About Mitali

Photo Credit: Bethany Carnes

"One of life's greatest joys is to create spaces where young people 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 crossing all kinds of borders, seeking community, and promoting justice.

I'm the author of 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. I've also written a nonfiction book for adults about children's literature, Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children's Novels to Refresh our Tired Souls.

I'm proud to have served as a Writer-in-Residence at Calvin University and also as 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. You might find me hiking trails in the Bay Area with my labrador retrievers, playing tennis, or spending time in libraries and bookstores. Please connect with me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter if those are some of your favorite places to go.

Short Bio

Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) has written many books for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for a National Book Award) and Rickshaw Girl (adapted into a film by Sleeperwave Productions), all of which explore crossing different kinds of borders. Her goal is to make readers laugh or cry, preferably both, as long as their hearts are widening. She lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Photo Credit: Bethany Carnes

Here's a Promo Kit about me and my work.

Podcasts | Hosts

The Rabbit Room | The Habit Podcast with Jonathan R. Rogers
Antioch's Literary Citizen | Samantha Rahmani
A Drink with a Friend | Tsh Oxenreider and Seth Haines
Conversing | Mark Labberton
Write-Minded | Brooke Warner and Grant Faulkner
The Stories Between Us | Shawn and Maile Smucker
The Afterword | Amy Bowlin and Holland Webb
Kids Ask Authors | Grace Lin
Worth Noting | Matthew C. Winner
The Yarn | Travis Jonker

Photo Credit: INVZN Media
Recent Video Interviews