Sue Johnson, Julie Carlson, Elizabeth Bower and Rick Johnson
Mother, daughter-in-law, daughter and father team of authors and illustrator of
Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren
Sue Johnson, an honors graduate of Wheaton College, is the founder of Heartstrings Press. She has also operated Gramma’s Graphics, Inc., a mail-order business specializing in blueprinting and sunprinting kits for the past thirty years.
A mother of three, grandmother of seven and an honorary mother of eight exchange students, Sue is passionate about family. When her initial Grandloving query to 150 of their friends snowballed into 350 responses, Sue knew she'd struck a chord with enthusiastic grandparents. As a long-distance grandmother, she uses ideas from her years as a teacher to enliven communications with her grandchildren.
Sue has become known as a contemporary grandparenting expert, serves as a judge for the prestigious Mom's Choice Award, and helps families connect. She and Rick, her husband of 49 years, live in Lancaster, Virginia.
Julie Carlson, Sue’s daughter-in-law, is a happily married mother of three sons (ages sixteen, twelve, and six) who lives and works near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is an honors graduate of Yale (1988) and an alumna of the Radcliffe Publishing Course (1988).
An editor since 1989, Julie freelances for the university presses at Harvard and Yale. Julie's developmental editing and writing have shaped many high-profile nonfiction manuscripts, many of which have garnered praise from major review media such as the New York Times and Washington Post.
Julie also taught nursery school for five years, an experience that broadened her understanding of young children and their families. Her personal adventure with parenting her first baby far from extended family inspired some of her more imaginative communications. Creative emails, phone call, and packages continue to nurture the connection between her three boys and their four long-distance grandparents.
Elizabeth Bower, (Beth), Sue's daughter, lives with her husband and two sons in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She taught elementary grades for eleven years and progressed to mentoring student teachers at Northwestern University and teaching prospective teachers at Loyola University Chicago.
Passionate about teaching, Bower began her studies in education at Connecticut College. She spent a year at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and graduated with a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Elizabeth is experiencing long distance Grandloving first hand as their son has grandparents in Singapore and England. As the newest member of the team, she brings fresh insights to the group. Elizabeth too serves as a distinguished judge for the Mom’s Choice Award.
Frederick B. Johnson
Frederick B. Johnson, (Opa Rick) the new illustrator of Grandloving, is Sue’s husband and an engineering graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
After retiring from submarine duty and a Human Resources career with Eastman Kodak Co., he and Sue relocated from upstate New York to a “Hurricane Hole" on the Northern Neck of Virginia. Here the woodworking and art skills Rick learned in his youth from his cabinet maker grandfather and able art teachers in Boston are employed in the support of Heartstrings Press and the long-distance grandfathering of his grandchildren.
In addition, Rick helps Sue with the details of publishing and running the Heartstrings Press business. Rick and Sue have hosted eight foreign exchange students and their families over the years…experiences that give them an unusually broad perspective and wonderfully diverse network of grandparent friends.
Interviews and Presentations
Sue, Julie, Elizabeth, and Rick are all committed to uniting the generations. The three women have authored many articles and features for grandparenting and parenting publications and websites, and all four family members have given and are available for interviews and presentations. Visit our Media Room to learn more, or contact us to arrange an interview.
But there’s more... More than 350 families worldwide contributed their anecdotes and best ideas to Grandloving. Their enthusiasm and thoughtful, humorous additions are a cornerstone of the book and have helped broaden its appeal to the widest possible range of grandparenting styles. If you have something you'd like to share, drop us an e-mail.