Jerry Spinelli

The Life and Accomplishments of Jerry Spinelli

Biography of Jerry Spinelli

Jerry Spinelli went to Gettysburg college. There he started to write short stories and was an author of a literary magazine. Later, he got a job as a men’s wear editor and then began writing his first novel. He wrote this for hours a day. Fifteen years later, (after four other novels), he came out with his first book, Space Station 7th Grade. Later, Spinelli and his wife got married and had six children. His children were so loud, it was hard for him to write and focus.

Spinelli now has 30 books published and 21 grandchildren. His favorite book that he has written was Space Station 7th Grade. When Spinelli was younger he wanted to become a cowboy, and then a baseball player.When he was in 11th grade, he decided to become a writer. Jerry’s favorite writer is Eileen Spinelli, his wife.

Spinelli is a goofy person and in some of his books you can truly see it in characters that are like him or books that are just funny.

Spinelli's Most Often Used Techniques

Using a Dash instead of Parentheses

Using a dash instead of parentheses is when an author decides (when it might have been better to add a set of parentheses) uses a dash. Spinelli sometimes uses this technique when he already has a lot of parentheses in the sentence or when he used a dash at the beginning and a comma at the end of the part he was separating from the sentence as a whole.

  • Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush: “I could talk to him about some things - sports, bodyweight (hard stuff)- but not something like girls (soft stuff)” (21)

  • Stargirl: “ Kevin- to the rescue, thankfully- clapped his hands.)” (65)

  • Do the Funky Pickle: “ He sat down- and so did she, taking the seat to his right.” (87)

Using Ellipsis to show a pause

Using Ellipsis to show a pause is used a lot in Spinelli’s writing. He uses Ellipsis to show a pause in thought or in speech. I think he uses this to help the readers understand that the characters had to think in the middle of their speeches or trains of thought.

  • Who Put that Hair in My Toothbrush: “ Okay, Okay... so, say she saw me and she…” (21)

  • The Library Card: “...scooping spilled atoms, splashing them onto her face, trying to feel…. Trying to feel….” (60)

  • Do the Funky Pickle: “ Well… I guess...she could say….” (16)

Using a Dash Instead of a Comma to Interrupt

Using a Dash to Show a Comma to Interrupt is when an author uses a dash in the place of a comma (when a comma could have been used) and then add an interruptor. Spinelli uses this a lot to separate commas and different parts of the sentence.

  • Do the Funky Pickle: “ The style was two inches tall- top-flat enough to lay a tablecloth on-except for the back center.” (36)

  • The Library Card: “ In how many libraries- a hundred, thousand- had he scanned the shelves for the cover,.... (117)

  • Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?: “ A lot of kids-mostly girls, actually- go to him for advice.” (21)

Using Parentheses instead of a comma

Using Parentheses instead of a comma is when an author decides that using a set of parentheses would be better than using a comma. Spinelli used this in different ways for different situations. In some ways he used parentheses instead because he was in the middle of writing a list and the commas would get all mixed up and might confuse the reader. In another way, he uses it as an interruptor.

  • Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?: “ There were things for her (slippers), my father (after shave lotion), Toddie (roadrunner coloring book), Jackie (earrings)...” (117)

  • Do The Funky Pickle: “ He told everyone (for the millionth time) that Plumstead was a brand new school…” (112)

  • Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?: “ Actually, I have to smuggle it in because ( as she whispered) they’ve put her on diet…” (53)

Using Italics to put emphasis on speech and thought

Using italics to put emphasis on speech and thought is when an author uses italics on (purpose) to make the word more long and flowy as if someone was saying it. I think Spinelli uses this to make his readers know the way his characters are talking and thinking in the story.

  • The Library card: “.. as if she were not here , but there....” (82)

  • Do the Funky Pickle: “ maybe so, but this time she’ll like the same old Eddie.” (65)

  • Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush: “ Her eyes lit up “ past their room?” (153)

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Spinelli, Jerry. Stargirl. New York: Ember, 2000

--Do the Funky Pickle. New York: Scholastic inc. ,1992

--The Library Card. New York: Scholastic inc. , 1997

--Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2000

Common Themes and Character types

One of Jerry Spinelli's most often used themes is love. In all of the stories but one, had love in it. There was a problem with getting the girl or boy's attention but it usually ended out well. Another common theme is using wired names. Jerry used a lot of wired names in his stories like Weasel and Anglepuss. They are just to make you laugh. a common character type would be making brave characters. Spinelli uses a lot of characters that are very brave and daring. In his story The Library Card He uses a character who shoplifts, and says mean things to even his best friends. Another character type Spinelli uses would be having a wimpy character by the tough character. I think he uses this character to even out the character types by having two completely different characters right next to each other. Spinelli is a great writer and I think that Spinelli tries to make his stories as interesting as possible by using these techniques