Kelly Starling Lyons, Children's Book Author

Kelly Starling Lyons, Children's Book Author

Kelly Starling Lyons is a teaching artist and award-winning children’s book author whose mission is to transform moments, memories and history into stories of discovery. Her more than a dozen titles span picture books, easy readers and chapter books, fiction and nonfiction, standalone and series.

View more



Write the Story Only You Can Tell


Program description

In this multimedia assembly, students learn that the best stories come from the treasure you hold inside. Kelly shares how everyday moments, enduring memories and history inspire her books for kids. Then, she takes students on an eye-opening tour of her writing process from story idea to publication. She gives them a peek at her drafts, engages them in discussing why particular editorial


View more

Program Detail

Program type: Assembly/Performance
Artistic Discipline: Literary Arts, Storytelling
Cultural Origin: American, Multicultural
Subject: English, Language Arts, Literacy, Social Studies / History
Population served: Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6
Bilingual: No
Available dates:

I’m available all year.

Available times:


Length of program: 45 minutes to an hour
Space / technical requirements:

My programs can be held in spaces that range from a classroom to a media center or auditorium. I need a LCD projector and screen or blank wall. If no projector is available, please let me know.



Fees / Ticketing:

$900 for two sessions; $1250 for three sessions. Rate includes roundtrip travel from Raleigh.


NC Standard Course of Study:

R3 – In my presentation, we discuss the characters, key events, feelings and interactions within my stories and how history inspired each book.

R7 – I show the students excerpts from my rough draft and revisions. They also see illustrator sketches which gives them the chance to check out an illustrator’s process for turning my words into art. We talk about what the illustrator chose to focus on and what impact the pictures make.

SL1 – The presentation is interactive and encourages students to answer and ask questions. Through the group discussion, students will gain practice in explaining their thoughts and ideas clearly, posing effective questions, showing respect, waiting for their turn and building on comments made by peers.

NC Essential Standards:

My program helps children build “historical thinking skills to understand the context of events, people and places.”(3.H.2) My books focus on African-American history and cover topics including slavery, Reconstruction and civil rights. Through discussing my stories, students will learn how changes led to freedom for people of color and the diverse world in which they live.

Another connection is that my program will help students “analyze the chronology of key events in the United States.” (5.H.1) Slavery, Reconstruction and civil rights are all topics explored in my books. Discussing my stories will help kids better understand how people lived during historical periods and where those times fit into the chronology of our nation’s growth and development.

A final connection is how my program helps kids “understand how increased diversity resulted from migration, settlement patterns and economic development in the United States.” (5.C.1) In my presentations, I teach a freedom song or spiritual and we talk about its meaning within its historical context and today. These songs came from the struggle of people to have their voices heard, to be affirmed and treated fairly. They demonstrate the faith that enabled people to weather extreme adversity. These songs have made our nation richer as they have become part of our cultural narrative. I also discuss symbols in my stories such as a broom and cookie and how they have deeper meanings when looked at through a historical lens. The cultural traditions these symbols represent still exist today. That shows how they have become part of our nation’s multicultural fabric.


Conducts educational programming for 2 or more years: Yes
Performs criminal background checks on staff with youth contact: Yes
Maintains general liability insurance (Individuals and organizations listed in this Directory can provide proof of insurance upon request. ASC does not hold copies of current documentation for providers): Yes
Three letters of recommendation / references available: Yes
Provides study guides for teachers and or students: Yes
Connects to State and or Common Core Curriculum Standards: Yes

Cancellation Policy

If I am unable to appear on the scheduled date due to illness or other unforeseen event or if the school or host organization is unable to have me appear due to a cause beyond its control, no money shall be due and an effort shall be made to reschedule the visit for a mutually acceptable future date.