World traveler Keila V. Dawson was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she would later find the inspiration for her first book. Her remarkable career is as widespread as the places she has lived. She has held various positions at Department of Defense dependents schools and has served as a community organizer, teacher, program consultant, clinical coordinator, developmental specialist, and consultant for an educational diagnostic and teacher training facility.
Dawson earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette and a master’s degree in special education from the University of New Orleans. Though she began her career as a community organizer, she found working with children to be rewarding and promptly switched paths, becoming an early-childhood special-education teacher in the public school system. Longing to travel, Dawson chose a career where she could see the world and still teach. She met her husband while abroad, and the two have been on the move ever since. Dawson is an active member of the Children’s Book Insiders, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Central and South Ohio Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Author’s Guild.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Dawson began a project to preserve her family’s documents. She found herself back in Louisiana, where her desire to share the story of king cake traditions led her to write her first book. When she’s not visiting her family in New Orleans, Dawson resides with her husband and their two children in Cincinnati, Ohio.