Remembering Susan Patron

The SCBWI is heartbroken to report that author, librarian, long serving member of our Advisory Council, and dear friend, Susan Patron, died October 24 in Los Angeles following a long battle with lung cancer. She was 75. She leaves behind her husband of 54 years, Rene Albert Patron, an accomplished bookbinder.


To say that Susan Patron was a champion of children’s books dating back to her childhood is an understatement. From 1972 to her retirement in 2007 she was the Senior Librarian and Juvenile Materials Collection Development Manager at the Los Angeles Public Library.

Over the course of her tenure at the library she trained and mentored librarians in 72 branches.

In 2007 she was presented with the Newbery Award for her book The Higher Power of Lucky (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Richard Jackson). Two more Lucky Books, Lucky Breaks (2009) and Lucky For Good (2011), both published by Simon and Schuster, followed. 

Susan Patron’s first book, Burgoo Stew, was published in 1990, followed by three more picture books and then another book, Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe (Orchard Books), a 1993 Parent’s Choice Award Winner.

Focused, kind, and generous, she never hesitated to volunteer her precious time in order to serve on children’s book award committees including those for the Caldecott and Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

The SCBWI was fortunate to have her expertise and wisdom in helping guide the organization from our very earliest days.

She was, of course, a brilliant and compassionate author, a beloved librarian, and a fierce fighter in the ongoing battle against censorship, but most of all, for most of us in children’s books, she was a friend. We celebrate her life while deeply mourning her loss.

SCBWI Co-Founder and current SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund Managing Director, Lin Oliver, had this to say about her lifelong friend, Susan Patron 

 “Susan’s contribution to children’s books was immeasurable. She imbued everything she did with grace, charm, wit and wisdom—from her books to her counsel to her librarianship. She was a true lover of books, language, and people, beloved by all her colleagues in the SCBWI. Her life was a blessing to us all.”