Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday Talk: Jack Gantos

842086Continuing with the Newbery theme, today I am going to talk a little bit about Jack Gantos.  He won a Newbery Medal in 2012 for Dead End in Norvelt.  It is a semi-autobiographical account of a crazy summer from Jack's childhood.  It is very funny, which is one of the author's signature trademarks.  While I enjoyed that book, the reason I chose his is for his Joey Pigza series.  The second installment, Joey Pigza Loses Control, was a Newbery Honor book in 2001.  The series is four books long (for now at least).  They follow the antics and misadventures of a young Joey, a sufferer of ADHD.  They are absolutely hilarious.  Told from his point of view, we get a glimpse at the world through the eyes of a kid whose brain is out of control.  The impulses/compulsions are too overwhelming and he just can't help himself.  When they figure out the correct medication for him, his brain calms down and he can function.  That is, until his ADHD father persuades him to stop taking his pills.  His father, Carter, pops in and out of his life, not really fit to take care of himself, let alone his son.  Despite his lackluster parenting skills, Carter is a very interesting and fun character.  In my opinion, Joey's mother is wonderful.  He lives with her and Carter's mother (his grandmother).  His grandmother helps take care of him while his mom works.  She too suffers from ADHD, but has learned to deal with it, at least in comparison to her son and grandson.  This series of books is just so much fun.  Joey's character is hilarious, and I loved getting to see inside a head that is firing at a pace above normal.  Joey's sidekick, his Chihuahua Pablo, is equally hyperactive.  A very fun series that children and adults can both enjoy.  I highly recommend giving it a try.  Happy reading!

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