Of Uzbek heritage, M.O. Yuksel was born in Türkiye, raised in New York City, and now lives in New Jersey with her three kids, two cats, and one husband.
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 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 is a planning committee member and a mentor at the Highlights Foundation Muslim Writers Fellowship Program, and served as a jury member on the NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's and Young Adult Literature. She is also a member of 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, Storyteller Academy, and the powerhouse group of debut picture book writers and illustrators, the Soaring20s, and the Picture Book Playground.
3 Fun Facts About M.O. Yuksel:
1. She lived on three continents and crossed two multiple times in one day! (Hint-hint: Istanbul, Türkiye, the city that spans two continents).
2. She speaks three languages – English, Turkish, Uzbek, and understands several – Spanish, Azeri, Kazak, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Uyghur.
3. If she had her way, she'd eat dessert first at every meal (but don’t tell her kids!).
For bios and downloadable hi-res images, please see Press Kit.
Follow M.O. Yuksel on these platforms for giveaways, and updates on her books: