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Bonners, Susan 1947-

BONNERS, Susan 1947-

PERSONAL:

Born April 8, 1947, in Chicago, IL; married Barry Silverman (a sculptor), December 4, 1988. Education: Fordham University, B.A. (English), 1970; attended New York-Phoenix School of Design, 1971-72, and National Academy of Design, 1972.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Rosindale, MA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10001.

CAREER:

Illustrator and author of children's books.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Outstanding Science Trade Book, National Science Teachers Association/Children's Book Council (CBC), 1976, for Animals in Your Neighborhood, 1977, for Discovering What Puppies Do, and What Do You Want to Know about Guppies?, 1978, for Panda, 1981, for A Penguin Year, 1982, for A Forest Is Reborn, 1983, for Rain Shadow, and 1985, for Inside Turtle's Shell, and Other Poems of the Field; Children's Choice citation, CBC/International Reading Association, 1981, for Anybody Home?; American Book Award for children's nonfiction, 1982, for A Penguin Year; New Jersey Institute of Technology award, 1987, for Sarah's Questions; Panda and A Penguin Year were American Library Association Notable Books; Texas Bluebonnet Award nomination, 2001, for Silver Balloon, and 2003, for Edwina Victorious.

WRITINGS:

JUVENILE FICTION

The Wooden Doll, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1991.

The Silver Balloon, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1997.

Edwina Victorious, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2000.

Above and Beyond, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2001.

Making Music, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2002.

SELF-ILLUSTRATED; JUVENILE NONFICTION

Panda, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1978.

A Penguin Year, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1981.

Just in Passing (wordless picture book), Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1989.

Hunter in the Snow: The Lynx, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1994.

Wild Ostriches of the African Savanna, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1997.

Why Does the Cat Do That?, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 1998.

ILLUSTRATOR

Seymour Simon, Discovering What Garter Snakes Do, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1975.

Seymour Simon, Animals in Your Neighborhood, Walker & Co. (New York, NY), 1976.

Seymour Simon, Life on Ice: How Animals Survive in the Arctic, F. Watts (New York, NY), 1976.

Seymour Simon, Discovering What Puppies Do, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1977.

Seymour Simon, What Do You Want to Know about Guppies? Four Winds Press (New York, NY),1977.

Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child's Garden of Verses, Wester, 1978.

Charlene W. Billing, Spring Peepers Are Calling, Dodd (New York, NY), 1978.

Alan C. Elliott, On Sunday the Wind Came, Morrow (New York, NY), 1980.

Aileen Fisher, Anybody Home?, Crowell (New York, NY), 1980.

Mary Calhoun, Audubon Cat, Morrow (New York, NY), 1981.

James R. Newton, A Forest Is Reborn, Crowell (New York, NY), 1982.

Louise Fitzhugh, I Am Four, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1982.

James R. Newton, Rain Shadow, Crowell (New York, NY), 1983.

Barbara Juster Esbensen, Cold Stars and Fireflies: Poems of the Four Seasons, Crowell (New York, NY), 1984.

Joanne Ryder, Inside Turtle's Shell, and Other Poems of the Field, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1985.

Harriet Ziefert, Sarah's Questions, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard (New York, NY), 1986.

SIDELIGHTS:

Author and illustrator Susan Bonners is well known for her fiction and nonfiction books for young people, including the award-winning novel The Silver Balloon. Bonners illustrated several nonfiction titles about animals written by Seymour Simon before she began penning her own texts. Her first writing venture, Panda, describes the living habits of this rare Chinese mammal and is accompanied by Bonners' soft blue and white watercolor illustrations. Ethel L. Heins, writing in Horn Book, complimented the text as "at once straightforward and poetic." Bonners uses the same combination of blue-hued illustrations and simple text to describe the life cycle of Adelie penguins in A Penguin Year. Praising the book's "smoothly flowing text," Times Literary Supplement reviewer Lucy Micklethwait added that Bonners' presentation of the subject should inspire readers' curiosity.

Bonners' first children's fiction book, The Wooden Doll, was published in 1991. This simple story focuses on Stephanie, a young girl who discovers that her grandmother's wooden doll has her name inscribed on the bottom of it. At first Stephanie thinks this means the doll was meant for her, but her grandparents explain that the doll once belonged to Stephanie's Polish great-grandmother, who was also named Stephanie. "Much more than a story of wanting and getting a doll, this is more about bridging the gap between generations and cultures," noted Louise L. Sherman in School Library Journal.

In The Silver Balloon a note tied to a helium balloon leads to a long-distance friendship between Gregory, a shy fourth-grader, and Pete Mayfield, a farmer. The two send each other notes and gifts revealing clues about their personalities. Through their communications, Greg overcomes his fears of communicating with others. When Mayfield sends Greg a prehistoric tooth he can not identify, Greg discovers its origin and the two become guests of honor at the natural history museum. Helen Rosenberg in Booklist explained that The Silver Balloon would appeal "to young readers on many levels—the mysteries of the gifts, the development of the friendship and the way that Greg sticks to his dreams till they come true."

In Bonners' Edwina Victorious, a young girl learns that she can fight city hall and win. When an injury forces Edwina's wealthy great-grandaunt and namesake to move into a senior residence, Edwina helps clean out her aunt's attic. She discovers an old typewriter and a stash of letters written by her aunt to various community leaders over forty years ago. Edwina becomes inspired by her aunt and soon begins writing letters of her own. Because she is afraid she won't be taken seriously, she forges her aunt's signature on the letters, but when the authenticity of the letters is questioned Edwina comes clean and is ultimately praised by the mayor for the positive changes resulting from her letter-writing efforts. "This charming tale is an easy fit for lessons on social activism, letter writing, and even plagiarism," concluded Kate McLean in School Library Journal.

In Above and Beyond Bonners tells of an unlikely friendship between Jerry Wheelock, a popular boy, and Danny Casey, an annoying class clown who has not seen his father in years and whose uncle is in prison for stealing cars. When Jerry researches his older cousin's rock-climbing rescue of a little girl, he discovers that his ancestors and Danny's forbears have crossed paths. He also learns that Danny's incarcerated uncle is a hero. "Never heavy-handed or trite, this is a solid story of people doing their best in sometimes morally ambiguous circumstances," remarked a critic in Kirkus Reviews.

Making Music is a novel about a young girl and the girl's baby brother who are forced to leave their comfortable home in the suburbs when their mother takes a job three hours away. Annie, the young girl, misses her favorite uncle, who used to give her music lessons, and she is unhappy when the movers misplace a box containing her prized horse collection. However, she discovers something good about her new neighborhood: the piano music she hears in the evenings coming from the home of an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Bergstrom. "Making music heralds a new beginning for Annie and her family and provides a warm feeling of hope for her future in her new community and for the futures of young readers who face changes in their own living arrangements," noted a reviewer in School Library Journal.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 15, 1994, Julie Walton, review of Hunter in the Snow: The Lynx, p. 755; September 15, 1997, Helen Rosenberg, review of The Silver Balloon, p. 234; November 1, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of Making Music, p. 489.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February, 1989, Zena Sutherland, review of Just in Passing, p. 142; July, 1981, p. 207.

Horn Book, April 1979, review of Panda, p. 181; October, 1981, pp. 548-49.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2001, review of Above and Beyond, p. 1419; September 1, 2002, review of Making Music, p. 1304.

New York Times Book Review, December 10, 1978, Margaret Klee Lichtenberg, review of Panda, p. 82.

Publishers Weekly, October 31, 1986, review of Sara's Questions, p. 64; February 10, 1989, review of Just in Passing, p. 68; February 15, 1991, review of The Wooden Doll, pp. 89-90: September 1, 1997, review of The Silver Balloon, p. 105; November 16, 1998, review of Why Does the Cat Do That?, p. 75; September 13, 1999, review of The Silver Balloon, p. 86; November 13, 2000, review of Edwina Victorious, p. 104; November 4, 2002, review of Making Music, p. 84.

School Library Journal, February, 1979, p. 38; May, 1989, p. 77; April 1991, Louise L. Sherman, review of The Wooden Doll, p. 88; October, 2000, Kate McLean, review of Edwina Victorious, p. 112; October, 2001, Sara O'Neal, review of Above and Beyond, p. 148; October, 2002, Alice Casey Smith, review of Making Music, p. 99.

Teacher Librarian, March, 1999, Jessica Higgs, review of Why Does the Cat Do That?, p. 48.

Times Literary Supplement, July 23, 1982, Lucy Micklethwait, review of A Penguin Year. *

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