AUTHOR AND BOOK DESIGNER
Susan Yost-Filgate grew up in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Harrisburg. She is the youngest of two daughters. Influenced by her endlessly creative older sister, Susan developed a love for art and design at a very young age. As a child, she was always making something, whether it was a paper sculpture, an ornament, a clothing item, jewelry, or a painting. Her interest in writing started in junior high school, with poetry, journaling, short stories, and essays. She excelled in writing in high school and college, but always retained a deep interest in the visual arts and imagined she would one day pursue a career in the arts.
In 1976, Susan received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from the Pennsylvania State University. She had a special concentration in museum education. Her main creative effort during those years was in soft sculpture; however, she also studied oil painting under Harold Altman.
Soon after completing college, Susan moved to San Francisco where she met her future husband, artist and illustrator, Leonard Filgate. She worked as a graphic designer and volunteered as a museum docent at San Francisco’s de Young and Legion of Honor Museums. Eventually, she landed a job with Determined Productions, Inc. in San Francisco. (Determined had 80% of the rights for Charles Schulz’ Peanuts® characters as well as other licensed properties.) Susan became intrigued and inspired by the world of publishing, licensing, and products for children. At the time, she didn’t realize what a big influence this would eventually be on her future. Before that would be discovered, she took a fifteen year detour into the world of litigation, working mainly as a paralegal for plaintiffs’ attorneys. (What she liked best about that job was the research and writing, although the writing of legal briefs was far different from writing for children.) Also, during that time, Susan and her husband had a daughter, Jessica. Susan was able to stay involved in Jessica’s education, working with her elementary school as an art instructor and with parent groups, all while maintaining a full-time job as a paralegal and assisting her husband in his pursuit of his career as an artist. She always maintained a strong desire to get back into her own art, which had evolved in the direction of writing. Up to and during that time, her writing included educational material, legal briefs, occasional magazine articles, a fantasy screenplay (one episode for a Warner Bros. series which, unfortunately, was cancelled before her script was brought to the small screen), and stories for children.
Susan and Leonard often collaborated on story and illustration ideas for children’s book ideas. In 1997, they hit upon a winner. By 1999, Susan was finally able to leave her job as a paralegal behind and totally delve into the world of children’s books, art, and licensed products. Leonard and Susan had created the successful Brand known as Rip Squeak®.
Today, Susan works as the Education Coordinator for the Fresno Art Museum which she finds both exciting and challenging. She and Leonard also continue to work on other literary projects, including Rip Squeak.
- Guest Speaker, Arne Nixon Center for Children's Literature Annual Meeting at Fresno State, Fresno, CA 2008
- Guest Author, "Pirate Tales and Beyond: The Adventures of Rip Squeak and His Friends" Exhibition at Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE, 2005
- Invited Author, The White House Easter Egg Roll, Washington, DC, 2004
- Guest Author, Boston Globe Children's Book Fair, Boston, MA 2003
- Author Panel, "Books for Kids," Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Los Angeles, CA, 2003
- Guest Author, Edward James Olmos Latino Family Festival, San Diego, CA, 2003
- Seminar Speaker, "The Birth of a Children's Book," The Keystone Teacher's Association, Hershey, Pennsylvania, 2001
- Guest Author, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation Annual Carnival, Los Angeles, 2000
- Speaker and Guest Author at various public and private schools throughout the United States, 2000 to Present
- Two IPPY Awards for children's books, 2003 and 2006
- Books featured in Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, 2003;
- First children's book on Los Angeles Times Children's Best Seller List, 2003
- Numerous positive reviews for children's books Monterey Herald, CNN.com, The CLCD Company, LLC, Bookviews.com, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Times (partial listing).
- Books featured in Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance exhibition, "Teaching Tolerance Through Children's Books" which traveled to Indianapolis Children's Museum, Atlanta Children's Museum, and the Spertus Museum in Chicago.
- Book signings in various bookstores and art galleries throughout US, from California to Massachusetts and Florida to Washington State; Signings at Trade Book Expos in North America (Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Toronto) and in Europe (Bologna, Italy and Frankfurt, Germany.)
(English Language and Author, unless indicated otherwise.)
- The Drawings of Evany Zirul: Alternate Worlds and Visions of Reality, Nu Fig Press, Fresno, CA (2011), (Editor and Designer)
- The Adventure (A Rip Squeak Book), Rip Squeak Press, San Luis Obispo, CA (2006), and Raven Tree Press, Chicago, IL
- Pirate Tales and Beyond: The Adventures of Rip Squeak & Friends by Joyce K. Schiller, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE (2005) (Editor and Designer)
- A Good Day for Abbey (A Rip Squeak Book), Rip Squeak Press (2004)
- The Treasure (A Rip Squeak Book), Rip Squeak Press, San Luis Obispo, CA (2003), and Raven Tree Press, Chicago, IL
- Rip Squeak and His Friends Coloring and Activity Book, Rip Squeak Press, San Luis Obispo, CA (2003)
- Pirate Tales and More: The Roaring Adventures of Rip Squeak and His Friends Continues..., Rip Squeak Press, San Luis Obispo, CA, (2002)
- Rip Squeak and His Friends, Tallfellow Press, Los Angeles, CA (2001), Rip Squeak Press, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA and San Luis Obispo, CA, Raven Tree Press, Chicago, IL, and Baumhaus Verlag, Frankfurt, Germany*
- Rip Squeak and His Friends: An Introduction to the Roaring Adventures of Rip Squeak, Rip Squeak Press, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, 1999 and Baumhaus Verlag, Frankfurt, Germany**
* Also published in German, Spanish, Greek, Faroese, and Arabic.
** Also published in German
- Developed, coordinated, and trained parents for parent-led visual art program at Alamo Elementary School, San Francisco, California.
- Volunteer work as a docent at De Young and Legion of Honor Museums in San Francisco and Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno, California.
- Served as officer and on various non-profit board of directors, including PATH (Providing Art That Heals); four different parent groups (nursery through high school, San Francisco and Carmel, California); Fresno Metropolitan Museum Docent Council.
Susan Yost-Filgate has been married to artist and illustrator, Leonard Filgate since 1979. The Filgates have one adult daughter and a dog. They live and work in Central California in a wonderful old house.