I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. By the age of six months, I was making the first of many trips between Nigeria and America. In fact, by the time I was five, I had already traveled back and forth about three times. My elementary and middle school years were spent some years in America, and other years in Nigeria. I graduated from Walt Whitman High school in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. After university, I returned to Nigeria where I worked for a while at a major university, got married, and later moved back to America. I currently live in Ohio, USA.
I come from a family of voracious readers. For as long as I can remember, my parents made sure that every home in which we lived, had a library stocked with “good reads.” The long months of the Nigerian rainy season (March to mid-October, with a month long break from the rain in August) would find me, my four sisters and one brother, each in our own bedroom happily reading all day. This, I must say, is one of my favorite memories.
As a Nigerian-American, living in two different countries and cultures was a great way to grow up. It made me very interested in learning about different people and places, and respectful of people and their cultures and traditions. Even as a young person, I realized that when people are not informed, they can often develop wrong, or pre-conceived beliefs and attitudes about people and customs different from themselves. So, it is no surprise that the first book I wrote was about Nigeria, followed by books on South Africa andMadagascar. Then I took a long break from writing books, but continued writing articles and book reviews. In 2008, I wrote a biography about African-American inventor, Garrett Morgan, Garrett Augustus Morgan: Businessman, Inventor, Good Citizen, and in 2010 co-wrote a book with Virginia K. Schoelch, The Day The Library Didn’t Open, about Daylight Savings Time.
Nowadays, I work as a children’s services associate at the Shaker Heights Public Library in Ohio, and because I love reading so much, I frequently review children’s and young adult/teen books and audiobooks for School Library Journal.
And of course, I continue to write ….
– Mary N. Oluonye