Maniac Magee in Elementary School Curricula

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  • Topic: Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee, Elmwood Park Zoo
  • Pages : 2 (582 words )
  • Download(s) : 465
  • Published : August 17, 2010
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Use in education and research Maniac Magee is popular in elementary school curricula. Many study units and teaching guides are available, including a study guide by the author. The novel has been used as a tool in scholarly work on childhood education and development. Fondrie cites it as an example in a discussion of how to bring up and discuss issues of race and class among young students McGinley and Kamberlis use it in a study of how children use reading and writing as “vehicles for personal, social, and political exploration.” Along the same lines, Lehr and Thompson examine classroom discussions as a reflection of the teacher’s role as cultural mediator and the response of children to moral dilemmas, and Enesco studies expressions of social identity in the responses of children to Maniac Magee. The Story behind the book The imaginary town of Two Mills is based on Jerry Spinelli’s childhood town of Norristown, PA. Spinelli has said that material from the story was inspired by his childhood experiences there, and a number of geographical correspondences confirm this. Norristown, like Two Mills, is across the Schuylkill River from Bridgeport, and neighboring towns include Conshohocken, Jeffersonville and Worcester, all of which are mentioned in the novel In fact, Conshohocken has a Hector street, which historically served as a boundary between African American and White residents The Elmwood Park Zoo is in Norristown, and Valley Forge, where Maniac wanders after the death of Grayson,is nearby as well Major characters Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee is the book’s protagonist and titular character. Jeffrey is orphaned and finds himself in Two Mills, where he becomes a local legend while trying to find a home. He has astonishing athletic abilities, runs everywhere he goes, can untie any knot, is allergic to pizza, and crosses the barrier between East End and West End as if blind to racial distinction. Amanda Beale is the first person Maniac meets in Two Mills. Amanda...
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