A San Francisco native, Maria Faulconer is a children's author and freelance writer. Her latest book, A Mom for Umande, is the heart-tugging true story of a baby gorilla who finds love in the arms of a surrogate mom. Recommended by the New York Times and USA Today, Umande received a starred-review in Kirkus and was nominated for a Show Me Award by the Missouri Association of School Librarians. Her first book, Arianna and the Strawberry Tea, was promoted on a national morning talk show. A graduate of Stanford University with an MA from the University of Colorado, she taught high school English, counseled emotionally disturbed teens, and writes for Colorado Springs Style Magazine.