Mr. Kasper's Favorite Book!!!
Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli, has always been my favorite novel for working with children ever since I became a teacher. Students and I have always enjoyed the well-developed characters, as well as, the humor and great plot lines. The author uses a rich vocabulary and this too, has made this book a wonder for classroom or small group work. However, for me, the real value in using this book as a teaching and learning tool, has to do with the very important societal themes that are such an important focus for the reader.
Discussions about Maniac Magee, inevitably go beyond the literary and are immersed in issues such as family and race relations, homelessness, community building and the assumptions we make about others without enough information. I recommend Maniac Magee to all higher level readers and their parents. It also has the added advantage of having very short chapters, making it excellent for a read aloud, both in school and at home!