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Children's Author | Kelly Starling Lyons
Kelly Starling Lyons | Photo courtesy of the author
Award-winning author Kelly Starling Lyons grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, surrounded by creativity and artistic expression. Being part of a family that celebrated art, music, theater, and more, Lyons began to find her voice and create her own art as a writer. Her imagination helped her make her own worlds and fantastic stories, which she loved to share. Being a bookworm and a storyteller since childhood, it was only natural that she would go on to become a writer herself.
When she read Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, it was a turning point in her career. This book was the first she had seen with an African-American girl on the cover. She realized that, despite her love of reading, most books did not have main characters who represented her experience. Knowing the importance of readers seeing themselves in the books they read, she was determined to create stories that allow African-American children to see themselves in the pages.
Throughout history, kids like you were right there.
With picket signs and petitions.
With heart and humility.
With bravery and brilliance.
They changed this world for the better.
And you will too.
Tell your story.
To anyone who will listen.
To hear it yourself.
— excerpt from Drumbeat for Change by Kelly Starling Lyons | We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices
She has now written more than a dozen books for children, from picture books to beginning readers to chapter books, focusing on the African-American experience and giving young people stories to reflect their own lives and culture. On her website, Lyons writes:
"In a way, my life path has brought me back to my roots. I’ve returned to that dreamy girl I used to be who warmed her feet at the radiator behind her bedroom door and stepped through the pages of books into other lives. But this time, instead of looking at reflections created by someone else, I’m the one holding up the mirror so that children can see. "
In addition to her work as an author, she is a founding member of The Brown Bookshelf, a blog that highlights the work of Black authors and illustrators, focusing on stories for children and young adults.