiracy, Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison. But once he was locked up in a small, yellow-walled cell, he found inspiration. He moved from wanting to be a writer to writing, and ultimately overcame the worst experience of his life.

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Rotten Ralph Helps Out
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Rotten Ralph Helps Out

Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers

Jack Gantos; Illustrated by Nicole Rubel
Square Fish
Square Fish

Rotten Ralph's attempts to help Sarah with her school project on ancient Egypt are now repackaged in a brand-new format for beginning readers.

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Three Strikes for Rotten Ralph
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Three Strikes for Rotten Ralph

Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers

Jack Gantos; pictures by Nicole Rubel
FSG Books for Young Readers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

On the Flying Squirrels baseball team, Rotten Ralph dreams of becoming a superstar but ignores Sarah's example of working hard to learn the fundamentals.

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Desire Lines
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Desire Lines

Jack Gantos
FSG Books for Young Readers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Sixteen-year-old Walker has discovered something potentially scandalous—two of his female classmates are having an affair. It is a secret he has no problem keeping to himself . . . until it comes to protecting his own reputation.

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Jack Adrift: Fourth Grade Without a Clue
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Jack Adrift: Fourth Grade Without a Clue

Jack Henry

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, eight side-splitting stories about a boy who is doing his best to keep his head above water

As the Henry family...

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Best in Show for Rotten Ralph
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Best in Show for Rotten Ralph

Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers

Jack Gantos; Pictures by Nicole Rubel
FSG Books for Young Readers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

"To thine own self be true."


The cat show is coming to town and Rotten Ralph is hungry for glory – and desperate to defeat his perfect cousin Percy, whatever it takes. According...

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Rotten Ralph Feels Rotten
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Rotten Ralph Feels Rotten

Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers

Jack Gantos; Pictures by Nicole Rubel
FSG Books for Young Readers
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Rotten to the core!

When Sarah serves up a healthy, home-cooked meal chock-full of fruits and vegetables, Rotten Ralph turns up his nose and refuses to eat. With those overflowing, back-alley...

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Jack on the Tracks
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Jack on the Tracks

Jack Henry

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, nine semi-autobiographical stories that will make you laugh so hard it hurts

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Jack's Black Book
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Jack's Black Book

Jack Henry

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish


From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, the uproarious final volume of Jack Henry stories

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Jack's New Power
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Jack's New Power

Jack Henry

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, life for Jack Henry in a brand-new place is filled with the same old craziness

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Heads or Tails
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Heads or Tails

Jack Henry

Jack Gantos
Square Fish
Square Fish

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, eight more hysterical semi-autobiographical Jack Henry stories about a sixth grader's trials and tribulations

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