A New Picture Book by KT Johnston
written for all ages, including readers 8-12
published by Capstone Editions
“RAILWAY JACK is a human story, a story of resilience, a story of a dependent relationship, the human/animal connection, and most of all, a story of great friendship.”
—Kevin Kling, author, storyteller and playwright
Well, monkey. Have I just bought myself more trouble?”
RAILWAY JACK is the true story of the remarkable partnership between a railwayman and a baboon in 1880s South Africa.
When Jim Wide lost his legs in an accident, he had to find clever ways to get around and perform his work. He obtained a very unusual, and very smart, helper: a baboon named Jack. But not everyone was happy to see a baboon at the rail yard signal hut, and Jim was fired. He pleaded with the authorities to give Jack a chance and they agreed to a test. But what about a monkey’s monkey business?? Jim and Jack’s futures lay in the hands—er, opposable thumbs—of a baboon!
RAILWAY JACK should entertain and enlighten readers of any age, and provides several topics of conversation for young people and their adults.
I like to tell little-known tales from the past; stories about special animals who positively impacted the lives of everyday people, and in doing so, made a mark on history—and in a way, on humanity itself.
Jack was exactly that.
Available for Preorder
Releasing Feb. 1, 2020
If your community or school libraries don’t have copies yet, contact their circulation desks or check their websites for instructions on suggesting titles for their collections.
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I love to be mind-blown and heart-torn.
Current favorite author: Yann Martel
Current favorite movie: A Street Cat Named Bob
Not long ago, I dug out my childhood memory box looking for a couple stories I remembered writing, wondering if I’d kept them. I had—as well as over a dozen others. I had forgotten how many I’d written, and how many of them were about animals.
I shouldn’t be surprised, though, because animals have always been in my heart. I earned a degree in biology and conducted wildlife behavior studies for the Forest Service and the MN Zoo. I developed materials for the zoo’s education department as well. After that, I chose the corporate world for more stability, married, and raised two children, now grown. We’ve never been without one or more dogs, and for some time, competed with our Curly-coated retrievers in the show ring, field events and obedience trials.
When my empty nest left me searching for myself, I began writing, and I realize now that narration has always been there, waiting inside for me to notice it.
Why historical nonfiction? I’d have to say it hasn’t been intentional; it’s just what knocks on my heart to come out. I’ve always been curious about the way things were, and history has a lot to tell us about the way things are. I feel my stories advocate for unheard voices whose lives may not have been inherently spectacular, but nevertheless made a mark on history, and in a way, perhaps even on humanity itself. These, the magic of imagining, and the treasure of uncovering untold tidbits from time are what drive my literary inspiration.
I hope my writing will inspire others to be curious about our world as well, one true story at a time.