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My friend Susan

Flowers by Susan Bloom

We said goodbye yesterday to a friend of mine and of the Horn Book, Susan P. Bloom. I met Susan thirty years ago, when she and Cathie Mercier invited me to teach Simmons’s Summer Children’s Literature Institute. That year’s theme, “Masquerade” was aptly borne out when Susan and Cathie Mercier picked me up at the airport wearing enormous papier-mache Wild Things heads. I can still see them proceeding carefully down to the gate (in an era when one could) to meet me. Susan could combine majesty and whimsy in a way like no one else.

Sutton-Asch wedding cake by Susan Bloom

Those qualities, plus an abundance of warmth and hospitality, served Susan well in her directorship of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, a job that required scholarship, organizational talent, and a great deal of diplomacy. I see her in the grand tradition of what I call the Great Ladies and what Susan’s Simmons colleague Maggie Bush more soberly characterized as the New England Book Women, teachers and librarians and critics who could be both high-minded and pragmatic, their work infused with a belief in the intrinsic value and power of children’s literature. Susan’s enthusiasm for books (and theater, and food, and flowers, and parties…) was contagious: if she was enjoying something with such gusto, you’d think there must be something to it. And, most definitely, to her. A great lady, a great teacher, a great friend.

 

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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Comments

  1. Karen Boss says:

    What an excellent tribute, Roger. She’d love it!

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