Stay-at-Home Mommy and Freelance Writer/Children’s Book Author
Hopeful. Appreciative. Evolving.
Her Writing Style
When I’m writing picture books, I strive for them to be lyrical and meaningful. When I’m writing middle-grade stories, I want them to be entertaining and empowering.
Brown Bookshelf Role
The quiet connection. Kelly’s ears are always to the ground. Resourceful, well-connected and informative, she’s our key go-to person when it comes to the goings on in the African American children’s literature community.
What You Don’t Know About Kelly…
* Inspired by my mentor at the Rutgers One-On-One Plus Conference (Thanks, Rotem :), I wrote my first rhyming picture book manuscript recently. It was a lot of fun. I definitely plan to write more.
* At the launch party for NEATE: Eddie’s Ordeal, I was so nervous about reading in public that I had a boy play the part of Eddie rather than read the story myself. Amazingly, he stuttered just like I do sometimes. That young man, full of confidence and heart, inspired me to face my fears. Now, I love doing school and library visits and sharing my work at festivals. I’ve spoken to groups of all sizes. And the interesting part: I hardly ever stutter. When I do, I remind myself to let it go and keep it moving.
* I can put things off big-time. Sometimes, pulling weeds is easier than writing. BIC is my new mantra :).
* I have two forthcoming picture books with G. P. Putnam’s Sons. Both were inspired by family history and African-American history.
* I grew up rarely seeing young people of color as main characters in children’s books. In fact, as a child, I read just one book by an African-American children’s book author — Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. That’s why I feel so blessed to be part of The Brown Bookshelf. All kids need to see themselves in books. All kids need to know that they can be book creators. I write for children and the girl I used to be.
* My most special author moment was when my daughter asked me to read One Million Men and Me to her at bedtime. She’s heard it so many times. But she says it’s her favorite.
Praise for Kelly’s Books
Accolades for Million Men and Me
CCBC Choices 2008, Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s best-of-the-year list
2008 Bronze Moonbeam Book Awards Medal, Multicultural Picture Book category
Accelerated Reader Title
“The tone is strongly inspirational, and Ambush’s realistic double-page spreads, which make particularly good use of close-ups, portray the child and her daddy against the big scenes of the crowds ‘united and strong.'”
Praise for Eddie’s Ordeal
“Compelling and touching story of a father and son who are struggling to understand each other.” – Ebony Magazine
“The talk is casual and contemporary, and readers will like the family drama as well as the warmth among friends and the realistic view of failure and success.” — Booklist
“A moving and dramatic story about facing the challenges of coming of age, and the importance of family bonds.” – Midwest Book Review
“Lyons did an excellent job integrating historical information into the story without taking away the plot’s contemporary relevance.” – RAWSistaz Reviewers