Jack Gantos was born July 2nd in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and raised in Barbados and South Florida. His father was in the Navy as well as in the construction business and the family moved around a lot. In all of their moves, Jack was always on the fringes and learned to watch and met many different kinds of kids. While a child Jack was a great keeper of a diary and journal writer. Today, as an adult, he uses these priceless accounts of his youth to gather information for characters in his many books for kids.
Some of his series of books are the Rotten Ralph books, Jack Henry, and most recently his Joey Pigza books. The Joey Pigza books are told by a little boy who has ADHD and the voice has a lot of heart and soul. Most of Jack Gantos' books are written and read first in Englandthe Joey books are the first to be introduced in the United States.
When asked if he had any special ways about fleshing out a story, this is what Jack said, "When I get ready to write autobiographical fiction, the first thing I like to do is draw a map in my journals. I draw all these maps. I find that drawing is a tremendous freewriting exercise; you're away from the stress of writing, that blank sheet of paper...so I just draw these little icons. I find that whenever I'm thinking of a story the first part I think of is that action part of the story. Something had to happen, something did happen. I usually don't start with a theme. I was not a very good student, I never could think of what the theme was; if I had to start with the theme, I could not write a story."