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Jack Gantos Books In Order

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Publication Order of Hidden Files of Joey Pigza Books

The Dented Head of Joey Pigza (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Pain in the Pigza (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Jack Henry Books

Heads or Tails (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jack's New Power (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jack's Black Book (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jack on the Tracks (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Jack Adrift (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Joey Pigza Books

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Joey Pigza Loses Control (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
What Would Joey Do? (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
I Am Not Joey Pigza (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Norvelt Books

Dead End in Norvelt (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
From Norvelt to Nowhere (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Rotten Ralph Books

Rotten Ralph (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Worse Than Rotten, Ralph (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph Helps Out (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph's Rotten Christmas (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph's Trick or Treat (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph's Show and Tell (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Happy Birthday Rotten Ralph (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Not So Rotten Ralph (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph's Rotten Romance (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph's Halloween Howl (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Back to School for Rotten Ralph (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Best in Show for Rotten Ralph (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Christmas Spirit Strikes Rotten Ralph (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wedding Bells for Rotten Ralph (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph's Thanksgiving Wish (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Practice Makes Perfect for Rotten Ralph (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph Feels Rotten (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Best in Show for Rotten Ralph [With Book] (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Nine Lives of Rotten Ralph (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Three Strikes for Rotten Ralph (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rotten Ralph's Rotten Family (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Willy's Raiders (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Zip Six (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Desire Lines (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Trouble in Me (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Hole in My Life (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing Radar (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Graphic Novels

with Dave McKean
A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Picture Books

with Nicole Rubel
Sleepy Ronald (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fair-Weather Friends (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Aunt Bernice (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Perfect Pal (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Greedy Greeny (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Swampy Alligator (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Werewolf Family (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

This Family Is Driving Me Crazy(2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Funny Business(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Exquisite Corpse Adventure(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Heroes & Villains(2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Jack Gantos

American novelist and children’s writer Jack Gantos is well known for writing fun and engaging fiction for a young audience. Reaching readers from all over the world, he’s a massively admired writer with much to say, really capturing the attention of many young readers from around the world. Using colorful and vivid imagery, he really sets himself apart, as his writing in both funny and entertaining in equal measure. Often working with comic-books too, he’s a hugely versatile writer as well, with him being adept in many different formats.

Many of his books are illustrated, as he teaches young readers to read, whilst also nurturing a passion for literature as an art-form. Resonating with his readers from all over, he’s become a much sought after author, with a long and illustrious writing career behind him. Creating numerous compelling series over the duration of his writing career, he’s also produced a variety of iconic protagonists too. One series that he’d be particularly well known for is that of his much loved ‘Rotten Ralph’ series of illustrated picture books.

Creating many well written characters Jack Gantos would come to produce a variety of leading protagonists who would stick with readers. Giving his work an immediate quality, he has become one of the main voices currently working within his industry and field to date. Keeping his readers continually coming back for more time and time again, his work continues to resonate with readers from all over. Maintaining a strong profile both online and off, he continues to build a following with readers from all around the world.

Early and Personal Life

Born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, on the 2nd of July in 1951, Jack Gantos was born nearby to the city of Pittsburgh. Growing up with a Elizabeth, a banker, as his mother, and John, a construction superintendent, as his father, with him growing up with a keen interest in literature. Raised in South Florida and then the Caribbean, he would follow his parents, moving to St. Croix based in the Virgin Islands.

Entering college he would continue his focus on writing, leading to the publication of his first children’s book in 1976. Meeting Nicole Rubel, a student at Boston Museum School, the two would work together on the Rotten Ralph series over the few decades. Still working and writing to this day, he teaches on the subject of writing for children, becoming a professor of creative writing and literature, developing a master’s degree program in the process.

Writing Career

The first book that Jack Gantos would publish was his 1976 children’s picture book ‘Rotten Ralph,’ beginning a series of the same name. Over the following years he would work alongside the illustrator Nicole Rubel, as they would create over twenty novels together and counting. He’s also created a number of other children’s series too, such as ‘Jack Henry,’ ‘Joey Pigza,’ and ‘Norvelt’ to name just a few.

Gantos has also produces some novels aimed at Young Adult readers too, appealing to an even wider demographic. Winning countless awards, including the Newbery Award, and the Michael L. Printz Award, he’s also gone on to be critically acclaimed too. In the past he also written some non-fiction works based on his own life, looking at his time selling drugs and incarceration with 1997 novel ‘Hole in My Life’ before becoming a writer.

Back to School for Rotten Ralph

Initially published in 1998, this would be the eleventh book in the long-running series of ‘Rotten Ralph’ picture books. Arriving on the 1st of August, it would come out through the HarperCollins Publishers imprint to much acclaim, with over twenty years of the series up to that point. Written alongside the illustrator Nicole Rubel, it was a bright and colorful picture book for young readers from all over.

The end of summer has finally arrived, and Sarah wants to return to school so she can make some friends besides her rotten cat Ralph. That’s when Rotten Ralph decides to follow her to school, playing pranks upon her, and generally messing up her day. Disguising himself as a student, he follows on the bus into class, and it’s only then that his real identity is revealed, and everyone wants to be friends with them both. Will Sarah be be able to make new friends besides Ralph, can they make their way in this new school, and what happens when it’s back to school for Rotten Ralph?

With its bright and colorful visuals and fun and entertaining character, it’s easy to see why Rotten Ralph would be adapted into a television show as well. Running from 1998 to 2001, it would be a popular CBBC kid’s cartoon series, and would also run on the Nickelodeon channel as well. Having become an iconic character for many over the years, Ralph and Sarah have will remain enduring as a duo for many years yet.

Hole in My Life

Originally written and published in 1997, this would be a stand-alone memoir from Jack Gantos looking back upon an earlier time in his life. Released through the Farrar Straus Giroux publishing label, this would first arrive on the 26th of March as a completely non-fiction novel aimed at adults. Different from his other work, this would provide plenty of insight into the authors own life and how he came to be the writer he’s known as today.

An aspiring writer, this sees Jack Gantos in 1971 looking for a way to fund his college education, as he hopes to get out of his dead-end job. Given the chance to sail a sixty-foot yacht from the Virgin Islands into New York City, he’s offered the chance to smuggle in a ton of hashish aboard the vessel. Making his way into New York City, he then proceeds to sell it before being caught and serving one and a half years of a six-year sentence. Following this he went on to attend college, as this book looks back on his time in jail, and how he came to be there in the first place.

Being that Jack Gantos is such a successful author of children’s books, this memoir is often overlooked in his vast and expansive writing career. It’s definitely worth reading though, especially for anyone who’s grown up with his stories, as it really does provide another side to his life. Writing in a highly personal style, he looks back at the mistakes of his past, really putting them into perspective for the reader in a manner that is truly compelling.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Jack Gantos

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