One Million Men and Me

CCBC Choices 2008, Cooperative Children's Book Center's best-of-the-year list


2009 Youth Top Ten pick, Detroit Public Library's African American Booklist

2008 Bronze Moonbeam Book Awards Medal, Multicultural Picture Book category

Accelerated Reader and Scholastic Reading Counts! Title


From Booklist:

"Journalist Lyons, who attended the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995, imagines the historic event through the eyes of a child she saw there. The tone is strongly inspirational, and Ambush’s realistic double-page spreads, which make particularly good use of close-ups, portray the child and her daddy against the big scenes of the crowds “united and strong.” Words and pictures celebrate the diversity of individual black men, “doctors, garbage men, students, homeless people and retirees,” and their joining together “in purpose and peace.” The sense of tradition is apparent in the metaphors of quilts, a rainbow, and more, and so is the child’s excitement about being part of the history, a “princess” close with her loving dad. A lengthy afterword talks about the speakers and the connections with the 1963 March on Washington."

-- Hazel Rochman

From Ebony magazine:

"One Million Men and Me (Just Us Books, $16.95), by Kelly Starling Lyons (illustrated by Peter Ambush), is a moving tribute to the Million Man March told through the shared experience of a father and daughter . . . the touching story is an insightful read for parents who want to teach their children about the historic march on Oct. 16, 1995 (for children ages 4-8)."

From New Pittsburgh Courier:

"One Million Men and Me should be placed in every school around the world so children can see a page in Black history that is not so far in the past. This book is strong and influential to young minds . . .
It would be a great buy for educators and parents alike."

From School Library Journal:

"Lyons relates the events of the 1995 Million Man March as told from the point of view of a girl who accompanies her father to Washington, DC, for the historic gathering. She begins, "My cousin, Omari, said no girls were allowed. But Daddy took me." . . . The description of the faces as "a rainbow of chocolate, graham cracker brown and cream" is accompanied by a spread depicting men of different ages, dress styles, and color, but their expressions of pride and hope are the same. Ambush successfully varies the illustrations to include both warm close-ups of father and daughter and wider views of the speakers she sees while sitting on her dad's shoulders. An author's note includes additional historical facts about the march. This story might prove useful as an introduction to black history or to engage students' interest in social issues."

— Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School,
Scarsdale, NY

From Infotech: The Advisory List
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Division
Instructional Technology Section:

"Lyons, Kelly Starling.  One Million Men and Me.  Illustrated by Peter
Ambush.  unp.  $16.99.  Just Us, 2007.
ISBN:  978-1-933491-07-3

[K-5, PIC]  Nia rode the bus with her father all through the night,
arriving in Washington, DC just as dawn broke.  There, they joined black men from all over America who had come together to make positive changes for their families and communities.  The Million Man March on October 16, 1995 was a day for speeches, promises, and inspiration, a day for commitment and responsibility.  Told from this young girl’s viewpoint, beautifully illustrated with full-page, double-spread drawings, and accompanied by an Author’s Note, this book will be an excellent choice when studying the Million Man March, black history, Washington, DC, or character education traits.  AUTHOR’S NOTE.  CE  [ELA, GUID, SS]"

From RAWSISTAZ Reviewers:

"As ONE MILLION MEN AND ME opens, a young girl confides to readers that her cousin told her the march they were attending was for males only. Yet, her father had decided to take her on a trip to Washington, D.C. to witness firsthand, the events of The Million Man March. She shares many of the sights and sounds she witnessed during the course of the day; from speeches by Minister Farrakhan and Dr. Maya Angelou, to prayers, music, and even the collection of offering. More important than simply retelling the events, the book highlights the spirit and emotion of the day. Readers can feel the excitement and solidarity as they read and soak in the illustrations.

Kelly Starling Lyons has crafted an endearing tale that immediately brings to focus the significance of The Million Man March. The story is told from an unexpected perspective, yet ONE MILLION MEN AND ME fully captures the spirit of the day which was the empowerment of black men. Her use of imagery, with terms like "cotton candy clouds" (page 26), is the perfect complement for the warm, illustrations of Peter Ambush. ONE MILLION MEN AND ME is a wonderful book that provides a good introduction to this modern historical event."

-- Stacey Seay

From Midwest Book Review:

"One Million Men and Me is a children's picture book inspired by the author's personal experience witnessing a father and daughter at the Million Man March of 1995, which brought together black men across America who were committed to making positive and lasting changes for the better both in the home and in the community. Told through the eyes of a little girl who was with her father on the day black men made history, One Million Men and Me emphasizes the importance of a father-daughter bond as well as standing up for one's beliefs. The simple yet iconic color illustrations bring the events of the Million Man March to life for young readers who might not have been born yet when the it took place. "I'll always remember / the day Daddy took me / on a journey. // The day a million Black men stood shoulder to shoulder,/ the day history was made with /

one million men and me."

From The News & Observer:

"Kelly Starling Lyons brings to life the Million Man March with a witnessing voice in "One Million Men and Me" (Just Us Books, $16.95, ages 6-9). Based on her own experience, the author invents a series of glorious descriptions and a young girl who feels like a princess as she walks with men "like a quilt of moving pieces," seeing faces "wrinkled and smooth ... rainbow of chocolate, graham cracker brown, and cream" who come to "pray and take responsibility" on "the Day a million Black men stood shoulder to shoulder, the day history was made with one million men and me." Starling Lyons, a former News & Observer writer, has a gift for taking an event almost too big for young children to imagine and creating images they can comprehend, encouraging them to discover more about this historic event."

-- Susie Wilde

From Pittsburgh City Paper:

"Much has been written about the Million Man March. But with her new children's book, One Million Men and Me, Kelly Starling Lyons isn't out to teach a history lesson. Instead, she tells the story of that legendary day in October 1995 through the eyes of a young girl who attends the Washington, D.C. march with her father. It's a different kind of impact, creating an emotional and cultural bond between father and daughter."

From Winston-Salem Journal:

"This picture book follows a young girl and her father attending the historic Million Man March in Washington. Kelly Lyons combines a current event with exploring a special trip shared between a daughter and her father. With so many men participating in the Million Man March, this is a rare look at the historic venue from a young girl’s perspective."

-- Monica Young

From George L. Garrow, Jr., executive director of Concerned Black Men - National Organization:

"Ms. Lyons has written a wonderful story for kids about an important day for Black America. The Million Man March still stands in my memory as one of the most moving and inspiring days of my life. Concerned Black Men is thankful that she has captured it so well and is sharing this perfect day in history with a new generation."

From Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Economist and Author:

"Much has been written about the father and son, with father-absence seen as a key developmental issue for African American boys. The bond between fathers and daughters has been less fully explored, but emerging research suggests that father-absence is also a critical issue in the development of African American girls.

Thus, Kelly Starling Lyons’ book One Million Men and Me, is a special peek at the relationship of a father and a daughter. It celebrates that special relationship while also celebrating an important gathering of African American men. With riveting illustrations and straightforward prose, this is a book that will bring history home to a youngster, but will also make a grown up smile."

From Gary A. Johnson, Founder and Publisher of Black Men in

"One Million Men and Me by Kelly Starling Lyons is a "must-read" for every adult and child. This is a wonderful children's book. The illustrations by Peter Ambush are a perfect combination to the narrative that vividly described that historic day where so many men behaved like true gentlemen.

The genius of the book is the way the story is told. The experience of the Million Man March is seen through the eyes of a little girl named Nia. The connection between the little girl and her Daddy and all the men she met that day is heartwarming.

One Million Men and Me is also a story about values, integrity and responsibility. Every adult who reads this story to a child will re-visit the positive feelings of that time. With so many negative images in the black community, One Million Men and Me is an important piece of work. It is imperative that young people see positive images of people who look like them. This story makes you feel proud. Thank you Kelly for writing such an inspiring story."

From Phillip Jackson, Founder and Executive Director of The Black Star Project:

"I highly recommend One Million Men and Me as a book for every household in America with children because of its strong family message and its positive view of Black men as responsible fathers in our world."

Thank you for your support.

Kids Speak

Here are a few of the letters I received from students I met when I visited Pittsburgh’s John Morrow Elementary School. I cherish every note I get. Thanks so much for writing me.

“Thank you for the book. I like the part when they prayed together. That might stop the fighting around here.” -- Tayjah

“I love your book One Million Men and Me. I like it when it seys I am one in a million. That was my favorite part.” -- Kayla

“I enjoyed your book. I like how you use lots of details in your story. I like the part when you said, ‘One million black men. One million black kings.’ I hope you make another one soon. -- Jahji

“Your book was great and I liked it. I thought the girl was nice. It was cool that you were really there. I thought that when you saw a girl with her dad and then wrote it, that was pretty nice.” -- Sarah

“Thank you for the wonderfull book. The girl was the only girl in the story. That made it exciting to read.” -- LaVaughan

“I like the book. It was awesome. I like when they get on the bus. That was cool.” -- Duan

“Thank you for the books! I MISS YOU! I made a wish on a shooting star you will come back to our school with new books! Everyone loves you. P.S. Bring more books. Let’s have fun.” -- Julie