Jerry Spinelli (born February 1, 1941 in Norristown, Pennsylvania) is a noted children's author, specializing on novels written for and about early adolescence.
Among his books are Stargirl.
Spinelli first decided he wanted to become a writer at the age of 16, when his high school football team won a big game. He wrote a poem about this, and two days later the poem was published in the local newspaper.
When he began his professional writing career, Spinelli attempted to write books for adults, rather than children. These books were never published--the publishers he sent them to rejected them. Spinelli's writing direction changed one night when one of his six children ate some fried chicken that he had been saving for the next day. Spinelli wrote about this event. Eventually, what he wrote turned into his first published novel, Space Station Seventh Grade. Spinelli originally intended Space Station Seventh Grade to be an adult novel as well, but since the protagonist is 13 years old, adult publishers rejected it and it became a children's book.
Mr. Spinelli is a 1963 graduate of Gettysburg College. He earned an MA from Johns Hopkins University in 1964, and in 1977 he married his wife Eileen. From 1966 to 1972 he served in the United States Navy Reserve