Suse MacDonald grew up in Glencoe, Illinois, and earned a bachelor's degree in art from the State University of Iowa. Her early art career included five years of textbook illustration followed by ten years of architectural drafting and design.
In 1975, her love of illustration prompted a shift in focus and a return to art studies in Boston. She enrolled at the New England School of Art and Design, The Art Institute, and the Radcliffe Seminar Program. It was in a course in writing and illustrating children's books at Radcliffe that Suse found her niche.
The result was her first book, Alphabatics. The book was well received and won two prestigious awards: a Caldecott Honor presented by the American Library Association and The Golden Kite Award presented by the Society of Children's Book Writers.
Recently, she illustrated I Love You, a rebus poem by Jean Marzallo. In addition to her writing and illustrating, she is an active participant in the Graphic Artists Guild and the Society of Children's Book Writers. She frequently makes presentations to and conducts seminars for students and teachers.
For a time, Suse worked in a studio called “Round the Bend” and lived with her husband in southern Vermont. In 2002, she and her husband Stuart moved to Southern California, where they are enjoying the milder climate.