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


“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


“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


“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



The touching, magical story of a boy in a war-torn country and the stone lion that rescues him.

Renato loves his home in Florence, Italy. He loves playing with his friends in the Piazza della Signoria. 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.

PRODUCT DETAILS Hardcover | $17.99 Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
44 Pages | 11 x 10-1/2 | 5-7 years | ISBN 9780451476418

Order today! Or come to the book launch event at Books of Wonder in New York City on June 25, 2017 from 1-3pm!


More to come on this website regarding research and hidden portraits within the illustrations. Barbara is taking care of her newborn daughter, so this element of the website may take a little time to develop. But she is more than happy to discuss the additional layers of history in person!

To see more of Barbara's artwork, please visit

Barbara is represented by Rachel Orr of the Prospect Agency.

Email: wavepaint @
Twitter: @wavepaint