Susan L. Roth was born on Leap Year in New York City. She grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, earning her bachelor’s (art) and master’s (printmaking, art history) degrees from Mills College in Oakland, California. Susan has lived in California, Washington, D.C., and Maryland and now makes her home back in New York City. Susan has written or illustrated more than 40 books; her most recent books - The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families and Dream Something Big: The Story of the Watts Towers – are both 2012 ALA Notable Children’s Books. Susan and her husband have three children and two grandchildren.
Karen Leggett Abouraya grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, surrounded by writing and books: her father was a journalist and her mother is a retired school librarian. Karen was a broadcast journalist for many years on ABC Radio WMAL in Washington, D.C., where she began reviewing and discussing children’s books. She has also reviewed children’s books and interviewed authors for the New York Times, the Baltimore Sun, Children’s Literature, Washington Parent and others. Currently, Karen writes for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (National Wildlife Refuge System), Voice of America, International Educator magazine (NAFSA), and others. Karen graduated from Brown University (international relations) and met her Egyptian husband in Washington. They have two children and have been lucky enough to visit Egypt many times – especially Alexandria, her husband’s hometown.
Karen and Susan stand next to a handmade Egyptian tent in Karen’s home. Today, these tents are used to mark off sections of streets during celebrations. The traditional tent colors inspired some of the art in Hands Around the Library.