Barbara Mariconda has been writing since the third grade, when her teacher submitted her poetry collection to an educational magazine - resulting in her first rejection letter. The editor urged her: "keep writing and you'll become a published author one day!" And she has – with over thirty books to her credit including an Edgar nominated middle grade, and a picture book that was a National Best Books and Children's Choice finalist and a Moonbeam Award Gold Medal winner.
While writing in all genres, Barbara spends most of her time with middle grade and YA, exploring the edges and undercurrents of life that can be sensed and experienced, but never grasped – the stuff of mystery, magic, and spirituality. She is an accomplished pianist and singer, and, as a child, played a mean accordion! She's sung in the Crypt of St. Peter in the Vatican, in a top forty band, and made a recording with Big Bird! An avid traveler, Barbara's ridden a camel in the Sahara, a rickshaw in Tokyo, a hot air balloon over the Valley of the Kings, a dogsled in Alaska, climbed the Great Wall of China, kissed the Blarney Stone, soaked in the waters of Lourdes, and sailed in a gondola in Venice.When she isn't writing or traveling she's teaching teachers around the world to inspire the next generation of authors in their classrooms through her company, Empowering Writers - www.empoweringwriters.com. She has a son and a daughter, both fine artists, working in the fashion industry. Barbara lives in Shelton, CT, with her good-natured shih tzu, Little Man.
I throw back my tumble of black hair, roll one bare shoulder forward, then the other. The stack of bangles on each wrist shimmies and slides as my hands rise like birds in flight. Set during the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War, sixteen-year-old Drina yearns to dance Flamenco. When she dances, she forgets who she is. She forgets what seems to be her legacy: I am nothing. I belong nowhere. Why does her mother forbid her to dance, the very thing that makes her feel alive? She wonders about the secrets her mother holds, about the rumored life she had before Drina was born – a story that somehow still holds them both prisoner. From the wandering Gypsy campagne to the vineyard estate of a paternal grandmother she has never known and the dance halls of Seville where Flamenco reigns, Drina fights to discover who she is and where she belongs. Not quite Gypsy, not quite Spanish, she must carve out an identity all her own and discover what it means to be a bird with the heart of a mountain. Full of mystery, loss and longing, this powerful novel brilliantly captures a young girl’s yearning and her adventurous journey to discover her true home.