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.

About the Authors

Rana DiOrio is a third- generation Italian American who is deeply proud of her Italian heritage and family. As a child, she was fascinated by the stories of how her ancestors came to live in the United States, the sacrifices they made to be American, and the hardships they overcame to remain American. Her parents were educators who imbued in her a love of learning and a commitment to serving others. Her relatives have served in the armed forces during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Becoming a mother inspired Rana to find a way to align her career and values. Her solution was to become an entrepreneur, founding March 4, Inc. (formerly Little Pickle Press) in 2009 as a social mission company dedicated to creating media and products that foster kindness in children, including her own. Her personal pursuits include  tness training; practicing yoga; traveling; reading non fiction and children’s books; dreaming big dreams and helping others realize theirs; and, of course, being global, green, present, safe, kind, entrepreneurial, and American. She lives in San Francisco, California, with her three children. Follow Rana DiOrio on Twitter @ranadiorio.

Elad Yoran is the ­ first American- born child of immigrant parents. When he was growing up, his family moved several times and he lived in several places including New York, California, Ohio, and Israel before settling in the NYC suburbs. When he graduated from high school, Elad decided to serve in the U.S. Army as a way of giving back for all that this country has done for his family. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army, leading a platoon in Mogadishu, Somalia, as part of Operation Restore Hope. He is married and together with his wife has four children whom they are raising to be both proud of their heritage and patriotic Americans.

Elad also spends time as Executive Chairman of KoolSpan and CEO of Security Growth Partners. He is a twenty- plus- year cybersecurity veteran, among other things having created and led many foundational cyber start- up companies, for which he was honored as “Entrepreneur of the Year” by E&Y. He serves on several government and industry boards including the Army Cyber Institute, the Cloud Security Alliance, and previously, the FBI IT Advisory Council. Elad is the author of many cyber articles and papers. This is his ­first children’s book. The Yorans live in NYC.

About the Illustrator

Nina Mata grew up as a typical latchkey kid from Queens, New York. Her family emigrated from the Philippines when she was six years old. Because her parents worked and went to night school, Nina spent a lot (like a whole lot) of time drawing. Her after- school activities usually involved watching Bob Ross and Reading Rainbow, and  finding adventure in books.

She studied commercial arts at the High School of Art & Design and went on to major in illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. Nina now creates work for trade and educational publishing as well as kids’ apps. Her work represents the beauty and diversity of our world. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband, four- year- old daughter, and Tabi the cat.