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Available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audio

ThingsSeen_final cover.jpg


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


April is desperately looking for an escape from all the drama of the sixth grade lunch hour. Joey Byrd is a fourth grade outcast who wanders the playground alone, making mysterious designs in the dirt.  What do his drawings mean? And are they as random as they seem?


Read about the photograph that inspired the novel.

Download a reading guide

LISTEN to "Out of the Comfort Zone" a Podcast Discussion of the book by students


Things Seen From Above


Publisher: Knopf

272 pages

Watch a video about the book

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

Manhattan Book Review

“This lovely story will speak to kids who see themselves as living on the fringes and help them to find their own strengths. Don't miss this one."

Kirkus Reviews

"An uplifting story of friendship, kindness, and new ways of seeing."hip, kindness, and new ways of seeing. 

The Horn Book review

“Pearsall writes about compassion without preachiness bringing the story's threads together in a satisfying ending." 


  • Amazon Book of the Month Pick

  • Choose to Read Ohio selection 2023-24

  • 2021 Ohioana Book Award Finalist

  • Nominee for Colorado Children's Book Award 2024 

  • 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)

Xingye Jin artwork from Things Seen From Above

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.

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