Alexandra Alessandri honors her Latino heritage and transmits the magic of Colombia through children’s books.
Alessandri was born and raised in the United States. Her parents had migrated from Colombia to the United States but remained very attached to Colombian traditions and culture. So they made sure to instill in Alessandri love for the homeland. They turned her into a Colombiana de pura cepa.
Alessandri did not learn a word in English until she was five years old because it was not possible to speak anything other than Spanish in her house. She grew up celebrating año viejo every New Year’s Eve, eating pan de bono, and listening to her father tell the stories of the madremonte and the patasola.
Alessandri was always a lover of literature and language — destined to be a storyteller. After her father died, she looked for a way to honor him. At the same time, as she read to her son every night before bed, she wondered how she could show him a bit of the magical culture she grew up with. So she decided to write children’s books and begin an adventure as an author.
The road has not been easy. After deciding to write children’s books, Alessandri’s writing journey was full of challenges — she received rejections, criticism and had to search for a publisher.
Eventually, “Feliz New Year Ava Gabriela” and “Isabel and her Colores go to School“ paved the way for Latino authors and literature.
“Alexandra’s work is, in a word, captivating,” said Chistina Diaz, a Cuban-American children’s book author. “Latin culture is a vibrant part of our world, and it deserves to be fully represented in books. I would say that Alexandra’s passion for writing and talent in conveying thoughts and experiences while still depicting her Colombian heritage paves the way for others to follow her example of finding the universality and the uniqueness within their own background.”
At present, Alessandri is working on her next book, The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejia, which she plans to release in 2023 and which involves three of the things she enjoys the most, family, Colombian legends, and fantasy.
“I’m living a dream that I didn’t know I had,” she said. “I’m glad that through that dream, I’m honoring my Latino heritage, and I’m sure my father is proud of what this Colombian-American is doing with her legacy.”