Thursday, April 12, 2012

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

genre: children's fiction

What is it about Maniac Magee?  Is it his fearlessness?  His speed on his feet?  His ability to make himself at home just about anywhere?  It's hard to say, but in one tiny town, Maniac quickly becomes a legend, among both the black AND white colored kids.  Beyond the fact that he was orphaned as a child, pretty much nothing else phases Maniac - not sleeping with animals, not playing with snot-nosed little kids, not untying the craziest knot you could find.   But the most remarkable thing that does NOT phase Maniac Magee, is skin color.  You're white?  That's okay.  You're black?  Maniac feels right at home with you, too.  And this ONE thing about Maniac is the hardest for everyone else to handle - since to them, black and white together is NOT okay.

I can't say it's a beautiful story, necessarily.  Sometimes it hurt. Sometimes I had to explain things to my 7 and 9 year old sons that made me feel feel bad.  I had to explain things like homelessness and racial tension.   But what it also did, was open up a forum for a discussion about race and about a boy who chose not to let his race determine who his friends are or what he could do.  There were minutes that made me tear up and minutes that had me chuckling outloud and my boys laughing their guts out.  What this book did most was make you fall in love with one particularly special and tender little boy.  If he came by my backdoor, I'd feed him a meal in a heartbeat.

note: if you're interested in the content of the books I read, please go to

1 comment:

Hm Adnan said...

Great blog, here are lot of information i have found for me about books. I am happy to read the post “classics” yeah, i am your fan..thanks

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