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John Grandits

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John Grandits (born September 3, 1949) is a poet, children's book publisher, and art director known for his concrete poetry written for middle grade and teen audiences.[1][2] Grandits plays with the design and form of poetry-- experimenting with combining various fonts, typefaces, illustrations and layouts in his poetry.[3] His offbeat poems offer preteen readers an inviting introduction to the genre.[4]

His work combining the visual and verbal for a young audience began in the publishing world when he worked as a designer for Cricket Magazine.[5] A textbook designer by trade, he was asked to reformat Cricket's second issue in January 1973. He introduced typography, shifting away from the magazine's difficult to read hand lettering. Furthermore, in recognizing that storytelling isn't just about the words, Grandits emphasized illustration, contributing greatly to the aesthetic style that defined Cricket . He hired a number of illustrators to work for the magazine.[6] In 1979 he became Cricket's second Art Director. An interview with magazine founder Marianne Carus indicates that he had proposed expanding the magazine to television, an idea that did not come to fruition.[7] He helped launch the children's magazines Click, a science magazine for children aged 3-6 and Muse, a science, technology, arts and humor magazine for children 9-14 published by Cricket Media.[8] He is the author of "Beatrice Black Bear" a monthly cartoon for Click Magazine.[9] He has published six books for children and young adults.

Personal life[edit]

Born on September 3, 1949, writer John Grandits grew up in Buffalo, New York. His family lived above his grandfather's tailor shop, A.E.Jakusz, in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.[10] He attended St. Mary's High School in Buffalo and the Rochester Institute of Technology.[10]

He lives in Red Bank, NJ with his wife, Joanne, a children's book librarian, and cat Gilbert.[11]


  • Pictures Tell Stories (Open Court, 1995)
  • Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems (Clarion Books, 2004)[12][13]
  • Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems (Clarion Books, 2007)[14][15]
  • The Travel Game (Clarion Books, 2008)
  • Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus (Clarion Books, 2011)
  • Seven Rules Your Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the Cafeteria (Clarion Books, 2017)


  • Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Blue Lipstick (2008)[16]
  • ALA Notable Book for Children for Blue Lipstick (2008)[17]
  • ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers for Blue Lipstick (2008)[18]
  • Texas Bluebonnet Award (2014) for Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus[19]
  • Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award, Grades 3–5 (2014) for Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus[20]


  1. Avery, Laura (2015). The Writers Directory (33, vol 2. ed.). St. James Press via Gale eBooks. p. 1272. Retrieved 25 February 2021. Search this book on
  2. Auger, Tanya D. "John Grandits: Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems." The Horn Book Magazine, vol. 83, no. 4, July-Aug. 2007, p. 408+. Gale Academic OneFile, Retrieved 25 Feb. 2021.
  3. Peterson, Shelley and, Larry Swartz. "Good Books Matter How to Choose and Use Children's Literature to Help Students Grow as Readers ·". Pembroke Publishers. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  4. Vardell, Sylvia M. (2006-02-20). Poetry Aloud Here!: Sharing Poetry with Children in the Library. American Library Association. ISBN 978-0-8389-0916-4. Search this book on
  5. Risen, Clay (19 March 2021). "Marianne Carus, 92, dies; Created Cricket Magazine for the Young". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  6. O'Connell, A. J. (2017-11-07). "The Secret History of Cricket Magazine, the 'New Yorker for Children'". Electric Literature. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  7. "Interview with Marianne and Blouke Carus, May 29, 2018". Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  8. "John Grandits, Designer · The Origins of Cricket Magazine · SCRC Virtual Museum at Southern Illinois University's Morris Library". Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  9. "Grandits, John 1949". Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Fritz, Michelle. "Buffalo is Where the Heart Is". Am-Pol Eagle. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. "John Grandits". Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  12. "TECHNICALLY, IT'S NOT MY FAULT". Kirkus Reviews.
  13. The Book Review Digest: Annual cumulation. H. W. Wilson Company. 2005. Search this book on
  14. "BLUE LIPSTICK". Kirkus Reviews.
  15. Saccardi, Marianne (31 July 2014). Creativity and Children's Literature: New Ways to Encourage Divergent Thinking. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-61069-356-1. Search this book on
  16. "Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award". Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  17. "Current Notable Children's Books List". Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  18. admin (2008-01-15). "2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers". Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Retrieved 2021-02-27.
  19. "Texas Bluebonnet Award Winners". Retrieved 2021-02-25.
  20. "Awards for John Grandits - FictionDB". Retrieved 2021-02-27.

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