Lori Saigeon is an elementary school teacher, living and working in Regina, Saskatchewan. Her interest in children's literature stems from reading first to her students and then to her own children. It was while teaching in inner-city Regina that Lori noticed a lack of fiction geared for urban children, particularly those growing up in an small prairie city and most especially those with a First Nations/Metis background. Lori also noticed that many children' novels "glossed over" the realities of some children's lives. She felt that many children need a place in which to see their own issues resonating. That is, they need to feel that the stories they read are true to life. Lori was born and raised in Regina, where she has been writing since she was a child. Her first book-length story was "The Flying Mouse," written in grade 6. She also wrote poetry for most of her childhood. Lori is married and is inspired by her three wonderful, school-age children.
Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip."
Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."
With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs. The perfect classroom read.