More About Amina

Fun Facts About Me

Things I love:
Vanilla ice cream with caramel topping
Watching the birds' nest outside my window 
Finding small parks in big cities
Swimming in warm water
Reading books to kids

Places I've Been:
I was born in New York City, but I was raised in Lynwood, California and now I live in Arlington, Virginia. 

Things I've Learned:

Lots! I've always loved writing, but I wasn't always a writer. I studied political science and public policy in college and graduate school. I learned plenty about how the world works and what people can do to fix it. It was good, but I wanted something different. I wanted to write for kids. That's what really makes me happiest. 

My Favorite People:
I'm married to Robert and we have a fabulous 13-year-old son named Zach. 

Long Bio

I was raised in Lynwood, California with my parents and three siblings. My siblings and school were my life. My older sister was a reader, so I decided to become one, too. At first, I read whatever she read. Then, I began to discover books on my own. 

When I was little I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. However, I’ve always liked words—stringing them together to make the perfect sound, or to invoke just the right feeling. As a kid my favorite homework assignment was always making sentences out of vocabulary words. I’d savor that assignment like homework dessert and challenge myself to create the most unique and crazy sentences my teacher had ever read. 

In college and graduate school, I let myself forget my love of words and I focused on my work. All the world revolved around doing a good job, graduating, then finding a good job. Even after accomplishing that something was still missing. I remembered my love for words and in the evenings I began jotting down stories for children’s picture books. Then I discovered I could combine my love for words with my training in public policy and I began writing opinion pieces for newspapers. I felt a zing when I saw my name in print. I found other outlets for my writing: journal articles, book reviews and travel writing. 

Then my husband and I moved to a small town, Petersburg, VA. I learned of its rich African American history and yet I couldn’t find books that described it in an accessible way. A book needed to be written. I took on a project of collecting images depicting that history. I searched through library shelves, archives and most importantly among the city’s longtime residents. It was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. The result was a book, Images of America: African Americans of Petersburg. I’d authored a book. I could hardly believe it. The experience was my first inkling that I could do things that I’d never dared to even envision. 

Right after my first book was published, I had my son. His dad and I spent countless hours reading to him. Through my son, I was able to return to my most precious memories of reading children’s literature. I began thinking of stories I’d wanted to write for our son and maybe for other children in the world. Not long after I began creating Freewater