Bio for Kids and the Young at Heart

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Neela’s mother used to say, “You and a book, like a fish and water,” when she caught Neela reading during dinner (a tip for other Book-Reading-Bandits: covering a book with a napkin in your lap is not an effective way to hide it).

Neela’s ideal day includes dancing on the subway, eating pickles with family and friends, and sitting still in the middle of a forest with a good book and a pack of dogs and chimpanzees.


She lives in New York City with her husband (who can talk nonstop and stand on his head for a very long time), and travels around teaching, writing, and feeling lucky to do what she loves.

Neela's father is Sindhi-Indian and her mother is Irish-Catholic.  When Neela was a kid, her family did a lot of wandering.  Outside of the U.S., her favorite countries to live in are: India, Ireland, Turkey, Spain, Mexico, Egypt, China, and Belgium.  


Vaswani has held a number of waitressing jobs, from chicken shacks to comedy clubs, and she paid off her school loans by waitressing at a fondue bar in NYC. Her first job was at a one-hour photo booth on Long Island. She has also dressed Armani models, delivered telephone books, worked cattle round-ups and barbed wire fencing, ripped tickets at a movie theatre, been a maid, a stage manager, a secretary, a prop girl for two independent movies, worked as a National Disaster First Responder for the Red Cross and FEMA, and driven an ice cream truck.

She is left-handed although she plays the fiddle and knits right-handed. She loves paleontology, the Indian railway system, female detectives on television, goats, bats, mules, bad-tempered camels, online Boggle, and her husband.