Salima Alikhan was raised in the D.C. area by an Indian father and a German mother. Brought up on a steady diet of folktales and fairytales, she devoured traditional Indian stories as well as Hans Christian Andersen, The Brothers Grimm, and the rather terrifying stories in The Struwwelpeter (which, if you haven’t read them, deserve a good read – if only to celebrate that childrearing has evolved).
This international background, as well as the feeling of straddling two worlds at once, kicked off her deep curiosity about people. As a child, she filled hundreds of notebooks with illustrated stories, sending her characters on strange (and impractical) quests in pursuit of their dreams—usually to distant lands, and always in rickety and impractical vehicles. Balloons, zeppelins, and flying ships popped up in story after story.
When Salima grew up, she started writing and drawing professionally. She also spent several years teaching art in Montessori schools, before moving on to slightly older graduate students at St. Edwards University in Austin, where she teaches creative writing; and high school students, to whom she teaches dual credit college English classes. She loves helping students learn to wield the power of the written word – not only to articulate ideas, but to further social justice, tolerance, and empathy.
Salima is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Austin, where she enjoys its wonderful writing community, strolling around the lake, and volunteering for causes that protect and represent marginalized people.
She still loves stories more than anything, and that they offer brilliant little glimpses into other people’s experiences. She’s been a children’s book author and illustrator for over fourteen years. Her portfolio and published books can also be found on her website listed above.
To view her portfolio, please visit her artist’s page.