Jessica Scranton's Reviews > Maniac Magee

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
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Apr 11, 12

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Maniac Magee was a novel written about a young orphaned boy, Jeffrey, who explores the troubles of racism, homelessness, and a fight to find identity. Jeffrey lost both of his parents when he was very young and was forced to live with his aunt and uncle. Finally one day Jeffrey decided to run away. After a year of running, Jeffrey ends up miles away in a place that is divided by blacks and whites. Through his journey, Jeffrey also completes a number of tasks and giving him the name “maniac” Jeffrey eventually finds a home with the Beale family after befriending Amanda Beale. After leaving and seeking shelter in a number of places including the local zoo, he finds his way back to the Beale family and calls it home.
I read this story in elementary school and remembered liking it. After rereading the book, it was obvious why. The story was very interesting as well as educational. It discusses more serious issues. The plot is great. It is easy to relate to for children because it is the story of a young boy, but it touches on serious topics which allows for deep discussion with adults or even peers. It was interesting to read about all of the situations Jeffrey encountered and the conflicts he overcome. The book also describes each character very well and it makes them all easily relatable in different ways. Although many of the events that occurred in the story relate back to segregation and we no longer live in that time period, other events can still occur today, such as his search for himself and a home. I enjoyed this book very much. Luckily my sister had a copy and it was easy to obtain. She had yet to read it and after I did she wanted to as well. She is eleven and loved the book. This would be a good book to have in the classroom. it could be used to introduce segregation or even just on the class bookshelf for the students to read on their own.
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