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Maniac Magee

Maniac Magee

by Jerry Spinelli

Maniac Magee Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Abandonment

There's more abandonment in Maniac Magee than in an ASPCA commercial. Maniac's parents abandoned him by dying, his aunt and uncle abandoned him emotionally by hating each other, Maniac abandons the...

Family

Family: you can't live with them, and you really can't live without them. Maniac Magee is a love letter to families. Jeffrey Lionel becomes Maniac because he lacks a family, and throughout the book...

Friendship

When Maniac Magee arrives in Two Mills, he doesn't have a friend in the world. Not even an imaginary one. So, is he searching for friends or a family? Can you have one without the other? The friend...

Courage

Would a legend be a legend without courage? For Maniac, courage is an essential part of who he is and who he is able to become. Come on, he didn't get his own jump rope rhyme by being scared of thi...

Race

Oooh, boy. This is a big one. Two Mills is divided in two, and never the twain shall meet… until Maniac, who's just crazy enough to make it happen. Maniac is white, but the first family he finds...

Freedom and Confinement

Not going to school? Sounds good to us! In fact, it sounds like the ultimate freedom. In Maniac Magee, though, skipping school isn't necessarily about freedom. And freedom might not be such a good...

Prejudice

A cement fort in the living room. Thinking that black people don't eat the same food as whites. Being afraid to walk on the wrong side of the street. Prejudice is all over Maniac Magee, and in a to...

Innocence

Maniac has it tough. It's awfully hard to remain innocent when you leave the only family you've ever known at age 11 and live by your wits for most of the next two years. At the same time, even tho...
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