Susan Williams Beckhorn Books
As a children's writer, I have several strikes against me. I did not have a rotten childhood. I was not a prodigy, but bumbled through DICK AND JANE like everyone else. My comfortable, middle-class childhood in Winchester, Massachusetts didn't seem to have much to offer a literature with expanding cultural viewpoints. Yet I had a belief that I could write and that each of us, no matter where we come from, has a unique story to tell. I also had a powerful stubborn streak that kept me going. We had the luxuries of childhood: a dog, woods and a lake in New Hampshire, an old row boat, butterfly nets, paints, and books. We were read to copiously: WAIT TILL THE MOON IS FULL, THE BURGESS BOOKS, STUART LITTLE, etc. I became addicted. Books provided a haven of drama and adventure in my cozy little life. We weren't completely normal! Sane parents would not have allowed me to raise an orphaned raccoon, but mine loved the ring-tailed wonder as much as I did, and shared my pride in his successful return to the wild. My kindergarten teacher worried about me, but I think a child who doesn't hold the door open for imaginary animal friends is strange (and rude). I will admit that I was shy. At times, I thought our dog, Spike, was the only one who understood me. I still have a letter that I wrote to him when I was eight. He didn't write back but I knew that he was on my side. I like to tell kids that their ideas are valid. As proof, I can show them the original version of THE KINGFISHER'S GIFT which started out as a seventh grade writing assignment. My husband, Fred, our daughters, Fern and Spring, and numerous pets, live in a stone house in the wilds of western New York, and collect everything from seashells to Indian relics-and books.
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