Susan Robinson


      My faves...

I read every Dr. Seuss book, every Nancy Drew, Little Golden Books, mysteries, and kids' classics like Heidi. Now I'm usually working my way through at least one nonfiction and one fiction book at the same time.

Some of my favorite authors of books for adults include Frank McCourt, Barbara Kingsolver, Pat Conroy, Kathryn Stockett, Jodi Picoult, Harper Lee, Margaret Atwood, Richard Selzer, Zack McDermott, and Anne Lamott.

My favorite children's picture book authors are Chris Van Allsburg, Arlene Mosel, Peter Catalanotto, Judy Schachner, Bill Martin Jr., William Steig, Judi and Ronald Barrett, Mo Willems, and Steve Jenkins.

About the Author

1: My Reading Nature

It often helps readers and aspiring writers to witness the writing journey of published authors. Here is what led to my writing

When Poke Woke.

3: My Teaching Nature

I loved teaching, doing stints as an elementary classroom teacher, librarian, computer instructor, and teacher of the gifted and talented. I taught my students to love books and to write. And it was here that I first fell in love with hedgehogs when a student'smother, a wildlife rehabilitator, brought her critters to visit my class.

Then my sixteen-year-old son died, and I stopped teaching. I stopped reading and writing. I stopped living.

A few years later, I still wasn't ready to inspire and motivate children. So I took the easier path—returning to school as a student rather than a teacher.

In grad school I read outstanding writers. My professors taught me to show, not just tell and about metaphor and poetry. They helped me tell the stories I wanted— needed—to write. And they drew me back into the classroom—this time teaching college composition and creative writing. I retired a few years ago to spoil my grandchildren.

Through Poke I've renewed myself as a writer, with several projects in the works. And I've come full circle as a teacher, visiting classrooms to share When Poke Woke and teach children to write their own picture books. Recently I published a sequel, Poke's Toque (Poke's Hat). Both Poke books are also available in Spanish.

I eventually adapted my master's thesis into Say His Name: A Mother's Grief, a memoir that I hope will help people understand what deep grief is really like, that they are not the only ones feeling such devastation, and how precious life is.

Say His Name: A Mother's Grief should have been published years ago, but I got sidetracked taking care of my family, teaching, grieving, editing books for other people, babysitting kids, and writing a little picture book about a hedgehog who struggles with, and finally embraces, his true nature.

My newest book is Ransoming Eternity: The Poetry of Grief, a book of poems I wrote at various points in my grief journey.

My true nature is as a reader, writer, and  teacher.

I taught myself to read at age four and then played school in my basement, teaching the neighborhood kids to read.

Fourth grade was about writing stories like “If I Ran the World." In sixth grade Mr. Wyrick gave me an A+++++++ on "Zot from Zectron," a robot alien's adventures with earth kids.

I continued to be blessed with outstanding writing teachers through high school, writing memoir in ninth grade, learning the art of the essay in eleventh, and argumentation and short story in twelfth. I wrote and performed songs with my friend Debbie and was one of those weird kids who enjoyed writing research papers.

Like all college students, I wrote papers and more papers—everything from historical comparison to literary analysis to psychological research to case studies to elementary curriculum. After I was hired as a teacher, the latter became my focus, and I authored dozens of curriculum units. Freelancing as a writer, I authored business letters, feature articles, and speeches and created campaign literature.

2: My Writing Nature

I have always been a writer. I still have the lined yellow first grade pages on which I penned profiles of Uncle Bob the policeman, astronaut Alan Shepard,

and my best friend, Anita. In third

grade I wrote and illustrated book reports.

      My faves...

About the Illustrator

Ezequiel Decarli began drawing as a child. He

spent entire days making up stories and filling notebooks and odd scraps of paper with real and make-believe characters.

When he grew up, the demands of life intruded, and Ezequiel put away his

pens and paper. However, that love of drawing remained latent, and he finally realized his passion through a career as a graphic designer, illustrator, and art professor.

4: Becoming an Author

I put everything I knew into my first book, When Poke Woke, a picture book for children. Poke the hedgehog brought me back to my roots—the picture books I loved as a child, read to my children and students, and now share with my grandchildren.