Maria Faulconer

Umande at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo; Photo Credit: Tracy Gazibara




















Selected Works

Children's Fiction
The heart-tugging true story of a baby gorilla who finds love in the arms of a surrogate mom.
Arianna and Monsieur Le Bear take the Grand Hotel by storm and change centuries of tradition.
Adult Non-fiction
Children an ocean apart share the same wishes in the face of war and violence

Newly released! A Mom for Umande



I'd like you to meet Umande. He's a baby gorilla. On a cold winter's night, he was born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. The zookeepers set him in a mound of sweet hay, hoping that his mom would take care of him.

She didn't.

She was too young, and she didn't know what to do.

A Mom for Umande is the true story of Umande's search to find a surrogate mom. For eight months, a community of keepers, caregivers and volunteers spent thousands of hours teaching him how to be a gorilla. Then he was sent a thousand miles away to the Columbus Zoo where he found love in the arms of a 41-year-old gorilla named Lulu.

You can order it here.


"At the center of this tale, based on a true story, is an adorable baby gorilla whose mother does not know how to take care of him. Not only a special adoption story, but also a heartwarming look at the human-animal relationship."

*Kirkus, starred review

A Little About Me

A San Francisco native, I am a children's author and freelance writer. I love writing stories, especially ones that tug at my heartstrings. That's what Umande's story did to me. When I saw a photo of a baby gorilla snuggling with his surrogate mom, I was captivated by the joy on their faces. An adoptive mom myself, I knew I had to write a story about this resilient little gorilla.

My first children's book, Arianna and the Strawberry Tea, was promoted on a national morning talk show and used for a statewide literacy program. After receiving a BA from Stanford University and an MA from the University of Colorado, I taught high school English and counseled emotionally disturbed teens.

I'm published in newspapers, magazines, journals and anthologies. A huge animal lover, I've had dogs, birds, snakes, ferrets and turtles. I live in Colorado with my husband.