Story of gifted foster student’s struggle mirrors journey of Brampton author


Published May 7, 2024 at 11:02 am

Iz the Apocalypse brampton author susan currie forest of reading
Brampton author and teacher Susan Currie's latest book follows main character Iz as she fakes her way into a prestigious music school.

While you might find Susan Currie’s latest book in the fiction section, the Brampton author says her story of a young gifted musician having to fake her way into a prestigious performance school in the fiction section represents an all too real problem for kids in the foster system.

Currie is an author and primary school teacher with the Peel District School Board, teaching in Brampton for the past 26 years. Before going into education Currie worked as a pianist and held down jobs that included playing music at restaurants and playing the score for musical theatre productions, among other gigs.

She is also an adoptee and was briefly in the foster system as a baby, and Currie says she was fortunate to get opportunities that some gifted youngsters may never have like a stint at the Banff School of Fine Arts – a struggle Currie explores in her book Iz the Apocalypse.

The story follows main character Iz as she fakes her way into a prestigious music school only to find new obstacles like high tuition fees, intimidating classes, and other students who don’t know her past.

“She takes matters into her own hands, basically, because the system has failed her,” Currie told of the title character Iz in the book. “But she doesn’t always go about it the right way.”

Many students growing up in the foster system move around a lot and might not have all their academic transcripts or report cards, leading to roadblocks in education, Currie says.

“She does get where she needs to go, but it is not an easy path by any means,” Currie says.

Iz and Currie share parallels in many ways, however, the book is more of an alternate-reality version of the author’s experiences than autobiographical as it also draws inspiration from one of her students – a foster kid in Grade 2 with a chip on her shoulder “a mile high.”

The book was given a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and has been nominated for this year’s Forest of Reading White Pine Award, and Currie said there’s more to come in the story picking up where Iz the Apocalypse left off. With three sequels planned, Currie says in the next book Iz will find herself with a “sense of having to earn this good fortune.”

“(Readers are) going to find Iz in the weird position of having everything she’s ever wanted and messes it up,” Currie teased of the upcoming sequel.

For more on Currie’s works including previous books Basket of Beethoven and The Mask That Sang, visit

Forest of Reading is Canada’s largest recreational reading initiative with readers selecting their favourite authors and illustrators in 10 age group categories. You can find more information and a full reading list including Iz the Apocalypse by visiting

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