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Penguin: Young Readers Group Summer 2017

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Renato and the Lion
By (author): Barbara DiLorenzo Illustrated by: Barbara DiLorenzo
9780451476418 Hardcover English Juvenile: Age (years) from 5 - 7, Grade (US) from K - 2 JUVENILE FICTION / Art & Architecture Jun 20, 2017
$23.99 CAD
Active 10.81 x 11.38 x 0.39 in 44 pages FULL-COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS Viking Children's Books Viking Books for Young Readers
Combining real history and a bit of magic, Renato and the Lion introduces children in the gentlest way possible to WWII, the protection of priceless artwork, and how one boy immigrates with his family from Italy to America.

Renato is a young boy living in Florence, Italy, during the Second World War. He loves his home, his family and friends, and the wonderful artwork that Florence is famous for. He especially loves a sculpture of a lion in the Piazza della Signoria. But while the fighting of the war is far away, soldiers are everywhere. Renato’s father fears for the safety of the priceless artwork, but he fears even more for his family. One evening, Renato finds his father building a stone wall around a famous statue to hide it from the soldiers who might hurt it. And that’s when Renato realizes that his wonderful lion is even more exposed to danger. He needs to find a way to protect him, too, but time is running out before Renato’s family must leave to protect themselves!

An important and memorable story of the love of art, family, wartime and immigration—and brings to mind the rich imagination and child’s point of view in LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.

Stunning watercolor artwork that captures the magic of Florence.

Magic realism and a child’s imagination lightens the subject matter—children will love the coming-to-life of the lion statue.

Based on real Italian WWII history—famous statues (including Michelangelo’s David!) were covered for years in protective stone and brick so that they wouldn’t be harmed. Author’s Note will explain the fascinating real story behind this picture book.

A timely immigration story—Renato and his family sail on a boat for America at the end of the story.

Exciting debut of an incredibly talented author/illustrator.

Barbara studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and painting at the Art Students League of New York. In 2014 she received the Dorothy Markinko Scholarship Award from the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature. A lover of adventure, she has gone skydiving, hang gliding, whitewater rafting, and she loves to surf. She now helps to run an Italian restaurant with her chef husband and lives in central New Jersey with him and their young teenage son. Renato and the Lion is her debut picture book.

Author Residence: Central New Jersey

Marketing: Downloadable activities available

Online and social media promotion

Feature title at spring 2017 school and library conferences


Author Website:

Author Social Media: @wavepaint

Praise for Renato and the Lion:

* “This love letter to Florence should spur diverse conversations, from art to history to the plight of refugees.”—Booklist, starred review
“Driven by the notion of safeguarding art during military conflict, this debut portrays a wartime reality that is not commonly addressed. A special book and additional purchase that is best-shared one-on-one.”—School Library Journal
“DiLorenzo’s often lovely watercolors are best when capturing nature. The endpapers’ sun-washed Florence and Renato’s dream-ride over the moonlit Ponte Vecchio are lovely…DiLorenzo’s careful research yields a touching tale about art’s ability to deeply affect both adults and children.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Barbara DiLorenzo’s tale was inspired by a true story and shows how a child’s connection to art lasts a lifetime.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“DiLorenzo lavishes attention on Florence’s architectural treasures, and her buildings glow with warmth…DiLorenzo’s story is simultaneously a historical account of a family’s emigration and a dream story about the power of great art.”—Publishers Weekly

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