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Maniac Magee - Study Guide

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Click here for a sample section of the Maniac Magee Study Guide!     Check out the E-Guide version, available immediately!       Get the book Maniac Magee HERE 

Newbery Medal Winner 1991, Horn Book, Carolyn Field, Charlotte, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Mark Twain Award, Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book, William Allen White, U.S. National Ed. Assoc. "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children”. School Library Journal all-time kid's novels. 

Two Mills is a town divided by race. The white people live on the west side of Hector Street, and the black people live on the east side. But Maniac, who is white, doesn't recognize the barrier. He quickly befriends a black girl and soon finds himself invited to live with the Beales, a family on the East End. Maniac seems to have found a warm, loving home at last, but there are some on the East End who do not want a white boy living among them.

Because he fears what might happen to the Beales, Maniac runs away again. When Earl Grayson discovers Maniac living in the buffalo pen at the Elmwood Park Zoo, he takes him into his care. Grayson is a park worker, but Maniac quickly discovers that Grayson was once a pitcher in the minor leagues. As Grayson shares tales of his short-lived baseball career, he also reveals to Maniac that he cannot read. With patience and encouragement, Maniac begins to help the old man learn to read. It seems that Maniac has found a new home living in the equipment room at the park's band shell, but the unexpected death of the old man sends Maniac on the run and deep in despair.

A chance encounter with two young runaways brings Maniac back to the West End of Two Mills and the dysfunctional McNab home. There he sees the terrible effects of the racial barrier in Two Mills, and in his own small way, Maniac decides to make a difference. A modern tall tale about a homeless boy whose legendary feats bring together a town divided by distrust and misunderstanding!

Through Jerry Spinelli's creative legend, students will learn:

About the Author: Learn about Jerry Spinelli.

Vocabulary words used throughout the novel, utilizing a variety of activities to stimulate retention and growth.

Literary Techniques: Dictionary, metaphor, simile, hyperbole, descriptive writing, synonym, point of view, extended metaphor, conflict, complication, resolution, theme, parallel.

Moral Lessons and Character Values:  Facts vs. truth, marriage, wholesome talk, God sees our heart, prayer, thankfulness, despair, peace, love your neighbor, all equal in Christ, racism. 

Activities and Writing Assignments:  Mapping, folk tales, racism, class discussion, essay writing, homelessness.

Suggestions for Further Reading:  We include a wonderful reading list of more books by the same author(s) and other books that tie in with, or are similar to, Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.

All of the unit lessons are written from a Christian worldview!

Features and Benefits of the study guide

Printed Workbook Format

  • Large 8.5x11 format is convenient to read and easy on the eyes
  • Every question has plenty of whitespace for student’s answers
  • Encourages neat and clean handwriting practice
  • Easily transports without the need for a laptop or other expensive equipment
  • Provides a permanent record of the student’s work
  • Convenient, removable answer key included for the teacher!

  CD Format

  • Provides the study guide in universally compatible PDF format (works on Mac AND Windows)
  • No costly software purchases necessary
  • Our Interactive Study Guide should be opened with the FREE Adobe Readerprogram. With the interactive feature, students have the capability of entering their answers directly on the computer and saving their work in progress.
    Note: Mobile Devices/Tablets may require alternative app that supports and saves fillable form fields.
  • Or choose to conveniently print what you need, when you need it:
    • Print the whole guide at once
    • Print single lessons or pages as the student completes them
    • Print multiple copies of the entire guide for classroom sets
  • Easy to use with multiple students
  • Complete separate answer key file included for the teacher!
Recommended Grade Level:
6-8
Setting:
Near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, late 1900s
Workbook ISBN:
978-1-58609-343-3
CD ISBN:
978-1-58609-578-9
Study Guide Author:
Andrew Clausen
For the Book By:
Jerry Spinelli
Study Guide Page Count:
65 pages