Having trouble viewing this email? Click here

George Ella Lyon, Writer and Teacher; For All Our Voices
Issue No. 17 January 2016

Help Yourself to This Day

Happy 2016, Bookfolk! How did 2015 go by so fast?

Father Time and the Day Boxes“Help yourself to this day/ but you can’t come back for seconds,” Father Time says in my first book for children, which came out almost thirty-one years ago. I want to remember these words as we set off into a New Year.

Father Time and the Day Boxes grew out of my son Benn’s request for a story about the old man with the hourglass & sickle. I begged off, saying there was no story, but Benn wouldn’t give up, so I said, “Okay. You be Father Time, and I’ll interview you.” This was before I had any thought of publishing books for children, but his answers were fascinating, and I recorded them in my journal. (Click to see a close-up.)

Journal pages

Four months later, I had poems in an anthology Dick Jackson published, and with my copy came a note asking if I wrote for children. “No,” I said. “But hold on. I’ll try.” He rejected the first few manuscripts I sent, but then I went back to my journal and found my interview with Benn. Then I worked to find the right voice to transform it into a story.

Now Benn and I are writing picture books together. What a circle!

Quick Links:
www.georgeellalyon.com Sign up for E-news E-News archive Sign up for E-News


Benn signs Boats Float
Benn signs Boats Float!

In October I had a great visit to Rome, Ga. for their “One Book, Many Voices” celebration. Elementary and high school students interviewed local folks about their relationship to the Civil Rights movement and wrote essays based on those interviews. I had the pleasure of meeting the winning essayists who were honored at a reception.

My essay “Why Story Circle Matters” is just out in January/February’s Knowledge Quest, the journal of the American Association of School Librarians.



Two poems and an essay of mine are now available on LitWeaver, which School Library Journal describes as “The free, digital and happily diverse anthology [which] curates and shares e-books, authors, and reader’s guides.” Check it out at www.litweaver.com.

Picture Books:

Les Secrets de la Foret Boats Float

Now that Boats Float!, is launched, Benn and I are happy to announce that Trains Run! (edited by Dick Jackson for Atheneum) will be the next in our transportation series. We are thrilled to have another book on track!

What Forest Knows has just come out in French as LES SECRETS DE LA FORÊT, in a beautiful translation by Félix Cornec (circonflex).

QUOTATIONS recently copied into my journal

"I read poetry to stay alive. That’s why I went to poetry in the first place, that’s why I stay with it, that’s why I’ll never leave it."—Marie Howe, interviewed by Victoria Redel

"Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves"—Barry López, Crow and Weasel


This poem grew out of a prompt on THE ONE-MINUTE WRITER, a website I highly recommend. I go there instead of checking email or playing solitaire when I get fidgety. Each day there's a prompt and a timer, and it's amazing what you can begin in one minute if you let yourself be taken by surprise.


A blur chasing a small boy.
A face behind a windshield, hand on the wheel.
A short, round, ever rounder woman
with another boy growing inside. A milk-dripper.
Stretch-pants and loose-top mama cradling a baby
in one arm and handing out orange slices to the soccer team
with the other. Part-time temporary person taking up
papers nobody wanted to write or read. A curly-headed
woman in an ink-spotted gown bent on the trail to this poem.


Pick a decade of your life and take verbal snapshots of yourself during those years. Make a list. Rearrange it for emotional effect. Voilà!

Wishing you love, peace, health, joy and poetry,

George Ella Lyon

It All Connects

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