Erin Entrada Kelly
Author and Adjunct Professor, Rosemont College
Growing up in Louisiana, Erin Entrada Kelly didn’t really see or read about people like herself. A Filipino-American, she now works to remedy that disconnect for others with books that celebrate diversity.
Geared toward middle-grade readers, Kelly’s work tackles topical issues like bullying. “I was bullied growing up in south Louisiana, and it can have a tremendous influence over your life, for better or worse,” she says. “One thing I didn’t learn when I was younger was that it was OK to be myself and embrace what makes you different. With my books, I want to give that message to young people.”
To that end, Kelly makes every effort to represent diversity in all of its forms. “I want to write the world as it is,” she says.
Kelly’s first children’s book came out in 2015, and she’s since written three more, with another due out next year. Hello, Universe landed her among the greats in children’s literature when it was awarded the 2018 John Newbery Medal.
Kelly is also an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Rosemont College, where she teaches children’s and young adult literature. This fall, she’s the school’s writer in residence.
“It makes me happy to see that kids see all different kinds of people [in my books],” says Kelly. “That’s what the world is—and that’s how you build mutual understanding in your humanity.”