Maniac Magee. Jerry Spinelli

PUBLISHER, 1991; Awarded 1993.

Synopsis:  In this part tall-tale, part realistic novel, young orphaned Jeffrey Lionel Magee is considered a legendary hero by people of Two Mills.  Soon after he comes to town, he is nicknamed Maniac because he can run unbelievably fast, throw a football better than any member of the high school team, rescue a boy from the frightful Finsterwald house, and hit a ball off the fastest pitcher in town.  But Maniac's most impressive act of all involves fighting racism and breaking the segregation of white East End and black West End of town while he searches for a family who will love and accept him as their own.

Themes:  Orphans, Heroes, Diversity, Segregation, Racism, Humor

Author:  http://www. Edupaperback.org/authorbios/Spinelli_Jerry.html

Discussion questions:  Standard 3, Benchmark 3
1. Describe each family Maniac lives with.
2. In what ways does Maniac seem like a real person?  In what ways does he seem like a super-hero?
3. What changes does Maniac bring about in Two Mills?

Activities:
1. When Maniac teaches Grayson to read, Grayson experiences an Amen moment.  Write about an Amen moment you have had.  Standard 3, Benchmark 2
2. Design a class quilt.  Each student may add one square depicting something legendary about that student.  The many colors of the quilt will combine all the individuals into one glorious mixture of color, talent, and experience.  Standard 5, Benchmark 3
3. Collaborate to make a mural depicting the many characters of this novel interacting in positive ways because of Maniac's efforts.  Standard 3, Benchmark 4