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About Me

When I was five years old, my dad brought home a special gift from his most recent business trip: a book entitled, A Child's First Book of Poems. It was certainly my first book of poems, and one of my very first books. I couldn't read just yet, and I barely even knew a word in English at the time. As the only child of Iranian immigrants, I grew up speaking Persian at home. English would come later once I began preschool, and this book would shape my language learning and creative ambitions in more ways than I could have imagined.

The illustrations were so vivid that they took me to another world. Mice used daisies as umbrellas, a child swung high on a swing over a lush countryside, and puffins ate pancakes just as I did. As my parents read to me and I learned, little by little, to read the poems by myself, I discovered not only a new language but a new way of using words to communicate dreams, fantasies, and real-life experiences. Rhymes, similes, inventive use of meter...who knew that language could be music? I like to think that Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, and Robert Louis Stevenson were among my very first English teachers.

One day, I made a little business card for myself and declared to my parents that I wanted to be a teacher and a writer.

A month shy of turning seven, I wrote my very first poem. From that moment on, my life would be defined by a love of literature and learning. I wrote hundreds of poems and countless stories as a child, participating frequently in writing contests and making my own little poetry books. I went on to earn a B.A. in American literature at UCLA, followed by a master's degree in education, with an emphasis in language and literacy, at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While I had intended to work in the children's publishing industry upon graduation, I realized one day that I wanted to share my love of learning and the written word with young children. I decided to become a teacher, and that decision led to six wonderful years teaching language arts to children from kindergarten through fifth grade at the Lycée Français in San Francisco, California. One of the highlights of my teaching career was running an after-school poetry class, which inspired me to start writing again and pursue the second part of the career I had envisioned for myself: writing for children.

Today, I live in Nice, France, with my French husband, a philosophy teacher whom I met while teaching. I continue to write poems and picture books for children, and many of the subjects are inspired by the incredible children I taught over the years. (It also helps that my dad instilled in me a love of Tom and Jerry...there's nothing like a great cartoon to spark your creative thinking!). As my first poetry book taught me, language and art have the power to transform our thinking and the way we see the world.

And whenever I need a little dose of inspiration, I don't need to look very far...


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A Poem of Introduction

Hello, and welcome to my blog! My name is Golriz Golkar, and I am a passionate reader and writer of children's books. I've been writing poetry and stories since the age of six, but I had to become an adult before really starting to write like a kid again! When I became an elementary school teacher, I found that my students loved reading and writing poetry, and I often wrote poems with them in my after-school poetry class. You may be wondering just how to pronounce my name, so please allow me to introduce myself the best way I know how: with a poem! A Poem of Introduction My name is Golriz, Golriz G. That’s G-O-L and R-I-Z That’s “gol” like in a soccer game Or what someone achieves Don’t even try To pronounce the “I” The “riz” just rhymes with “please.” And then there’s “Golkar” My last name Yes, it sounds almost the same I’ve always felt rather elated To see my name alliterated For as unusual as my name might be It sounds a bit like poetry!