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 nine novels 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.

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. (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 and spend a lot of time in schools and libraries throughout the rest of the academic 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). I also enjoy visiting schools, libraries, and conferences to discuss “books between cultures” and the life-changing power of story. You may also find me on Facebook or Twitter if those are some of your favorite places to go.

Short Bio

Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) has written nine novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years) and Bamboo People (an American Library Association's Top Ten Novels for Young Adults, starred in Publishers Weekly as "a graceful exploration of the redemptive power of love, family, and friendship.") Her newest novel, Tiger Boy, is a Junior Library Guild selection. She has been 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 Bay Area with her family. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, and currently resides in the East Bay where she is a lecturer at Saint Mary's College of California.