Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli explores the themes of racism and homelessness in an engaging, humorous, and interesting way. It is a great book to use in your classroom or homeschool for a whole class novel study, small book groups, or individual book studies.



Maniac Magee was first published in 1990. Among the many awards bestowed upon the novel, it won the acclaimed Newbery Medal in 1991, has been named one of the “Teachers’ Top 100 Books for Children” by the NEA, and was ranked #40 of the all-time best children’s novels by the School Library Journal.

Summary of Maniac Magee:

*From the book jacket

Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a trolley accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run- and not just run away, but run. And this is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats.



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Maniac Magee is a great novel to use as a scholarly tool to address racial and class issues with young students in a poignant and humorous way.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Maniac Magee for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

You can purchase this novel study at the following locations:

Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

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