What Does it Mean to Be American?


What Does It Mean to Be…American?
Written by: Rana DiOrio & Elad Yoran
Illustrated by: Nina Mata
Little Pickle Press
April 2019 Release
ISBN: 978-1-4926-8380-3

BOOK BLURB: With current affairs dividing our country, one truth remains-we are all Americans. But what does that mean? From following our dreams and having the freedom to choose who we love, why we believe, what we do, and where we go; this engaging new entry in the What Does It Mean to Be… ?® series celebrates what it means to be American.

REVIEW: First, I have to say I’m a sucker for a children’s book with engaging illustrations and a story that gets a message across with “a spoonful of sugar.” Secondly, I’m a sucker for anything patriotic, especially when it is inclusive of everybody who shares this country with us.

What Does it Mean to Be American? delivers on both counts. I loved the story that features a family of mixed cultures and races and shares their experiences in meeting others. Who can resist those smiling faces? At the end of the book, I think everyone, adult and child, will delight in being American along with these engaging characters.

The family takes a road trip to see some of the beautiful countryside.


Here they are helping at a soup kitchen, treating everyone with dignity and respect.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:  Rana DiOrio has written her way through life–as a student, a lawyer, an investment banker, a private equity investor, and now as an author and creator of children’s media and products. Her personal pursuits include fitness training, practicing yoga, reading non-fiction and children’s literature, dreaming big dreams and helping other entrepreneurs realize theirs, and, of course, being global, green, present, safe, and kind. She lives in San Francisco, California with her three Little Pickles.

Elad Yoran is a serial entrepreneur, executive, investor, and thought leader in the cybersecurity industry. Elad served as an officer in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Nina Mata studied commercial arts in the High School of Art & Design and went on to major in Illustration at The Fashion Institute of Technology of NY.

During her editorial internship at Sesame Workshop, Nina discovered her love of children’s books. She now creates work for trade and educational publishing as well as kids apps. Nina is an ambassador of representing the beauty and diversity of our world.

She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, their daughter and Tabi, the cat.


“I really love this book and its inspirational message about values that bind us together as Americans – freedom, respect, gratitude, and service. Our world is very complex, which makes it even more important today for us to teach our children how we share these ideals and that they are part of our common experience. I grew up inspired by our space program, which I think is a reflection of the American spirit, and believing that we live in a country where we can pursue our dreams. I am so glad to see a book that encourages children to dream big and embraces our country’s foundational principles.” —Tim Kopra, Colonel, U.S. Army (retired) and former NASA Astronaut

“What Does It Mean To Be American? is a vivid reminder that every American is part of something bigger than themselves. Nina Mata’s remarkable illustrations pair perfectly with DiOrio and Yoran’s lyrical prose to teach kids that we can achieve excellence by practicing integrity, both individually and as a nation of individuals working together.” —General Craig R. McKinley, United States Air Force (Retired)

“Beautifully written and vividly illustrated, this book is a great starting point for kids of all ages to ponder what being an American means to them and the common bonds that unite us all.” —U.S. Senator Jack Reed

“Reading this book with my young children and following the lessons learned will mold them into the Americans I want them to be.” ~ Alejandro Villanueva, Pro Bowl NFL player, former US Army Ranger, decorated veteran of Afghanistan, and first generation American


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