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


Delighted that Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted, my picture book biography of the first woman senator from Massachusetts and 2020 presidential hopeful, is included in this pre-debate roundup from the San Francisco Chronicle

It’s time for young people, especially girls, to discover the power of their own voice, stand up, and speak out—because, as the senator often pinky-swears, “That’s what girls do!"


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What better way to wrap up summer beach days with this delightful, insightful review of Sandy Feet! Whose Feet? Footprints at the Shore

Margie Myers-Culver of the esteemed Librarian’s Quest blog always dives deep, exploring a book's every nook and cranny, from endpapers to language cadences to illustration POVs. Of Sandy Feet, she writes:

Little readers and listeners and those reading this book penned by Susan Wood will feel the spell cast by her use of language. The rhyming words at the end of every two sentences depict a rhythm not unlike the gentle cadence of waves on a sandy shore…. All the illustrations span two pages. The perspectives vary.… Sometimes we get the sense there are dunes rolling along the beach. We may only see human feet and ankles as a bird walks past them or we may be looking down at the children as another creature hurries away. It's as if [illustrator] Steliyana Doneva presents us with a sensory experience in her artwork. 

Read the review in its glorious entirety here

Much appreciated, Librarians Quest!

Books in the Wild: BookCrossing in Chicago

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Was signing bookstore stock in Chicago this week and did a few “wild releases” too! 

Do you know about BookCrossing? It’s this totally fun thing where you assign a book its own ID number, let it go—literally anywhere in the world—and track its travels from reader to reader. Cool idea, right? Sort of reminds of a message in a bottle or tied to a balloon—a totally random journey.

From the BookCrossing website:

 BookCrossing is the act of releasing your books "into the wild" for a stranger to find, or via "controlled release" to another BookCrossing member, and tracking where they go via journal entries from around the world. Our community of 1,952,228 passionate, generous book-lovers is changing the world and touching lives, one traveling book at a time.

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So I released two sets of my latest books that included Sandy Feet! Whose Feet? Footprints at the Shore, Holy Squawkamole! Little Red Hen Makes Guacamole, and Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted—one set in the Navy Pier/Polk Brothers Park/Children’s Museum area, and the other set in the northern part of the city, at a lovely little green space tucked into the Bowmanville subsection of Lincoln Square. 

I was excited when just a few hours after my releases, the first “finder” logged their entry on the BookCrossing website. They’d picked up the Warren bio, noting it was “found at a dog park.” Hope the finder reads and enjoys it, shares it with the children in their life, then releases it for someone else to discover. Where will it wind up next, I wonder? Fun!

Miami Times Gives Thumbs-Up to SANDY FEET! WHOSE FEET?

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From folks who really, really know their beach reads—a lovely, lengthy review recommending Sandy Feet! Whose Feet? as the perfect pre- or post-beach-trip bedtime story... Many thanks, Miami Times (and the Marco Eagle, serving Marco Island and southwest FL, which also ran this review)!

Make Your Own Skydiving Beaver!


Received the sweetest note from an Illinois librarian who incorporated an extra-clever craft into her The Skydiving Beavers: A True Tale story time.

"I really enjoyed reading about the skydiving beavers," Karin Thogersen of the Huntley Area Public Library wrote. "I shared it with a special needs class in our monthly storytime this May and the kids (and their teachers and aides) also thought it was a hoot. After I read the book to them, I helped everyone make their own skydiving beavers.... Then we launched them into the air—that was the best part for them."

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Karin graciously allowed me to share her instructions/template for a make-your-own skydiving beaver, complete with functional coffee-filter parachute! Check it out at the book's website:

It’s so much fun, and so gratifying, for kidlit authors to see how the books we create are used out in the wild.

Thanks, Karin! And what a beautiful library!

#kidlit #NFforKids #EcologyEd #natureforkids #picturebook #kidcrafts #skydivingbeavers #SleepingBearPress

ELIZABETH WARREN Makes ILA/CBC Children’s Choices 2019 Reading List

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Delighted to learn that Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless She Persisted—my picture-book biography of the first woman senator from Massachusetts and a 2020 presidential candidate—has made the ILA/CBC Children's Choices 2019 Reading List!! Since this is a best-of list chosen by students, not industry pros, it's an extra-special honor!! 

From the ILA/CBC:

What Is the Children’s Choices Reading List?
Each year, 12,500 school children from different regions of the United States read newly published children’s and young adults’ trade books and vote for the ones they like best. These Children’s Choices, selected from more than 900 titles, can be counted on as books children truly enjoy reading. This list, a project cosponsored by the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the Children’s Book Council (CBC), is designed for use not only by educators, librarians and media specialists, administrators, and booksellers but also by families and caregivers—and everyone who wishes to encourage young people to read for pleasure.

So grateful!!

#kidlit #NFforKids #PBbio #neverthelessshepersisted #persist #SenatorWarren #ILA #CBC


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Beach seasons almost here!

Wishing a warm welcome-to-the-world to Sandy Feet! Whose Feet? Footprints at the Shore, my whimsical ecology-detective picture book in fun rhyming verse! Published by Sleeping Bear Press, and with adorable illustrations by Steliyana Doneva, the book turns a sandy beach into an outdoor classroom as kids find and follow tracks made by all sorts of seaside critters. STEM-based back matter includes information on how clues like footprints can identify the type of wildlife inhabiting any given habitat.

School Library Journal awarded the book its coveted star, deeming it "an engaging read which encourages children to explore the natural world around them, and to fully utilize and embrace their senses."

Happy, happy book birthday, sweet Sandy Feet!

SANDY FEET Earns Starred Review from School Library Journal

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Exciting news! School Library Journal has bestowed its prestigious starred review upon my latest picture book, Sandy Feet! Whose Feet? Footprints at the Shore! Their verdict: An engaging read which encourages children to explore the natural world around them, and to fully utilize and embrace their senses. 

So excited for the book’s super-talented illustrator, Steliyana Doneva, and our ever-supportive publisher, Sleeping Bear Press. The esteemed trade journal also used a spread from the book in its "April 2019 Stars" roundup. Thanks ever so much, SLJ!

Check out the full review!

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Women in Children’s Books a Discussion Topic at Bologna Children’s Book Fair


I was delighted and honored to be part of an important discussion at the 56th annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair about the representation of women in children’s books. Moderated by Maria Russo, children’s books editor at the New York Times, the “Time Is on Their Side: Women in Children’s Books" panel included authors, illustrators, publishers, and journalists from around the world. It was fascinating to hear the history and current climate of women’s representation in children’s literature in other parts of the globe—for better or worse. 

General consensus: positive messages regarding gender equality and women’s rights will only continue to flourish, especially as awareness grows and threats to these issues arise. 

It was wonderful and enlightening to meet and learn from these intriguing women, and I’m so grateful to BCBF and its exhibition manager Elena Pasoli for including me.

Photo: BCBF exhibition manager Elena Pasoli introduces the panel—seated from left, Olga Maëotz, literary critic (Russia); author Susan Wood (USA); Vichi de Marchi, journalist and author (Italy); NYT children’s books editor Maria Russo (USA), Beatrice Masini, author and editorial director of Bompiani (Italy); Gillian Engberg, editorial consultant (USA); Isabel Sánchez Vegara, author (Spain); Ana Albero, illustrator (Spain); Sophie Gallo-Selva, publisher, Les petites mustaches (France). Not pictured: Bodour Al Qasimi, vice president, International Publishers Association and publisher, Kalimat (UAE), and Marta Breen, author (Norway).

Photo: Ada Treves 

Ciao, Bologna Children’s Book Fair!

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Headed to Italy tomorrow and I’m so excited! 

On April 2, I’ll be part of a panel discussion on the evolution/revolution of women in children’s books over the last few years. Will be speaking about Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted, my picture book biography of the first woman senator from Massachusetts and, now, a candidate for president of the United States in the 2020 election. I’ll be joining women authors, illustrators, reviewers, publishers, and more. 

If you’ll be at the fair, be sure to catch the panel—and say hello!

© Susan Wood 2019