Jo's Bio


The Short Version


Jo S. Kittinger is the author of more than 35 books for children -- fiction and non-fiction, picture books, easy readers, e-picture books, and middle grade nonfiction. 

Recent work includes True Books from Scholastic on these topics: Alabama, South Dakota, and Light.

AWARDS: Most notably, The House on Dirty-Third Street (Peachtree Publishers) was honored with a Christopher Award, a Social Justice Literature Award and the Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award. 

Other picture books include: Rosa's Bus: The Ride to Civil Rights (Calkins Creek Books), which won a Crystal Kite award, A Breath of Hope, Helping a Hero, and The Beauty of Dreams (all with the American Bar Association Publishers.) 

In addition, Jo has published numerous items in various books, magazines, educational materials and newspapers. Jo enjoys the position of Regional Advisor Emeritus for the Southern Breeze region (AL, MS, FL panhandle) of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, having led the region for 12 years. Having been in the industry for over 20 years, Jo enjoys school visits, freelance editing,  and sharing what she has gleaned with writers who are now arising.

More to the Story...

The "S" is for Susenbach! Jo Linda Susenbach was born in Miami, Florida. As a child, Jo loved nothing more than exploring outside, looking for crawdads under rocks in the creek, catching insects and snakes. Growing up she lived in North Carolina, Ohio and Orlando, FL before settling in the Birmingham, Alabama area as a teenager. Jo attended Vestavia Hills High School during which time she met her future husband, Rick Kittinger, on a blind date. They married in 1974 and had three children.

Jo graduated summa cum laude from the University of Montevallo in 1977. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art, with a minor in biology. Her senior year Jo was president  of Kappa Pi, an art honor society, and a member of Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society. Jo’s concentration during college was ceramics and for two years after college, Jo was co-owner of Wood and the Works, a fine crafts gallery and pottery studio.

Jo’s interest in publishing began early. She was editor of her high school yearbook and began submitting original craft designs for publication shortly after college. Her projects may be found in numerous books and magazines published through Oxmoor House and Heritage House. Jo began writing for children in 1991. In addition to her books, Jo has published articles in various books, newspapers, and magazines including Highlights for Children, Pockets, Boys Quest and The Flicker. She wrote numerous feature articles which appeared on the Just For Kids page of the Birmingham News and items for Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement and CTB/McGraw-Hill.

Jo also served as an editorial assistant with The Flicker children’s magazine and is actively involved with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, currently serving as a Regional Advisor Emeritus for the Southern Breeze region (AL, GA, FL panhandle) of SCBWI.

Jo loves to visit schools, sharing her excitement for reading and writing with students. Making school author visits also allows  Jo to stay in contact with her readers and promote her books. Jo also enjoys speaking at authors’ conferences. 

Jo  takes every opportunity to travel and explore the great outdoors, looking for birds and other animals, as well as fungi, ferns and flowers. Her other passions include  pottery, photography and seeking to live honestly as a follower of Jesus.