Young Readers

Strong Inside Young Reader edition coverAbout the Book

STRONG INSIDE young readers edition is the unforgettable tale of Perry Wallace, the first African American basketball player in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the college athletic league that spans the former states of the Confederacy. Far more than just a story about basketball, this is the true story of how one young man courageously overcame hatred, bullying, and isolation during the height of the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Based on the award-winning, New York Times bestseller for adults, STRONG INSIDE is a vibrant real-life story with the fast-pace of a page-turning novel. Perry Wallace is a remarkable figure: he was a slam-dunking basketball star, yes, but also a high school valedictorian, math and science scholar, trumpet player, Sunday School teacher, engineering major at Vanderbilt University, Columbia University law graduate, National Guardsman, and university professor. And he saw – and overcame – the worst of human nature all because of his race and the fact he dared to do something that had never been done before. Published by Philomel, STRONG INSIDE is a Junior Library Guild pick and has become a favorite for all-school reads.

About The Author

Who is this guy Andrew Maraniss, author of STRONG INSIDE? As a kid, he attended public schools in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Texas. He loved sports from an early age, and family legend says he learned how to read by studying a pack of baseball cards his grandfather bought him. By the age of 5, he was creating his own sports magazines, a habit that continued all the way through middle school. And, it was while attending middle school that he discovered that using his imagination to write creatively came with some cool benefits. He entered a creative writing contest and won! In high school, Andrew played baseball and was the sports editor of his school newspaper. This earned him a sportswriting scholarship to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where he majored in history and again served as sports editor of the school paper. The first time Andrew ever wrote about Perry Wallace was for a Black History class paper at Vanderbilt. After graduating, Andrew became the sports information director for the Vanderbilt baseball and basketball teams – meaning he was now getting paid to write about sports! Next, he joined a Major League Baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays, not as a player, but as media relations manager. Again, his job was to write about sports. Finally, Andrew took a break from sports, moving back to Nashville to join a public relations firm, where he eventually became one of the owners. But his love for sports and writing kept tugging at him, so after publishing the adult version of STRONG INSIDE, Andrew decided to make writing his full-time job. In addition to writing books, Andrew contributes to ESPN’s sports and race website, The Undefeated. He has appeared on national TV and radio programs on ESPN, NBC, MSNBC, NPR and the SEC Network, to name a few. The adult version of STRONG INSIDE was a New York Times bestseller in both the sports and race categories, and became the first sports-related book ever to win two prestigious civil rights awards, the Lillian Smith Book Award and the RFK Book Awards’ special recognition prize. Andrew lives near Nashville with his wife and two young children. Follow him on Twitter @trublu24 and online at