Poem leads to new children’s book by former Riverhead special education teacher

One winter, Susan MacLellan of Mattituck went to her daughter’s house to feed her fish while her family was away on vacation, when inspiration struck her.

“I saw two little sets of footprints in the snow; [they were] my grandson’s and my granddaughter’s [footprints] and I thought, oh so cute,” she said. “I ran in, and on the kitchen table, I scribbled out this cute little poem called ‘Little Footprints in the Snow,’ and I left it on their kitchen table for them when they came home … and that was it, I didn’t think anything of it,” she said.

Ms. MacLellan had always been a writer and had some of her stories and poems published in journals in Florida and New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education.

During her 34 years working as a special education teacher in Riverhead Central School District, she found it difficult to find the time to publish a book but with her daughter’s encouragement, she published her first children’s poetry book, “Follow the Little Footprints,” in October.

“I guess for my birthday, my daughter gives me a gift and she hands me this little book, at first I looked at it and I saw [the title was] ‘Little Footprints in the Snow,’ and I said, ‘somebody stole my poem,’” Ms. MacLellan said. “She had taken my poem and she made a little book about it … at the end of it, she wrote me a little note and she said, ‘Mama, you must do something with your poetry,’ and so that was the inspiration for me to really get started.”

The book was self-published via Amazon and is currently for sale though the online retailer for $15.99.

The 20-page book, which is also on display at Burton’s Bookstore in Greenport, includes pictures and stories of Ms. MacLellan’s grandchildren.

The poems are about a broad range of topics, from ballet and seagulls to roller coasters, mermaids and more.

She said she has received great feedback on her book from the community, including people from the senior center that Ms. MacLellan visits and members of the library writing group she is a part of, North Fork Pen.

Ms. MacLellan is already working on a different book, which is about her spiritual journey from childhood to the present. She still isn’t sure when that book will be complete.