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Montgomery and the Case of the Golden Key
Tracy Occomy Crowder, illustrations by Kristin Sorra


It's 2008, and ten-year-old Montgomery "Monty" Carver is out to find the origin of a golden key found in his South Side Chicago community—which may or may not host the next Olympic games, or supply the next President of the United States, or...have a potential ghost hanging around.

In 2008 Chicago, in the Southside community of Washington Park, Montgomery"Monty" Carver has planned the best summer ever! Unfortunately, things aren't going as planned. Monty is struggling to prove to his parents that he's old enough to be without adult supervision--especially after a very embarrassing incident with a metal detector. Man!

So when Monty finds a golden key in Old Lady Jenkins's sunflowers, he decides he's going to unravel the key's mystery all by himself, thank you very much--not with friends, and definitely not with his parents. Besides, he's ten years old now, and he's mastered the perfectly round 'fro! (It takes a protractor, you see.)

Soon Monty's hunt to determine the origin of the key leads him to discover the rich history--like famous Black jockeys!--of his Chicago community, which has been speculating its future since one of their residents, Barack Obama, is running for president and the Olympics might come to town in 2016.

On top of all that speculating, there are rumors going around that a ghost is hanging out behind their apartment building, and that Monty's elementary school may have to close.

So much to solve! Should the Olympics come? Will his community change if his school closes? Is there really a ghost? And where, oh where, did the key come from anyway? Monty is determined to find out.


Tracy Occomy Crowder is a community organizer who has worked to address issues of racial equity across Illinois for the past thirty years, particularly in housing and education. In this work, she brought recess back to Chicago Public Schools. As an author, she enjoys creating work steeped in African-American history, culture, struggles, and human foibles as well as share unknown historical facts with humor and everyday experiences. This is Tracy's first middle grade novel.

[H]  Tu Books  /  October 10, 2023

0.81" H x 7.82" L x 5.31" W (0.86 lbs) 304 pages