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a summer you'll never forget

Gnome Is Where Your Heart HC c.jpg
Cover Art by Andy Smith
Cover Design by Sylvie Le Floc’h

Lemon Peabody is certain that aliens visited Grandpa Walt thirty years ago, but she's running out of time to prove it before he forgets his best story. This humorous and tenderhearted story about family, friendship, and always believing in yourself is for fans of Greg van Eekhout, Stuart Gibbs, and Hour of the Bees.

Lemon Peabody loves spending time with Grandpa Walt. Even though he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's and moved to an assisted living facility, he's still the same funny, loving grandpa he's always been. One of Grandpa's claims to fame is his story about meeting an alien years ago--and that it looked like a garden gnome. Ever since, it's been something of a town-wide joke, and the cause of a rift between Grandpa and Lemon's dad. Lemon is determined to find those extraterrestrial gnomes and vindicate Grandpa Walt--while Grandpa can still remember it.

Late one night, after seeing the flash of a spaceship during a storm, Lemon enlists the help of two friends to find out what might have crashed in the woods. But then the aliens find her, and nothing goes the way she expected. Lemon is sure she can convince the aliens to fix Grandpa Walt's memory and bring back the grandpa she misses so much for good. But the aliens are dealing with problems of their own. With a little creativity and compassion, maybe they can all help one another.

Casey Lyall's lively, voice-driven novel bursts with heart and humor. With family and friendship--and aliens!--at its core, Gnome Is Where Your Heart Is will captivate readers of Rebecca Stead's and Wendy Mass's Bob, Greg van Eekhout's Weird Kid, and Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday.


"Science-fiction elements send this tale of relatable family issues to delightfully surprising places." 

- Kirkus Reviews

"Lyall strikes an even balance between heartwarming and heartbreak as Lemon’s independent spark, sharp wit, and deep compassion brighten the pages." 

- publishers weekly

"An exciting story filled with humor, heart, and aliens from space. An out-of this-world page turner!" 

- Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

"A quirky and captivating sci-fi adventure that reads at light speed. Lemon Peabody is spunky, big-hearted hero easy to cheer for, and her journey reminds us to cherish every moment we have with family and friends, no matter where they're from."

- John David Anderson, acclaimed author of Posted and Finding Orio

"An endlessly delightful read that seamlessly marries the excitement and kid-appeal of a first contact with aliens plotline with a sensitive depiction of a child coming to terms with a loved one’s illness. Gnome Is Where Your Heart Is is charming, witty, and just pure fun.

- Heather Fawcett, author of Ember and the Ice Dragons and The Grace of Wild Things

"Gnome is Where Your Heart Is is a poignant (and often hilarious) story about unwavering familial devotion and faithful friendships with a unique sci-fi twist. The plot is both imaginative and unforgettable. Lemon Peabody is a protagonist with an engaging voice that practically leaps off the page—she's a character you'll instantly fall for. When you finish this book, you'll never look at garden gnomes the same way again. I loved it eGNOMEously.

- Angela Ahn, acclaimed author of Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field 


2024 Silver Birch Award from the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading program


2023 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens (Fall Edition)​
2023 Ontario Library Association Best Bets Committee - Junior Fiction List

2024 American Library Association Core Division Excellence in Children's and Young Adult Science Fiction Notable Lists - Eleanor Cameron Notable Middle Grade Books

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