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Overwhelmed with her fast-paced, competitive lifestyle, Amy Ragsdale moved with her husband, writer Peter Stark, and their two teenage children from the US to a small town in northeastern Brazil, where she hoped they would learn the value of a slower life. In this culturally rich and economically poor region, Amy and her family learn to fundamentally connect with their neighbors across language and customs. In the year they spend there, Amy grows close to her new neighbors, from the men who cut sugar cane to the clinical university students, as they became the family’s guides to Brazilian life.
Elegantly written and vibrant in detail, Crossing the River tells a global story through a personal memoir, examining life without the trappings of modern American culture, and revealing surprising truths about identity, family, and love.
Amy Ragsdale is an author, choreographer, traveler and mom. Born in New York City, she was carted off to Bangkok, Thailand where she spent her first two years, whiling away her days with her pet monkey in a play pen suspended from a tree. Over the next fifteen years, she grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, with stints living abroad in the Philippines and Egypt. Graduating with a B.A. in Art History from Harvard-Radcliffe College, she launched into dance, performing with modern companies in Boston and New York and teaching in Martinique, Mozambique, Spain, Indonesia, and Brazil.
Falling in love, she followed her current husband, writer Peter Stark, to Montana, where she was hired as head of the dance program at the University of Montana, earning an M.A. at Wesleyan, a full professorship, and the university's Outstanding Faculty award in the process. After twenty years, she left full-time teaching to run her dance company, Headwaters Dance Co., and open up opportunities to live abroad. She was selected for the Governor's Arts Award for the State of Montana in 2009, about the time she began writing. Her articles have appeared in Mamalode and High Desert Journal, and her column "Raising Rippers" appears in Outside Magazine Online.
She has two children and lives in Missoula, Montana with her husband and son, along with a bumptious black lab puppy and an ancient, imperious cat.