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barbarawillcoxdilorenzoRENATO AND THE LION
By Barbara DiLorenzo
Illustrated by Barbara DiLorenzo
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
Released June 20, 2017
44 Pages, 5-7 years
ISBN 978045147641

Renato loves his home in Florence, Italy. He loves playing with his friends in the wide piazza. He loves walking home by the beautiful buildings and fountains with his father in the evenings. And he especially loves the stone lion who seems to smile at him from a pedestal in the piazza. The lion makes him feel safe.

But one day his father tells him that their family must leave. Their country is at war, and they will be safer in America. Renato can only think of his lion. Who will keep him safe?

With luminous watercolor paintings, Barbara DiLorenzo captures the beauty of Florence in this heartwarming and ultimately magical picture book.

For in depth history and information about the book, please visit


NPR featured images of Renato and the Lion on their social media channels on June 29, 2017.

Tablet Magazine (1.3 million visitors/month) reviewed online, calling Renato ‘ravishing’ ‘entrancing’! “What makes stories beautiful and exciting? Because without a doubt, Renato and the Lion is both. Don’t miss it.”

★“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

“Pure eye candy…take a watercolor-y journey to Florence in this gorgeous debut book from Barbara DiLorenzo. A moving story about a little boy in Italy on the cusp of World War II and his plan to save his most beloved lion statue. When his family is forced to flee to New York, he leaves without knowing the fate of the lion. You’ll have to read it to find out if the lion survived the war.”—Red Tricycle

“With ravishing watercolor illustrations, it combines history and magical realism in a way that will entice the youngest readers…The story stands on its own as a wondrous story of family, love and escape… but it’s even better when used as a jumping-off point for a conversation about history and current events. The parallels to many of our own families’ immigration stories—and to the dangers facing today’s refugees—are hard to miss. What makes stories beautiful and exciting? Because without a doubt, Renato and the Lion is both. Don’t miss it.”—Tablet Magazine

“DiLorenzo’s beautiful watercolor paintings bring Renato and the Lion to life. This visually stunning story enchants as it gently educates. The emotional resonance evokes a timelessness that will charm children with its quiet and heartfelt message.”—Good Reads with Ronna blog

“The power of art and dreams come together in this wonderful historical picture book.”—Waking Brain Cells blog

“Gorgeous watercolor illustrations that will transport you right to Florence and a story that will tug at your heartstrings.”—A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust blog

“I've been waiting for this book. The cover and concept had me hooked before I ever opened the cover. The gentle storytelling and expressive watercolors transport kids to another time and place.”—Bookish Ambition blog


I'm thrilled to live just a few blocks from The Bear and the Books, a beautiful, independent bookstore for children's literature. The owner has made it possible for people to order a book through her, have me sign it, then I can ship it anywhere. The cost is the book (plus tax) and shipping. Customers can ask for a name, a personalized message, and a small hand-done illustration if desired–at no additional cost.

45 West Broad Street
Hopewell, New Jersey
Phone: (609) 466-1166


By Barbara DiLorenzo
Illustrated by Barbara DiLorenzo
Published by Little Bee Books

To be released on Spring 2018


Books Are Magic with
Holly McGhee/Pascal Lemaitre

September 10, 2017 at 1pm
Books Are Magic
225 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 246-2665 

Barnes & Noble Storytime
September 12, 2017 at 10:30am
Princeton/Market Fair
3535 US Highway 1 Suite 400 
Princeton, NJ 08540 
(609) 750-9010 

MAYBE! Brooklyn Book Festival
Children's Day - September 16, 2017
Brooklyn Borough Hall and Plaza
209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn NY 11201

Princeton Children's Book Festival
September 23, 2017 from 11am - 4pm
Hinds Plaza 
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542 
(609) 924-9529

Bucks County Association for the Education of Young Children (BCAEYC) Author's Corner
October 7, 2017 from 11am - 2pm
Bucks County Community College - 1,
Newtown Township, PA 18940

Arts Council of Princeton Lecture
To Be Determined
102 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
(609) 924-8777

Princeton Library Lecture
To Be Determined
65 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, NJ 08542
(609) 924-8777

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