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Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

Joey Pigza (Volume 1)

Jack Gantos

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


National Book Awards Finalist

"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.

NCSS-CBC NotableTrade-Soc.Stdy, National Book Awards Finalist, American Library Association Notable Children's Books, NYPLC Children's Books 100, NCSS-CBC Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, Children's Books: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, New York Public Library, School Library Journal Best Books of the Year, California Young Reader Medal, ALA Notable Children's Books, School Library Best Books of the Year

Praise for Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

“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.” —Starred, The Horn Book

Reviews from Goodreads

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; the Joey Pigza series, which include a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award Finalist; Dead End in Norvelt, winner of the Newbery Medal and the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction; and the Rotten Ralph series.

image of Jack Gantoso

Jack Gantos

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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