About Marlena

Welcome to my site!

Children’s books have always been some of my favorite things.  So I decided to make writing them my job. Before this, I wrote other things and worked in publishing, but nothing is as fun for me as writing books for kids and young adults. Fun is VERY important. Other things I do for fun are dance a LOT, dress up in silly costumes, play with kids, conduct occasional disastrous cooking experiments, and march every year in The Coney Island Mermaid Parade where I always hope to win a prize and am sometimes successful.

I take my job seriously. Children and young adults are smart and savvy and amazing. When I was a kid I wanted adults to respect my experience and intelligence. I preferred books that could transport me, were humorous and insightful, and gave my brain some good questions to chew on. So that’s what I aim to write.

Underpants Dance
is my first picture book. I have also been published in Highlights and have written a lot of stories for the school market. I am at work on other books about Lily McBloom as well as a middle-grade fantasy series.

If you wonder what qualifies me to write books specifically for children, here are the top five reasons as
determined by me:

5.  I am mom to a fantastic kid. While parenthood itself does not qualify one to be a children’s author, experience reading stories over and over and OVER again to a little kid alerted me to the kinds of books I’d rather eat than have to read aloud one more time.
I try not to write those kinds of books.

4.  I worked in educational publishing for a whole lot of years, which gave me valuable
insight into the perspective of teachers and librarians and how children learn to read.

3.  I never stopped reading children’s books – not even when I grew up. If you want to write for children, it helps to read what children read.

2.  I have a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College where I was a Virginia Haviland Scholar. I simply cannot say enough good things about Simmons.

1.  I used to be a child. Woah! Can you believe it? That’s 17 whole years of first-hand
research and in-depth exploration of childhood. Can’t beat that experience!


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