New Release Books by Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos is the author of A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library (2019), Writing Radar (2017), The Trouble in Me (2017), Guys Read: Heroes & Villains (2017) and other 102 books.

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A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library

release date: May 14, 2019
A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library
"People stop thinking when they cease to read." When a young boy enters a library wearing an explosive vest hidden underneath his lovely new red jacket, he only has one plan on his mind. But as he observes those around him becoming completely captivated by all of the wonderful books they are reading--books he has no ability to read--the boy can''t help but question his reasoning for being there. With Dave McKean''s unique mixed-media illustrations, bestselling author Jack Gantos brings to life the story of a young suicide bomber, his unquestionable duty to his beliefs, and the unexpected power of books to change lives.

Writing Radar

release date: Aug 29, 2017
Writing Radar
The Newbery Award–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt shares advice for how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical creative writing guide perfect for all kids who dream of seeing their name on the spine of a book. With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their "writing radar" to unearth story ideas from their everyday lives. Incorporating his own misadventures as a developing writer, Gantos inspires readers to build confidence and establish good writing habits as they create, revise, and perfect their stories. Pop-out text boxes highlight key tips, alongside Gantos''s own illustrations, sample stories, and snippets from his childhood journals. More than just a how-to guide, Writing Radar is a celebration of the power of storytelling and an ode to the characters who—many unwittingly—inspired Gantos''s own writing career.

The Trouble in Me

release date: Apr 18, 2017
The Trouble in Me
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 locked up in a federal penitentiary for the crimes portrayed in the memoir Hole in My Life. Set in Fort Lauderdale, The Trouble in Me opens with an explosive encounter in which Jack first meets his awesomely rebellious older neighbor, Gary Pagoda, just back from juvie for car theft. Instantly mesmerized, Jack decides he will do whatever it takes to be like Gary. As a follower, Jack is eager to leave his old self behind and desperate for whatever crazy, hilarious, frightening thing might happen next. But he may not be as ready as he thinks when the trouble in him comes blazing to life. The Trouble in Me by Jack Gantos is a brutally honest memoir that is dark, funny, and most of all, true-to-life.

Guys Read: Heroes & Villains

release date: Apr 04, 2017
Guys Read: Heroes & Villains
Heroes and Villains, the seventh volume in Jon Scieszka’s Guys Read Library of Great Reading, is chock-full of adventure featuring an array of characters—with and without capes. Featuring ten all-new, original stories that run the gamut from fantasy to comics to contemporary adventure to nonfiction, and featuring eleven of the most acclaimed, exciting writers for kids working today, this collection is the perfect book for you, whether you use your powers for good—or evil. Authors include Laurie Halse Anderson, Cathy Camper and Raúl Gonzalez, Sharon Creech, Jack Gantos, Christopher Healy, Deborah Hopkinson, Ingrid Law, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Lemony Snicket, and Eugene Yelchin, with illustrations by Jeff Stokely.

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza

release date: Sep 02, 2014
The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza
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 for Joey just as he starts to get his feet on the ground. With his dad MIA in the wake of appearance-altering plastic surgery, Joey must give up school to look after his new baby brother and fill in for his mom, who hospitalizes herself to deal with a bad case of postpartum blues. As his challenges mount, Joey discovers a key that could unlock the secrets to his father''s whereabouts, a mystery that must be solved before Joey can even hope that his broken family might somehow come back together—if only it doesn''t pull him apart first. This title has Common Core connections.

Rotten Ralph's Rotten Family

release date: Apr 08, 2014
Rotten Ralph's Rotten Family
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 in this gag- and guffaw-filled adventure for newly independent readers, the world''s favorite rotten red cat gets tripped up when he runs away for a journey down memory lane.

Rotten Ralph's Show and Tell

release date: Sep 24, 2015
Rotten Ralph's Show and Tell
Sarah takes Ralph to school so he can do his ABC''s for show and tell, but as usual, the rotten cat refuses to cooperate.

From Norvelt to Nowhere

release date: Sep 24, 2013
From Norvelt to Nowhere
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 are raining down on young Jack Gantos and his utopian town of Norvelt in western Pennsylvania. After an explosion, a new crime by an old murderer, and the sad passing of the town''s founder, twelve-year-old Jack will soon find himself launched on a mission that takes him hundreds of miles away, escorting his slightly mental elderly mentor, Miss Volker, on her relentless pursuit of the oddest of outlaws. But as their trip turns south in more ways than one, it''s increasingly clear that the farther from home they travel, the more off-the-wall Jack and Miss Volker''s adventure becomes, in From Norvelt to Nowhere, a raucous road novel about roots and revenge, a last chance at love, and the power of a remarkable friendship. A Publishers Weekly Best Children''s Book of 2013

Happy Birthday, Rotten Ralph

release date: Sep 24, 2015
Happy Birthday, Rotten Ralph
Rotten Ralph is even rotten on his birthday, finally forcing poor Sarah to take drastic measures.

Not So Rotten Ralph

release date: Sep 24, 2015
Not So Rotten Ralph
In desperation, Sarah sends Rotten Ralph to feline finishing school. Will Ralph''s mischief finally be a thing of the past? This package comes with a paperback and a two-sided cassette tape. The professionally narrated audio production includes lively sound effects and original music. Side one includes page-turn signals; side two features an uninterrupted reading.

Rotten Ralph Helps Out

release date: Feb 28, 2012
Rotten Ralph Helps Out
Sarah is excited about her school project on ancient Egypt. She would like Ralph''s help. But Ralph''s idea of helping out is no help at all. According to Sarah, the ancient Egyptians believed cats were wise and had special powers. Can Rotten Ralph prove them right?

Dead End in Norvelt

release date: Sep 13, 2011
Dead End in Norvelt
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 true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack''s way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launced on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels . . . and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

release date: Jul 05, 2011
Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key
"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.

What Would Joey Do?

release date: Jul 01, 2014
What Would Joey Do?
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 mom and dad, whom he''s never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better. But Joey''s ailing tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his unpredictable parents. Knowing that she is fading fast, she needs Joey to hurry up and show that he can break the Pigza family mold by making a friend in the outside world. The only potential candidate, however, is Olivia Lapp -- Joey''s blind homeschooling partner, who brags that she is "blind as a brat" and acts meaner to Joey the more desperate he gets for her friendship -- even if Joey senses there''s more to her than meets the eye. In this dazzling episode, Jack Gantos''s acclaimed hyperactive hero discovers that settling down isn''t good for anything if he can''t find a way to stop the people he cares about from winding him up all over again. What Would Joey Do? is a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children''s Book of the Year.

Joey Pigza Loses Control

release date: Jul 05, 2011
Joey Pigza Loses Control
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 self. Carter Pigza is as wired as Joey used to be -- before his stint in special ed, and before he got his new meds. Joey''s mom reluctantly agrees that he can stay with his dad for a summer visit, which sends Joey racing with sky-high hopes that he and Carter can finally get to know each other. But as the weeks whirl by, Carter has bigger plans in mind. He decides that just as he has pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, Joey can do the same and become as normal as any kid, without the help of a doctor''s prescription. Carter believes Joey can do it and Joey wants to believe him more than anything in the world. Here is the continuation of the acclaimed Joey Pigza story, affirming not only that Joey Pigza is a true original but that it runs in the family. This title has Common Core connections. Joey Pigza Loses Control is a 2000 New York Times Book Review Notable Children''s Book of the Year and a 2001 Newbery Honor Book.

Guys Read: The Bloody Souvenir

release date: Jun 14, 2011
Guys Read: The Bloody Souvenir
Jack isn’t like the Pagoda brothers. He knows the difference between fun and stupid. Launching yourself across the backyard in a makeshift Roman catapult? Fun. Smoking an entire pack of cigarettes as fast as possible? Stupid. But when it comes to emergency self-surgery…Jack still has something to learn. A short story from the acclaimed collection Guys Read: Funny Business, edited by Jon Scieszka.

Jack's Black Book

release date: Jun 08, 2010
Jack's Black Book
From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, the uproarious final volume of Jack Henry stories According to his new motto—A WRITER''S JOB IS TO TURN HIS WORST EXPERIENCES INTO MONEY—Jack Gantos''s alter ego Jack Henry is going to be filty rich even before he gets out of junior high, for his life is filled with the worst experiences imaginable. For instance, in the course of the few months covered in this closing cycle of interlinked stories, Jack is humiliated by a gorgeous syncronized swimmer, gets a tattoo the size of an ant on his big toe, flubs an IQ test and nearly fails wood shop, and has to dig up his dead dog not once but twice. And that''s not the half of it! At the close of this final book of semi-autobiographical stories, Jack may not end up rolling in dough, but he will prove once again "a survivor, an ‘everyboy'' whose world may be wacko but whose heart and spirit are eminently sane" (School Library Journal). This title has Common Core connections.

The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph

release date: Jan 01, 2009
The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph
When the veterinarian determines that Sarah''s cat has used up eight of his nine lives, will the high-spirited feline finally stop misbehaving?

I Am Not Joey Pigza

release date: Aug 31, 2012
I Am Not Joey Pigza
Everything changes for Joey when his crazy, long-lost dad returns home after a lucky lottery win. Now they''re rich, Carter Pigza truly believes that his family can start a whole new life and that means embarking on a brand new career running a busy diner - and changing their family name from Pigza to Heinz. Can Joey handle becoming Freddy? And how does he really feel about the fact that he''s going to become a big brother?

Desire Lines

release date: Jan 01, 2012
Desire Lines
Sixteen-year-old Walker has accidentally discvered that two female classmates are lovers. When a rabid evangelical preacher arrives in their town, a witch-hunt is launched against gay students and Walker, for some reason, is the prime target. Walker knows the quickest way to divert the attention would be to give away the girls'' secret - but should he sacrifice their peace of mind for his? A powerful, unusual and thought-provoking read from an award-winning author.

The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs

release date: Jun 24, 2008
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs
On an unseasonably warm Easter Sunday, a young girl named Ivy discovers a chilling secret in the basement of the Rumbaugh pharmacy across the street from the hotel where she lives with her mother. The discovery reveals a disturbing side to the eccentric lives of family friends Abner and Adolph Rumbaugh, known throughout their small western Pennsylvania town simply as the Twins. It seems that Ab and Dolph have been compelled by a powerful mutual love for their deceased mother to do something extraordinary, something that in its own twisted way bridges the gap between the living and the dead. Immediately, Ivy''s discovery provokes the revelation of a Rumbaugh family curse, a curse that, as Ivy will learn over the coming years, holds a strange power over herself and her own mother. In his third book for young adults, Jack Gantos has scripted a completely original drama. With gothic flavor and black humor, he depicts a group of people bound together by love, compulsion . . . and a passion for taxidermy.

Jack Gantos Typescripts of The Missing Half of Joey Pigza

release date: Jan 01, 2019
Jack Gantos Typescripts of The Missing Half of Joey Pigza
Collection includes two annotated typescripts of Jack Gantos''s unpublished young adult novel, The Missing Half of Joey Pigza (Book Three of The Hidden Files of Joey Pigza). Also included are assorted notes in the author''s hand.

Jack Gantos Typescripts of How My Mother was Arrested for Murder

release date: Jan 01, 2016
Jack Gantos Typescripts of How My Mother was Arrested for Murder
Collection includes two annotated typescripts of Jack Gantos''s short story, "How My Mother Was Arrested for Murder." This story was published inthe Guys Read: Heroes & Villains anthology.

Heroes and Villains

release date: Apr 04, 2017
Heroes and Villains
Featuring ten all-new, original stories that run the gamut from fantasy to comics to contemporary adventure to nonfiction, and featuring eleven of the most acclaimed, exciting writers for kids working today, this collection is the perfect book for yo

Jack Gantos Typescripts of A Pain in the Pigza

release date: Jan 01, 2017
Jack Gantos Typescripts of A Pain in the Pigza
Collection includes four typescripts of Jack Gantos''s young adult novel, A Pain in the Pigza. The typescripts bear handwritten editorial annotations and are dated between 2017 and 2019. Also included are assorted handwritten notes.
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