About Julia

Portrait of Julia by Bridget Stevenson

I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, to the Greiders. They always called me Julie when I was a kid, not Julia (too adult-sounding!), and I still go by both names. Due to my father's job, our family moved often. My older sister, Sherry, and I attended seven different schools in five states from California to Rhode Island. We never minded, as we always had each other wherever we went. It helped that we were close in age — born exactly one year and one week apart.

Julie & Sherry, 1970
When Sherry started school ahead of me and began learning how to read, I was SO jealous! But my sis was nice enough to come home every day and teach me how to read. By the time I started Kindergarten, I was an avid reader. Now Sherry is a teacher and reading specialist...and I still love to read.

Julia & friends in Bogotá, Colombia

In 1985 I left home to attend the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where I received degrees in Latin American Studies and Political Science. I traveled frequently to Latin America during that time, but mostly to Colombia, where I worked in a program for street children. I loved working with the kids, but it was also very sad to meet so many kids without homes or families. I later co-authored a chapter in Hate Crime: the Global Politics of Polarization about the abuse and murder of Colombian street children. I still travel to Colombia whenever I can.

Now I live with my sons in Ottawa, Illinois, where I spend my days reading and making up stories.