Alexandra Peñaloza Alessandri is a Colombian-American poet, professor, and children’s author who has been making up stories since she was little. As an only child with a vivid imagination, Alexandra relished in trips to the library and summers spent in Colombia, listening to stories of brujitas, mano peludas, and other fantastical beings. These were the seedlings for a future filled with words and stories.
She received her BA and MA degrees in English from Florida International University and a Certificate of Fiction from UCLA Extension. During the day, she’s an Adjunct Professor of English at Broward College, where she teaches composition and creative writing. At night, on the weekends, or any chance she gets, she’s whittling poems, picture books, and stories for middle grade and young adult audiences. Her experience growing up straddling both cultures often influences her writing, and she has a soft spot for magical realism and anything that blurs the lines between reality and fantasy.
Alexandra is the award-winning author of Feliz New Year, Ava Gabriela!, Isabel and Her Colores Go To School, and The Enchanted Life of Valentina Mejía (Atheneum/S&S, 2023), and her poetry has appeared in The Acentos Review, Rio Grande Review, YARN, and Atlanta Review.
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.