Susan L. Roth is the fascinating author/illustrator of over 35 children’s books. Susan is a native of New York City. She spent her childhood in Madison, Wisconsin, and received both her BA and MA in art from Mills College in Oakland, CA. As as adult, Susan has lived in California and Maryland and now makes her home back in New York City, where she lives with her husband. Susan loves art, music, theater, travel, dogs, writing and of course, illustrating books for children. Susan doesn’t paint! Over the years she has developed her own collage technique into one which is exclusively faithful to cutting and tearing. From the most complete background papers to the tiniest dots of eyes and I’s, she ONLY cuts or rips. She is very proud of the technique she developed. Her book, Listen to the Wind, is the story of Greg Mortenson’s experience in a Pakistani village of Korphe written from the perspective of the children of that village.
Hands around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books
Susan L. Roth and Karen Leggett Abouraya
Collages by Susan Roth
From the prolific author/illustrator Susan Roth and first time picture book author Karen Leggett Abouraya comes this special perspective on the recent uprising in Egypt known as the Arab Spring. When angry protests began to spread outward from Cairo and reached Alexandria, there was fear that their beautiful new library would be damaged or destroyed. As protesters neared the library, the director, Dr. Ismail Serageldin, made a plea that they preserve the library as it preserves the literary treasures of the Egyptian people. At first a few and then dozens of protesters came up to stand beside Dr. Serageldin and joined hands in a protective ring around the library. Bibliotheca Alexandrina stands approximately where the ancient library stood until 400 CE. This beautiful modern structure, completed in 2002, is surrounded by carved stones bearing the letters/signs of five hundred different alphabets. In spite of all the violence that accompanied the protests, the library was spared because it meant so much to so many. Colorful two-page collages portray the many different colors of the protestors and protectors, with architectural elements represented in the background. Annotated photographs of protesters, the interior and exterior of the library, librarians and patrons follow the text. There are also brief summaries describing the ancient and current library as well as the protests. A short list of resources, translations of words on the protest signs, and an author’s note are included. This is an excellent resource to help young children understand a big event in a more personal way, and could spark discussions on the role of citizen protests in bringing about change. Certainly the forces that ignited these demonstrations in 2011 continue to fill the news today. 2012, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Group, $16.99. Ages 4 to 10. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D. (Children’s Literature).
Listen to the Wind: A Village in Pakistan Builds a School
Greg Mortenson and Susan L. Roth
Collages by Susan L. Roth
Written from the perspective of the children of Korphe, the story of Greg Mortenson’s experience in a Pakistani village unfolds. He was lost in the mountains and by chance encountered the village of Korphe. The people helped Greg get well. As he recuperated, he assisted them with his nursing skills and helped the children with their lessons. Once Greg regained his health and was ready to go home, he wanted to do something special for the people of Korphe. The response that he received from Haji Ali was to “listen to the wind”; from those words, Greg knew that he was going to return to help the village build a school: there was no school building and lessons were held outdoors. The story continues with the construction of the school building, which was not a simple task because the supplies had to reach from one mountain to the next mountain where Korphe was located. Yet determination and many helping hands completed the school building. The collages are exquisite and capture the heart of the story. The artist shares her story about the research in creating the magnificent scenes in the book. In addition, there are captioned photographs of the construction and the people of Korphe. Although there are versions of this story for older readers and adults, this book with its richly textured collages is inspirational for readers of all ages. Listen to the wind to hear what message awaits you. 2009, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Putnam, $16.99. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung (Children’s Literature).
The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families
Susan Roth and Cindy Trumbore
Collages by Susan Roth
Sometimes with hard work and science, life only gets better. “The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families” tells the true story of how scientist Dr. Sato advised the small African village of Hargigo to adopt the growing of Mangrove trees to solve their food shortages and become self-sufficient. A moving and uniquely illustrated fable of hard work and ingenuity, “The Mangrove Tree” is an excellent addition to any nonfiction children’s picturebook collection. The Multicultural Shelf. Lee & Low Books, $19.95. Reviewer: Midwest Book Review (Children’s Bookwatch, September 2011).
A sampling of Susan’s presentations:
Collage demonstrations, chalk talk format.
- Walk With Me: From the Idea to the Bound Book – This can be based on subject, particular title, technique, or all of the above.
- How to Get into this Crazy Business
- Hands on Collage Workshops
- Multi-Media Events – This can include music: performed for you, performed by your group, or even commissioned for your group.
- Create Your Own Book With Susan L. Roth: – this can be produced individually or as a classroom or other group.
- “The Big Apartment Theory” or How To Use The Sky For Your Limit: an inspirational message, but with no Sunday School overtones.
- Artist and/or Writer-in-Resident Programs
Fees: Susan’s fees are negotiable. Her audience size is flexible depending on which program she is presenting. It is advisable to keep grade levels together for the presentations so that she can address the students at their level. Susan also presents to adult groups and conferences. Transportation and lodging costs to be paid by sponsoring organization.
To learn more about Susan and her publications please visit www.susanlroth.com.