Friends School of Minnesota’s summer program Create Something Great! is delighted to welcome back writer Susan Marie Swanson. Susan will be teaching two creative writing classes for students ages 7-11 (entering 2nd-entering 6th grades), Hooray for Pippi and Charlotte’s Web.

2769817Susan Marie Swanson is a St. Paul writer and poet whose children’s books include (among others), Letter to the Lake, To Be Like the Sun, and 2009’s Caldecott award-winning The House in the Night.

In addition to writing, Susan is a COMPAS artist in the schools and has taught literary arts in summer programs—even to children not old enough to read or write yet!—for more than twenty-five years.

Susan Marie will be teaching at Friends School of Minnesota for her sixth summer, and we had some questions we wanted to ask her…

You are an author and a poet. Why teach children?

Young writers and adult writers have a lot in common. We want to figure out ways to make writing fun, even though writing is sometimes slow and puzzling for us. We keep trying to figure out ways to be ourselves in our writing. We try stuff and make discoveries and look for ways to connect.

Also, teaching is a way for me to make a hands-on contribution in the world, working with children in many different arts and learning communities.

As a COMPAS artist in the schools, you’ve taught throughout the state of Minnesota. Is there anything different about teaching at Friends School of Minnesota?

Two words: SUMMER FUN!

How did you decide to feature Pippi and Charlotte in the classes you are teaching at Friends School of Minnesota this summer?

Pippi Longstocking and Charlotte’s Web are books that connect readers across generations. I’ve been reading, enjoying, and thinking about them since I was a child, and I find that today these books speak both to children and to their parents. Astrid Lindgren and E.B. White make fine writing “mentors,” too. These novels show us ways to make our own stories—and they help us understand that our own stories matter.

If you could have lunch with one character from a children’s book, who would that be and why? And what would you serve?!

Oh, let’s invite Pippi. For breakfast. She could make pancakes for all of us, and the rest of us could fix the toppings. Maple syrup, of course, and butter and applesauce and whipped cream and strawberries and Swedish lingonberries. I’m sure that Pippi would want me to make coffee, but I would stir up a pitcher of lemonade, too.

Author Susan Marie Swanson teaching at Friends School of Minnesota summer camp.
Author Susan Marie Swanson teaching at Friends School of Minnesota summer camp.


Register for Summer Camp

This summer,  7-11 year olds can join Susan Marie, Pippi, and Charlotte at Friends School of Minnesota to make wonderful stories —and maybe some lemonade!  June 16-20 and/or July 7-11

More information and summer camp registration at

– Melanie Spewock, Extracuricular Program Director