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

I'm the author of eight books (#9 is coming 2015) for young readers published by Random House, Charlesbridge, Candlewick, Little Brown, and Dutton. I'm also proud to be a Girl Scouts Storyteller. Here's a video they made about me and my stories:


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 love visiting schools and libraries to discuss “books between cultures” and the life-changing power of story. I also love it when people stop by my virtual “fire escape” (mitaliperkins.com), or my blog about books between cultures (mitaliblog.com).

When I’m Not Writing

After stints in Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Southern California, and Newton (in the Boston area), we're finally settling down in Orinda, California, where my husband is the pastor of Moraga Valley Presbyterian Church. (If you want to find out how I ended up as a minister's wife, you'll find the start of the story here.)

I teach a Jan Term course at Saint Mary's College of California called "Race, Culture, and Power in Children's Books," and spend a lot of time in schools and libraries throughout the rest of the year talking about growing up between cultures and the life-changing power of story.

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 contact me via Facebook or Twitter if you need more information about my books or life, as I'm a bit of a social media freak.

Short Bio

Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) was born in India, immigrated to the United States with her parents and two sisters when she was seven, and studied political science at Stanford University and Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley. She's the author of nine books, including Rickshaw Girl, which was chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years, and Bamboo People, which is an American Library Association’s Top Ten Novels for Young Adults and was starred and described in Publishers Weekly as “a graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship.” Mitali lives in Orinda, a town east of San Francisco, where she writes and speaks full-time.