Rita Golden Gelman
Rita Golden Gelman (born July 2, 1937, Bridgeport, CT) is an American writer of children's literature and travel literature for adults.
Rita Golden Gelman is the author of more than seventy children's books and two adult books. Her memoir, "Tales of a Female Nomad, Living at Large in the World," was published in 2001 by Crown/Random House and it is still selling widely in paperback. In 1987 Gelman decided to sell all her possessions and become a citizen of the world. She has never returned to a settled life; she calls herself a "modern day nomad." She still has no home and few possessions. In "Tales...," she writes about the first fifteen years of living around the world, mostly in developing countries.
Gelman's most recent book (June, 2010) is an anthology, "Female Nomad and Friends, Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World." Forty-one authors, all but two of them women, tell their stories of "connecting across cultures." Gelman has eight stories in the book. There are also thirty three international recipes. All the author royalties from this anthology are used to send high school graduates from slums in New Delhi to vocational schools. Rotary International is facilitating the scholarships in New Delhi via US Rotary in Leonardtown, MD.
Gelman's children's books include "More Spaghetti, I Say!" about Minnie, a monkey who can't stop eating spaghetti, and "Body Battles," about how our bodies fight off viruses and other threats to our health, like drugs and poisons. The spaghetti book is a staple in most first and second grade classrooms.
Gelman's early years ignited a lifelong passion for connecting to all kinds of people. Her family owned a small pharmacy in Bridgeport, CT. As a teenager, she worked the soda fountain in the store. Her favorite part of the job was interacting with immigrant customers, who came in many sizes, shapes, accents and styles.
Rita Golden Gelman attended Beardsley Elementary School, Harding High School for her freshman year and Bassick High School for her last three years. She graduated from Bassick in 1954 and went to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she gained her B.A. in English and American Literature in 1958. Many years later she studied anthropology at UCLA.
After graduating from college, she moved to New York City and lived in Greenwich Village until 1976, and then in Los Angeles until she began her nomadic life. In 1960, she married. Her son, Mitch, was born in 1962 and her daughter, Jan, was born in 1963. After having children, she was a stay at home mom, at first dabbling in commercial writing and later devoting herself to authoring children's books.
Her first book, DUMB JOEY, was published in 1972. The book was about a group of kids in New York City who had nowhere to play.
In 1987, on the verge of divorce, Gelman decided that it was time to live her dream of traveling the world and living among people in other cultures. It's been 24 years and she still has no permanent home; her new passion is to bring the concept of a "Gap Year" to teens in the U.S. Her organization, Let's Get Global, is dedicated to encouraging and assisting recent high school graduates to have international experiences before they begin the next phase of their lives. The ultimate goal of LGG is to create a cultural norm in the United States that will make it a common practice to extend education beyond U.S. borders. Let's Get Global suggests that graduating high school seniors defer college or the job world for a year while they immerse themselves in other cultures and discover the common humanity of mankind.
Gelman has delivered keynote speeches for many different organizations, among them, Global Citizen's Network, San Diego International Hostel Association, US Servas, Inc., CSIET (Council on Standards for International Educational Travel). She has also spoken at many Rotary meetings, colleges, and bookstores around the country.
- Dumb Joey, Cheryl Pelavin (Illustrator), January 1972
- Professor Coconut and the Thief, Emily Arnold McCully, Joan Richter, January 1977
- Hey, Kid!, Carol Nicklaus, January 1977
- Ouch!: All About Cuts and Other Hurts, April 1977
- Uncle Hugh: A Fishing Story, Eros Keith, Warner Friedman, June 1978
- UFO Encounters, Marcia Seligson, September 1978
- America's Favorite Sports Stars, Steve Gelman, September 1978
- The Biggest Sandwich Ever, Mort Gerberg (Illustrator), January 1981
- ESP: Stories of Strange Happenings, July 1981
- 12 Books, Which Way Series, with Nancy Lamb, under pseudonym R.G. Austin
- 12 Books, Secret Door Series, with Nancy Lamb, under pseudonym R.G. Austin
- Boats That Float, Marilyn MacGregor, Susan Kovacs Buxbaum, September 1981
- Body Noises, Susan Kovacs Buxbaum, Angie Lloyd (Illustrator), January 1983
- A Koala Grows Up, Gioia Fiammenghi (Illustrator), January 1986
- Benji Takes a Dive at Marineland, July 1986
- Listen and Look!: A Safety Book/#9205-1, Cathy Beylon, October 1986
- Care and Share: A Book About Manners/#9205-2, Cathy Beylon, October 1986
- Pets for Sale, November 1986
- Splash!: All About Baths, Maryann Cocca-Leffler (Illustrator), Susan Kovacs Buxbaum, January 1987
- Leave It to Minnie, March 1987
- El Sandwich Mas Grande Del Mundo, September 1987
- Splash! All About Baths, Maryann Cocca-Leffler (Illustrator), Susan Kovacs Buxbaum, November 1987
- A Koala Grows Up, November 1987
- Inside Nicaragua: Young Peoples Dreams and Fears, January 1988
- Hello Cat, You Need a Hat, Eric Gurney, June 1988
- Cats and Mice, Eric Gurney (Illustrator), January 1989
- Stop Those Painters!, Mort Gerberg (Illustrator), May 1989
- Monkeys and Apes of the World, February 1990
- Monsters of the Sea, Jean Day Zallinger (Illustrator), June 1990
- What Are Scientists?, Susan Kovacs Buxbaum, January 1991
- Monkey Grows Up, Gioia Fiammenghi (Illustrator), May 1991
- Dawn to Dusk in the Galapagos, Vol. 1, Tui De Roy (Illustrator), May 1991
- Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night, Nancy Lamb, December 1991
- Batallas Del Cuerpo, Elroy Freem (Illustrator), Amalia Bermejo (Translator), January 1992
- Vampires and Other Creatures of the Night, Nancy Lamb, C. B. Mordan (Illustrator), January 1992
- More Spaghetti, I Say, January 1993
- A Panda Grows Up, by Mary Morgan (Illustrator), February 1993
- I Went to the Zoo, Maryann Kovalski (Illustrator), September 1993
- Quiero Mas Fideos, Mort Gerberg (Illustrator), June 1994
- Body Detectives: A Book About the Five Senses, Elroy Freem (Illustrator), September 1994
- Una Monita Crece/A Monkey Grows Up, Gioia Fiammenghi (Illustrator), March 1995
- Batallas Del Cuerpo, Elroy Freem (Illustrator), May 1995
- Que Son Los Cientificos?: Que Hacen Ellos? Vamos a Descubrirlo, Mark Teague (Illustrator), Susan Kovacs Buxbaum, June 1995
- Queen Esther Saves Her People, Frane Lessac (Illustrator), February 1998
- Wet Cats, Eric Gurney (Illustrator), May 1999
- More Spaghetti, I Say, Mort Gerberg (Illustrator), October 1999
- Pizza Pat, October 1999
- Why Can't I Fly?, October 1999
- Body Battles, Elroy Freem (Illustrator), October 1999
- Monkey Grows Up, October 1999
- Rice Is Life, Yangsook Choi (Illustrator), May 2000
- Mole in a Hole, Holly Hannon (Illustrator), May 2000
- Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, May 2001
- Hello Cat, You Need a Hat, October 2001
- Quiero Mas Fideos!, April 2003
- Doodler Doodling, Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator), August 2004
- Female Nomad and Friends, Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World, 2010
Awards and Recognition "Inside Nicaragua", ALA Notable in 1988. "Doodler Doodling" ALA Notable Children’s Book in 2005. Tales of a Female Nomad was selected for the 2009 Community Read Program, Three Rivers, MI.