After dying his hair green during stint as an exchange student in Berlin in High School,Charles London moved from his hometown of Baltimore, to New York City. By then he knew, he suffered from insatiable wanderlust. During the summer of 2001, he began working with the advocacy organization, Refugees International, doing the research that would become his first book, One Day The Soldiers Came (Perennial, 2007), based on his experience with children affected by armed conflict around the world. What he thought would be a summer of work, turned into five years of research and writing, meeting young people all over the globe who were surviving the ravages of modern wars. He held a lot of odd jobs to support himself between research trips--working as an after-school program coordinator, an assistant to a talent agent, and a young adult librarian in the New York Public Library.
When the opportunity came to write his second book, he was reminded of a remarkable group of young people he met in Bosnia, who were part of an interfaith summer camp run by the Jewish community of Sarajevo. Inspired by the story of that community's survival, he set out for a year of visiting other Jewish communities around the globe who were defying the odds of history, geography, and politics. Through this journey, he discovered a Jewish spirituality and sense of place he had never before felt, and deepened his commitment to peace and reconciliation. The result is Far From Zion: In Search of a Global Jewish Community, which was a Finalist for the 2009 National Jewish Book Awards.