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Milkweed (Random House Reader's Circle) Paperback – March 23, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 777 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An extremely powerful book. Readers will be gripped by this story of a young orphan in Warsaw." -- Boston Herald

"Jerry Spinelli has fashioned a novel of beauty out of the ugliness of the Holocaust. It is a superb book, one of the best you will read." -- BookPage

"Stunning." -- Kirkus Reviews, Starred 

"Spinelli creates a masterful achievement, a war story to be put alongside J. G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun and a literary accompaniement to Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful." -- VOYA

"An unforgettable novel."--Library Media Connection, Starred

"Part survival adventure, part Holocaust history, [this] novel tells the story through the eyes of a Polish orphan on the run from the Nazis."--Booklist, Starred review

"This is a superb addition to the canon of young adult literature."--Jewish Book World

"Unforgettable. . . a powerful story about one small boy's courage during a horrifying period of history. A heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story." -- The Midwest Book Review 

About the Author

JERRY SPINELLI is the author of many novels for young readers, including Dead WednesdayThe Warden's Daughter; StargirlLove, StargirlMilkweedCrashWringer; and Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; along with Knots in My Yo-Yo String, the autobiography of his childhood. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ember; Reprint edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0375861475
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0375861475
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 12 - 13 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 510L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 7 - 9
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 6.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.13 x 0.48 x 7.94 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 777 ratings

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Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.

One night during high school, Spinelli watched the football team win an exciting game against one of the best teams in the country. While everyone else rode about town tooting horns in celebration, Spinelli went home and wrote "Goal to Go," a poem about the game's defining moment, a goal-line stand. His father submitted the poem to the Norristown Times-Herald and it was featured in the middle of the sports page a few days later. He then traded in his baseball bat for a pencil, because he knew that he wanted to become a writer.

After graduating from Gettysburg College with an English degree, Spinelli worked full time as a magazine editor. Every day on his lunch hour, he would close his office door and craft novels on yellow magazine copy paper. He wrote four adult novels in 12 years of lunchtime writing, but none of these were accepted for publication. When he submitted a fifth novel about a 13-year-old boy, adult publishers once again rejected his work, but children's publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of children's books.

Spinelli's hilarious books entertain both children and young adults. Readers see his life in his autobiography Knots in My Yo-Yo String, as well as in his fiction. Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home state of Pennsylvania in a book, while Maniac Magee is set in a fictional town based on his own hometown.

When asked if he does research for his writing, Spinelli says: "The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I seldom plow through books at the library to gather material. Yes, in the sense that the first 15 years of my life turned out to be one big research project. I thought I was simply growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania; looking back now I can see that I was also gathering material that would one day find its way into my books."

On inspiration, the author says: "Ideas come from ordinary, everyday life. And from imagination. And from feelings. And from memories. Memories of dust in my sneakers and humming whitewalls down a hill called Monkey."

Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow writer, Eileen, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While they write in separate rooms of the house, the couple edits and celebrates one another's work. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
777 global ratings

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Top reviews from other countries

The Librarian
5.0 out of 5 stars How I wish this had a better cover and was better publicised
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 10, 2018
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Candy Gourlay
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 4, 2018
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Rach
4.0 out of 5 stars But fast delivery and it was in good condition.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 23, 2014
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sb
5.0 out of 5 stars Milkweed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 25, 2013
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Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars Milkweed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 3, 2013
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