TY’S TRAVELS (+Giveaway)

Over the years, I have bonded with Kelly Starling Lyons through a sisterhood of storytelling and Syracuse University (SU). We graduated from college in the 90s, and we both studied magazine journalism at SU’s Newhouse School. One of our professors was the great Bill Glavin, an angel of a professor who loved words and the power of story. Bill passed away in 2010, and we are grateful to have known him.

Many years after college, Kelly and I connected and got to know each other when we began writing children’s books. It has been a joy to stay in touch and discuss our passion for family stories and children’s literature.

We both love this inspiring Toni Morrison quote – “If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.” Yes!

Kelly has published a lovely variety of children’s books celebrating positivity and hope – books that offer wonderful inspiration as we head toward a new year. Some examples:

Kelly grew up in Pittsburgh surrounded by stories. Her mother wrote plays and acted in local theaters. She made up bedtime tales for Kelly and her brother and took them to children’s theater productions. Kelly also loved going to her local Carnegie Library.

Kelly says, “My favorite spot to read was snuggled behind my bedroom door with my feet warmed by the heat from the radiator grate. I lost and found myself over and over in the pages of books.”  

As an adult, Kelly was working as a magazine editor when she saw a picture book called SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, written by Sharon Dennis Wyeth and illustrated by Chris Soenpiet. That impactful book inspired Kelly to add her voice to children’s books. Here’s to the power of picture books!

TY’S TRAVELS, written by Kelly and illustrated by Nina Mata, is an exciting new early reader series with HarperCollins.

Ty is a character with a big imagination who transforms the ordinary into something extra special. In TY’S TRAVELS ALL ABOARD! Ty’s family members are busy before dinnertime. So, Ty gets creative and let’s his imagination soar.

My favorite elements of this book include:

  • Pleasing repetition: Ty asks each family member to play with him. He repeats the question and readers can see the answer on the next page.
  • Endearing character and joyous illustrations: Facial expressions capture Ty’s joy and energy – from the sparkle in his eye to the way he smiles
  • Sweet story with simple language: Readers will want to find out what Ty will do and where he will go with his new train. I can’t spoil it. Get this book to find out!

Along with ALL ABOARD, TY’S TRAVELS ZIP ZOOM also debuted in September 2020. Ty wants to ride his brand-new scooter at the park. And six more books in this charming series are on the way!

Visit Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata on the Web!

Kelly Starling Lyons on Twitter

Nina Mata on Twitter


For a chance to win a copy of TY’s TRAVELS ALL ABOARD!, leave a comment by December 20. I’ll announce the randomly-selected winner in my January 2021 post.

Congratulations to Annette Pierce for winning an advance copy of my next book, FLYING HIGH: THE STORY OF GYMNASTICS CHAMPION SIMONE BILES.

Happy Holidays to all & see you in the new year!


Michelle Meadows

Michelle Meadows is the author of many acclaimed books for children. She loves dreaming up new projects and telling stories with heart. Connection, compassion, and family are common themes in her work. Michelle's books include FLYING HIGH: The Story of Gymnastics Champion Simone Biles and BRAVE BALLERINA: The Story of Janet Collins. Michelle also contributed to BLACK BALLERINAS: My Journey to Our Legacy by Misty Copeland. Michelle graduated from Syracuse University with a dual degree in journalism and literature. Michelle is represented by literary agent Rosemary Stimola of the Stimola Literary Studio. Michelle grew up in Washington, D.C. and now lives near the beach in Delaware with her husband. To learn more about Michelle's books, visit her website: michellemeadows.com


  1. Go Orange!
    Syracuse native here. Moved south inbthebmid 90s. Miss the dome not the snow! I had no idea you and Kelly were cuse alum.

  2. Looks like a book series that will really get kids reading.

  3. How fun! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Book looks great! Hope to win a copy to read to my twins!

  5. What a beautiful series! Makes me wish my high schoolers were back in Kindergarten!

  6. I’ve seen these books making the rounds on Instagram. They look so great!

  7. These books look fun with excellent characters. Thanks for the post!

  8. I’m a big fan of Kelly’s and have enjoyed chatting with her at conferences and listening to her presentations. The new series looks great! Thanks for sharing, Michelle, and congrats to Kelly!!

  9. Ty looks like an adorable character that kids are sure to relate to. I love the delightful illustrations.

  10. Eager to read Kelly’s new books and also look for SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, the book that inspired her to begin writing for children.

  11. So excited for a new easy reader series that celebrates #blackboyjoy 🙂

  12. So happy that this series is being featured! I have read both books and applaud that Kelly has started to fill an early reader niche need with positivity and inclusiveness. I have purchased and donated a number of copies of each book to an inner-city school in Boston where my future daughter-in-law teaches reading. I have also shared info on the series with my local school system and asked that these books be acquired for our town’s early grade classrooms.

  13. Thanks for sharing TY with us! Love JADA JONES!

  14. What a gift that the two of you have connected and both produced such beautiful and inspiring work!

  15. What an impressive collection of books!

  16. Kids always have fun with boxes! I remember when our family bought a new refrigerator. We took turns sleeping in that box.

  17. Can’t wait to see Ty’s imaginative adventure. Pure joy spills off the pages. Thank you for writing picture books.

  18. This book sounds delightful!

  19. Kelly writes so beautifully. And this series looks so cute. I love the illustrations. Congratulations!!!

  20. I love early readers! Yours look adorable! And how timely as most of us are unable to travel due to COVID-19.
    Do you submit manuscripts for early readers in the same way as other manuscripts?

    • Hi Mary, I think early reader manuscripts are submitted in a similar way, but because the books are for emerging readers some publishers have specific guidelines about word count, line length, and syllables….

    • Thanks for your kind words, Mary! That’s a great question. Like picture books, early readers are short. I would think you submit a cover letter and the complete manuscript. Michelle is on point about checking guidelines for publishers. My opportunity came through meeting an editor at Kweli: The Color of Children’s Literature conference. She invited me to reach out about writing early readers, so I didn’t have a traditional submission process.

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