By age 17, only about 1 in 17 seventeen year olds can read and gain information from specialized text, for example the... More

Author Showcase

Author Showcase Guest Sue Shanahan

RT: Hi Sue, and welcome to the Reading Tub! I've really enjoyed exploring your site, and the video set to "Wonder" by Natalie Merchant just blew me away! On your site, you use the tagline "art from the heart," which says a lot about how you see the world, particularly children. How did you fill your heart as a child ... were you a reader? a doodler? an explorer? an observer?

Sue: Yes, I was a reader and a doodler and a maker of things with my hands. Books transported me into worlds that I expanded on in my mind. My love of drawing fairies originated in the books my mother had as child. She was a huge reader and her books lined the bookshelves in my bedroom. I lost myself in them.

RT: For several years you created the posters for the Illinois "Family Reading Night" campaign. In the posters on your website, you've got lots of classic characters ... how did you come to select these few 'models' when there are so many children's classics?

Sue: Well I'd go back to the "art from the heart" tagline on that. The origins of creativity are hard to define with the intellect. When an idea comes to me to illustrate I feel like I'm following directions and try my darndest not to reason them away.

RT: In your note to me, you talked about the importance of reading. Can you share with us why is reading important to you?

Sue: Reading opened up the possibility that I could do so much more than the script life had given me. It made me a possibility thinker. It gave me the notion that "someone has to do, it why not me?"

RT: What kinds of books do you like to read?

Sue: I love beautifully illustrated picture books. My eyes practically drink in the art. I also am a huge reader of memoirs. I find it fascinating to read how the author got from A to B. I also am curious to know how the memoirist overcame the challenges in their lives and realize their dreams.

RT: Is there one memoir that you would say has been the most inspirational one you've ever read?

Sue: Change Me into Zeus's Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss. The author and I actually became friends after reading it. The book struck such a chord in me I was compelled to track her down and call her on the phone.

RT: Did you have a book as a child that was your go-to book on "rainy days." Those days when things weren't going the way you planned. Basically, you're comfort read. Do you have a book like that now?

Sue: I would have to say A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett goes on top. Then comes ...
Hitty and Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendak
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken, and
The Fairy Doll by Rumor Godden

RT: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Sue: I love what you are doing to support literacy. I love books and understand the power they bring to lives.

I'm a huge advocate for all kids being beautiful- just the way they are. I think we all come here with perfect body and gifts for out intended purpose.

RT: Thanks for jumping in the Tub, Sue.

Sue: If you'd like to read more of our interview with Sue, and hear what she has to say about iPad stories, check out our interview on the Family Bookshelf.

Website: http://www.sueshanahan.com


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