About Me

"One of life's greatest joys is to create spaces where children feel safe, welcome, and beloved. Stories are one such space." — Mitali Perkins

Who In The World Is Mitali Perkins?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure it out myself, spending most of my life crossing borders.

I was born Mitali Bose in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and always tried to live up to my name—which means “friendly” in the Bangla language. I had to! Because my family moved so much, it was the only way I could make new friends.

 By the time I was 11, I'd lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before settling in California just in time for middle school. Yep, I was the new kid again, in seventh grade, the year everybody barely makes it through.

My biggest lifeline during those early years was story. Books were my rock, my stability, my safe place as I navigated the border between California suburbia and the Bengali culture of my traditional home.

After studying political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, I taught in middle school, high school and college. When I began to write fiction, my protagonists were often—not surprisingly—strong characters trying to bridge different cultures or to promote justice.

I'm the author of 10 novels for young readers published by Penguin Random House, Charlesbridge, Candlewick, Little Brown, and Macmillan Children's Books. I enjoy visiting schools, libraries, and conferences to discuss “books between cultures” and the life-changing power of story, and serve as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Saint Mary's College of California.


I'm proud to be a Girl Scouts Storyteller. Here's a video they made about me and my stories:


When I’m Not Writing

After stints in Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Southern California, and Newton (in the Boston area), we are now living back in the San Francisco Bay Area, where my husband is a pastor of a Presbyterian Church. If you want to know more about how I ended up married to a pastor, here's the start of the story.

You might find me hiking trails in the Bay Area with my two labrador retrievers, playing tennis, or spending time in libraries and bookstores. I love it when guests stop by my virtual “fire escape,” a.k.a., my blog, which is mostly about books between cultures (mitaliblog.com). You may also find me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter if those are some of your favorite places to go.

Short Bio

Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) has written ten novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for the National Book Award), Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years), Bamboo People (an American Library Association's Top Ten Novels for Young Adults), and Tiger Boy (winner of the Charlotte Huck Honor Award and the South Asia Book Award.) She was honored as a "Most Engaging Author" by independent booksellers across the country and selected as a "Literary Light for Children" by the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India before immigrating to the United States. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.