Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2010

Publication Title

Journal of Children’s Literature





First page number:


Last page number:



Prior to its release in August 2010, Susan Campbell Bartoletti's newest book, They Called Themselves the K.K.K.: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group (2010), received an incredibly positive response in the form of starred reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, Horn Book, and Kirkus Reviews. Through her impeccable research and ability to weave a compelling story out of the place "where darkness and light smack up against each other" (Bartoletti & Zusak, 2008), she has made it possible for children and young adults to access and understand the horror of the Third Reich in Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (2005), famine in Black Potatoes: The Story of the Great Irish Famine (2001), and child labor in Kids on Strike! (1999) and Growing Up in Coal Country (1996). Richie Partington (2010), in his "Richie's Pick" review of They Called Themselves the K.K.K., writes "It is, of course, through reading a book like this -- and understanding the "Why?" -- that we gain the insight necessary to help stop the flames of hatred and fear from spreading in whatever direction they next travel."

We had the occasion to talk with Susan shortly after she turned in the manuscript for They Called Themselves the K.K.K., and she graced us with her delightful sense of humor and answered questions about her writing process and body of work -- a perfect fit with this issue's theme: literature that promotes healing, compassion, and activism. You can find out more about Susan at her website,


Authors – Interviews; Bartoletti; Susan Campbell; Interviews; Terrorism in literature


American Literature | Creative Writing | History | Literature in English, North America | Modern Literature | Political History | Social History



Publisher Citation

Fabbi, J. L. & Johnson, A. (2010). Moving through fear: A conversation with Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Journal of Children’s Literature, 36(2), 70-74.

Search your library