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A Dinosaur Named Ruth

How Ruth Mason Discovered Fossils in Her Own Backyard

Illustrated by Alexandra Bye

About The Book

For fans of Shark Lady and from the New York Times bestselling illustrator of Dr. Fauci comes the incredible true story of a girl who discovered dinosaur bones in her own backyard and, after years of persistence, helped uncover one of the most exciting paleontological discoveries of our time.

There’s an extraordinary secret hidden just beneath Ruth Mason’s feet. The year is 1905, and Ruth is a prairie girl living in South Dakota. She has no way of knowing that millions of years ago, her family farm was once home to scores of dinosaurs. Until one day, when Ruth starts finding clues to the past: strange rocks and rubble scattered all across her land. They’re dinosaur fossils—but she doesn’t know that yet, either. It will take many years of collecting these clues, and many, many questions, but Ruth’s curiosity will one day help uncover thousands of fossils all across her land.

New York Times bestselling illustrator Alexandra Bye’s vibrant illustrations bring to life this inspiring and exciting debut picture book from award-winning journalist Julia Lyon.

About The Author

Photograph courtesy of the author

Julia Lyon is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism and spent more than ten years working in daily newspapers in Oregon and Utah before becoming a freelance writer in 2013. She has won a United Nations Correspondents Association gold medal after visiting refugee camps in Thailand and has won many other journalism awards and distinctions for her reporting. A Dinosaur Named Ruth is her debut picture book.

About The Illustrator

Alexandra Bye is a freelance illustrator specializing in fun, colorful illustrations for a variety of media such as editorial and children’s publications. Her work is constantly inspired by her flourishing New England community and reflects the energy and dynamic personality of hometown pride. In her free time, she enjoys mountain biking, Nordic ski racing, Jiu Jitsu, studying nutritional therapy, and hiking in the White Mountains with her dog, Oliver.

Why We Love It

“Simply talking about Ruth Mason’s story brings a smile to my face. Told with bright and cheery illustrations, this is the best kind of inspiring picture book biography, complete with lessons that little girls—and all children—can learn from and delight in.”

—Nicole F., Assistant Editor, on A Dinosaur Named Ruth

Product Details

  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (November 2, 2021)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534474635
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® AD720L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"An inspiring tale of resilience and dedication...and a most interesting addition to the world of dinosaur hunting."

– Kirkus Reviews

"Students will be able to identify with Mason’s curiosity and wonder. The digital illustrations enhance the text with their soft colors and whimsical sensibility....This would be a great choice for reading aloud during fossil or dinosaur units. A strong selection for picture biography collections, especially where there are gaps on the women in STEM shelves."

– School Library Journal

"In this sweet, satisfying story, the vivid digital illustrations glow with warmth, conjuring the vast Badlands alongside the coziness of Mason’s rural life. Back matter includes details about Mason and suggestions for further reading. An
appealing ode to perseverance, the pleasure in sharing passions, and the thrill of discovery."

– Booklist

Awards and Honors

  • Topaz Nonfiction Reading List (TX)

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this illustrator: Alexandra Bye