Jerry Spinelli’s Newbery Medal award-winning children’s classic, Maniac Magee, is an adept exploration of racial tensions and the childhood difficulties of fitting in. Jeffrey Magee is an orphan, bent on running everywhere and anywhere, which becomes his noted attribute. Having left the troubled residence of his aunt and uncle a year previously, Jeffrey runs into Two Mills, a Pennsylvania community with a distinct racial dichotomy of white and black. When Jeffrey first enters the East End, residence of the blacks, the presence of a young white boy, who has unwittingly crossed the unseen line between the two sides of town, stirs up both interest and antagonism. His every move noticed and catalogued, Jeffrey continues to be a source of tension on both sides of town, as he later hits every pitch from Giant John McNab, the renowned Little League pitcher, earning Jeffrey his “Maniac” moniker. Later, having been taken in by avid reader Amanda Beale’s family, Maniac hopes to have finally found a home, but racial tensions rear their head, and the Beale family becomes a vandalism target for housing a white boy in a black neighborhood. Maniac, still on a search for a home, must navigate the racial division that marks Two Mills, and may just discover, by not “fitting in”, he can be the one to begin the healing process between the divided sectors. Spinelli’s novel is a tour-de-force, addressing racial prejudices with a pointed sensitivity, and his humorous, kind-hearted protagonist grounds Maniac Magee as a must-read novel for students ages 11 and up.