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Official website of author Watt Key

Albert Watkins Key, Jr., publishing under the name Watt Key, is an award-winning southern fiction author. While enjoyed by all ages, his novels are widely used in elementary and middle grade classrooms for their success with young reluctant male readers.

His debut novel, ALABAMA MOON, was published to international acclaim in 2006. ALABAMA MOON won the 2007 E.B. White Read-Aloud Award, the 2006 Parent's Choice Gold Award and has been translated into eight languages. The companion novel, DIRT ROAD HOME, was published in 2010. Key's third novel, FOURMILE, was released in 2012 and earned STARRED REVIEWS from Kirkus Reviews, School Libary Journal, Publishers Weekly, and more.

His newest novels, AMONG THE SWAMP PEOPLE and TERROR AT BOTTLE CREEK, will be released in September, 2015 and January, 2016 respectively.

Alabama Moon and Awards

"Excellent. A terrific choice for reluctant readers." —Starred, Booklist

"An unusual coming-of-age story." —The New York Times Book Review

"A winningly fresh look at life and culture almost never seen in children's books." —The Horn Book

"Key writes honestly about hunting, trapping and the hardships of survival in this rather unusual coming-of-age story." —Kirkus Reviews

"Well written with a flowing style, plenty of dialogue, and lots of action." —School Library Journal

"Absorbing." —Publishers Weekly


Dirt Road Home"The tension, positioning, threats, and shifting alliances among the boys are believable and will hook readers." —School Library Journal

"Key nicely paces his tale, steadily building the tension . . . . There's more than enough action to keep the fidgitiest adolescent boy glued to the page here." —Mobile Press-Register

"With authentic characters and a candid first-person narrative, Key's story offers a disturbing appraisal of life in a juvenile facility, and a riveting battle for justice." —Publishers Weekly



Fourmile by Watt Key
FOURMILE earned starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and more!

* "Key (Alabama Moon, 2006, etc.) has crafted another powerful, riveting coming-of-age tale that doesn’t stint on violence to advance the action... Deeply moving and fast-paced, this life-affirming effort is a worthy addition to the bookshelves of sturdy readers." —Kirkus Reviews, starred

* "Like Moon, the protagonist of Key’s Alabama Moon, 12-year-old country boy Foster is a rough-edged hero with a barrelful of troubles and a large, compassionate heart.... Key masterfully unveils secrets, leading up to an explosive climax that tests the courage of everyone involved. Suspenseful and introspective, Key’s novel is an intimate portrait of the messy complexities of modern small-town life."  —Publisher's Weekly, Children's Reviews, starred

* "Simultaneously poignant and suspenseful, the story will keep readers on the edge of their seats." — School Library Journal, starred review

* "An original and satisfying coming-of-age tale." — The Horn Book , starred review

"Written in the tradition of classics such as Old Yeller and Shiloh but with a decidedly contemporary setting and tone, this will appeal to a broad range of readers." — BCCB