Not Just Child’s Play

Grad Student Writes, Illustrates and Publishes Her First Children’s Book

May 6, 2010

As if working toward her PhD in aesthetic studies at The University of Texas at Dallas were not time-consuming enough, Barbara Vance has found time to write, illustrate and publish her first book, Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain.

The book, a collection of 124 humorous poems and 100 original illustrations that harken back to the works of Shel Silverstein, began as Vance’s senior undergrad project at UT Dallas.

Illustration from book

Courtesy of Barbara Vance

“I was in desperate need of something light and funny to counter all of the serious analysis I was doing,”  she said.  “So I wrote a couple of funny poems, and decided to turn it, along with a more formal paper, into my senior thesis.”

From mice on roller skates to a girl who turns into a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain offers a lighthearted perspective of childhood in an upbeat tone. Vance intersperses challenging words such as dubious and sublime throughout, to get young readers excited about vocabulary, language and poetry.

Getting the book published was another challenge. She didn’t want to lose creative control, so she took the project on herself, and formed her own publishing company.  She is currently working on her second book, a children’s novel.


Media Contact: Sarah Stockton, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4320, sarah.stockton@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Suzie Bitner book jacket

courtesy of Barbara Vance

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