Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jack for Ambassador!

Today the new novel by Jack Gantos, Dead End in Norvelt, goes on sale! As such, my family has declared it
Jack Gantos Day here in the entwood.  I have been unabashed in my fandom for this man's writing. The humor in his books got my family through a tough time.

I still hear from students (many now in college) who say, "I remember when Jack Gantos came to our school."  His visit was memorable in so many ways, not the least because it was the first and only time I ever saw a teacher almost fall off of her rolling chair because she was laughing so hard during his presentation.

One of the many joys of belonging to the Kidlitosphere community is getting to know folks who share your reading (and felt boarding) enthusiasms. During an email discussion of all-things-Jack with Jules at 7-Impossible things Before Breakfast and Adrienne at What Adrienne Thinks About That, we all agreed that Gantos would be the PERFECT choice for the role of Ambassador. So today, along with them,  I enthusiastically wish to nominate Jack Gantos to be the next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

His knowledge of children's literature is "deep and wide" as the old song goes. Listening to one of his presentations is a mini course on the subject. From Rotten Ralph to Hole in My Life, his books span early childhood to young adult.

Gantos's stories takes his characters into the strange, the odd, and the macabre but he always knows exactly how far to go and respects the youngster holding the book.  He overlays his stories with tenderness and affection.

Still, there are moments when the reader cannot believe what just happened. While reading his stories aloud, my listeners have been know to suddenly cover their eyes (not their ears) and exclaim, "I can't watch!"

It is fitting that after years of writing some of his childhood into the Jack Henry stories, his character has stepped out in Norvelt as "Jack Gantos" or "Gantos Boy." 

It is a testament to my dedication to this cause that I have stepped out from behind the dragon to appear here today.  (Well, almost. The new baby dragon wanted to be in the photo and, yes, it is chewing on Rumbaughs.)

I hope Jack can be considered for ambassador.  He would be grand.

Thank you Jules for arranging for our t-shirts. I wear mine with pride.