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Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

by Jack Gantos

Published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1998
154 pages
ISBN: 0-374-33664-4

Ages 9 - 12

Joey Pigza tries--he really tries--to behave. But in school and at home, his brain seems to be working against him. He's antsy. He can't focus. He blurts out answers without being called on and bounces up and down in his seat. And when his attention wanders, as it often does, it usually leads him into trouble he never intended. But Joey is a good kid--a very good kid. He is kind-hearted, funny, and brighter than his grades would allow. But when he tries to help out or do well, he often ends up making a mess of things. It's hard always being a disappointment, but Joey is finally getting help. Raised for several years by his grandmother, who has many of the same traits as Joey, his mother has come back into his life is determined to start turning things around. At the request of Joey's school, she takes him to the doctor, and that is when Joey is diagnosed with ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The diagnosis is just the beginning, however. Over the course of a year there are disasters and successes both small and large as Joey and his mom learn together, with the help of doctors, therapists, his classroom and special education teachers and others, how to deal with ADHD so that Joey can suceed and feel good about himself. Readers will be instantly drawn into this sensitive, funny first-person narrative by Joey's energetic, insightful voice. He is a terrificly appealing child whose creativity and goodness shine. CCBC categories: Fiction for Children.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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