Carmen Agra Deedy has been writing for children for over two decades. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1964. She grew up in Decatur, Georgia, where she lives today.
Carmen began writing as a young mother and storyteller whose NPR commentaries on All Things Considered were collected and released under the title, Growing Up Cuban In Decatur, Georgia. The pithy collection of twelve stories soon garnered awards, among them a 1995 Publishers Weekly Best Audio (Adult Storytelling) and a 1996 Parents’ Choice Gold Award.
Her children’s books have won numerous awards.
The Library Dragon was her home state’s choice to represent Georgia at the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival. Martina the Beautiful Cockroach was presented with the 2008 Pura Belpre Honor Award, the 2008 Best Children’s Books of the Year (Bank Street College of Education), the 2008 International Latino Book Award, and the 2009 ALA Odyssey Audio Award (Honor), among others.
14 Cows for America, is based on a gift Americans received from a Maasai village in Kenya, following the events of 9/11. The book is a New York Times Bestseller.
Her first chapter book, The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale, is a story of deception, intrigue, and derring-do that reveals the unlikely alliance between a cheese-loving cat and the Cheshire Cheese inn’s mice in Victorian England.
Carmen has spent the past 20 years writing and telling stories. She has been an invited speaker at venues as varied as The American Library Association, Refugees International, The International Reading Association, Columbia University, The Smithsonian Institute, TED, The National Book Festival, and the Kennedy Center. In those 20 years, Carmen has told stories to hundreds of thousands of school children. They remain her favorite audiences.