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Books for Children


Voices of Justice

VOICES OF JUSTICE: Poems about People Working for a Better World
By George Ella Lyon
Illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter
Henry Holt, 9781250263209

In the face of injustice, the world has always looked to brave individuals to speak up and spark change. Nelson Mandela used his voice to bring down Apartheid. Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birutè Galdikas gave a voice to the primates who couldn't speak for themselves. The Women of Greenham Common used their collective voice to fight against preparations for nuclear war. And today's youth-like Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the students of Stoneman Douglas High School, and Greta Thunberg-unite their voices to stop gun violence, save the planet, and so much more.

Through enlightening poems by award-winning poet and author George Ella Lyon and stunning portraits by artist Jennifer M. Potter, Voices of Justice introduces young readers to the groundbreaking work of people who fought-and continue to fight-to make the world a better place.

Featuring those mentioned above along with Virginia Woolf, Dolores Huerta, Shirley Chisholm, Jasilyn Charger, Jeannette Rankin, and more, each portrait offers a vision of action and love that gets up and does something, no matter the forces ranged against it, no matter the odds.

"Lyon uses poetry to highlight the stories of historical and contemporary activists. Whether it involves writing, creating art, protesting, or running for office, there is something to inspire every reader. The featured poems showcase a variety of forms and are enhanced by Potter's artwork. Each spread explores a different type of poetry, such as golden shovel, free verse, and concrete poetry. Sometimes the poem is a part of the illustration. Expressive portraits of the advocates provide engaging details. Many of the names will be familiar to children (James Baldwin, Jane Goodall, Dolores Huerta, Nelson Mandela, Greta Thunberg). The title ends on a call to action: The reader is the future of activism. The back matter includes more information about the activists, a guide for parents and caregivers, a glossary, and selected sources. VERDICT A motivating collection that celebrates past and present advocates. An additional purchase for elementary school collections."—School Library Journal

"Activism is soaring among young people, but who paved the way to fight intolerance and injustice? Prolific poet Lyon introduces practicing and historic global activists through 18 descriptive, free verse poems. From Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, to Alexya Salvador, Brazil's first transgender teacher, pastor, and adoptive parent, to the gun violence survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the activists reflect a diverse range of race, gender, sexual identity, and social justice issues. A few of the poems take different forms, such as the house-shaped poem about Jane Addams' creation of Hull House andthe protest signs that embody Dolores Huerta's marches for workers' rights, to highlight the activists' specific causes. Potter's expressive illustrations offer more context, like a large black snake, representing an oil pipeline, that ominously slithers underground while Indigenous earth activist Jasilyn Charger runs in protest. The final poem, "You!," encourages readers to continue these activists' paths to a better world. Concluding thumbnails also provide more details about each profile. A lyrical, inspiring call to action."—Booklist

Picture Books

Time to Fly

Time to Fly
By George Ella Lyon
Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
978-1534474109, $18.99, hardcover, Grades PreS-3
»»  Download hi-resolution cover image

Mama Bird says it's time to fly! Baby Bird thinks not. Nest is best--or is it? With the help of his mama, Baby Bird discovers the amazing things that can happen if he finds the courage to spread his wings and fly.

"Capturing both the lyrical quality of Lyon"s rhymed colloquy and a sense of how scary the wide world looks to the little bird, Coleman offers spare, delicately detailed views of an adult robin and her mottled offspring...A sensitive, loving variation on a perennial picture-book theme."—Kirkus ReviewsPublishers Weekly

Boats Float

Boats Float!
By George Ella Lyon and Benn Lyon
Illustrated by Mick Wiggins
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
978-1481403801, $17.99, hardcover, Grades PreS-3
»»  Download hi-resolution cover image

From steamships to ghostships, to the little and big in-between ships, this fun, rhyming book explores a wide array of boats. The third in the transportation series, Boats Float! takes to the seas with dynamic illustrations that will keep even the youngest of readers eager to turn the page.

Awards and Honors:

  • Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year, 2016

"George Ella Lyon teams up with her son Benn in this follow-up to Planes Fly! (2013), once again working with Wiggins. From grand ocean liners to boats ?so short that fore is almost aft,? the Lyons highlight a wide variety of watercrafts while introducing nautical lingo (?A lookout?s on the poop deck./ Controls are on the bridge./ The bathroom?s called the head./ The galley holds the fridge?). Wiggins?s majestic seascapes are postcard-perfect and dashed with hints of humor (a certain butcher, baker, and candlestick maker have a cameo), leaving readers with the sense that floatation is just as miraculous as flight."—starred review, Publishers Weekly

What Forest Knows

What Forest Knows
Illustrated by August Hall
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
978-1442467750, $17.99, hardcover, Grades PreS-3
»»  Download a narrative/story dance lesson
»»  Download hi-resolution cover image

The forest sees every season, from the first snowflake to the blossoming flower buds. The forest sees the ever-moving life in nature and the beauty it emanates. With lyrical language and rich and textured illustrations, What Forest Knows takes you on a hike through the trees, beyond the meadows, between the deer and foxes, and into the heart of the outdoors.

Awards and Honors:

  • 2015 Charlotte Zolotow Award "Highly Commended" book

"Who could resist Lyon's invitation to "Make friends/with a path/threading/through woods?" Her tender, lyrical observations of the natural world ("Forest knows leaves,/held out like hands,/cupping sunlight...") are clear, unpretentious, and true. Hall injects some levity by introducing a big red dog to his photoshopped illustrations. Encourage children to keep an eye on the canine's tail traversing the pages! Readers see the forest in all seasons, all weathers, all times of day, from the ground to the treetops scraping the sky. The text rolls deliciously off the tongue, and the furry animals practically beg to be stroked. Simply beautiful."—School Library Journal

"This meditation on the natural world as a unified whole is distinguished by Lyon?s (Planes Fly!) graceful verse. Hall (Keeper) brings it to life with a wandering child and a big, bounding dog. In every spread, hints of the dog can be found, its tail or back legs disappearing down a new trail. Lyon?s images of winter are telegraphic: ?icy branches/ frozen waterfall.? When spring comes, ?soft life pushing through/ hard wood,? the dog disappears behind a tree. Scumbling and combing bring textures to the fore. Spring mist is followed by summer richness (?Forest knows growing,/ going forth?) and then by deepening fall (?Forest knows/ gathering in,/ letting go?). ?Forest knows/ everything belongs,? concludes Lyon, as Hall gives readers their first close-up of the dog?it, too, is part of nature. ?You, too,? Lyon adds, as the child throws a snowball for the dog to chase. Lyon?s words offer an antidote to the human-made, high-stimulation world, and a way for readers to understand that they belong, too."—Publishers Weekly

"An extended poetic appreciation for what goes on in a forest through the seasons. "Forest knows waiting,...Forest knows waking,?Forest knows growing,?[and] Forest knows gathering in." This lyrical tribute makes note of the changing textures, colors, animals and activities in this beautiful, mysterious world. From buds and birds to moles and centipedes, there is much to see at any time of the year. Hall's painterly Photoshop illustrations, some created over actual photographs, match the poem's mood. Often hazy, just beyond the edge of realistic, they give the impression that there's still more to be seen. And there is. Parts of an exploring dog appear in each image?coming into the picture or just leaving, hidden behind a tree or partially obscured by a deer's leg. Only toward the end is the whole (and wholly enthusiastic) dog revealed, as well as the child who accompanies it through the forest. Then a double-page spread closes in on the dog's face, which totally expresses its joy at exploring this world of interesting smells. "Forest knows everything belongs. / YOU, too." The final page turn invites readers to appreciate this walk through a forest year as much as the poet does. Lyon's ability to see the connections among things and her affection for the natural world, amply demonstrated in earlier works, shine through this latest offering."—Kirkus Reviews

"The change of forest seasons subtly flows forward as an exuberant red dog ties together the days, appearing on most pages -sometimes as just a tail, paw, or nose-as he explores the woods' nooks and crannies. The prolific Lyon's prose poetically describes this world along with the dog, dwelling on list of animals and their yearly activities, while naturally introducing vocabulary: fledge, ripple, burrow, and more. Hall's illustrations emphasize animal viewpoints, whether it is a birds-eye view of a foggy, leafless sea of branches threaded through with a creek, or the yellow-green grass where centipedes wander. The colors of the broad two-page spreads give tone to the passage of time: soft in spring, deep and burnished in fall. A boy trails his pet at the beginning and end, giving the woods some personalized scale. Children will delight in following the eager canine and in identifying the fish, opossum, and deer he spots. This ought to hold its own with other books about the way a year unfolds."—Booklist

Planes Fly!

Planes Fly
Illustrated by Mick Wiggins
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
978-1442450257, $17.99, hardcover, Grades PreS-1

World?s mighty big
but there?s just one sky
and it?s yours to travel.

Planes fly!

Take to the skies with this fun, rhyming book about all that planes do! From jet planes to puddle jumpers, from the cockpit to the rudders, this book explores it all?and the bright, dynamic illustrations will keep even the youngest of readers engaged.

"For children intrigued by flight, Lyon has written an energetic and exciting book in rhyme about planes of all sorts: 'Bi-planes/tri-planes/gotta-love-the-sky planes/Prop planes/jet planes/how-fast-can-you-get planes.' With the look of 1930s travel posters, Wiggins's intensely colored pictures show planes at their most glamorous, zipping between storm clouds and swooping low over forest fires. Even the in-flight snacks look appealing. Perhaps the golden age of travel isn't over after all."—The New York Times Book Review

"Imagination takes flight in this masterfully illustrated, bouncing verse for the plane-obsessed. Beautifully composed drawings thrill, as biplanes, jet planes, prop planes and seaplanes take to the skies. Wiggins applies an old travel poster aesthetic to his digital illustrations--and delivers on their promise of adventure, enticing readers into the world of air travel. Soaring into a vast blue sky, he captures the feeling of unlimited space, the freedom of flying. When they are on the ground, his planes are epic, mammoth machines. Even in a storm--with the light bouncing through clouds, illuminating the plane from underneath--the effect is idyllic. His choices, from a warm palette, excellent use of pattern and a texture that alludes to the use of linen paper, make everything about this journey feel special. Lyon's informative, rhyming text touches on the mechanical (from plane parts and types) as well as the emotional (the experiences of both pilot and passenger). Her verse goes beyond enumerating a plane's basic purposes to affirming the spirit of flight and exploration: Climb through clouds / heading for blue-- / just like a bird. / Air holds you. This exciting invitation to take to the air is one energetic and entertaining journey for adventurers and aviation lovers alike."—starred review, Kirkus Reviews, July 2013.

"Lyon takes off to the sky with this exuberant book. Jaunty, bouncing-off-the-tongue rhyming text names aircraft parts, lists different kinds of planes, and describes passenger air-travel experiences, repeating the upbeat refrain, "Planes fly!" throughout. Wiggins's retro-style illustrations amplify the cheerful tone with bright, bold colors and strong, streamlined images. A wonderfully diverse cast of passengers in the aerobus includes a nervous little girl and a little boy. Everything radiates excitement, safety, and competence-even the ominous thunder clouds part for a plane's passage. A reassuring rundown of events that happen between buckling the seatbelt and touching down for landing (including a snack and a nap) makes this title helpful to those new to flying, but it just might fly off the shelves where transportation books are in high demand."—Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, School Library Journal

Watch the book trailer for Planes Fly!:

Which Side Are You On?

Which Side Are You On? The Story of a Song
Illustrated by Christopher Cardinale
Cinco Puntos Press
978-1-933693-96-5, $17.95, hardcover, Grades 2-6

Which Side Are You On? tells the story of a song which was written in 1931 by Florence Reece in a rain of bullets. It has been sung by people fighting for their rights all over the world. Florence?s husband Sam was a coal miner in Kentucky. Many of the coal mines were owned by big companies, who kept wages low and spent as little money on safety as possible. Miners lived in company houses on company land and were paid in scrip, good only at the company store. The company owned the miners sure as sunrise.

And that?s why they had to have a union. Miners went on strike until they could get better pay, safer working conditions, and health care. The company hired thugs to attack the organizers like Sam Reece.

Writer George Ella Lyon tells this hair-raising story through the eyes of one of Florence?s daughters, a dry-witted pig-tailed gal, whose vantage point is from under the bed with her six brothers and sisters. The thugs? bullets hit the thin doors and windows of the company house, the kids lying low wonder whether they?re going to make it out of this alive, wonder exactly if this strike will make their lives better or end them, but their mother keeps scribbling and singing. ?We need a song,? she tells her kids. That?s not at all what they think they need. Graphic novelist Christopher Cardinale brings Florence?s triumphant story to life in true anarchist style.

"Lyon's text captures the girl's Kentucky twang, the sympathetic plight of her famiy, and the birth of this iconic folk song of the labor movement. Cardinale's woodcut illustrations, informed by his work in comics and murals, perfectly suit the story, capturing the drama and energy in a fluid mix of panels, scenes, and symbols that recollect the tone of classic labor posters and handbills."—Horn Book Magazine

"The story is a good and important one, and it is well-told for an elementary-school audience...According to recent headlines, several old-school unions have been checking out the [Occupy Wall Street] protests downtown, even as the occupiers themselves have been searching for a unifying song. They probably just haven?t looked in the children?s book section yet."—New York Times Book Review

"Ms. Lyon employs a lively pace, along with mostly realistic dialect and revealing dialog to tell a gripping story few children today have heard...The shiny, expressive illustrations pack energy and humor into the story. Often the dialog comes inside bubbles, as when Ma tells her oldest son, 'This ain?t easy, but sometimes you?ve got to take a stand.' His wise-guy response: 'I don?t see us standing. I see us under the bed.' That page also includes a vicious green snake displaying the line ?Don?t scab for the bosses. Don?t listen to their lies.?"—New York Journal of Books

"Cardinale's digitally colored scratchboard art is dynamic and presents a visual reality that strengthens the history of the song and the people who sang it...Given that many of the same [labor] conditions exist today, only changed by mechanization, the music and lyrics included may well find use in the current generation. Lyon has given today's readers a stirring story."—Kirkus Reviews

"...the lyrics appear in ribboned banners throughout, encircling mining tools and rifles. Lyon?s storytelling jumps between speech-balloon dialogue and the girl?s clipped observations ("This is how the night goes: bullets through the walls, talk under the bed, words on the page"). It?s a high-stakes account of grace under pressure. An afterword provides additional historical context."—Publishers Weekly

"George Ella Lyon (All the Water in the World) and Christopher Cardinale (Mister Mendoza's Paintbrus) make a perfect match for this picture-book homage to a 1931 rallying cry born under duress in Harlan County, Ky....Lyon and Cardinale contextualize the terms so that a young audience can understand "scrip," "strike," "scab" and other ideas. They also do not shy away from the violence unleashed on the narrator's family. The girl explains that her Pa, Sam Reese, is a union organizer, and the company men would like to put an end to his organizing. As the sheriff and his gang shoot through the walls, the children hide under the bed while Ma--Florence Reece--tears off the calendar page for the month of May and uses it to compose the lyrics to the titular song, 'Which side are you on?' Lyon maintains a child's point of view. As Ma sings her song, her children ask the questions that readers will have in mind: 'Why don't the sheriff stop them?' and 'If Pa gave up the union...would they quit shooting at us?' They provide the levity in a dire situation. Cardinale, too, balances the bullet-ravaged walls with those majestic Kentucky mountains."—Shelf Awareness

"In Which Side Are You On?, Harlan County, Kentucky native George Ella Lyon tells the terrifying true story of the event which inspired Florence Reese?s famous labor rights song. In the process, ably abetted by the darkly powerful images of illustrator Christopher Cardinale, Lyon celebrates not only the courage of union organizers during a 1931 coal miner?s strike but also the vital unifying role of folk music in difficult and dangerous times...In a wonderful author?s note, Lyon explains that songs and stories change as memories and needs change, then recounts how she learned the version presented in her book. All the issues in the story, she writes, remain ?alive today, when wealth and power are held by a small percentage of people so that the gap between rich and poor continues to widen.?...Song, story and image combine to introduce readers to rare courage and integrity. Which Side Are You On? presents a disturbing, provocative, consciousness-raising opportunity for children and adults alike."—Paper Tigers Blog


Watch the book trailer for Which Side Are You On? The Story of a Song:

Who Came Down That Road

Who Came Down that Road?
Illustrated by Peter Catalanotto
Paperback reprint by Kane Miller
978-1-935279-80-8, $7.99, paperback reissue, Grades PreS-2

Out of print for several years, Who Came Down That Road? was reissued by Kane Miller in 2011.

Reviews: (these review excerpts refer to the original edition):
"...lean, lyrical text" and "shimmering, luminous paintings" in this "extraordinary picture book that clarifies but does not oversimplify the difficult concept of historical time and evolution."—starred review, Publishers Weekly

"A mother and child look at a path near their home, 'Just a trace through the woods' but one that's long been traveled. Answering the child's questions, the mother tells how her great-grandparents used the road, then moves back to Civil War soldiers, earlier settlers, 'Shawnee and Cherokee,'' buffalo, mammoths, a warm sea, and finally 'Questions! Questions crowded like a bed of stars...the mystery of the making place...' As he did for Lyon's Cecil's Story (1991), Catalanotto provides cinematic, out-of-focus illustrations, shimmering with light shining through leaves toward the observer, occasionally superimposing images for a dreamlike effect; the film technique extends to placing the title page several spreads into the story, so that the title becomes part of the text. A lovely, beautifully crafted book that makes an unusually effective response to a prototypical question."—Kirkus Reviews

American Bookseller Kids' Pick of the List

All the Water in the World

All the Water in the World
Illustrated by Katherine Tillotson
Atheneum/Simon and Schuster Children?s Publishing
1416971300, $15.99, hardcover, Grades P-2
ISBN - 13: 9781416971306
Teacher's guide available
Chosen for the ALSC's 2015 Building STEAM with Día booklist

A lively and inspiring poem weaves together facts about water and the need for water conservation.

"A lyrical and bighearted outpouring."—Publishers Weekly

"Lyon celebrates the essence of life itself in a lyrical presentation of the water cycle...Meanwhile, in sweeping, digitally rendered art resembling watercolor and collage, Tillotson creates luxuriant ocean swirls and pelting streaks of rain...It?s a familiar subject but a vital one, to which author and illustrator bring a passion and artistry that give it the power of story."—The Horn Book Magazine

"Lyon briefly explains the water cycle in lyrical verse and celebrates its power to give life...The digital collage like illustrations pair dramatically with the text to depict this contrast. Turquoise endpapers usher in pages with swirls of water, water spouting from a hose, through pipes, down mountains. Rain pours down in horizontal and vertical spreads. But brown and cream-colored pages reveal a bare landscape where a little girl and animals alike anxiously anticipate an approaching rain cloud. At last, "this wet wonder" arrives and flows through all creatures, including a young child and mother whose water-sprinkled hair spreads across the pages to become a swirl of tiny creatures and plants. "Honey, living things dream of precious," says the narrator. We must "keep it clear, keep it clean...keep Earth green!? Filled with rhythm and sound, this offering begs to be read aloud."—School Library Journal, starred review

"Lots of picture books introduce young children to the water cycle, but few have such an infectious beat and eye-catching illustrations as this title, which begs to be read aloud. With occasional rhymes, the short, poetic lines are conversational and instructive and evoke a sense of mystery."—Booklist, starred review

"Being that water is the single most important ingredient in sustaining a human life, it is essential that we pay attention to the increasingly difficult job of providing drinkable water to all of the world's ever-growing population. So it is that we need eye-catching books that educate young people about the water cycle as does ALL THE WATER IN THE WORLD."—Richie?s Picks


  • 2012 Notable Children?s Books list (ALA)
  • CCBC Choices 2012 (Cooperative Children?s Book Center)

Winner of the 2010 Schneider Family Book Award
Administrated by the American Library Association, the award is donated by
Dr. Katherine Schneider, and honors an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an
artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.
The Schneider Family Book Award The Pirate of Kindergarten

The Pirate of Kindergarten
Illustrated by Lynne Avril
Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
1416950249, $16.99, hardcover, Grades P-3
ISBN-13: 9781416950240

"Ginny suffers from undiagnosed double vision, and seeing two of everything is causing her difficulties in school. On vision screening day, a nurse discovers the problem, and the prescribed eye patch gives Ginny a new identity?the pirate of kindergarten. Lyon's short, descriptive sentences set up the situation deftly, and Avril's astute chalk, pencil, and acrylic drawings of "two of everything" provide a vivid window into Ginny's pre-treatment world. It is not until the end of the story that Ginny declares herself a pirate, but as a metaphor for confidence and competence, her patch effectively declares her to be captain of her own ship."—School Library Journal

"Ginny loves reading circle, but getting there is a bit of a challenge because only half the chairs are real. Figuring out which words to read is tough, too. See, 'Ginny's eyes [play] tricks'-she's got double vision and doesn't realize that's unusual...Lyon's simple, declarative text effortlessly puts readers into Ginny's head, and Avril's whimsical mixed-media illustrations give them her eyes, overlaying one image slightly off its original in a satisfyingly disorienting fashion."—starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"Without lecturing or making Ginny the object of pity, Lyons (Sleepsong) and Avril (Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse), who works in cheery but remarkably expressive pastels, show how disorientating and alienating it feels when something as fundamental as visual perception goes awry. ?If she didn't keep her mind tied tight when Ms. Cleo gave them rabbit pictures, she might cut out one ear and another and another. Once she got so mad, she stuck the scissors in the paste."—starred review, Publishers Weekly

"Created with pastels, acrylics, and colored pencils, Avril?s bold and wonderfully vivid mixed-media illustrations sometimes portray the classroom through Ginny?s eyes, with overlapping images of chairs, books, and people, though they usually present an outside perspective. Based on Lyon?s own experience, the sensitively written story radiates empathy and good humor. Even children who have not experienced Ginny?s problem will understand her occasional frustration and find it intriguing that one person can literally see the world differently from another."—Booklist

"When I opened this book and started to read it, I was planning on being a little skeptical. However, I found myself quickly loving this book. The author did a remarkable job dealing with the main character's vision issues and explaining it in a way that young children will be able to understand it...Overall, this is book is an excellent addition to any classroom or school library and a great book to read to celebrate National Inclusive Schools Week."—Kid Lit Frenzy blog


You and Me and Home Sweet Home

You and Me and Home Sweet Home
Illustrated by Stephanie Anderson
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
0689875894, $17.99, hardcover, Grades K-4
ISBN-13: 9780689875892

"Lyon's reputation for lyrical writing is well established, and the pleasing cadences in this moving story do not disappoint. ? [An] author's note explains Lyon's participation with Habitat for Humanity in Kentucky, and the experience lends particular voices and authentic material to portray the effect of a caring community and the people who manipulate the power tools."—School Library Journal

"Lyon masterfully tells Sharonda's story, unfurling the child's disbelief that her dream is coming true, the hard work and time volunteers contribute, Sharonda's excitement as she sees the house being constructed, her anticipation of sleeping there and the joy and peace she feels when she and her mother walk through the door for the first time. ? A heartfelt, welcome addition to any collection..."—Kirkus Reviews


  • 2010 Jane Addams Children's Book Award Honor Book
  • 2010 Bank Street Best Books of the Year
  • 2010 CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
  • 2010 CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Center)


Illustrated by Peter Catalanotto
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
0689869738, $16.99 hardcover, Ages 1 month - 3 years
ISBN-13: 9780689869730
Includes music and lyrics.

speakerListen to George Ella sing her lullaby, "Sleepsong."

"Lyon's sonorous words meld with Catalanotto's dreamy gouache-and-watercolor paintings in this tender lullaby...Words and images together create a gentle rock-a-bye rhythm, topping off a collaborative effort that should grace all children's collections."—Kirkus Reviews

"Lyon and Catalanotto have teamed up again to depict another everyday occurrence in the life of a small child. A lyrical text tells of a mother and father preparing their child for bed: 'Everything nests-Shh shh/Everything rests shh/Time to turn in/-To put play away/Turn out the light-/Call it a day. All of the spreads show full-color paintings of the parents and their child on the upper portion and scenes of animals asleep in muted shades of blue and violet on the lower part."—School Library Journal

My Friend the Starfinder

My Friend the Starfinder
Illustrated by Stephen Gammell
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
1-4169-2738-7, $14.99 hardcover, Grades P-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-2738-9

"Stories and the people who tell them form one of the main themes of Lyon's poetic work, and this sumptuously illustrated book, perhaps Gammell's finest, is no exception...Text and art are sure to evoke wonder in readers of all ages."—starred review, Publishers Weekly

"Lyon's sensitive tale, spun from a childhood memory, is doubly ruminative: its female narrator relates two boyhood reminiscences told her by an elderly neighbor...Gammell's characteristic mixed-media pictures fully develop Lyon's themes of cosmic and earthly connection...Lovely."—starred review, Kirkus Reviews

"...where the text is restrained, the illustrations fairly holler with light and joy. During each of the Starfinder's stories, the palette begins with hushed expectation in black and white, gradually adding colors until the whole page is glowing. This is not to belie the power of Lyon's spare text-it is only in the tension between the carefully chosen words and vivid pictures that the stories' magic emerges. A lovely collaboration."—School Library Journal

"Though poetic, Lyon's words are spare, never florid, for an elegantly powerful effect with silence built in, allowing readers space to use their own imaginations. Gammell's art begins with exuberant shades, but when the story enters the past, the pictures are as gray as Dorothy's Kansas until the boy finds the star...The rainbow then spectacularly spills its colors over the boy, and the book closes with the little girl and the Starfinder looking out at the universe, filled with colorful planets and golden light."—The Horn Book


  • Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year 2009

Trucks Roll

Trucks Roll!
Illustrated by Craig Frazier
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
1-4169-2435-3, $14.99 hardcover, Grades PreS-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-2435-7
Lesson plan available

"Can there ever be enough truck books? With a simple playful rhyme and big, bright pictures of powerful vehicles close up, this one is sure to be in demand. The word is BIG, not only for the vehicles but also for their trailers and wheels and other parts; for all the different loads they carry, from spaceships to toys: 'Trucks bring ice cream. / Trucks bring blocks, / books and bulldozers, dolls and clocks.'...After many read-alouds, lap-sit listeners will still want to point at the pictures and play."—Booklist

"Standing out as bright and unique in an increasingly competitive genre of picture books highlighting wheeled machines, Lyon and Frazier team up to seamlessly combine loads of truck facts with some funky whimsy to mesmerize the tot that can't get enough."—Kirkus Reviews

"Solid, up-to-date information about a major preschool enthusiasm is leavened with lively verse and a touch of whimsy."—Horn Book Magazine


  • Beginning With Books' Best Books for Babies 2008

No Dessert Forever!

No Dessert Forever!
Illustrated by Peter Catalanotto
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
1-4169-0385-2, $16.95 hardcover, Grades K-4
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-0385-7

"Lyon's thoughtful story is greatly enhanced by Catalanotto's realistic illustrations of watercolor and gouache, and by a decision to let several of the pictures speak for themselves, with no text. An offbeat winner.” - Kirkus Reviews

"...bringing a warm glow to the goings-on, which many children--and adults--will find utterly familiar."—Booklist

Counting on the Woods

Counting on the Woods
Photographs by Ann W. Olson
DK Ink
Grades K-3
0-789-42480-0, $15.95 hardcover (LIMITED QUANTITIES)
0-789-42662-5, $5.95 paperback (LIMITED QUANTITIES)

"A short poem illustrated with stunning full-color photographs, this counting book is a simple lesson in ecology that reminds children of the importance of green space. It is clear that humans and animals count on trees to be there, to 'clean the air/for everything/that breathes.' Lyon's lyrical voice is concisely interpreted by lush photographs of the Kentucky woods."—School Library Journal

"Teachers and parents seeking to help children appreciate the simple beauty to be found on a walk through the woods will treasure this exquisite book."—starred review, Publishers Weekly

"A gem of a counting book..."—starred review, Booklist

Mother to Tigers

Mother to Tigers
Illustrated by Peter Catalanotto
Atheneum 2003
0-689-84221-x, $17.95 hardcover, Grades K-3

"Arresting art illuminates Lyon and Catalanotto's tribute to Helen Martini, founder of the Bronx Zoo's animal nursery...[T]he story cannot miss its mark as animal lovers appreciate Helen's love for and commitment to saving nature's newest members."—Publishers Weekly

At the Bronx Zoo

"This handsome and intriguing real-life story will be savored as independent and shared reading and useful as simple nonfiction for varied classroom purposes."—starred review, School Library Journal

"Lyon's succinct, yet elegant, prose emphasizes Martini's dedication to the animals in her care, detailing how she and her husband often spent evenings at the zoo tending to the needy babies. Catalanotto' is particularly effective here...This will be popular with animal fans and classes studying zoos and careers."—Booklist

"Based on a true story, this beautifully illustrated picture book introduces young readers to Helen Frances Theresa Delaney Martini, the first woman zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo and founder of the zoo's animal nursery in 1944...Catalanotto's remarkable illustrations are a wonderful combination of watercolor, charcoal and torn paper. The author also includes a fascinating 'Author's Note' at the end."—Children's Literature


  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Parents' Choice Silver Medal 2003
  • Best 'Information Please' Books, Nick Jr. Magazine
  • Amelia Bloomer Project: Recommended Feminist Books for Youth 2004
  • Girl Power! - Strong Girls, Strong Women, University of Iowa

Nominated for:

  • Children's Crown Award
  • Young Hoosier Book Award
  • Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice
  • Mockingbird Award
  • Washington Children's Choice

Weaving the Rainbow

Weaving the Rainbow
Illustrated by Stephanie Anderson
Atheneum 2004
0-689-85169-3, $16.95 hardcover, Grades PreS-2
Lesson plan available

An artist raises sheep, shears them, cards and spins the wool, dyes it, and then weaves a colorful picture of the Kentucky pasture where her lambs were born.

And, as Lester Laminack and Barbara Bell say in Language Arts, "It is so much more than that. It is a story of envisioning, planning, working toward something beautiful that lives within you, a story of believing your vision into reality."

"The beauty of the pictures and the rhythm of the language will entrance children even if they have never thought about sheep, or weaving at all, and they will come away with a bit of knowledge wrapped around a weft of joy."—Kirkus

"Limpid verse and luminous watercolors form the warp and weft of the beautifully crafted book."—Publisher's Weekly

"A beautifully presented walk through one person's artistic process."—School Library Journal

"Elementary-school art teachers may find it especially useful for introducing kids to less-common forms of creative expression and for communicating a gentle message about the rewards of patient labor."—Booklist

"Is it possible for someone to make a rainbow? In lovely, precisely phrased prose, George Ella Lyon looks over the shoulder of a young weaver..."—Nicholas Basbanes

"Lyon makes the process of weaving into a mystical, magical experience...The respect and affection for the sheep, the weaver and her craft are clearly depicted."—Children's Literature


Borrowed Children

Borrowed Children
University Press of Kentucky
0-813-10972-8, $9.95 paperback

"With eloquence and an economy of language, Lyon tells a story of dreams, of journeys, of family love and acceptance, set in Kentucky during the Depression...Borrowed Children is fresh, different, and totally captivating."—School Library Journal

"Lyon is a sure-handed writer who picks her words with precision. As Amanda slowly unravels the threads that make up the familial skein, readers cannot help but become involved in the generational complexities. A choice coming-of-age story, whose tellingis subtle and whose writing is vivid."—starred review, Booklist


  • Winner of the Golden Kite Award
  • Booklist, Editor's Choice
  • School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
  • Publisher's Weekly Best Books of the Year
  • NY Public Library's One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Library of Congress' Best Books of the Year

Here and Then

Here and Then: a Civil War Time-Travel Tale
Motes Books
978-1-934894-14-9, $8.00 paperback, Grades 4-7
Reissued 2010

"Lyon's evocative style convinces...readers that extraordinary times lead to extraordinary events...Movingly conveyed by a tightly woven plot and a strong sense of place."—School Library Journal

"Lyrical and beautifully crafted."—Kirkus Reviews

"Compelling...Lyon's novel about ghostly encounters and transfigurations quite literally brings history to life."—Publishers Weekly

"Lyon has written an entertaining novel that will compel readers to stay with [it] to the end."—Voice of Youth Advocates


A Wordful Child

A Wordful Child
Photographs by Ann W. Olson
Richard Owen, 1996 (Meet-the-Author Series
1-572-74016-7, $14.95 hardcover, Grades 2-5

"Lyon...speaks eloquently about her love of words. One of her most important memories is of her extended family telling stories around the dinner table. Some of these stories later became books, such as A Regular Rolling Noah. Lyon recounts the years of hard work it took to become a published author."—School Library Journal

It All Connects

Copyright © George Ella Lyon. All rights reserved. Website by We Love Children's Books.