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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

When Losing Is Winning

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 6:32 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 | 2:55 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 | 11:54 AM


"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

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 12:38 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 | 4:59 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 | 4:56 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 | 12:27 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 | 10:27 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 | 11:18 AM


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 | 8:46 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 | 2:19 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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The New Year: Ready to Move On

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 4:45 PM


"No one loves a Christmas tree on January first." - Erma Bombeck

Today the holiday season is officially over for me. It's time to take the decorations down and store them in the attic until next year. Although I love Christmas, I'm always...

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The Gift Within the Gift

(1) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 8:26 PM

O Holy Night, Sue Shanahan 2014

"To have that sense of one's intrinsic worth... is potentially to have everything." ― Joan Didion

"O Holy Night" is my very favorite Christmas song, although, I never gave it much thought until I heard

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My Christmas Wish

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2014 | 12:51 PM

Christmas in the Blue Room

You gotta have a dream,

If you don't have a dream,

How you gonna have a dream come true?

― Rogers and Hammerstein, Happy Talk

I have a goal I visualize every year in December. I want...

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The Comfort of Angels

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 11:35 PM


"Everyone has only one guardian angel and this angel is with them from before their birth until after they die. This angel never ever leaves them, not even for one moment."
--Lorna Byrne, Irish Mystic

I learned about guardian...

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On Picture Book Month, Give the Gift of Wonder

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 10:40 AM

"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...
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How Could I Write a Book About Myself and Not Know It?

(0) Comments | Posted October 22, 2014 | 2:33 PM


"No matter where you go -- there you are" -- Confucius

I shared my picture book, Glory in the Morning with the world today. That is code for saying it's now available on Amazon. Getting this book into physical form and...

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Something is Missing Without You

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 5:50 PM

"What do you want to be?" "Just a me." - My answer to a friend's question at age sixteen.

I did a little cliff jumping this weekend. I took a trip to Colorado to visit my best friend, Gigi, and went to a...

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Being Open to Magic

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2014 | 12:32 PM

The Merbaby

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper." 
― W.B. Yeats

Magic is everywhere. Like in my painting it's right outside your window looking in, frequently unnoticed. It's not that we...

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Plastic Has No Heart

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 11:40 AM

"You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful." -- Amy Bloom

Lately, I've been conscious of a trend that makes my heart jump for joy. Have you noticed that more and more ordinary people are on TV and in the movies? For too long there's only been...

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