WICHITA, Kan. — An enthusiastic crowd gathered at Watermark Books & Cafe to celebrate the release of author Grant Overstake’s highly anticipated new young adult novel, The Real Education of TJ Crowley. The book has received fine endorsements and reviews and is now on sale at booksellers nationwide and around the world.
Overstake, author of Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, expressed his gratitude for the support he received in writing his second book, which was released Nov. 5, 2018 by Grain Valley Publishing Co.
Maggie has become modern classic in the worldwide pole-vaulting community since it was published in 2012. Olympians endorsed the book and coaches have purchased copies to inspire their young vaulters. Maggie was named “National Book of the Week” by BookWorks; Audie Award-winning voice actress Tavia Gilbert earned top reviews for her audiobook performance of the story from AudioFile magazine; and the story was a “Too Cool for School” read by Publishers Weekly.
As a Teaching Artist for Arts Partners in Wichita, Overstake presents student assemblies to 3rd through 5th graders called “Don’t Quit, Use Grit!” using pole-vaulting and Maggie’s resilient character as a jumping off point to talk about other “famous failures” like Edison and Einstein and Oprah — to encourage youngsters to get back up and try, try again.
The Real Education of TJ Crowley addresses the explosive subjects of prejudice, school integration and racism and is written for more mature readers. The story is historical fiction, set in Wichita during the turbulent years of 1968 and 1969 and is told by a fiery tempered 13-year-old from a racist household, who is forced to choose sides after a black couple and their daughter cross the city’s hard-drawn color line and move into the house next door, unaware that the Crowleys are a bigoted brood with ties to evil men.
Like Maggie, the Overstake’s new story features a track and field event as a backdrop: Shot Putting.