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Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

by Jack Gantos

"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 are 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 downtown, 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 hyperactivity and related disorders.

8, 9, 10, 11
Interest Level
Grades 3 - 6
Realistic Fiction

About the Author

Contributor Image Alt Tag Jack Gantos Jack Gantos got the idea for Joey Pigza when he was visiting a school in Pennsylvania, talking about writing.

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