Campbell Bartoletti began her career as an eighth-grade English teacher before deciding to pursue writing in earnest. Seeing her student write and create original work, she was inspired to create her own. In connection with her students, Susan said that "I felt immense satisfaction in watching my students grow as writers. I wanted to practice what I preached, so I joined a writers group and got serious about my own writing." She sold her first short story in 1989. Three years later, in 1992, Campbell Bartoletti published her first picture book, Silver at Night. She held a rigid routine, waking early in the morning in order to write before she left to teach. In 1997, she turned to writing full-time. Since then, her works have received a number of awards, including (but not limited to) the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Nonfiction, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Nonfiction, the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the Newberry Honor Medal in 2006.