Alexandria Giardino lives in northern California, where she teaches writing, practices karate (she's a black belt!), and rides her mountain bike all over Mt Tam. Alex grew up in the Bay Area, but she has also lived in great big cities, from New York to Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Santiago, Chile. In addition to her books, her writing has appeared in the Village Voice Literary Supplement, Ms., Marie Claire, The American Poetry Review, and on air at KQED. Her first picture book, Ode to an Onion, inspired by the poet Pablo Neruda, is a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2018. Two more children's books are forthcoming in 2020.
When I write, I think about what it means to be a part of the time children spend with the adults in their lives. The time we get to read with young children is so fleeting and precious. So, for me, it is an honor to be a part of it, to be invited into it. I hope the characters and ideas in my stories settle into your hearts, to be remembered as cherished books that filled that special time.
I remember standing in the entrance of my local library in the summer of 1977. I was ten. I had time. I had a library card. I decided to read every book there, starting with all the ones about the last Tsar of Russia and his daughter Anastasia, because her mysterious story fascinated me. I believed there would be answers to all kinds of mysteries on those shelves. I haven't stopped reading since, because I have so many questions, because I long to discover as much as I can about the world.
My favorite children's book is called MR PINE'S PURPLE HOUSE. Do you know it? I remember the first time it was read to me. I was five years old, sitting on the lap of my mom's best friend. I remember the book's simple drawings and the bright purple house Mr Pine painted for himself. The story is about how Mr Pine wanted to be unique and how he inspired all his neighbors to express themselves too. The message for me was be your own quirky self, live in a purple house if you want!
I love riding my mountain bike. I live near an extinct volcano. It towers above my town, beckoning me and also providing a sense of protectiveness. This year, I decided to ride every trail on the mountain, which is a big challenge because (1) I am not a very good rider yet, and (2) there are a lot of trails up there! But I love challenging myself, and I want to know that mountain really well. So I am going for it. I ride by myself. I have one rule: walk if I need to. Also, when I am riding, I get a lot of story ideas, so I have to stop somewhat frequently to take down notes on my phone. I have done nine rides so far, and I have about thirty to go. Wish me luck!
Typical is not a word I typically use!
Each day is slightly different for me, because I do several different things in my life, from teaching college classes to being a writer to practicing karate and riding my bike. Above all, I am also a devoted mom to an active teenager!
Every day, no matter what, I take my new puppy, Frankie, for a long walk.
My son Nicolas is smarter and more imaginative than I am. I have always loved talking about story ideas with him. Even when he was very little, he was an exacting editor (see the photo I posted of him editing my book ODE TO AN ONION!).
I have two picture books coming out in 2020 that I am excited about sharing with children! One book is called THE GOOD SONG. It is about the Hawaiian musician Israel IZ Kamakawiwo'ole beautiful medley "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." The other book is called ME + TREE, and it is the story of a friendship between a girl and a tree stump. They bond they share helps them both overcome loss and find renewed hope.
I would love to meet Yuyi Morales one day, just to tell her how much I admire her work. I would love to collaborate with illustrators from other countries, whose worldviews are different from mine. Artists like Decur from Argentina and Rashin Kheyrieh, from Iran, for example.