Short Bio (from The Nian Monster):
Andrea Wang grew up making dumplings and taking baths with orange peels to prepare for Chinese New Year. She loves to travel and try new foods and has tasted camel in Beijing, mantis shrimp in Hanoi, and emu in Perth. Andrea lives in the Denver, Colorado area with her family and their dog, Mochi, named for the sticky rice dessert.
I was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1970. I think my love of mythical creatures came from playing with the Chinese lions in front of the Yenching Library at Harvard University, where my father was a professor. I take photos of all the sculptures of mythical creatures I see, wherever I go.
When I was two, my family moved to the small town of Yellow Springs, Ohio. The town was so small that there was only one traffic light. Okay, maybe two. I spent my free time riding ponies (because I was too short to ride horses), baking cookies, and following my older brother all over town. When I wasn’t doing one of those things, I was reading. I always had a book in my hand –in bed, at the dinner table, even while taking a bath! I knew I wanted to be a writer when one of the poems I’d written in second grade was published in the town newspaper. I felt like I had made it – I was now a published author! It didn’t matter to me that the newspaper had printed all my classmates’ poems, too. I felt special anyway!
My family moved back to Massachusetts when I was in middle school. I started volunteering in the hospitals where my mother worked. When I went to Wellesley College, my parents insisted that I study science or law. I chose biology and set my sights on medical school. It was during an ecology class that I realized I didn’t want to spend my life working in a hospital – I wanted to be outdoors, or at least doing something to help the environment. After college, I got a Master’s degree in environmental studies from the University of Indiana – Bloomington and moved back to Massachusetts to become an environmental consultant. I helped clean up polluted places all over the state.
While I was an environmental consultant, I got married and had two sons. I decided to leave my job and stay home with them. I had never stopped reading in my free time, but now I started writing again, too. I took online classes and then got another Master’s degree, this time in Creative Writing for Young People from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My old dream of being an author became my new dream, and I’m thrilled to be living it!
I have written seven nonfiction books for libraries and schools. They are about people (Malala Yousafzai), places (Georgia, Maine, and Asia), animals (gorillas), and something I know a lot about — fossil fuel pollution. My first fiction picture book, The Nian Monster, was published in December 2016 by Albert Whitman & Company. Also in 2016, my family and I moved to Denver, Colorado, where I write full time from my home office. Magic Ramen, my second picture book, is a non-fiction biography of the inventor of instant ramen, Momofuku Ando. Magic Ramen releases in March 2019 from Little Bee Books.
Awards & Mentions:
SCBWI 2012 Barbara Karlin Grant, Letter of Commendation for The Nian Monster.
Lee & Low Books 2014 New Visions Award Honors for Eco-Agent Owen Chang.