Jack Gantos is an American author of children's books renowned for his portrayal of fictional Joey Pigza, a boy with ADHD. Gantos has won a number of awards, including the Newbery Honor, the Printz Honor, and the Sibert Honor from the American Library Association, and he has been a finalist for the National Book Award. His newest book, The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs (2006), deals with twins, eugenics, taxidermy (in particular, human taxidermy), and implicit incest.
Gantos was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania to son of construction superintendent John Gantos and banker Elizabeth (Weaver) Gantos. The seeds for Jack Gantos' writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister's diary and decided he could write better than she could. Born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and raised in Barbados and South Florida, Mr. Gantos began collecting anecdotes in grade school and later gathered them into stories.
He moved to a Caribbean island (St Croix) and began to train as a builder. He soon realized that construction was not his forté and started saving for college. He decided to move to complete high school and while staying in a motel a friend introduced him to hash. He soon hooked up with a drug smuggler and was offered a chance to make 10 000 dollars by sailing to New York with 2,000 pounds of hash. With an English psycho captain on board they set off to the big city. Once there they hung out at the Chelsea hotel and Gantos carried on dreaming about college. Then, in Jacks own words, "The shit hit the fan" and the F.B.I. burst in on him. He managed to escape and hid out in the very same motel he was living during high school. However, he saw sense and turned himself in. He was sentenced to one and a half years in prison, which he describes in his novel -Hole in my life-. however he found a plan that involved getting him released in prison and accepted into college. It worked.
He received his BFA and his MA both from Emerson College. While in college, Jack began working on picture books with an illustrator friend. In 1976, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph. Mr. Gantos continued writing children's books and began teaching courses in children's book writing. He developed the master's degree program in children's book writing at Emerson College in Boston, and is now teaching in the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children's book writers.
He married art dealer Anne A. Lower on November 11, 1989. The couple has one child, Mabel Grace, and they live in Boston, Massachusetts.