You might try the following activities with the class before handing out the book:
- Ask students what “maniac” means. Write their ideas on the board, then have a volunteer look up the word in a dictionary. Explain that the book they will read is titled Maniac Magee. Have students predict what the character with this name might be like.
- Write the phrase, “Legends are made, not born” on the board. Call on volunteers to explain what they think it means. Suggest that students write their ideas in literary response journals, then check them after they have finished the book.
- Hold up the book cover and ask students to comment on the picture. What does it suggest to them? How would they describe the sneakers? Do they think a boy or girl is wearing them?