Blog


True tales and tidbits from the writer’s life...

AMERICAN GOTHIC at Art Institute of Chicago, Home of Iconic Painting


Hey, this place looks familiar! Look—here I am in front of the Art Institute of Chicago, home of artist Grant Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic, holding illustrator Ross MacDonald’s spread of the very same view in our book American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood. The columns, the arches—those lions! Wow!

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And there’s our book, face out in the museum’s shop, keeping some very good company. Hooray!

Alas, the painting itself was out of town when I visited, part of a Grant Wood exhibit at New York City’s Whitney Museum. I swear I’ll catch up with it one day!



¡ESQUIVEL! Named to 2018–2019 Tejas Star Reading List of Best Spanish/Bilingual Children’s Books

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Honored to learn that ¡Esquivel! Un artista de sonido de la era espacial was chosen for the 2018–2019 Tejas Star Reading List of best Spanish/bilingual children's books and will be the topic of a presentation at the Texas Library Association's annual conference next week in Dallas! 

Muchas gracias, TLA!




Sleeping Bear Press to Publish Sandy Feet

So this happened! From Publishers Weekly’s Children’s Bookshelf:

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Sleeping Bear did such a beautiful job with The Skydiving Beavers: A True Tale. And Steliyana’s work is absolutely beautiful. So excited to see what they come up with!

Fun fact 1: I wrote this manuscript waaaaaay back in 2006. Tried for years—on my own and with an agent—to place it with a publisher, with no luck. I put it away. But I still believed in it. After Skydiving Beavers was published, it occurred to me that my nature-appreciating friends at Sleeping Bear might appreciate this story, agent sent it their way, and—hooray!—Sandy Feet finally found its home.

Fun fact 2: The book was inspired by the license plate on a slow-rolling SUV I may or may not have been tailgating all those years ago: SNDY FT. Yep, inspiration can strike anywhere, anytime! 

Cover Reveal! Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted

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Guess if my editor is tweeting about it, it’s time for a cover reveal! Beautiful, isn’t it?

Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted

Text by Susan Wood, pictures by Sarah Green

Flap copy:

Elizabeth Warren has always been persistent. As a child, after a heart attack put her father out of work, Elizabeth helped her family make ends meet by babysitting, waitressing, and sewing, all while skipping a grade and shining on her high school’s debate team.

Debate taught Elizabeth how to fight—not with fists, but with words. Through debate, she could be seen and heard, and she could fight for what she thought was right. This skill eventually won her a state championship and a college scholarship, and it has served her throughout her career as a lawyer, law professor, and senator.

As a politician, Elizabeth remembered how it felt to be in a struggling middle-class family, unable to get by. She chose to specialize in laws about economic inequality, and she continues to use that expertise today to fight (with her words) for fair treatment for all. 

Elizabeth Warren, by acclaimed author Susan Wood, shares the incredible story of the first woman senator from Massachusetts, a modern-day feminist icon who reminds us to be outspoken, to resist, and—most importantly—to persist.

Coming August 2018 from Abrams Books for Young Readers—cant wait! 

#NeverthelessShePersisted



American Gothic Makes Iowa Public Radio’s Best Children’s Books to Give 2017

Abrams Kids just shared some fun news—Iowa Public Radio has included American Gothic in its holiday kidlit gift guide! AG joins so many fabulous others, including Esquivel! illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh's own stunning Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México.

Wanna listen? Duncan's Danza! is discussed at 29:31, American Gothic at 33:21.

Many thanks, Iowa Public Radio!


It’s Official: American Gothic a Junior Library Guild Selection

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Look what landed in my mailbox! 

So grateful to receive this shiny gold certificate and pin. Of my seven published books for young readers so far, American Gothic's the third to earn this honor. Thrilling every time! Thank you, Junior Library Guild!





Happy Book Birthday, AMERICAN GOTHIC

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Release the balloons and pop the cork—the time is finally here when I can officially say… happy book birthday, American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood!!!

My picture-book bio of the Iowa artist responsible for probably the best-known painting in American art history—pitchfork, anyone?—has already earned enthusiastic thumbs-up from Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. It’s a Junior Library Guild Selection. And then there’s the ✮STARRED✮ (yippee!) review from Publishers Weekly, which calls it "an inspiring study of an artist who learned to find beauty, truth, and inspiration in the people and landscape of his home.”

I’m so excited to share this mini-introduction to Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract art, and Regionalism with young readers everywhere! Ross MacDonald’s warm, sunny illustrations invite us all to dive right in to the rolling hillsides, wide skies, and rugged farm folks of Grant Wood’s beloved heartland, the subject of his most famous works.

The book is brought to you by the fine “art of books” people at Abrams; find fun activities, lesson plans, and more at www.AmericanGothicBook.com!


Publishers Weekly Gives American Gothic Starred Review


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Exciting news!! The coveted STARRED review in Publishers Weekly for American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood, coming in September!! PW sums up: 

“Crisp, direct narration…[with] illustrations [that are] a celebration of America’s yesteryears.[A]n inspiring study of an artist who learned to find beauty, truth, and inspiration in the people and landscape of his home.

Yes! Thanks so much, PW!

American Gothic Gets Kirkus Thumbs-Up

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And the first review of American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood (coming in September) is in—a thumbs-up from Kirkus! Here’s a snippet:

Young readers are treated to a crash course in modern art while witnessing Wood’s evolution as an artist. A sunny palette of yellows, greens, and browns is perfect for Wood’s regionalist art and the inspirational tone of the volume. A fine, accessible introduction to Wood’s art. 

Nice! So grateful!

Publishers Weekly Digs Skydiving Beavers

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Huzzah!

The Skydiving Beavers gets the thumbs-up from Publishers Weekly. Here’s a taste: 

Striking a down-home tone, Wood (Esquivel!) unspools a real-life story of animal conservation….Van Frankenhuyzen (The Legend of the Beaver’s Tail) captures the historical setting in details like a woodie station wagon and copies of Life on Heter’s desk, while his lush, light-infused paintings reveal the region’s natural beauty. Wood’s story underscores the value in bringing innovative thinking to a problem—even a beaver invasion. 

 Thanks so much, PW!



© Susan Wood 2016