George Ella Lyon was born and raised in Harlan County, Kentucky, the daughter of a dry-cleaner and a community worker. She grew up with one older brother in a house full of music, stories, and books.
Her first ambition was to be a neon sign maker. Much later, she planned to be a folk singer in Greenwich Village. Finally she realized it was the music in the words she was after, and she has been after it ever since.
Lyon is the author of With a Hammer for My Heart (a novel), Catalpa (poems, winner of the Appalachian Book of the Year Award) and Where I’m From, Where Poems Come From, a primer for young poets. Her books for young readers include five novels (Borrowed Children, The Stranger I Left Behind, and Here and Then), 22 picture books (among them Come a Tide, Together, Who Came Down That Road?, Counting on the Woods and Book), and an autobiography, A Wordful Child.
Married to musician Steve Lyon, she lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has two sons.