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, paperback, ebook, and audio

ThingsSeen_final cover.jpg
Watch a video about the book

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

"This middle-grade story must be shared with as many young readers as possible.  The book would make for an excellent class read aloud, a book club selection, or to put in the individual hands of readers."                                             -ReadWonder Blog

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

  • Choose to Read Ohio selection 2023-24

  • 2021 Ohioana Book Award Finalist

  • Nominee for Virginia Reader's Choice Award 

  • Nominee for Vermont Golden Dome Award

  • Nominee for Kentucky Bluegrass Award

  • Nominee for Lectio Book Award (Gr. 4 - 8)

Created by Battle of the Books Grand Traverse, this video includes an interview with the person who was the inspiration for Joey.