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Welcome to the Homepage of
Susan L. Read

We Need Diverse Books!

New Zealand

Susan was born and raised in New Zealand, where she lived until she was 43.  During that time she was an Elementary School teacher and Principal, a writer (with several of her poems being published in anthologies), and an avid reader of any books she could get her hands on.  She had close personal relationships with three dogs (Sheba, Sheena, and Gemma), a bird (J.T.), eleven goats (Picard, Spock, Katie, Buttons, Betty, Starlight, Penelope, Lily, Peter, Fudge, and Chocolate), two goldfish (John and Glen), and twenty three mice (who all had names but there were too many to remember).


Susan moved to Massachusetts six days after 9/11.  She left New Zealand on the first flight after airspace reopened.  Since then she has been a wife, an educator, a dog rescuer, a reader, and a writer.  She lives in Massachusetts, where she has a close personal relationship with her spoiled rescue dogs. 



(Ordering links below)


There's no such thing as normal.

Sarah has always been a hard-working student, even if she has felt that her grades don’t reflect her efforts. She is a good friend, a kind daughter, and she loves being creative. But lately she is struggling with school and friendships, and nothing brings her much joy. Her family doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening, and neither does Sarah. Everyone keeps telling her to do better, and Sarah is trying her hardest, but when her first year of middle school begins, what was supposed to be a fresh start turns into a disaster that quickly spirals out of control. Sarah, who can’t understand why she is feeling this way, begins to seriously wonder if the world would be better off if she was no longer alive. Sarah has always felt a connection with mermaids—and she now wishes she was a mermaid herself, so she could just slip under the ocean and swim away, disappearing from everyone’s lives forever.


Finally, Sarah reaches her breaking point, and in desperation, seeks help from a trusted teacher. Everyone in Sarah’s life reaches in to pull her from her own drowning emotions, and with the help of her family, friends, teachers, and mental health professionals, Sarah learns there is a name for what she is feeling. She develops tools, not only for coping, but for thriving. In learning about her condition and gaining the support she needs for managing it, she begins the long journey back to her life.


(ordering links below)

Barnes and Noble.com




MERMAID TEARS has been listed as one of the best books of 2021.


Mermaid Tears by Susan L. Read is a beautiful book…I relished watching Sarah evolve, and I hope she keeps at it. This novel is excellent and a must-have for everyone who’s in charge of a child!” - Jennifer Ibiam for Readers' Favorite


Mermaid Tears is a touching middle grade story about the hard work of self-acceptance in the face of challenges.” – Vivian Turnbull, Foreword Reviews


“An engaging and sympathetic exploration of a girl’s struggles with mental illness and recovery.” – Kirkus Reviews


“Middle grade readers will find her story compelling, realistic, and hard to put down as they journey through Sarah's life, her dive down the rabbit hole of depression, and view the light at the end of a long, unpredictable, winding tunnel.” – Midwest Book Review


 "I was impressed with the thoughtful way the author addressed the subject of mental health from the point of view of a young person." - middlegradebooks (Instagram)

When Sarah reaches her breaking point she turns to a trusted teacher, Mr. Douglas for help. The character of Mr. Douglas was inspired by a "real" Mr. Douglas, seen here enjoying a prepublication copy of Mermaid Tears.

Resources for teachers and librarians.

Click on the book cover to access Educator Resources.

Alyssa's Wishes - coming soon!

Mermaid Tears

A reader's response: Sophia P. (Grade 4)

Books Make Great Holiday Gifts!

Sisters as readers

These sisters received Mermaid Tears for Christmas, after their mother, Vice-Chair of a local library Board of Trustees, read and enjoyed a copy of the book.

Alyssa's Wishes

Praise for Alyssa's Wishes

An uplifting story of resilience in the face of adversity.

- Publishers Weekly/Book Life, Editor's Pick.

Alyssa's Wishes is about survival, magical thinking, and the power young people have to change their lives.

-Diane Donovan. Midwest Book Review

Alyssa's Wishes is a beautifully written story that will grab the hearts of readers and, hopefully, inspire them to learn more about rescue animals.

-Courtnee Tuner Hoyle, Reader's Favorite

One of Alyssa's teachers, Mr. Morin, and his dog Zero, are important characters in her life. Here are the 'real' Mr. Morin and Zero who inspired these characters.

Mr. Morin and Zero enjoy reading about themselves in Alyssa's Wishes.

You are never too old to make a wish.

Photo model: Vicki Read

"Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."

Roald Dahl

Alyssa's Wishes - coming soon!

Mermaid Tears

A Michaels Middle School Story



of a Mermaid Tear


Ejected from the Earth.


by wind, rain, time.

Dormant for millennia.

The crashing of the ocean waves

my only companion.


by the rhythmic pulse,

the ambient sounds

of my never resting friend.

Witness to

the beginnings of life.



and natural selection

creating my new playmates.


Then the machines came,

shattering my peace,

and my world.

Bulldozers loaded

billions and billions of us.

Trucks took us away.

Forged in fire.

Three thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

Poured into a mold.





Now I can hold things.

Blackberry jelly

gives me a new purpose.

Proud to protect this treasure.

Crop after crop.

Year after year.

A favorite of this family.

Passed down,

mother to daughter.


But I am not immortal.

A cracked jar cannot be sterilized.

A new purpose.

Carrying candy

in the picnic basket.

Today’s excursion

takes me back

to an old location.

A fun beach day.

Watching the children.


Then they dropped me.

Shattering me to pieces.

Abandoned now.



Dormant for years.

The crashing of the ocean waves

my only companion.


Soothed by the rhythmic pulse,

the ambient sounds

of my never resting friend.


Witness to

the extreme power of a hurricane.

Swept out to sea.

Worn by waves.

Recycled by the sea.


Ejected from the ocean.





Then the family came.

Adults under their sun umbrella.

Calling to the children.

“Sarah, Adam, Daniel,

It’s time for lunch.”


Surprised, later that day,

to be plucked from the shore.

“You are beautiful!”

she cried.

“I am going to put you in my bottle

of mermaid tears. 

I am going to keep you



Why is it so hard

to be like other people?

Why is it so hard

to be normal?

Perhaps it would be better

if I wasn't even here.