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Susan Hand Shetterly Available for School Visits

Throughout the year, Susan is available for a limited number of school visits. Please contact her if you are interested in writing workshops for children, or a talk about her book Swimming Home, and the importance of keeping wild systems intact.

She is available to sign books ordered by schools from Tilbury House Publishers. Tilbury offers generous discounts for educators. 

Her rates are variable, between $250 and $550. Please get in touch with Susan by using the Contact Form on this site.




Downeast Salmon Federation Promotes Swimming Home

In January of this year, the Downeast Salmon Federation of Maine purchased 100 copies of Swimming Home to give to school children in Washington County, Maine. The mission of the Downeast Salmon Federation is to "conserve wild Atlantic salmon and its habitat. To that end, we work to restore a viable sports fishery for all to enjoy. DSF is committed to protect important river, scenic, recreational and ecological resources in eastern Maine."


Children's Bookwatch Recommends Swimming Home

The Wisconsin-based Children's Bookwatch reviewed swimming home in February 2015:

Part of the Tilbury House Nature Book series of picturebooks that educate as well as entertain, and deliberately avoid anthropomorphizing animal characters, Swimming Home is a story about river herring (commonly known as "alewives"), who must migrate from saltwater to freshwater in order to spawn. But the journey is fraught with danger from hungry predators, and when they finally approach their spawning grounds, a man-made obstacle blockades their destination. With only a little help a local man, his son, and their neighbors and friends can ensure that Lily Lake will become the birthplace of a new generation! An extensive postscript teaches young readers more about the life cycle of river herring, and theories as to why their numbers have declined in recent years. A beautifully illustrated story with an underlying ecological moral, Swimming Home is highly recommended for personal and public library children's collections.


Shetterly's Story of Alewives in the Ellsworth American

In a recent article about her new book, Swimming Home, and her work in alewife conversation in the town of Surry, Shetterly said, "I really believe that we’ve got to teach kids as much as we can, because they’re going to have so much to do to get this right.”  Read the full article here.


Swimming Home Published by Tilbury House

Swimming Home by Susan Hand ShetterlySusan's new book, Swimming Home, has been released by Tilbury House. Illustrated by Rebekah Raye, the book is described as an, "epic animal migration story in the tradition of March of the Penguins", that "follows a school of fish (river herring, or alewives) on a journey of hundreds of miles, escaping porpoises, seals, eagles, and herons. Swimming Home is also the moving story of a boy and his father who see the fish stopped just short of their goal by a new road, and transport them across the last hundred feet."



Susan Shetterly writes with an elegance of expression that takes my breath away. Swimming Home is a simple, enlightening story, told with suspenseful pacing and a deep sympathy for the natural world. I can t wait to read this to a child in my life. --Monica Wood, author of When We Were the Kennedys, Any Bitter Thing, and Ernie's Ark

Susan Hand Shetterly infuses this appealing story with the sensitivity to the natural world that defines all her work. --Frank Graham Jr., Audubon Magazine contributing editor and author of Since Silent Spring

You will be swept away by this dramatic story of alewives enduring their perilous annual journey and a boy and his father who help them along the way. --Jennifer O Connell, author/illustrator of The Eye of the Whale

Swimming Home by Susan Hand Shetterly is a book about river herring or alewives as they are called on the East Coast. This book follows the alewives as they face many dangers during their journey for hundreds of miles from salt water to a fresh water spawning ground.
       Along the way, they manage to dodge seals, porpoises, eagles, and herons. Since a new road had been put into place and leaving a culvert that the fish could not swim through, the alewives' biggest challenge was actually getting to their final spawning pond. Luckily, a boy and his father come to the rescue. You will want to read more to find out what happens.
       This book would be ideal for elementary students to read while researching North Atlantic fish. In addition to the beautiful illustrations, the book contains an author's note at the end of the book. Here it delves into more scientific explanations of why these alewife herrings go from saltwater to freshwater, and the actual patterns these alewives take on their specific journeys. A student friendly description of how such anadromous fish are able to adapt to their changing marine environment is expertly given. Possible explanations of why these alewives are plunging in numbers and how this has an effect on other types of deep sea fish is provided. Information about recent alewife restoration projects underway in Maine are mentioned. This can be helpful to other coastal communities facing these same problems and remediation efforts in removing dams and obstructions as well as making new fish ladders to aid the alewives' migration. (Review posted on 1/6/2015) --Lori Cirucci, Science Teacher, in NSTA Recommends