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Photo: Webb Burns

Photo: Webb Burns

Gabrielle Raumberger of

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When I became an author, I decided to include my middle name in my official writing name.  Why?

  1. Because, as my very smart husband says, all children’s authors have three names;
  2. Because there’s just my sister and me—no brothers.   I wanted to keep my maiden name (and all the history and ancestry it represents) alive;
  3. In case the guy I had a crush on in elementary school ever wanted to find me.

Who am I?

Hmmmm…I’m a writer, a mother, a wife, a
speaker, a fiddle player, an organizer, a teacher, a poet, a doodler (see dancer on the left and lots more of my doodles in my blog posts), a daughter, a sister, a performer, a storyteller, a peace activist, a traveler, a walker, a hiker, a meditator, an aqua farmer, a sun farmer, an animal lover, a cloud collector, a procrastinator, an infrequent twitterer (aprilhwayland), facebooker (sometimes) and instagramer. All!

April Halprin Wayland & Phee Sherline made beautiful music on the 10th Anniversary of the murder of Daniel Pearl.  Part of World Music Days, they performed in the Harmony for Humanity Concert, produced by Ross Altman and Jill Fenimore, at the Santa Monica Synagogue. Video taken by Freda Sideroff

I‘ve run a marathon, backpacked through Europe, worked on a kibbutz in Israel, given birth underwater, run a 300-acre walnut farm, been a nanny for a Hollywood star, played both violin and fiddle, founded two folk music clubs and a hiking club, tutored street kids, and have been marketing manager in a Fortune 500 corporation.

But the hardest thing I’ve ever done was learn who I am and who I want to be in this world.  Writing helped me learn this.

I grew up both in Santa Monica, California, and on our 300-acre family farm in Northern California.  So I loved bicycling on city streets and driving tractor between rows of walnut trees; diving under the waves of the Pacific Ocean and drifting on a raft in the Feather River by our farm.

I had a great time at the University of California at Davis, and then I traveled, started a non-profit tutoring agency called Positive Education, and worked in the corporate world…until I rediscovered my love for writing.

I’ve published poetry and picture books and studied with extraordinary teachers, including poet Myra Cohn Livingston, with whom I worked for over ten years.  It was Myra who suggested I write a collection of poems in the teen voice.

Writing in the teen voice and telling a story in unrhymed poems set me free.  I found myself writing poems about my firsts—first period, first crush, first date, first published poem.

That book became GIRL COMING IN FOR A LANDING—a novel in poems.

It has a beautiful cover, gorgeous collage illustrations by Elaine Clayton, a section addressed to aspiring writers, and has won lots of awards.

One of my picture books, NEW YEAR AT THE PIER–A Rosh Hashanah Story (Dial), is WONDERFULLY illustrated in watercolors by Canada’s multi-award-winning illustrator, Stéphane Jorisch, and is based on the way my southern California beach town’s Jewish community celebrates the Jewish New Year.  It’s about how forgiveness and about how to say you’re sorry.

My newest picture book, MORE THAN ENOUGH–A Passover Story (Dial), evolved from a hike my family and I took in Kauai, Hawaii. It’s my first book to be reviewed in the New York Times. 

When I’m not writing, teaching in the UCLA Extension Writer’s Program or zipping around the world teaching workshops, I can be found walking to the ocean or hiking along Backbone Trail with friends, meditating in a secret room (shhhh!), coaxing sugar snap peas to grow, collecting whimsical art with my husband, exploring California with my son, fiddling with a folk music group or playing with our licky, lanky, goofy dog, Eli.

I am active in local and national politics.  My very smart husband says I am “saving the world one email at a time.” I hope it’s true.

My Family!Contact me if you want to know more about Saralee Halprin, Leahn J. Halprin, Lyra Halprin, Gary Wayland, Gary C. Wayland, Jeff Wayland, Raphael Konigsberg, Elm Halprin, Anna Lamport Halprin, Morris Halprin,  Charles Konigsberg,Moses Konigsberg, David Konigsberg, Fanny Harmon, Polly Greenberg, Cissy (Cecilia) Stambaugh, Issy (Isadore) Konigsberg.

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