Short (73 words):
Alexandra Alessandri is a Colombian American poet, children’s author, and Associate Professor of English at Broward College. Her poetry has appeared in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, Atlanta Review, and YARN. Her debut Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! releases October 1, 2020 from Albert Whitman & Company, followed by Isabel and Her Colores Go to School in fall 2021 from Sleeping Bear Press. Alexandra lives in Florida with her husband and son.
Slightly Longer (132 words):
Alexandra Peñaloza Alessandri is a Colombian American poet, children’s author, and Associate Professor of English at Broward College. She received her BA and MA degrees in English from Florida International University, as well as a Certificate of Fiction from UCLA Extension. Her poetry has appeared in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, YARN, and Atlanta Review, where her poem “Inheritance” was a Finalist in the 2017 International Poetry Competition. She is the author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman, Fall 2020) and Isabel and Her Colores Go to School (Sleeping Bear Press, Fall 2021).
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.
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 October 1, 2020
Albert Whitman & Company
Jacketed Hardcover with Matte Lamination
Uncorrected Proofs available through Edelweiss+
Signed and personalized copies available from Books & Books. Leave a note with personalization info in the order comments field.
Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! has a teacher’s guide & activity kit!
Praise for Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!
Kirkus Reviews–starred review!
This gentle family story lets readers know that shyness is nothing to worry about.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..Read the full review here.
From Kristin Guay, Youth Services Book Review: Starred review!
“The illustrations are bright and colorful, perfect for the lush farm setting of the story…perfect for an elementary school social studies classroom.READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.
From Sarah Bickel, Youth Services Book Review: Starred review!
…a great example of an #ownvoices diverse book that celebrates Colombian culture through a story that all readers can relate to… decenters whiteness but is also accessible for everyone.READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE.