The daughter of a geologist and a journalist, J.L. Powers spent much of her childhood camping and searching for fossils in the American West. She grew up on the U.S.-Mexico Border and, though she now lives in California, still considers El Paso home.
Powers is the author of three young adult novels, The Confessional (Knopf, 2007); This Thing Called the Future (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011); and Amina (Allen & Unwin, 2013). She is also the editor of Labor Pains and Birth Stories (Catalyst Book Press, 2009) and the award-winning anthology, That Mad Game: Growing up in a Warzone, Essays from Around the Globe (Cinco Puntos Press, 2012). Her first picture book, Colors of the Wind: the story of blind artist and champion runner George Mendoza, illustrated by George Mendoza’s amazing paintings, was released in September 2014 (Purple House Press). Amina was released in the United States in 2015. Her books have been recipients of several awards and honors. She is currently at work on other projects, including a fantasy series with her brother Matt. The first book in the series, The Broken Circle, will be released by Akashic in 2017.
Powers writes and edits The Pirate Tree, a blog on social justice and children’s literature. She lives with her family in northern California, where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Writing/Research/Composition at Skyline College. She occasionally teaches African History at University of Texas-El Paso. Powers has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from University of Texas-El Paso, a certificate in Picture Book Writing from Vermont College, and two master’s degrees in African History from State University of New York-Albany and Stanford University.