Ranked by Amazon as #1 New Release in Mid-Life Management!

Exciting news! My next book has been released! Successful, standing-room-only book launch at the iconic Politics & Prose Bookstore on June 30, 2018.  Gratifying to connect with so many for whom the words in my book resonated.  Make this chapter your best yet!








First review, by Library Journal:


LJ – May 1, 2018

Olsen, Maria Leonard. 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life. Rowman & Littlefield. Jun. 2018. 212p. index. ISBN 9781538109649. $34; ebk. ISBN 9781538109656. SELF-HELP

When lawyer/journalist Olsen reached age 50, she decided to try 50 new things that were significant to her. As a woman in recovery, the author values the time she has left, and through her own story, urges readers to do the same via activities such as singing like no one’s listening, riding a horse, and performing random acts of kindness. She enumerates many more exercises under the headings of “spiritual endeavors,” “thrill seeking ventures,” “lifestyle changes,” and so forth, but the message is that we should value and embrace life to the fullest. VERDICT An inspiring read for those who are in or have passed through middle age.

I am so honored by this gifted spiritual guide's testament to 50 After 50.  Thank you so much, Jessica Epperson-Lusty of Evolving Mindfully.

"Your book [50 After 50] really resonated with the audience. I think you might have a bestseller!" -- Alice Stephens, author of Famous Adopted People and columnist/reviewer for Washington Independent Review of Books


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Not the Cleaver Family is Available from P&P, Amazon or Author! 

Book Launch Event held at Politics & Prose @ Busboys & Poets, Takoma Park, DC.  

Join the conversation about your unique family!

Click link to hear C-Span's broadcast of my presentation at the Gaithersburg Book Festival on May 20, 2017:



"Congrats Maria Leonard Olsen! So inspired by you putting this project of passion out into the world to support us all in embracing families in every variation and variety! Here is to a future where we all see each other as unique, valuable and enjoy the richness of connecting in our differences. Your work is a beautiful addition to support that vision!" -- Jessica Epperson-Lusty, founder of www.evolvingmindfully.com

"This book was a game-changer for me.  I teared up when I read about the experiences of other families that are similar to mine." -- Cindy Carapellucci, a reader in DC

"Engaging speaker!" -- parent at Seven Locks Elementary School's Literacy Night

"You were awesome today.  Thank you so much for sharing your story and perspectives.  So many of the women chatting together afterward were saying how you were the best possible speaker for today.  Your message of hope and gratitude were so powerful!"  -- Harri j. Kramer, Chair, WMG

New interview about the book:  

"There are so many reasons to enjoy Not the Cleaver family. The most important being that those in the majority need to understand that family dynamics are changing. And changing for the better. Families of different ethnic makeup or same sex parents or those who adopt or even those who choose not to have children are still considered family. It is not the place of society or the person outside the family dynamics to question or determine what is right for that family. Olsen's data and anecdotal stories provide a fairly wide scope of family life and sadly, also show just how ignorant outsiders can be. She also provides hope for the future of the new family, which is a good thing. We've come a long way since Loving and I'm optimistic that our children's children won't face the same stereotypes we've faced." -- Review from Pam Brown Margolis, Author of the Blog, An Unconventional Librarian (see http://unconventionallibrarian.com)

Interview by Washington Independent Review of Books:    


Interview on Roundhouse Radio, Vancouver:  

"Mommy Why's Your Skin So Brown" is a mother's explanation to her bi-racial children about why her skin color is darker than theirs. It was inspired by frequent questions from strangers who assumed that the author was the nanny to her own lighter-skinned children, causing her children to wonder about the reason for these questions. This book may serve as a consciousness-raising piece for caring communities and to prevent people from letting their curiosity overwhelm their manners.

Maria is available to speak at book fairs, diversity conferences, in classrooms and at other events.  Speaking engagements include (see Events and News tabs for additional info).  Sampling below:

Politics & Prose Bookstore, June 30, 2018

National March Against Rape Culture, April 21, 2018

The Mixed Remixed Festival (LA), June 2016 and June 2017

Japanese American National Museum Familly Day (LA), June 11, 2016

Gaithersburg Book Festival (book talk broadcast live on C-Span's "Book Talk" show), May 20, 2017

Kensington Book Festival, April 24, 2016 & April 23, 2017

River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, April 16, 2017

Tucson Festival of Books, March 11, 2017

Pima Community College's Ethnic, Gender & Transborder Studies Summit, March 10, 2017

Roundhouse Radio's Sense of Place show (Vancouver), February 21, 2017 

The Mixed Experience Podcast, February 13, 2017

Seven Locks Elementary School, Literacy Night, February 9, 2017​

Politics & Prose Bookstore @ Busboys & Poets, Takoma Park, January 11, 2017

Chevy Chase Presbyterian WNS Book Fair, November 29, 2016

The Wednesday Morning Group, November 9, 2016

Pages Bookstore reading, Manhattan Beach, CA, June 9, 2016

"It's a Family Affair" radio show on VividLife.me, April 12, 2016



*Listen in!  First Tuesday of each month on WPFW-fm 89.3 or www.wpfwfm.org, from 2-3 pm.  Shows are archived under "Inside Out" and as an iTunes or Google play podcast (WPFW Inside Out).  Maria hosted the Sept. 6 show on "Raising Multicultural Children in a Category-Obsessed Society."  February 7th's show will be on PFLAG and supporting gay family members.