10 Fun Facts

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Alicia Klepeis author

About Me

Short Bio:

I arrived on this planet on a fall day in 1971. My mom delivered me at a big hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. She stayed home with me until I went to school. My dad was a 5th and 6th grade teacher. I spent my entire childhood in Woburn, Massachusetts on a quiet dead-end road. An only child, I was somewhat of a bookworm. I was always a bit nervous about school and spent a lot of my time doing homework until I graduated from college.

Right after I finished college, I got an internship at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C. I loved that job for many reasons. The work was interesting, I got to go to great films and concerts nearly every week and… I met my husband (a fellow intern) there. We've been married nearly 22 years now. When my internship ended, I started graduate school to become a teacher. I taught middle school geography for several years in Massachusetts. Then I moved to upstate New York and stayed home with my three children for about ten years before becoming a writer. I now write almost full-time for kids and plan to do that for as long as possible. I love this job!

Slightly longer version of my life story:

As a kid in the 1970s, no one I knew traveled too far from home. My best friend Holly and I made our own fun, pretending the dead end street we lived on was the downtown of a city, doing loops of "errands" on our bikes or roller skates. When I was a teenager, I thought it was quite an adventure to take the bus and the train into Boston or Cambridge. I loved wandering around Harvard Square, Downtown Crossing, Quincy Market, and the North End. Of course, half the fun was eating whatever struck my fancy (Japanese bubble gum and Italian gelato come to mind) and wandering along the cobblestone streets or narrow alleys to find a bookshop or a stationery store. Alicia Klepeis writer

In high school, I even took a friend to Logan Airport to people watch. She thought I was crazy but came along anyway. We had a great time guessing where people were going, where they had come in from on their flights, and so on.

Coinciding with my exploration of the Boston area was a desire to learn about and see more of the world.

My seventh grade teacher Mrs. Sweeney gave me a love of geography that remains to this day. In the eighth grade, I applied for penpals through IYS (International Youth Service). In 1985, I started writing to Zewdu from Ethiopia, Catherine from Ireland, Mei Sien from Singapore, and Akina from Hong Kong. Thirty years later, I still write to all of them. This correspondence has given me a love of writing, both letter writing and journaling. It has also provided the inspiration for both some of my published work and works-in-progress. When I was in high school, I was lucky enough to travel to Ireland and stay with Catherine's family for two weeks. That was a wonderful trip. I've also visited Mei Sien in Singapore and she has come to stay with me twice. (I still hope to meet Zewdu and Akina in person!)

After switching majors a couple of times early in college, I was thrilled when I transferred to U Mass Boston and discovered they had a geography department. Bingo – I quickly chose geography as my major and took classes on everything from East Asia to Weather and Climate to Economic Geography. As I was finishing up my undergraduate degree, I applied for many different jobs and internships. On the same night, I was offered the chance to teach English in Japan and to be an intern at the National Geographic Society. I took the internship and it was terrific. (But I must admit that I still hope to teach English overseas sometime.)

The following year after working at NGS, I became a middle-school geography teacher. I had a blast with my students – we did so many fun things together. From tai chi to designing Ghanian-style coffins to creating murals of the creatures from the Great Barrier Reef, I had a wonderful time getting my students to explore the world and its diversity.Alicia Klepeis writer I always loved when kids would say "I thought social studies was boring…but it's not." After six years of teaching, my husband got a new job and we moved to upstate New York. My oldest daughter was 17 months old when we moved and I was expecting our second child.

Of all the jobs I have had (and there have been many!), being a full time mom was the hardest. Early mornings, late nights, no days off. But there were also many happy moments like playing in piles of autumn leaves, making homemade play dough, and going for walks. And reading kids' books by the dozen. From Monica Wellington's Apple Farmer Annie to Annette Langen's Letters From Felix: A Little Rabbit on a World Tour, reading was a wonderful part of every day.

Now that my own children are getting older, I write as much as I can. Alicia Klepeis writerI started off mostly writing magazine articles, both for kids and adults. I've written about everything from tree house hotels to people's flavor preferences for jellybeans around the world. I love researching and finding some nugget of information that makes an article or a book richer. My first book, Africa, came out in the fall of 2013. I remember how thrilled I was to see the hardcover book arrive in my mailbox. It had such gorgeous pictures to accompany my text. I'm delighted every time an editor sends me the proofs of a book before it's in print. Since 2013, I have written more than sixty books on a variety of topics—Saudi Arabia, the world's strangest foods, bizarre medicine through the ages, and even vampires. I also write fiction for different aged readers. My first picture book Francisco's Kites was released in May 2015. In the summer of 2016 my new Civil Rights era novel was released. Titled A Time For Change, it focuses on 9th grade protagonist Amari Johnson whose world is rocked when she moves from Boston to Raleigh in 1960.

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