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


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Grab the guac! 

It’s happy book birthday to my latest picture book, Holy Squawkamole! Little Red Hen Makes Guacamole, a tasty take on the classic tale with a super spicy twist! Published by Sterling Children’s Books, and with adorable illustrations by Laura González, it’s all sorts of yummy fun—kid-friendly guac recipe included! But don’t take my word for it—here’s what Booklist had to say:

Award-winning picture-book author Wood refreshes a classic folk tale with this Spanish language inflected rendition in which Little Red Hen or gallinita roja craves fresh guacamole and needs help harvesting the ingredients. She asks her friends—an armadillo, a snake, and an iguana—for help, but they all refuse to assist (except in eating the guacamole). Without any assistance, she rightfully gets to choose what goes in her recipe, and she decides to add an unexpected ingredient, jalapeño. When the guacamole is ready, her unhelpful friends happily devour it, but they soon catch on once they realize how spicy gallinita roja's guacamole is. González's soft, bright illustrations feature pleasantly rounded creatures with expressive faces, and throughout Wood seamlessly integrates the unitalicized Spanish terms, which are all clear, thanks to contextual clues as well as a glossary. Other backmatter includes fun facts about the history of guacamole and a variety of recipes, including gallinita roja’s.

You can find more zesty info, plus recipes, activities, and more at

Hmm, I’m thinking Mexican for dinner tonight… :-D

ESQUIVEL! Audiobook Wins Odyssey Honor Award

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Exciting news from Seattle this morning, where the American Library Association held its Youth Media Awards, the Oscars of the children’s literature world: the audiobook of my Esquivel! Space-Age Space Artist won an Odyssey Honor Award

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The Odyssey is bestowed for the best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults; the selection committee may also select honor titles. The Odyssey Award is jointly given and administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), divisions of ALA, and is sponsored by Booklist magazine. This year’s Odyssey Award winner is Sadie, written by Courtney Summers, and my fellow Odyssey Honor winners are Du Iz Tak, by Carson Ellis; The Parker Inheritance, by Varian Johnson; and The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo. Whew—some pretty amazing company!

From the award selection committee: "The work of innovative composer Juan Garcia Esquivel is uniquely portrayed in this picture book biography by Susan Wood. Brian Amador’s narration, combined with tracks of space aged music and sound effects, presents a carefully orchestrated experience, with each element of the illustrations perfectly represented in stereo sound."

It’s funny, seven years ago I was an unagented writer with a quirky manuscript for kids about an obscure Mexican bandleader. In an amazing bit of serendipity that still blows my mind, the editorial director at the first house I sent it to just happened to be a vocalist with the world's only orchestra playing solely Esquivel's music (yes, really!). At the 2017 ALA YMAs, the book won a Pura Belpré Honor Award (thanks to illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh), and today, this (thanks to Live Oak Media, Brian Amador, and Rosi Amador—and they even let me voice my author's note)! It’s my little book that could. Seriously.

And I am so very grateful. 


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Honored and delighted to have Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted, my picture-book biography of the first woman senator from Massachusetts and 2020 presidential hopeful, featured at author Cheryl Holloway’s terrific blog An Author Writes. Be sure to take a look!

Thanks so much for the great questions, Cheryl!

SKYDIVING BEAVERS Named CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People

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Delightful news! 

Just learned that The Skydiving Beavers: A True Tale, my picture book about the daring 1948 rehoming by airdrop of an Idaho beaver colony, has been honored as a Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People

How are such books chosen? According to the National Council for the Social Studies’ website, which creates the annual list of such titles, the books are "evaluated and selected by a Book Review Committee appointed by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and assembled in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council (CBC). NCSS and CBC have cooperated on this annual bibliography since 1972. Books selected for this bibliography were published in 2017 and were written for children in grades K-12. The Book Review Committee looks for books that emphasize human relations, represent a diversity of groups and are sensitive to a broad range of cultural experiences, present an original theme or a fresh slant on a traditional topic, are easily readable and of high literary quality, have a pleasing format, and, where appropriate, include illustrations that enrich the text.”

Such an honor; thank you NCSS and CBC!


Wowza!! Excited and honored that Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted's in such esteemed company—titles by or about Rep. Barbara Jordan, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (you know, Alexander H’s wife), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and more—in the New York Times Book Review!! 

Young readers will benefit from seeing little Elizabeth growing up in Oklahoma as her parents struggle financially….The book’s subtitle—“Nevertheless, She Persisted”—is satisfying….I was delighted to see the words on the cover of this biography, underneath Sarah Green’s quirky illustration of Warren, the woman who’d been told essentially to shut up, in a bold blue suit, finger raised to make a point, standing at a lectern.

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AudioFile Thumbs-Up for ELIZABETH WARREN Audiobook

Thrilled to read AudioFile magazine’s lovely review of Dreamscape’s audiobook production of Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless She Persisted. I agree: Amy Rubinate's voice work is engaging, the sound effects appealing, and the music choices both graceful and uplifting. Thanks to all!


Today’s the day! Illustrator Sarah Green and I, along with the wonderful folks at Abrams, are so excited to release Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted out into the world! We hope to inspire young readers to stand up and speak out for their beliefs—to insist, resist, persist!


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The fabulous A Mighty Girl website—the world's largest collection of books, toys, and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls—is giving away signed copies of Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persistedenter here!

Wonderful way to celebrate the book's b-day tomorrow! Thanks so much, A Mighty Girl!

Join Me at Books of Wonder NYC August 12 to Talk Picture Book Biographies

If you'll be in NYC on August 12, hope you'll stop by the fabulous Books of Wonder downtown, where I'll be joining fellow author Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrators James E. Ransome and Paul Hoppe to chat about picture book biographies, and to sign a bunch, including Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted!! 

Excited to be in such esteemed company!!

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Been holding my breath... At last, the first review of Elizabeth Warren: Nevertheless, She Persisted is in—and it's fab!!!

Fave tidbits: "Wood’s bookended use of the refrain 'She insisted. / She resisted. / She persisted' emphasizes Warren’s fortitude and frames the rest of the narrative....With a colorful but muted palette, full-bleed spreads, and clear lines, Green’s illustrations feel calm and steadfast, matching Wood’s portrayal of Warren....A strong, upbeat introduction to a bold figure.”

Thanks so much, Kirkus!

© Susan Wood 2018