Susan Wuorinen

Books by Author Susan (Susa) Wuorinen

"Hold on There, Sadie Coggins!"

by Susan Wuorinen

Bullies, financial crisis, family conflicts, moral decisions, lost is 1873 and fifteen year old Sadie Coggins struggles with a series of disasters which turn her once bright future to ashes. Her desire to follow her dreams leads her to make a decision which has devastating consequences. Can Sadie find a plan which is both honorable and fulfills her deepest wishes?

"Hold on There, Sadie Coggins!" is a carefully researched middle grade novel. While a work of historical fiction it is based on real people, their diaries, photographs, houses, maps, incidents real and imagined. The seasonal fishing, farming and boat building rhythms of rural Maine in the 1870's weaves and holds this timeless struggle of the next generation to experience life on their own. 


A spirited bildungsroman set in the late 1800s and woven from the history of debut author Wuorinen's (Cully's Gold, 2010, etc.) hometown.

Sadie Coggins is thrilled to have been accepted into a private high school far from her sleepy little home in Lamoine, Maine. Unfortunately, her father's financial losses and her mother's never-ending list of chores make leaving for school impossible. Aghast at the idea of staying home with bullies like her nemesis, Frank Smith, Sadie vows to save up money for school in any way she can. She's happy to work at her uncle's fishing camp, but when she's offered the opportunity to profit from a dubious trade, she finds her morals at odds with her ambitions. She's not the only Lamoine youngster yearning to leave home: Her best friend, Rosa May, shares her desire to attend high school, and Frank dreams of sailing away on his father's ship. When a mean-spirited prank goes too far, however, all of their dreams are suddenly endangered. Meanwhile, Sadie finds her personal relationships in disarray as she drifts apart from Rosa, disappoints her father and develops a relationship with her tomboyish co-worker Nell, whose ideasabout staying home are nowhere close to Sadie's. Middle-grade historical fiction tropes abound: Headstrong protagonist Sadie, prissy good girl Rosa May and Sadie's gruff but gentle father can feel a little too familiar to readers of Little House on the Prairie–style fiction, but Wuorinen offers enough backstory to allow the most important characters to feel fleshed out, if not fully authentic. The novel is deeply anchored in its setting; photographs of the Coggins family emphasize the fact that Sadie was a real person, and the dialogue captures the vernacular of the time. However, chapter headings detailing the times of sunrise and high tide lend a slightly gimmicky tone to an otherwise well-developed sense of place and time. As the conflict evolves into an upbeat yet satisfyingly complex conclusion, themes of feminism and delayed gratification arise but aren't preached.

A well-constructed romp through a seldom-studied microcosm of American history.

This book can be purchased at Amazon, Maine Authors Publishing, or your local bookstore.


"A Salmon’s Tail"

(A work in process) Text, songs and illustrations by Susa Wuorinen

The ancient energy of the Salmon visits a young Penobscot girl. Natuk, the most ancient of the Salmon People shows her the old ways of honoring the fish people through songs and poems.


"The Guineas of Lamoine: A Cautionary Counting Tale"

(Self-published) Text and illustrations by Susa Wuorinen

What happens when a rasp of guinea fowl escapes into the wild of Maine? Well, they aren’t very smart, and it is not long until the numbers dwindle down to one. But there is hope, for the last one is a hen....


"Pomona and Sam"

(A work in process) Text and illustrations by Susa Wuorinen

How can an ancient Celtic bat make room for a lost baby hedgehog of Roman descent when they share nothing in common, except their need for each other.


"The Spider of Raghery Island"

(A medieval manuscript….a long and difficult work in process) Text and illustrations by Susa Wuorinen (illustration)

A well-told Irish tale, but with a twist, as it is told from the perspective of the spider, and not Robert the Bruce.


"Rosa Cleans Up"

(A work in process) Text and illustrations by Susa Wuorinen

Rosa RinkyDinkyPinkysaurus is a Jurassic five-year old who learns that she is now old enough to help.


"Cully's Gold"

A play for young adults co-authored with Carol Corty

How can a 14-year-old girl with big ambitions see what lies beyond her tiny coastal town, overcoming one roadblock after another, with no one to rely on but herself? An easy solution appears and she takes it, only to realize her mistake and struggles to make things right.

Dramatic Publishing 2010 Winner of the Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award from the New England Theatre Conference 2008.


"Sir Thor"

(A work in process) Text and illustrations by Susa Wuorinen

A very young knight makes friends with a dragon and then the dragon flies away, leaving the boy sad and lonely. Sir Thor finds a clever way to ease the pain.


"Karmaphants: Hugs and Kisses"

(A work in progress) A series of eight short interconnected stories with text by Jennifer Weisberger and illustrations by Susa Wuorinen

Ten wild baby elephants arrive at the City Zoo and there is only one old elephant to care for the herd. She finds help in a most unusual friend, and they work together to turn this unruly pack of young pachyderms into a family.


"Isabella Wooly Bear: A Small Book of Change"

A handmade, slip-cased book with text and illustrations by Susan Wuorinen

Block prints, and handmade paper tell this story about the Wooly Bear caterpillar's life cycle.


"Captains, Carpenters and Kings: King-Huckins Family of Lamoine, Maine"

by Susa Wuorenin

A self-published photographic essay of the King/Huckins House, Lamoine, Maine and a genealogy of their families.


"What Elisabeth Did Bad"

(Handmade flip book) Text and illustration by Susa Wuorinen

Block prints of a large black cat asks the question, "What did Elisabeth Do Bad?" The answer is hidden under the flip page. Even though the cat does bad things, her owner still loves her.


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