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Sue Shanahan
Sue Shanahan has spent her career as an artist bringing children to life in her illustrations. In addition to contributing work to various children’s books and magazines, she has been commissioned by such clients as Walt Disney World and Auyrn Inc. Oprah Winfrey has purchased Sue’s art for her private collection and had her as a guest on her ”Favorite Things” show. Sue’s work has also found its way into the White House, where her portrait of Chelsea Clinton hung in the former First Lady’s study.

As a writer Sue’s blog, Commonplace Grace, is regularly featured in the Huffington Post.

Entries by Sue Shanahan

It's Picture Book Month: Give the Gift of Wonder

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 6:31 PM


"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents" --Emilie Buchwald

November is National Picture Book Month. It's a gentle reminder of the importance of reading printed picture books to the children in our lives. I wish I could tell you what...

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Bluebirds From Heaven

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 4:20 PM

"I'm always looking for cosmic rhymes." - Bono

October 9th is the anniversary of my younger sister Ann's death. She died suddenly, of an undetected heart condition in 2008. It hardy seems possible that she's been gone for seven years. When she...

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5 Ways to Step Into Freedom

(2) Comments | Posted October 29, 2015 | 2:32 PM


Be Free

"So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key " -- "Already Gone," The Eagles

My family of origin wasn't the healthiest. My dad, an alcoholic, was married to...

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Every Child Is Like a Flower

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 2:46 PM

Once when I was feeling less than pretty, it occurred to me, "Who told you that you aren't beautiful?" I began to wonder, what if our differences actually are a gift? What if what's unique about us is what makes us beautiful? When we let go of our preconceived notions, we're free...

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12 Ways to Help Remove the Barriers to Self-Love

(5) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 4:01 PM


"Treat yourself as if you were someone inexpressibly dear to you"
- Tweeted by Agapi Stassinopoulos

Do you live with the chatter of a critical voice in your mind? You know the voice I'm talking about. It drones on in the background...

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Rescued By a Rescue Dog

(37) Comments | Posted September 6, 2015 | 5:43 PM

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be...

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Why Worry?

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 10:35 PM


I've spent a good amount of my time on Earth fretting. A defense developed in childhood, worry was my talisman, my rabbit's foot. I believed it kept me safe. Delving into my spiritual yearning has brought me to a place of openness and...

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Don't Let Go of the Glow

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 11:18 PM


I have a young friend, Andrea, who inspires the heck out of me. One day she told me how happy she was with the direction her life had been going. She said, "Things are going so good, I don't want to...

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Let Freedom Ring for All

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 4:51 PM


"America did not invent human rights. Human rights invented America." - Jimmy Carter

When the founders of our nation landed on the shores of Cape Cod, it was with the pursuit of religious freedom. All the other truths we've fought for since that...

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When Losing Is Winning

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 7:32 PM


"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose
And most times you choose between the two." - Carole King

I love my sister, Laura. After 34 years as a school social worker, she's finally retired. Part of her bucket list is to attend the...

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Dreams Take Care of Themselves

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 3:55 PM


The above painting, captures the innocence of childhood and my love of Martha's Vineyard. I have traveled to the island every summer for the last 17 years. It's hard to write about its splendor without sounding cliche. Although there is much that is...

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American Hope

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 12:54 PM


"Children are hopes" - Novalis

I began work on the above illustration in 1999 through the advice of my then agent. It was all over the news at the time, that an immigrant family had named their newborn "America" in hopes of not...

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Remembering Ryan Cruz Saldana

(1) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 1:38 AM


On May 2, 2014 Jacqui and Dan Saldana lost their 3-year-old son, Ryan. Although I never met him, a piece of my heart broke off when he died. I learned about Ryan, while he still graced the planet, from my niece Molly. For...

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Are You Listening, Oprah?

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 5:59 PM


"Everyone is different: different shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs, personalities, and you have to celebrate those differences." - Kelly Clarkson

Over the years, I have learned so much from Oprah Winfrey. I felt a kinship with her from the day she began her show...

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Gay Marriage: The Right to Love and Be Loved

(0) Comments | Posted March 27, 2015 | 5:56 PM


I attended two weddings a week apart last September. Both were beautiful celebrations of each couple's love. What struck me was the contrast between the two events. Betty and Chris are lesbians and had a Chicago Blackhawks-themed affair. Nick and Jacquie are straight...

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Trust Your Inner Compass

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 1:27 PM

Always a seeker, my journey has now taken me in the direction of unraveling my self talk. By that I mean the voice in my head that is hell bent on me being a "good girl." It's the voice that shames, cajoles...
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Four Reasons to Self-Publish Your Children's Book

(9) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 11:27 PM


I wished more than anything in the world to be a writer. - J.K. Rowling

I'm a children's book author and illustrator. I'm not alone in that. It seems like everyone I talk to has a picture book inside them just waiting to...

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Living From the Heart

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 12:18 PM


Steve Jobs:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner...

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Jeff Bezos and Amazon: Making Authors' Dreams Come True

(2) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 9:46 PM


It's become popular these days to badmouth Amazon, but I happen to love Amazon and their CEO, Jeff Bezos, in particular. They are what made it possible for me, a 59-year-old author/illustrator, to share her books with the world. After my children's picture...

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Calling Out My Angel

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2015 | 3:19 PM

Every visible thing in this world is in the charge of an angel. - Saint Augustine

I have to begin this post with a disclaimer: I know what comes next may sound crazy. Even so, it is my truth. Some months...

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