Curriculum connections

Art and Artists, Friendship,  and Community.


Recommended for Grades 4 to 8.

Things Seen From Above


Publisher: Knopf

272 pages


You can never tell where a simple line may lead...


April is desperately looking for an escape from all the gossip and drama of the sixth grade lunch hour, so she signs up to be a Buddy Bench monitor for the fourth grade recess.


Joey Byrd is a fourth grade outcast who just wants to be left alone. He's a boy on the fringes, who wanders the playground alone, dragging his feet through the dirt.  What is the purpose of his mysterious lines? Are they really as random as they seem?


Read about the photograph that inspired the novel.

Download a book club reading guide




Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio

Watch a student-created trailer 

Told from alternating viewpoints and perspectives, through text and illustrations, Things Seen From Above is a story about seeing things that others overlook.

(Grades 4-6, 288 pages, illustrations by Xingye Jin)

Quick Classroom Idea


Word Spiral

Throughout history, spirals and labyrinths have been used to calm and relax the mind. In Things Seen From Above, Joey Byrd uses spirals to express his emotions and release the sadness he feels each day. Using words and phrases cut from magazines & newspapers, let your students create their own word spirals or visit this website to learn how to make other labyrinths.

An uplifting story of friendship, kindness, and new ways of seeing.  - Kirkus Reviews

Pearsall has written another meaningful, lovely, and NEEDED middle grade novel.                                        - LoriAnn the Librarian

This is a rare story that speaks authentically to the way many late elementary kids are feeling.

                                 - Common Sense Media

Pearsall writes about compassion without preachiness, bringing the story’s threads together in a satisfying ending...

                                             -The Horn Book

Watch an interview with Shelley by Rebecca Berezin

Get your school to read

a novel in one day!


A school-wide read aloud event