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Jack Gantos, Skyler Kardell, and How a Book Can Change Your Life

May 5, 2018 by Nantucket Book Festival
Jack Gantos 2
It is through the richness of language that writers stimulate and steer the imagination of readers, and it is language and imagination that allows readers to steer themselves into and out of deep water. — Jack Gantos

Ever since our beginnings in 2012, the Nantucket Book Foundation has brought award-winning authors to our island to inspire, encourage, and ignite the imaginations of our students. Jack Gantos was the first author we hosted; Skyler Kardell was in elementary school, preparing for Jack’s visit by reading Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key. Here’s why Jack wrote the book, and how it made a difference in Skyler’s life.

“It is reading that gives the writer the words to drill down and define with depth and nuance his or her own humanity. I published a book titled Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, about a young boy with ADHD who is often out of control. He is far more active than articulate, and through his up and down journey to gain self-control he has to use language to fully define who he is within himself—which, heroically, he does. I single out this book because I receive hundreds of letters each year from readers—boys and girls--who like the story—but love the character—and have found through the reading a greater understanding of characters like “Joey” and thus a greater understanding of their own humanity toward others.”     – Jack
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“I would consider this book (which I had read only because I would be meeting the author) the sole reason why I am a reader and writer today. Something about Joey Pigza’s crazy antics or his outlandish behaviors connected with me. Maybe not because I was a child suffering from ADHD, but because I knew how it felt to be different.

I went into books head-first after that, looking for something I could connect with again. The world wasn’t so lonely of a place when I picked up a book. In the end, I look back to Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key as the catalyst in this chain of reactions that has helped make me who I am today.” – Skyler

Skyler’s new-found appreciation for reading, thanks to Jack’s visit, changed his life. Last year we were proud to present Skyler with the Nantucket Book Foundation’s Young Writer Award, and thrilled to see our work come full circle. We share Skyler’s passion for books, to better connect with and understand our place in this world.

Inspiring the imaginations of our students is just one way that the Nantucket Book Foundation enriches our community year-round. So whether you’re planning to enjoy the 7th annual Nantucket Book Festival in June (where over 75% of the events are free), or you are as excited as we are to herald the next generation of readers and writers, we hope you will support us with your donation today.
Simply click here to donate online.

With gratitude,
The Nantucket Book Foundation Team