John Coy tells us that he decided to become an author after, on a whim, he typed his name into the library catalog and got zero results. “That,” he explains, “is when I realized that if I wanted something to come up, I needed to write.” Today, his fans are certainly glad for those zero results.
Be sure to look for our review of his new book, Gap Life, which received a highly recommended rating in the November-December issue of School Library Connection. Subscribers can see our complete archive of reviews on reVIEWS+.
John Coy loves writing, and sharing that process with students is one of the things he loves the most about school visits. “It’s so different compared with what many of them imagine, with lots of false starts, mistakes, and rejection,” he tells us. “It’s an amazing process to start with nothing other than an idea and turn it into a book. I love inspiring students to see reading and writing in new ways.”
He also encourages teachers and librarians to try their hand at writing: “Many teachers and librarians enjoyed writing when they were younger but don’t get many opportunities to write for pleasure now. I’ve been in schools lately where teachers and librarians have set up writing groups where they write together and read their writing to each other. These groups have many benefits including giving instructors a stronger sense of what students are struggling with as well as students being able to see their instructors as writers. With writing, we’re all in it together, all of us trying to become better.”
Coy writes books for all age groups. His picture books include Night Driving, Vroomaloom Zoom, Hoop Genius, and Their Great Gift; middle schoolers can enjoy For Extreme-Sports Crazy Boys Only, Eyes on the Goal, Top of the Order, and more; and for those young adults there’s Gap Life, Crackback, and Box Out. Many of his titles feature sports, especially basketball—in fact, Coy is a member of Read to Achieve’s NBA Reading All-Star Team—but most often, the sport is simply the backdrop to the more central theme of growing as a person. When asked what he would like his readers to take away from his books, he replied: “I hope they enjoy them. For picture books, I hope they like reading them over and over. My YA and middle-grade novels are about identity, and I think many of us can use characters we connect strongly with as we decide who we are and who we want to be.”
We all know children need characters with whom they can connect and Coy would like to remind teachers and librarians how important a role they play in this. “Teachers and librarians,” he insists, “change lives. I see this over and over but sometimes teachers and librarians don’t get to see the direct connection to the lives they change. They don’t just change the lives of individual students, they change the lives of the descendants of those students. I am the beneficiary of the teachers and librarians who changed my life and the lives of those who came before me. For that, I am grateful.”
For more about John Coy and his books, visit http://www.johncoy.com/index.html