Alexandra Alessandri is the award-winning author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman) and Isabel and Her Colores go to School (Sleeping Bear Press). The daughter of Colombian immigrants, she is also a former associate professor of English, a writer for Curriculum Associates, 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.
Alexandra Alessandri is the award-winning author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! (Albert Whitman), which won the silver medal in the 2020 Florida Book Awards Young Children’s Category, and Isabel and Her Colores Go to School (Sleeping Bear Press). The daughter of Colombian immigrants, she is also a former associate professor of English, a writer for Curriculum Associates, 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 of Colombia, relearning the piano, and planning the next great adventure with her family. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and hairless pup. For more about Alexandra, visit http://alexandraalessandri.com.
- Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! is a finalist in the 2021 International Latino Book Awards, The Mariposa Book Awards Best First Book, Children & Youth
- Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela! won the Silver Medal in Young Children’s Literature in the 2020 Florida Book Awards
- The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía won Honorable Mention in SCBWI Florida’s 2021 Rising Kite Awards Middle Grade Fiction category
- 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, July 2021
Bilingual English/Spanish edition
On sale 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.
“This first day of school story beautifully serves as a mirror for children learning English and as a window into their experience for their classmates…VERDICT A bilingual story sure to resonate with ELL students and instill empathy in their classmates.”–Emily Brush, School Library Journal, STARRED 🌟 review! Read the full review here.
As seen on NBC10 Boston’s Page Turner: Reads for Returning to a New Normal