Which Side Are You On?
The Story of a Song
Publication Date: August 2011
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Come all you good workers
Good news to you I'll tell
of how the good ol' union
has come in here to dwell.
George Ella Lyon was born and raised in Harlan County, Kentucky, the daughter of a dry-cleaner and a community worker. She grew up with one older brother in a house full of music, stories, and books. Her first ambition was to be a neon sign maker. Much later, she planned to be a folk singer in Greenwich Village. Finally she realized it was the music in the words she was after, and she has been after it ever since.
Lyon is the author of With a Hammer for My Heart (a novel), Catalpa (poems, winner of the Appalachian Book of the Year Award) and Where I'm From, Where Poems Come From, a primer for young poets. Her books for young readers include five novels (Borrowed Children, The Stranger I Left Behind, and Here and Then), 22 picture books (among them Come a Tide, Together, Who Came Down That Road?, Counting on the Woods and Book), and an an autobiography, A Wordful Child.
Married to musician Steve Lyon, she lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and has two sons.
Christopher Cardinale had a rootless upbringing following his educator parents through five states from Ohio to New Mexico. Independently, he continued his nomadic life in Guatamala and Mexico, finally settling in Brooklyn, New York. Inspired by Mexican muralism and anarchist punk collectives, Christopher works within marginally defined communities, painting murals whose subjects include the anti-globalization and anti-war movements. His large-scale murals can be viewed in New York, Italy, Greece and Mexico.
Publishing credits include a story in the Wobblies, a graphic history of industrial workers of the world; extensive features in the legendary WW3 Illustrated Magazine; and his riveting depiction of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath in New Orleans became the first cover story comic in Punk Planet’s history. He is currently working on a graphic novel celebrating his passion for cycling, which includes poignant graphic memorials about those who’ve been killed by cars while biking.
"The story is a good and important one, and it is well told for an elementary-school audience...Cardinale’s folksy, woodcut-style paintings include several memorable images."—The New York Times
"What a perfect time for this picture book’s arrival...Which Side Are You On?" is an old song with new relevance for a generation facing a dubious future."
NY Journal of Books
"The story has real power and so do the best of the illustrations."—Booklist
"Which Side Are You On? is beautiful, lyrical, and important, subtly showing us the importance of music andeven betterhow anyone can make a difference, no matter their circumstances, as long as they put their heart and soul into it. A treasure."Silas House, author of Eli the Good
"It’s a high-stakes account of grace under pressure."Publisher's Weekly
"Cardinale's digitally colored scratchboard art is dynamic…Given that many of the same [labor] conditions exist today, only changed by mechanization, the music and lyrics included may well find use in the current generation. Lyon has given today's readers a stirring story."Kirkus Reviews
"Lyon and Cardinale make a perfect match for this picture-book homage to a 1931 rallying cry born under duress in Harlan County, Ky… Although this book describes a historical event, it can open a gateway to understanding terms such as "collective bargaining," what that right has meant, and to consider what it means today."Shelf Awareness