An Interview with Susan Maithya: Teaching Communication, Courtesy and Kindness

May 13, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Susan, you have just published a book about Struffel. How did this come about?

I have worked in the publishing industry for over ten years, ranging from corporate publishing to educational publishing. This exposure and my educational background in graphic design prompted my desire to publish my own books. Struffel published through AuthorHouse, U.S.A., is a children’ picture book series which I began writing in 2007. I had worked in several projects that involved children and being a parent, I noticed many things parents overlooked with their children. Many children needed to ask their parents or friends simple but important things, but did not know how to do it. Struffel the little bear is a character I humanized to represent a child and the adventures he will have with his family and friends. The series is created to encourage the child to relate to their ordinary life, encouraging them to speak their mind and spend quality time with their family and friends.

2) I see that Struffel likes to spend time outdoors with nature- what message are you trying to send?

Struffel the little bear is a representation of the child and how they desire freedom and play. I view play and exercise necessary for the growth of a healthy child. There are many natural things the child can explore out of their home, and Struffel encourages children to discover their environment and embrace it during their playtime, whether alone or with friends and family.

3) In the schools today, kids seem to be spending more and more time on reading, writing, books, and less and less time with nature and learning about the world around them. Am I off on this?

As a parent, I would encourage every child and parent to engage in indoor and outdoor playtime as often as possible. Not only is it a way of exercise, but the child gets an opportunity to understand it’s environ, breathe clean air, get plenty of sunshine that is necessary for their growth and simply enjoy nature. It gives the child a chance to physically view or interact with what they have studied in school.

4) Struffel is a very courteous little bear- are you trying to teach manners, directly or indirectly?

Struffel the little bear is portrayed as the ordinary child filled with imagination, adventure and love for family and friends. He speaks politely, is well behaved, honest and straight-forward. These are qualities a child can relate to well.

5) It does seem to me that kids nowadays do not learn please, thank you, excuse me and the common courtesies- are you trying to rectify that with Struffel?

Struffel the little bear cannot physically teach child as that is an important parental task undertaken by the child’s parents or guardian, however, valuable moral lessons can be learnt by reading the Struffel books. Struffel is a little bear created to share the simplicity of life, the kindness and love of family and friends by embracing friendship, integrity, decency and quality recreation.

6) Your books ( because you do have two of them ) seem to focus on communication- between parents and kids, and among friends. With twitter and all these text message things- is person to person, real live interaction being lost?

Struffel: Struffel’s Walk • Struffel’s New Bed is two-books in one, a bonus for the child. The entire series is designed in this manner. The current social media networks are effective forms of interaction that embrace both real-time and two-way interaction between a receiver and a sender. In our modern times, they complement the current technology evolution and messaging interface. The Struffel book is designed for the young child to appreciate spending quality time with family and friends.

7) Your books seem to focus on the small things- friends, friendship, enjoying the wind, the sun, the birds and the world around us. What do children nowadays need to learn about these things?

Children can learn to appreciate nature, their family and friends by reading the Struffel series. It is the simple things in life we tend to overlook that are truly meaningful and memorable to a child.

8) The old poem ” I think that I shall never see, a poem as lovely as a tree ” seems to embody your books- the most pleasant things are all around us- trees, clouds, grass, the wind. Is this part of your message?

Alfred Joyce Kilmer wrote a beautiful poem entitled “Trees,” that reflects how trees stand marvelously through different seasons. The Struffel series focuses on two aspects of a young child; family and friends. The series will show different areas a child can interact with a friend or family member, while providing good moral lessons a child can appreciate and emulate.

9) What are you currently working on?

The second book in the Struffel book series will be available soon as the production team of AuthorHouse is currently finishing it.

10) What have I neglected to ask?

With all the children books in the market why should a parent purchase the Struffel book?

The Struffel series is two books in one, created to be a bonus for the child to get two pictures book for the price of one. It is simple to read, has magnificent illustrations and it’s entertaining. It enlightens the parents all the simple aspects they might overlook or ignore in the child or children while at the same time, offers the child a direct means of understanding that their ordinary desires can be expressed sincerely to their parent or friend at any time or any place.

11 ) Where can people find out more about you and your books? Do you have a web site?

The Struffel book series can be purchased online through, and It is also available through the local book retailers.

Other online sites for the Struffel series are:

Twitter: @StruffeltheBear
Facebook: The Struffel Series by Susan M Maithya

Thank you.

Susan M Maithya.

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