Interview with Karen M. Greenwald, creator of A VOTE FOR SUSANNA: THE FIRST WOMAN MAYOR (Albert Whitman)

Discover out extra concerning the Karen M. Greenwald at her web site, Instagram, or Submit.

Discover out extra about illustrator Sian James at their web site, Twitter, Instagram, and Fb.

Creator: Karen M. Greenwald
Illustrator: Sian James
Writer: Albert Whitman & Firm
Viewers: ages 4-8

Extra data about this ebook.


When spelunking on-line in the future, a short sentence caught my consideration. How had I by no means heard of Susanna Salter, the 1887 Kansas regulation granting ladies municipal voting/candidacy rights, or the influence of her bravery? Historical past wanted to be held accountable for ignoring this Victorian, but profoundly up to date piece of America’s previous. 

The title of my ebook, A VOTE FOR SUSANNA, THE FIRST WOMAN MAYOR signifies why my protagonist stays notable…however her standing was solely half the story. Most articles written after Salter’s demise in 1961, together with blogs, lined the fundamentals—with variations primarily restricted to stylistic decisions. Seemingly none contemplated something about Susanna or her “company.” Discovering who she actually was and why Susanna embraced such a threat turned my function and herculean problem.     

Days after I spent a weekend’s value of time on-line and on the telephone with librarians, genealogists, and the like from Kansas State College’s library, I discovered that it burned to the bottom. For one and a half years after, I dug for info, navigated obstacles, and surmounted assorted and sometimes uncommon limitations. Finally, a member of the Salter household and I linked. After a radical vetting, she and her brother shared treasured ephemera with me.  

I saved one in every of Susanna’s letters open whereas writing the manuscript’s remaining phrases. The three-dimensional, “actual” Susanna historical past ignored got here to life with every cursive swirl because the chorus of Hamilton’s remaining quantity performed in my thoughts. [W]hen you’re gone, who remembers your identify? Who retains your flame? Who tells your story??” The music, her phrases, my reaching the conclusion—all of it felt emotional. Virtually mystical. 

“Who tells your story??” 

“I’m going to,” I whispered…


I’m an enormous color-coder, outliner, and “briefer”—in all probability methods and/or habits rooted in being a lawyer. My background informs how I break down and manage info. Getting ready for regulation faculty exams underscored the significance of understanding how I labored most efficiently (the alternative of what was instilled throughout 1L orientation!). There isn’t a “one dimension matches all” strategy for organizing analysis both.

My “go-to” useful resource for maintaining observe of concepts, notations, photographs, and feedback is Microsoft’s OneNote. The app permits for note-taking that isn’t linear in format which is nice for somebody who all the time used each nook of pocket book paper margins (each vertical and horizontal). A observe could be “pinned” to your desktop in order that it stays lively even once you rearrange completely different home windows (Caveat: this may be restricted to a downloadable older model). Additionally, for these of us who get too concerned in what they’re doing, the “save” perform is computerized—and, when pasting content material from the Web, it data the date, handle, and time routinely. The latter is important since bibliographies require that info for something sourced from the Web.

I create a separate OneNote “pocket book” for every manuscript. It turns into a digital command central whereas researching, writing, and modifying. Afterwards, I typically overview them when planning shows, writing blogs, and doing interview prep. In truth, I checked one tab in the present day earlier than writing these solutions. 

For extra about analysis, see my weblog, .  

Researching makes me really feel like I’m a historical past detective. Every new clue I uncover conjures up concepts. How do I do know once I’m prepared to start writing? By the point I sort, most main components are already formulated. The precise placing of phrases on paper is the place issues get refined. So, I’m undecided I’ve a defining line between analysis and writing…it’s extra of an ombre state of affairs. 

I hope younger readers will study a number of issues from Susanna and this story. First, her historical past is world historical past. As the primary lady elected who served, Susanna turned a global ceiling-breaking icon. Whereas she did obtain some criticism, she extra importantly captured world consideration and impressed huge hope for a lot of. Susanna’s empowered angle exhibits how anybody can change into a hero. 

I additionally hope that it causes youngsters and the adults studying with them to think about why the bullies adamantly didn’t need ladies concerned in politics—and the way her gender had no influence on her capability for fulfillment. I would like them to think about what different forms of issues bullies concern and who else skilled/s discrimination. They need to ponder what motivated the opposite townsmen to hunt out Susanna. Many life classes related for in the present day are embedded on this historic second. 

My instructor’s information is a radical useful resource for participating teams or particular person youngsters in a dialogue. It seems at many sides of the ebook and contains strategies for artwork initiatives, PE video games, and extra. My hope is that the ebook and these actions will encourage youngsters to study heroes from their space—particularly these historical past has ignored or forgotten.

The artwork of writing is rarely a waste of time or effort. You don’t want to fret about what it is going to change into. Simply collaborating within the act of writing itself will get your creativity in movement. Typically, jotting down a phrase or phrase can encourage an amazing story. Different occasions, a foolish doodle may change into the main focus of your subsequent artistic mission. However when you don’t journal these items, and play with phrases, sentences, poetry, or sketches, you might by no means know what nice tales you’re able to…so give your self permission to benefit from the course of with out it needing to satisfy a lofty function!

I’m frequently enthusiastic about utilizing my function as a #kidlit creator to make a distinction. A method is by uncovering nonfiction tales. Tradition, historical past, and a group’s lifestyle are grounded previously—these have to change into our prologue. Nonfiction books, like A VOTE FOR SUSANNA, may also help by educating, directing, and galvanizing youngsters and adults who learn with them. 

Virtually talking, I see books as passports, mirrors, home windows, outdated mates, and new beginnings. I’m enormously obsessed with doing what I can to assist under-sourced libraries—particularly in colleges—get new sources.

I’ve taken this on as my private problem and have tried to assist in two methods:

. I co-created the one on-line kidlit nonfiction writing contest. It’s an annual occasion each summer season. We elevate consciousness of/cash for a kidlit charity together with it. Nevertheless, writers can compete with out collaborating within the charity facet. I’d by no means need it to be a barrier towards participation. It feels unimaginable to assist need-based communities get brand-new/free books. I’m extremely pleased with all of the business assist the competition will get—from editors and brokers to organizations and authors.


I requested two different kidlit authors to affix forces with me and host a ebook drive for the charity I’ve promoted for the previous few summers through #SunWriteFun. We requested folks to purchase books from two completely different women-owned unbiased bookstores and ship them on to the charity. In return, they’d earn 1 raffle ticket per ebook. We additionally supplied incentives, like a technique to earn two raffle tickets for the value of 1 ebook and dedicated to matching (as much as 10 books complete) when ours had been donated. In complete, 135 model new books had been donated! 

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