Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 1, 2021

Book Giveaway: DEAD WEDNESDAY by Jerry Spinelli

Jerry Spinelli has a new middle grade book DEAD WEDNESDAY and published by Knopf Books for Young Readers. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner living in the United States.

Just leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know how you shared the good news. If you follow my blog and have it delivered daily, let me know in the comments so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Jerry.


Fans of Stargirl and Maniac Magee rejoice! Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli delivers a brilliant new novel about being bold, and taking charge of your life.

Worm Tarnauer has spent most of eighth grade living down to his nickname. He prefers to be out of sight, underground. He walked the world unseen. He’s happy to let his best friend, Eddie, lead the way and rule the day.

And this day–Dead Wednesday–is going to be awesome. The school thinks assigning each eighth grader the name of a teenager who died in the past year and having them don black shirts and become “invisible” will make them contemplate their own mortality. Yeah, sure. The kids know that being invisible to teachers really means you can get away with anything. It’s a day to go wild!

But Worm didn’t count on Becca Finch (17, car crash). Letting this girl into his head is about to change everything.

Jerry Spinelli tells the story of the unexpected, heartbreaking, hilarious, truly epic day when Worm Tarnauer discovers his own life.


DEAD WEDNESDAY began with a letter from a teacher. Maybe 10-15 years ago. To my everlasting regret, I cannot find that letter. Meaning in the Thank You section I could not thank by name the angel of a teacher who sent the letter.

But I never forgot it. The letter described a tradition in her middle school whereby, on a designated Wednesday every school year, each eighth-grader is required to be “dead” for the day. This means each of them dons a black shirt. This means each of them, all day long–in the classrooms, the corridors, the restrooms–is ignored by both students and teachers. They are invisible. They are “dead.”

The idea is to give the kids a sobering taste of reality before they are released to the temptations and perils of high school. For the day each eighth-grader assumes the name and identity of a student in the state who died the previous year.

A writer knows when a story is there. The problem is panning for it–shaking and sieving out the gold. For years that’s all I knew: there was a story there. When I finally got around to panning for the gold, I discovered something unexpected: this was a “ghost story.” But I don’t do ghost stories! Hah! New lesson: be nimble, writer. When the story is right, change your identity.

So I began with a title and fading memories of a lost letter and made up the rest. I hope you like it.


One day in second grade Jerry Spinelli dressed up in his cowboy outfit, complete with golden cap pistols and spurs on his boots. He went to school that way. It was not Halloween. When the teacher asked if he “would like to do something for the class,” he got up and sang “I Have the Spurs that Jingle Jangle Jingle.”

Shortly thereafter he ceased to be a singing cowboy and decided to become a baseball player. In eleventh grade he wrote a poem about a high school football game. It was published in the local (Norristown, PA) newspaper. He traded in his baseball bat for a pencil and became a writer.

The story of his life to that point is told in his memoir Knots in My Yo-Yo String. His sixth novel, Maniac Magee, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1991 for “The Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children.” His eighteenth book, Wringer, received a Newbery Honor. Several are optioned for film.

Jerry Spinelli’s books appear in more than 40 languages. Anti-apartheid forces in South Africa recruited Maniac Magee to their cause. Village audiences in rural Japan view stage performances of Loser. Stargirl has been translated and distributed throughout the Middle East to encourage peace between Arab nations and the West. Stargirl was nominated One of the Best YA Novels of All Time and Disney+ recently made a movie of Stargirl, which is now streaming on their site. Hollywood Stargirl is now in production with Disney+. Stargirl Societies have sprung up around the world.

Jerry Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow author, Eileen, in Pennsylvania.

DEAD WEDNESDAY is Jerry’s latest book (Number 37). It will hit bookstores on August 3rd. Click  for a list of all Jerry Spinelli’s books.

Don’t miss these free virtual opportunities to spend some time with:

Two Newbery winners Jerry Spinelli in conversation with Rebecca Stead during his Book Launch for Dead Wednesday – August 3rd. 

Newbery Medal-winning authors Jerry Spinelli and Christopher Paul Curtis discussing Spinilli’s new middle-grade novel, Dead Wednesday, and writing for young readers – August 4th.

Newbery Medal winners Jerry Spinelli and Adam Gidwitz spend time talking about Dead Wednesday and books – August 5th.


Click here to read more about Jerry.

You can visit Jerry at:

Jerry, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. It is always exciting to have a new Spinelli book to read. Spending time with this book was a joy. Another home run. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the teacher who wrote that letter to you all those years ago and was the inspiration for this book, reads this? Stranger things have happened. You always have such good stories and this journey is one of them. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I think this might just be a book that my 13 year son will read. Definitely sharing this info on fb!


  2. Can’t wait to get my hands on this book. Kathy, I am a subscriber. Best of Success to Jerry!


  3. I’d love to read this. What a great opportunity to win a copy!


  4. Thanks so much for sharing the interesting story of how this novel evolved. I can’t wait to read it!


  5. I’m so excited for this book!! Huge congratulations to Jerry! I subscribe and tweeted about this at


  6. Sounds terrific, full of emotion. I’d love to have a copy. Thanks.
    I’ve tweeted:, and shared:
    I also follow daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
    Thanks again, have a great day everyone!!


  7. This sounds wonderful. Would love to read this and have my boys read this as well. Thanks for sharing the powerful inspiration behind it.
    Rebecca Gardyn Levington


  8. You had me with Jerry Spinelli. The ghost story sealed the deal. I am also a subscribe. Be well all ❤


  9. Will definitely look for this one–can’t wait to read it!


  10. This is one of my favorite authors! I’m so excited he has a new book coming out! I’m an email subscriber and shared on social:


  11. Wow! What an amazingly intriguing concept. I look forward to reading this!


  12. What an important and innovative way this middle school has of grabbing their students’ attention about an important issue. Thank you, Jerry, for sharing this story with us. Looking forward to reading your book.


  13. This sounds like a fascinating book! Thanks for sharing, Jerry! I can just see you wearing your cowboy boots and spurs. 🙂 Congrats!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this. 🙂


  14. Jerry might not write ghost stories, and I don’t read ghost stories, but I would like to read this ghost story he wrote! Thanks for the chance. I follow your blog by email.


  15. Jerry Spinelli gave me many wonderful memories of reading with my daughters and I am forever grateful. I’m excited to read his new book. Kathy, I am a subscriber and will share on Twitter.


  16. I can’t wait to read this. I’m a huge fan.


  17. I sat next to Jerry and his wife at a Highlights event and they are both lovely people. He even gave me his email when I told him I teach Stargirl (which is based on his wife).


  18. I shared on FB, Twitter, and pinterest. I love his books.


  19. I really love Jerry Spinelli’’s books. When I was a graduate school at Rutgers earning my MLS, I responded to a review of Maniac Magee that I read in SLJ. The reviewer had gotten the story all wrong, including identifying the race of the main character. I was indignant that someone who obviously had not read the book closely would be published in SLJ.
    I would love to win this new book. And to donate it to the middle school library at my grandchildren’s school.


  20. Carol,
    I also shared on Facebook.


  21. Such an intriguing concept. Definitely looking forward to reading this one!


  22. This book looks awesome and would love to win it!


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