California State University, Northridge
Won the Printz Honor for his novel Grasshopper Jungle.
Won the Booklist Editor's Choice Award for his novel The Marbury Lens.
Finally sought publication for one of his works after a lifetime of constant and prolific writing with Ghost Medicine.
Announced to his family that he intended to become an author, but received no encouragement.
Had several jobs before becoming a teacher, working as a security guard, a longshoreman, and in a chemical mill.
The main character in his book The Alex Crow was inspired by a student he taught who was a Syrian refugee.
Continues working as a high school teacher despite his major success as an author.