Susie has in her working life been both a devoted primary school teacher and in recent years, a respected social worker, but has always kept her love of writing. She has been composing poetry and prose for most of her life and currently assists with one of Australia’s leading heritage glass conservators, documenting stained glass windows and preparing written reports.
As a teacher, Susie taught prep, grade one and sixth grade and also provided music and physical education sessions for children from prep to grade six.
Susie retrained as a social worker when her children were in high school. She worked at the Montefiore Homes, which provides Residential Care for the elderly as well as providing community care. Susie made assessments by phone, office or home visits to assess emergency, financial or counseling needs and provided short -term case management until the appropriate services could start.
Susie has been self-publishing children’s books for her extended family for some years and hopes now to make her books more widely available. After undergoing treatment for breast cancer in 2009, she reassessed what she wanted to be her life focus and realized the obvious choice was to devote her time to her life-long love of writing. Jonathon’s Thongs, the story of a small boy who discovers something really mesmerizing about a pair of thongs, is her first commercial literary venture.
Whether for children or adults, Susie’s motivation is to write books that are fun to read, with a great rhythm and cadence to the text.
For children particularly, Susie finds that having fun through rhyme is a great way to promote their use of imagination and curiosity.
Teaching both prep and grade one, highlighted for her the types of books that little ones get really excited about and which ones, as a teacher, she loved to read aloud.
She has found that although not all children engage in learning in the same way or at the same rate, certain sounds and rhythms naturally catch most children’s attention.
So, once you have ‘their ear ‘, so to speak, learning can follow.
There are more books in the pipeline for Susie, including another children’s book, Welcome to the World. This book is for new Mums or Dads to read with their very young baby to introduce them, at a very early stage, to the reassuring sound of the parent’s voice.
There is also an off-the-wall picture book for adults in the wings. The book deals with the life-changing experience of dealing with breast cancer. It clearly and in a positive way, explains what to expect at different stages of treatment and illustrates how a sense of humor can help to buoy spirits during the travails of surgery and chemotherapy.
Esther Erlich has provided the wonderful illustrations for Jonathon’s Thongs. Esther is an accomplished artist, having won the prestigious Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 1998 and is a 4-time finalist in the Archibald Prize, winning the People’s Choice Award in 2000. Her paintings have been exhibited widely throughout Australia and Asia, she has also shown in New York. Esther’s work is represented in many private and public collections including the National Library and the National Portrait Gallery.
Esther and Susie became great friends when they were six years old and continue to meet on a weekly basis, to talk and giggle about anything and everything.
About the book
Jonathon’s Thongs is the fun-filled story of a small boy who discovers something really mesmerizing about a pair of thongs.
Simon loves thongs (Australian for flip-flops or jandals in New Zealand!), but a whole world of strange and interesting shoes awaits his exploration.
“Simon liked how Jonathon’s thongs sing
Through a number of comical encounters with a range of footwear Simon learns about Tilly’s tap shoes, Sally’s slippers and Benjamin’s shiny runners, each examined by Simon to see how they compare with Jonathon’s thongs.
“Katy has clogs.
At the end, Simon returns home to find a surprise next to his bed that he just had not expected and it was “just the thing”.
Jonathon’s Thongs has a great sing-song rhythm and Esther Erlich’s illustrations are a quirky delight of movement and colour.
The book is suitable for all pre-schoolers, who will quickly learn the pleasure it brings to : ‘thwick thwack, thwick thwack,’ when they run along.