I was the kind of child who read everything – my dad's newspaper, the cereal box, the signs on the street.
Most of the books I owned when I was growing up were sent to me for birthdays and Christmases by my
grandmother, Granelly, who lived in England. These were treasures that I read up in the bougainvillea tree, where I had a secret perch and no one would disturb me for hours. I woke up
early, and read until my family finally got out of bed. I made my mom read the The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen over and over again – it made me cry, it was so
beautiful. I loved Judy Blume's Fudge series, Julie of the Wolves, the Narnia books and lots of horse books, including Black Beauty and Misty of
Chincoteague. Now, I love to read
picture books with my son (and the dog!).
I wanted to become a ballerina when I grew up. But I wasn't good enough, so I became an editor and writer instead.
Ever since I can remember, I have written or told stories. Here is one:
I even wrote some poetry and entered it in school contests.
Me at my school desk
At college, along with a whole lot of other unpublished stuff, I wrote Elephants Never Forget, after going on a trip with my parents to South Africa.
Much later, I became passionate about books for babies and very little ones. (I studied Developmental Psychology at Smith College and, in 2013, I completed a degree in Early Childhood Education and an International Diploma in Montessori Pedagogy). So, I was thrilled when a book I wrote as an editor, Is this My Nose?, illustrated by Georgie Birkett, won the Booktrust Best Book for Babies.
Apart from writing, I started editing early on as well. I was the editor of my high-school newsletter, The Tatui, and after college, I decided I would combine my interest in children’s books with editing. I moved to London, England, to work for a publisher. My favorite job is crafting children's books with writers and illustrators and shaping stories through Blue Elephant Storyshaping. Over the years, I have been lucky to edit many amazing and award-winning picture books, non-fiction pop-ups and chapter books!
I have always loved facts. I like to think I can learn at least one new thing every single day. Can you? I loved doing the research for The Crayon Man! I learned all kinds of interesting things about what life was like for 1900s school kids, color, and crayons. You can find out more about these here!
In 2019 I was invited to Buckingham Palace to receive a very special award for services to children's book writers and illustrators. I have been volunteering for over 20 years as Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) in the British Isles, creating programing for our region. The MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) was presented by HRH Prince Charles. It was very exciting!