Once upon a time, Ivana believed it was better to fit in than stand out. She was embarrassed about being different. She didn’t shave her legs and wore a slinky in her hair to school. Ivana grew up in Spain and moved to California when she was thirteen. Talk about awkward! School, friends, languages – everything changed. What was normal in one country was a disaster in the next!
Ivana worked hard in school and earned a scholarship - a dream come true which changed her life. (She also discovered razors and hair ties). College is where she met her future husband who happened to be a real prince, though she didn’t know it at the time. He was just as embarrassed about his title of nobility as Ivana was about her slinky.
Ivana has a Masters in Education and has worked with children for over 20 years. Most recently working as Chief Digital Officer for a company dedicated to improving social learning challenges.
“Be true to you and your gifts will shine through.” - Princess Ivana
Magdalene Smith proudly claims she is more awkward now than she has ever been. She was born in Ohio. With a strong sense of adventure to guide her, she spent years traveling the world. She raised three children (including Ivana & Marisa) across three countries, and worked at a variety of jobs from owning a café-theater in Spain to singing on stage in Paris, to writing books. Magdalene has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College.
She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant, several Wurlitzer Foundation fellowships, University of New Mexico’s Resident Writer’s Award, and a Martin Foundation for the Creative Arts grant.
Marisa Smith always knew she was different and thought it was a horrible thing. She finally figured out it was okay to be herself, weirdness and all. She went from not knowing what to do, to loving what she does. Marisa hopes you enjoy these fairy tales as much as she loves writing them with her perfectly awkward family.
Princess Ivana, Magdalene Smith, and Marisa Smith are a multi-generational family writing team. Together the two sisters and their mom have published over 100 articles and blogs on positive parenting. Their first book, A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year, was a bestseller on iTunes and received the following awards: Mom's Choice, SheKnows Best Book and Editors' Choice, and a National Parenting Publications Award.
Hanna Barczyk was born in Germany and currently divides her time between New York City and Toronto. She creates conceptual illustrations for major publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among many others. Inspired by her family’s Hungarian folk art traditions, memories, love, music, movement, and a passion for dance, Hanna’s illustrations brim with emotional truth, bold and delicate at the same time. Hanna has been recognized by the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Creative Quarterly and 3x3 (Magazine of Contemporary Illustration). She is the recipient of the Melville White Award, and has been the subject of a feature in Communication Arts Magazine.
Rima Hawkes is a San Diego native living in New York. Her talents range from illustration to web design to branding and artistic direction. She has found a niche in high-end cosmetics and lifestyle companies. Rima loves projects that inspire and allow her inner creativity to come through. Marisa and Rima have been good friends ever since they met when they were 9 years old. Rima asked Marisa for one of her scented, colored markers. Marisa said, “NO!” The rest is perfectly awkward history.
Keenon is traditional animator and illustrator based in NYC. Originally from the small town of Twinsburg Ohio, his passion for the arts and animation drove him to make the move to the big city to study at the School of Visual Arts.
Over the years, Keenon has developed and honed his skills as an artist and developed a personalized style. Finding inspiration in subjects such as fashion and dance, a sense of rhythm and emotion can be felt throughout many of Keenon’s personal projects. With each project, he strives to incorporate a dynamic energy that connects and engages with his viewers.
Keenon continues to freelance throughout New York City. He’s had the opportunity to illustrate several children’s books, animate for game apps, and design characters and illustrations for board games. When not working, you could find Keenon exploring the city for new inspiration or riding the subway sketching nearby passengers in his sketchbook.
Attitude of Gratitude
Special thanks to Cathy & Rand for your inspiration on Ninetta. To Papa Joe, what would we do without you? To Auntie Lisanne, for always weaving your magic. To Syndey, Jackson, Mila, Sofia, Alessio, Sienna, Tati, and Mass for sharing your beautiful smiles. Love & thanks to our team of A-men, Angelo, Adriano, and Ascanio. To Susan & Nicky, and our forever friends Jennifer, Missy, and Marcella. Mama Lane, we miss you!