Jack Gantos

Jack Gantos is an American author of children's books renowned for his portrayal of fictional Joey Pigza, a boy with ADHD, and many other well known characters such as Rotten Ralph, Jack Henry, Jack Gantos (memoirs) and others. Gantos has won a number of awards, including the Newbery, the Newbery Honor, the Scott O'Dell Award, the Printz Honor, and the Sibert Honor from the American Library Association, and he has been a finalist for the National Book Award.Gantos was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania to son of construction superintendent John Gantos and banker Elizabeth (Weaver) Gantos. The seeds for Jack Gantos' writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. Born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and raised in Barbados and South Florida, Mr. Gantos began collecting anecdotes in grade school and later gathered them into stories.After his senior year in high school (where he lived in a welfare motel) he moved to a Caribbean island (St Croix) and began to train as a builder. He soon realized that construction was not his forté and started saving for college. While in St. Croix he met a drug smuggler and was offered a chance to make 10 000 dollars by sailing to New York with 2,000 pounds of hash. With an English eccentric captain on board they set off to the big city. Once there they hung out at the Chelsea hotel and Gantos carried on dreaming about college. Then, in Jacks own words, "The **** hit the fan" and the F.B.I. burst in on him. He managed to escape and hid out in the very same welfare motel he was living during high school. However, he saw sense and turned himself in. He was sentenced to six years in prison, which he describes in his novel -HOLE IN MY LIFE-. However, after a year and a half in prison he applied to college, was accepted. He was released from prison, entered college, and soon began his writing career. He received his BFA and his MA both from Emerson College. While in college, Jack began working on picture books with an illustrator friend. In 1976, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph. Mr. Gantos continued writing children's books and began teaching courses in children's book writing. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College in Boston. In 1995 he resigned his tenured position in order to further his writing career (which turned out to be a great decision). He married art dealer Anne A. Lower on November 11, 1989. The couple has one child, Mabel, and they live in Boston, Massachusetts.www.jackgantos.com



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