• Home
  • Books For Young Readers

Jack Adrift

He's really at sea this timeAs the Henry family sets sail for a new life on Cape Hatteras, fourth-grader Jack is struggling to chart a course between his parents' contradictory advice on making friends and influencing people. Just tell people what they want to hear, Dad advises. Just tell the truth, Mom cautions. Jack finds there are no easy answers as he drifts through his crazy school year, falling desperately in love with his young teacher, getting suckered into becoming a bad-behavior spy for the principal, and being forced to make a presentable pet out of a duck with backward feet. Indeed, with an airheaded, air-guitar-playing neighbor the closest thing to a friend, and a judgmental older sister his relentless enemy, it's all he can do to stay afloat.This colorful and comic new collection of interrelated stories featuring the author's hapless alter ego is a prequel to the other four books in the Jack Henry series, praised by Booklist for...
Views: 72

Jack on the Tracks

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, nine semi-autobiographical stories that will make you laugh so hard it hurts In Jack on the Tracks, fifth-grader Jack Henry is hoping for fresh adventure when he moves to a new home in Miami with his family, but he can’t escape his old worrying ways. He worries about being fascinated with all things gross and disgusting. He worries about his crazy French-obsessed schoolteacher. And most of all he worries about worrying so much.  In this cycle of interrelated stories, there may be light at the end of the tunnel, if only Jack can get on the right track to survive his outrageous year.
Views: 70

Jack's New Power

Jack Henry has moved to the island of Barbados with his offbeat family and his secret diary. But still he can't escape his penchant for wacky misadventure. Because of a headless chicken, he gets a violent case of blood poisoning. In a pepper-eating contest with his father, he discovers the perils of male bonding. And then he has his heartstrings twanged by an older woman who just happens to be his sister's best friend. These are just a few of his trials and tribulations in these eight fierce and funny stories, based on the author's own childhood diaries.
Views: 69

The Bloody Souvenir

Jack isn't like the Pagoda brothers. He knows the difference between fun and stupid. Launching yourself across the backyard in a makeshift Roman catapult? Fun. Smoking an entire pack of cigarettes as fast as possible? Stupid. But when it comes to emergency self-surgery...Jack still has something to learn. A short story from the acclaimed collection Guys Read: Funny Business, edited by Jon Scieszka.
Views: 67

I Am Not Joey Pigza

Just when Joey Pigza's wired world finally seems to be under control, his good-for-nothing dad pops back into his life. This time, though, Carter Pigza is a new man - literally. After a lucky lotto win, Carter Pigza has a crazy new outlook on life, and he's even changed his name to Charles Heinz. He thinks Joey and his mom should become new people, too. Soon Joey finds himself bombarded with changes: a new name, a new home, and a new family business - running the beat-up Beehive Diner. He knows he should forgive his dad as his mom wants him to, and get with the new family program. But Joey is afraid that in changing names and going with the flow he will lose sight of who he really is. In this rocket-paced new chapter in Joey Pigza's life, a favorite hero discovers what identity and forgiveness really mean, and how to cook a delicious turkey burger.
Views: 63

The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph

Poor Rotten Ralph. His health just isn't what it used to be. Thanks to his rotten ways, he's down to the very last of his nine lives!“One more slip and he'll be gone forever," warns the vet.Sarah, Ralph's doting owner, is fiercely determined to keep her cat safe. But how much coddling can Ralph take before he has to do something totally and utterly rotten?In this ninth tale about the most delightfully disobedient cat in town, being naughty has never looked so good to Rotten Ralph. But then again, after a hard day's rotten work, neither does the warmth and safety of Sarah's lap!
Views: 61

Heads or Tails

From the Newbery Medal–winning author of Dead End in Norvelt, eight more hysterical semi-autobiographical Jack Henry stories about a sixth grader's trials and tribulationsJack's life is a crazy roller-coaster ride. At his fifth school in six years, he has a crackpot teacher who won't give him a break about his lousy handwriting and a secret crush who wants to be a policewoman. At home, he has a pesky little brother with a knack for getting hurt whenever Jack's supposed to be looking after him, a terror for an older sister, all sorts of weird neighbors, and, last but not least, ferocious alligators in the canal behind his house.Writing in his diary about his good days and bad days is one way Jack survives his up-and-down year. But he's also a kid who knows that life can go any which way at any given moment. He might as well flip a coin: heads he wins, tails he loses. What will turn up next?
Views: 58

Joey Pigza Loses Control

The sequel to Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist.When Joey Pigza meets his dad for the first time in years, he meets a grown-up version of his old out-of-control self. Carter Pigza is as wired as Joey used to be -- before his stint in special ed, and before he got his new meds. Joey's mom reluctantly agrees that he can stay with his dad for a summer visit, which sends Joey racing with sky-high hopes that he and Carter can finally get to know each other. But as the weeks whirl by, Carter has bigger plans in mind. He decides that just as he has pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, Joey can do the same and become as normal as any kid, without the help of a doctor's prescription. Carter believes Joey can do it and Joey wants to believe him more than anything in the world.Here is the continuation of the acclaimed Joey Pigza story, affirming not only that Joey Pigza is a true original but that it runs in the family.
Views: 52

Rotten Ralph

Ralph, a very, very nasty cat, finally sees the error of his ways — or does he?
Views: 49

Hole in My Life

Becoming a writer the hard wayIn the summer of 1971, Jack Gantos was an aspiring writer looking for adventure, cash for college tuition, and a way out of a dead-end job. For ten thousand dollars, he recklessly agreed to help sail a sixty-foot yacht loaded with a ton of hashish from the Virgin Islands to New York City, where he and his partners sold the drug until federal agents caught up with them. For his part in the conspiracy, Gantos was sentenced to serve up to six years in prison.In Hole in My Life, this prizewinning author of over thirty books for young people confronts the period of struggle and confinement that marked the end of his own youth. On the surface, the narrative tumbles from one crazed moment to the next as Gantos pieces together the story of his restless final year of high school, his short-lived career as a criminal, and his time in prison. But running just beneath the action is the story of how Gantos -- once he was locked...
Views: 49

Rotten Ralph's Rotten Christmas

Rotten Ralph is not at all nice to the Christmas visitor.
Views: 47

The Trouble in Me

This fiery autobiographical novel captures a pivotal week or two in the life of fourteen-year-old Jack Gantos, as the author reveals the moment he began to slide off track as a kid who in just a few years would find himself locked up in a federal penitentiary for the crimes portrayed in the memoir Hole in My Life. Set in the Fort Lauderdale neighborhood of his family's latest rental home, The Trouble in Me opens with an explosive encounter in which Jack first meets his awesomely rebellious older neighbor, Gary Pagoda, just back from juvie for car theft. Instantly mesmerized, Jack decides he will do whatever it takes to be like Gary. As a follower, Jack is eager to leave his old self behind, and desperate for whatever crazy, hilarious, frightening thing might happen next. But he may not be as ready as he thinks when the trouble in him comes blazing to life.
Views: 41

Not So Rotten Ralph

In desperation, Sarah sends Rotten Ralph to feline finishing school. Will Ralph's mischief finally be a thing of the past? This package comes with a paperback and a two-sided cassette tape. The professionally narrated audio production includes lively sound effects and original music. Side one includes page-turn signals; side two features an uninterrupted reading.
Views: 40

What Would Joey Do?

Sequel to Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor Book Are they flirting or fighting? This is Joey Pigza's question when the fireworks suddenly start to explode between his long-separated mom and dad, whom he's never really had a chance to see together. The more out of control his parents get, the less in control Joey feels and the more he wants to help make things better. But Joey's ailing tell-it-like-it-is grandmother wants her grandson to see it like it is with his unpredictable parents. Knowing that she is fading fast, she needs Joey to hurry up and show that he can break the Pigza family mold by making a friend in the outside world. The only potential candidate, however, is Olivia Lapp -- Joey's blind homeschooling partner, who brags that she is "blind as a brat" and acts meaner to Joey the more desperate he gets for her friendship -- even if Joey senses there's more to her than meets the eye. In this dazzling episode, Jack Gantos's acclaimed hyperactive hero discovers that settling down isn't good for anything if he can't find a way to stop the people he cares about from winding him up all over again.What Would Joey Do? is a 2003 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
Views: 39

Rotten Ralph's Rotten Romance

Sarah wakes Ralph up with a great big kiss. “Happy Valentine's Day!" she says. Rotten Ralph hides under his pillow. Sarah is very excited to take Ralph to Petunia's Valentine's Day Party. But Ralph will do almost anything to avoid the party and drippy Valentine kisses!
Views: 34