I’m Barbara Odanaka — children’s book author, world traveler, journalist and skateboarder. I also have an alter ego: Skateboard Cow, the star of my latest book, A Crazy Day At the Critter Cafe.
Once upon a time, I was a sports reporter at the Los Angeles Times. I left daily journalism to backpack around the world and write children’s books.
I huddled with mountain gorillas in Zaire, analyzed penguin poop in New Zealand, and scuba dived with sharks in Borneo and Fiji. I backpacked through the Himalayas, motorcycled through parts of Vietnam, and sampled turkey laap for Thanksgiving in Laos. Seventeen countries in twelve months, on $30 a day.
After becoming a mom in 1996, I founded the International Society of Skateboarding Moms. Today, Skateboard Moms Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our mission is to empower women and girls through skateboarding. Our community service project, Rolling4Reading, puts new and gently-used children’s books into the hands of kids in need. Distribution is done on skateboard.