Suzanne Perez

News Reporter

Suzanne Perez is a longtime journalist covering education and general news. Before coming to KMUW, she worked at The Wichita Eagle, where she covered schools and a variety of other topics.

Suzanne grew up in North Carolina and earned a bachelor's degree in English from North Carolina State University. She moved to Wichita in 1990 and has two children. When not reporting, Suzanne enjoys reading, walking her dog, and obsessing over every new leaf on her houseplants.

Ways to Connect

Sometimes it’s the smallest books that pack the most powerful punches. Think George Orwell’s Animal Farm, John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. None are much longer than an average short story, but they tackle heavy themes such as communism, greed, and the struggle between good and evil.

Address Unknown is just such a work.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service/File photo

A small but growing number of colleges are requiring students to get a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to campus, but Kansas universities so far say they won’t require the shot.

KMUW

Wichita State University could have a new president within the next few months.

A search committee charged with finding WSU’s next leader interviewed candidates via Zoom this week and plans to send a list of finalists to the Kansas Board of Regents for consideration, said Dan Peare, chairman of the committee.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Last spring, Wichita families clamoring for online learning options quickly snapped up 500 spots at Education Imagine Academy, a K-12 virtual school that allows students to work at their own pace.

Next school year, many of those students will return to traditional, in-person schools. Others plan to remain at the virtual academy.

And the online school is changing its approach based on lessons learned from the pandemic.

Suzanne Perez / KMUW

Hattie McDaniel made history as the first Black actor to win an Academy Award, for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.”

Now, visitors passing her childhood home near 9th and Waco in Wichita can read all about her.

Stephan Bisaha / KMUW/File photo

For many middle- and high-school students in Wichita, Monday was the first day back on campus since the pandemic shutdown last year — and another step toward normal.

Some families that had opted for online learning last semester decided to send kids back into classrooms, now that COVID-19 numbers are down and vaccines more available. That meant more crowded hallways — and a distinct first-day-of-school feeling, especially at high schools.

Novelist Patricia Engel was born to Colombian parents. Her newest novel, Infinite Country, is a wonder of storytelling no doubt inspired by, if not her own upbringing, then the stories of countless immigrant families who seek a better life in the United States.

My friend Carrie keeps chickens in her backyard in Wichita, and whenever she goes out of town, I volunteer to feed and check on them. Chicken sitting, I call it. It’s not a bad gig and comes with rewards, like the occasional fresh egg with a yolk so orange and creamy, it doesn’t even resemble the ones you get in the grocery store.

So I know a little bit about chickens and the people who love them. That’s why I picked up Jackie Polzin’s debut novel, Brood—a slender little story about one woman’s attempt to keep four chickens alive amid the frigid cold, searing heat and countless predators around her Minnesota home.

There are times when you don’t finish a book in time for a book club discussion but you go anyway. I mean, it’s all about the wine and conversation, right?

But then there are times when you’re halfway through a book that’s full of twists, turns and gasp-inducing surprises, and you just have to send your regrets: “See you next month,” I told the KMUW Literary Feast regulars recently. Because SPOILERS.

You might be asking yourself, “How many novels about World War II does a person really need to read?” And the answer is: at least one more.

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