Short (75 words):
Alexandra Alessandri is the award-winning author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman) and the forthcoming Isabel and Her Colores go to School (Sleeping Bear Press). The daughter of Colombian immigrants, she is also an Associate Professor of English at Broward College and a poet, with some of her work appearing in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Atlanta Review, and Young Adult Review Network. Alexandra lives in Florida with her husband and son.
Slightly Longer (140 words):
Alexandra Alessandri is the author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman), which won a silver medal in the 2020 Florida Book Awards, and the forthcoming Isabel and Her Colores Go to School (Sleeping Bear Press). The daughter of Colombian immigrants, she is also an Associate Professor of English at Broward College and a poet, with some of her work appearing in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Atlanta Review, and Young Adult Review Network. She received her BA and MA degrees in English from Florida International University and a Certificate in Fiction Writing from UCLA Extension.
When not writing or teaching, Alexandra spends her time daydreaming, relearning the piano, and planning the next great adventure with her family. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and hairless pup, dreaming of Colombia. For more about Alexandra, visit http://alexandraalessandri.com.
- 2020 Florida Book Awards Silver Medal in Young Children’s Literature, Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!
- Florida Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators 2021 Rising Kite Award Winner
Middle Grade Fiction Honorable Mention, The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía
- Finalist, 2017 Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition, “Inheritance”
- Winner of the 2017 Finding Home poetry contest, YARN, “Where I’m From”
Click each photo for high resolution. Photos by Dawn Yap @ Yap Originals.
Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!
Ava’s excited to say goodbye to el Año Viejo–but will her shyness keep her from joining in the celebration?
Ava Gabriela is visiting her extended family in Colombia for the holidays. She’s excited to take part in family traditions such as making buñuelos, but being around all her loud relatives in an unfamiliar place makes Ava shy and quiet. How will Ava find her voice before she misses out on all the New Year’s fun?
Written by Alexandra Alessandri
Illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda
On sale now:
Albert Whitman & Company
Jacketed Hardcover with Matte Lamination
Teacher’s Guide: Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! has a teacher’s guide & activity kit!
Praise for Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!
“This gentle family story lets readers know that shyness is nothing to worry about.”–Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW. Read the full review here.
“The book’s vibrant colors reflect the story’s celebratory mood, and the cartoon illustrations cushion Ava’s struggle with anxiety.”–Booklist. Read the full review here.
“This warm #OwnVoices look at Colombian traditions, including wearing yellow underwear and eating grapes for good luck, is both universal and deeply personal.”–School Library Journal. Read review here.
“The illustrations are bright and colorful, perfect for the lush farm setting of the story.”–Kristin Guay, Youth Services Book Review: Starred review! Read the full review here.
“…a great example of an #ownvoices diverse book that celebrates Colombian culture through a story that all readers can relate to.”–Sarah Bickel, Youth Services Book Review: Starred review! Read the full review here.
Isabel and Her Colores Go to School
English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she’s going to have to learn–and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there’s more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.
Written by Alexandra Alessandri
Illustrated by Courtney Dawson
Sleeping Bear Press
Releases: July 15, 2021
Bilingual English/Spanish edition
Available for preorder now!
Praise for Isabel and Her Colores Go to School!
“A first-day-of-school story steeped in vibrant imagery…This story affirms the experiences of English language learners while encouraging empathy for others…Readers will root for Isabel and her colorful new beginning.”–Kirkus Reviews. Read the full review here.
“Alessandri and Dawson fill the book with colors, both visually and in the words, which helpfully signal the emotions that Isabel, who loves to draw with an expansive palette, experiences over the course of the day…Pleasantly rounded characters add to the welcoming atmosphere, as does the message that art can bridge divides.”–Sarah Hunter, Booklist.
“This synesthesia-inflected tale helps teach colors while simultaneously buoying those nervous about language barriers.”–Publishers Weekly. Read the full review here.