• 59°

Local author earns acclaim for children’s books

Books written and contributed to by author Suzanne Alexander, of South Point. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Has been taking part in children’s events at libraries, schools

SOUTH POINT — A Lawrence County author and former staff member at the Huntington Museum of Art has amassed many awards for her writing career, which has been aimed at children.

Suzanne Alexander, of South Point is a docent at the museum and had previously worked as an outreach instructor.

She wrote her first book, “Through Children’s Eyes: Exploring the Huntington Museum of Art,” in 2017.

The work educates children about items found in the museum, from its art collection to even a frog in its plant conservatory.

“I thought it would be great to use all these elements,” Alexander said.

The work, published by West Virginia-based Headline Books, won a gold Mom’s Choice Award in 2017 and was named Book of the Year by Creative Child Magazine in the Books on Art category in 2018.

It was after that work that Alexander, a member of the West Virginia Writers group, began working on a manuscript for a children’s story.

“The Tip of the Tale” is what she calls a “why? story” which tells how the red fox got white at the tip of his tail.

“It is also full of hidden chickens,” she said of the hungry fox’s story. “He is looking for a plump chicken for dinner, but gets something else.”

Alexander submitted her manuscript to the writers group, for which she received first place, then showed it to the president of her publisher, her teamed her up with Terra Alta, West Virginia-based illustrator Ashley Teets, whose whimsical drawings brought the tale to life.

The resulting book won acclaim, winning her another gold in the Mom’s Choice Awards for 2021, a Preferred Choice from Creative Child Magazine and it was a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in two categories: Animals and Pets and Illustrative Childrens Books for 2021.

For the Indie Book Awards, Alexander was presented with a medal for her work.

“It makes me feel like an Olympic athlete,” she said.

A medal from the Indie Book Awards, received by South Point author Suzanne Howard for being a finalist. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Recently, she took the book to the public library in Gallipolis, where she did a presentation.

“I read the book, we sang a fox song and we made finger puppets,” she said.

She followed this up with a trip to the South Point branch of the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library this month.

Alexander was also a contributor to an anthology book for a subject that has impacted everyone in the past year.

“Voices of the Pandemic” was assembled in the summer of 2020 when Headline Books called on their stable of writers, as well as students, to share their memoirs and experiences of the COVID-19 outbreak and its resulting shutdowns.

Alexander’s contribution was a piece, “Nature is Always Open.”

“My husband and I really enjoyed going out,” she said of having to adapt to the health orders of the pandemic.

She said the two of them decided to spend more time outdoors, including on the trails at the museum.

“Nature is always open,” she said. “Everything else may be closed, but nature is not.”

The anthology, released in early 2021, was a winner at the San Francisco Book Festival for Best Compilation/Anthology, received Honorable Mention at the New York Book Festival, was a finalist in the 2021 International Book Awards and Next generation Indie Book Awards and was a winner at the New England Book Festival and a gold in the Mom’s Choice Awards.

When asked which of the three books she enjoyed writing the most, she said “The Tip of The Tale” is her favorite.

“It’s just a fun book,” she said of the work, dedicated to her mother, Vivian Ackerson.

Alexander said she has a new manuscript she is working on, but, for now, she wants to focus on promoting the books she has competed and taking them to children, now that events and programming have picked up from the pandemic.

“That’s my focus,” she said. “I’ve been doing things like going to libraries and schools and we do writing workshops, teaching them how to write a ‘why? story.’”

Alexander’s books are sold at The Inner Geek and Cicada Books in Huntington. She will be appearing at the West Virginia Book Festival at the Headline Books booth. The event is set for Oct. 22-23 at the Charleston Civic Center.

For more information on Alexander’s works, visit www.headlinebooks.com.