Of Uzbek descent, M.O. Yuksel was born in Turkey, and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of seven. She spent most of her childhood in New York City.
She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Fordham University, and a master's degree in International Affairs from Columbia University. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in the education field in the U.S. and overseas for over twenty years as an administrator, manager, and teacher. She lives in New Jersey with her three kids, two cats, and one husband.
She has a passion for research and learning and loves to share what she learns by writing about little-known historical figures, and diverse cultures. When she’s not writing, she’s usually on the soccer field cheering for her kids or traveling to exotic places and immersing herself in the local culture. She loves nature, bike riding, and indulging in shameless amounts of chocolate. Occasionally, she'll venture to teach her friends how to pronounce her real name - Munevver (Mar-vel-ous). But her friends never make it past the Mar and prefer to use her nickname - Mindy.
She serves as a jury member on the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's and Young Adult Literature, and is on the planning committee for the Highlights Foundation Muslim Writers Fellowship Program. She is also a member of SCBWI, 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, Storyteller Academy, and the powerhouse group of debut picture book writers and illustrators, the Soaring20s, and the Picture Book Playground.
M.O. Yuksel is represented by Jenna Pocius of RedFox Literary Agency.
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