George Ella Lyon

George Ella Lyon

Born and raised in the mountains of Kentucky, George Ella Lyon grew up with a love of poetry and music. She has published two collections of poems, along with Where I'm From, Where Poems Come From, a poetry primer; twenty-two picture books, five novels for young readers, an autobiography (A Wordful Child, in the Richard Owen "Meet-the Author" series), Choices (a book of stories for adult new readers), and With a Hammer for My Heart, a novel.  She is the editor of A Kentucky Christmas, and co-editor, with Leatha Kendrick, of Crossing Troublesome:  Twenty-Five Years of the Appalachian Writers Workshop.  Her work is featured in the PBS series, "The United States of Poetry."

George Ella Lyon, Catalpa, Appalachian, George Ella Lyon, Catalpa
George Ella Lyon

A number of Lyon's books have won awards or special citations.  They include:

Borrowed Children, Golden Kite Award.

Basket, Kentucky Bluegrass Award.

Mountain, Andrew Mountain Press Award.

Catalpa, Book of the Year, Appalachian Writers Association.

Come a Tide, Reading Rainbow feature.

Who Came Down That Road?
Best Books of the Year, Publisher's Weekly.

Her adult novel, With a Hammer for My Heart, drew this praise in Booklist:

Some novels rearrange all your molecules: they make you and the world different. Lyon . . . gives readers a story rich in precise gorgeous language that glows like a sword on the forge and cuts as deep. . . . Tragedies old and new weave a tiny Kentucky town into the center of the universe. What happens there, finally, does what we always want a good book to do: make it easier to get through the night and get out of bed the next morning.

Additional information about George Ella Lyon may be found in:

Seventh Book of Junior Authors and Illustrators.

Something About the Author, vol. 68.

Children's Books and Their Creators by Anita Silvey.

Iron Mountain Review, Vol. X, 1994 (The George Ella Lyon Issue).

Interviews appear in Language Arts, Library Talk, and Book Links.

Ms. Lyon is available for school visits, teacher and parent workshops, writers' workshops, and other appearances. For more information contact

For information regarding scheduling a classroom presentation or writing workshop by Ms Lyon see

Children's Books:    

A Regular Rolling Noah. Illus. Stephen Gammell. 1986. Aladdin, paper (0-689-71449-1).

A B Cedar: An Alphabet of Trees. Illus. Tom Parker. 1989. Orchard, paper, 1996 (0-531-07080-8).

Ada's Pal, illus. Marguerite Casparian, Orchard, Fall 1996 (0-531-09528-2).

Basket. Illus. Mary Szilagyi. Orchard, 1990 (0-531-05886-7). Winner, Kentucky Bluegrass Award.

Cecil's Story. Illus. Peter Catalanotto. Orchard, 1991 (0-531-05912-X); paper (0-531-07063-8).

Come a Tide. A Reading Rainbow book. Illus. Stephen Gammell. Orchard, 1990, hardcover (0-531-05854-9); paper (0-531-07036-0).

A Day at Damp Camp, illus. Peter Catalanotto, Orchard, 1996 (0-531-09504-5).

Dreamplace. Catalanotto. Orchard, 1993, (0-531-05466-7).

Father Time and the Day Boxes. Illus. Robert Andrew Parker. 1985. Aladdin, paper (0-689-71792-X)

Five Live Bongos. Illus. Jacqueline Rogers. Scholastic, 1994, (0-590-46654-2)

Mama Is a Miner. Catalanotto. Orchard, 1994 (0-531- 06853-6).

The Outside Inn. Illus. Vera Rosen berry. Orchard, 1991 (0-531-05936-7)

Together. Illus. Vera Rosen berry. Orchard, 1989, hardcover (0-531- 05831-X); Orchard, paper (0-531-07047-6)

Who Came Down That Road? Illus. Peter Catalanotto. Orchard, 1992 (0-531-05987-1); Orchard, paper (0-531-07073-5)

A Wordful Child, Autobiography, photos Ann Olson, Richard Owen Meet-the-Author Series, 1996 (1-57274-016-7).

A Sign, illus. Chris Soentpiet, Orchard, Spring 1998.

A Traveling Cat, illus. Paul Brett Johnson, Orchard, Fall 1998.

Counting on the Woods, illus. Ann Olson, DK Ink, Spring 1998

Novels for Middle Readers:

Borrowed Children, Bantam paper (0-553-28380-4). Winner, Golden Kite Award.

The Stranger I Left Behind Me, Troll p.b., 1997 (0-8167-4026- 7). Originally published as Red Rover, Red Rover. Orchard, 1989. o.p.

Here and Then, Orchard, 1994, hardcover (0-531-06866-8)

For Adults:

Mountain, poems (Hartford, CT: Andrew Mountain Press, 1983), o.p.

Catalpa, poems (Lexington, KY: Wind Publications, 1993) (0-9636545-2-7). Appalachian Writers Association Book of the Year.

Choices: Stories for Adult New Readers. Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1989 (0-8131-0900-0)

With a Hammer for My Heart, novel. DK Ink, fall 1997 (0-7894-2460-6)

Books Edited:

Old Wounds, New Words: Poems from the Appalachian Poetry Project, co-edited with Bob Henry Baber and Gurney Norman. Ashland, Kentucky: Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1994 (0-94508444-7).

A Gathering at the Forks: Fifteen Years of the Hindman Settlement School Appalachian Writers Workshop, co-edited with Jim Wayne Miller and Gurney Norman. Wise, Virginia: Vision Books, 1993. Available from Hindman Settlement School, Hindman KY 41822; (606) 785-5485.