upon a time, a long, long time ago, there lived
in New York City a small, beloved princess. She
was blessed with loving parents, two sets of loving
grandparents, and plenty of loving uncles and loving
aunts. At that time the little princess was
the only child in the entire devoted family,
and so she grew, adored, pampered and even spoiled,
in her privileged house filled with books and music
and art, writers and musicians and artists.
When the little princess turned
four she and her parents moved to Rochester, New
York. To make sure that she wouldn’t feel too lonely
having left most of the family in New York City,
the little princess was soon provided with a brand
new baby brother. He was sweet and smiling. The
princess loved him, and she still does to this day.
Always looking for adventure, the
family soon moved again, this time to Madison, Wisconsin,
to a large palace on a lake. The princess blossomed
with the roses. She was a good little princess.
In all the years there, only once did she fall in
the lake, but even though she was wearing her red
velvet dress she wasn’t scolded for it.
Time passed, palaces changed. Just
before she turned sixteen, she and her little family
moved one more time, to San Francisco, California.
This time the palace sat high on a hill overlooking
It was in California that the princess
completed her formal schooling, at Mills College
in Oakland, with BA and MA degrees in art. Then
it became time to find adventures of her own.
The no-longer-little princess set
out to seek her fortune. Full of independence and
anxious to give back to the society that had treated
her so well, she took a job teaching underprivileged,
inner-city children in Washington, D.C.
a week had passed when along came a knight in shining
armor. Before the year was out, the princess and
her knight were married.
They settled on the east coast,
first in Washington, D.C., then for many years in
Bethesda, Maryland, and later, for many more years,
in Baltimore, Maryland. They lived happily with
their three children.
Back in 1984, the no-longer-little
princess began to tell stories of her own just like
this one. Because of her interest in art, she always
made pictures to go with her words. She began illustrating
her tales with wood-cuts, but very soon her impatient
nature forced her to find a faster medium. She chose
collage. All but the first two of her 57 books are
illustrated with cut and torn papers from all over
the world, and bits of many other things, too: threads,
fabrics, wood shavings, photographs, doilies, insides
of envelopes, dried flowers. She is always looking
for things to glue onto her pictures that she hopes
are full of surprises.
Now the princess has silver hair.
Her children are grown-ups. In 1998, she
and her husband moved to New York. Today they live
in a tiny palace, right on the river. They look
at the New York skyline from the windows of their
ivory tower. In spite of her silver hair, the princess
is not old and tired. She still works hard, every
single day, writing and illustrating books for children.
“And I’ll never stop, either,”
says the princess, “because this is living happily
Well, what did you expect? Everyone
knows that that’s what princesses are supposed to
Click here for a book about Susan L. Roth by Margaret
Needlepoint by Jill Tarlau