Ornaments by Lori Sue James
Susie's Santas is a story about the spirit of giving that lives on through acts of human kindness. Based on the true account of Susie, an Ohio Appalachian crafter whose pneumonia one year interrupted her Christmas gift-giving, Susie's Santas fictionalizes the real work of Appalachian communities that respond to people in need. The book was written to honor Lori Sue James, whose hand-painted glass ornaments are preserved in photographs to illustrate Susie’s story. While Susie’s ornaments, gift-giving, and pneumonia are factual, the community response in this story is imaginative. Our family had no way of knowing when the book was published in December 2012 that our own Appalachian community would, one year later, rally to Bill and Lori’s side. On Thanksgiving Day, 28 November 2013, a fire destroyed Bill and Susie’s home and belongings. However, thanks to the generosity of family, friends, neighbors, and perfect strangers, Bill and Susie moved into a fixer-upper on Easter Sunday, 20 April 2014. Susie’s Santas has become a testament to family, community, holidays, and the goodness in people. It is offered at cost, with no profit to the author or her family, in order to share Susie’s story.
Bjshaker is an independent scholar whose research interests include children’s literature, women’s literature, and media and cultural studies. Susie’s Santas is her first children’s book.
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