Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Tereasa Surratt  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Children;

Born: , in


-- Website -- http://www.tereasa.info

E-Mail: -- tereasa@wandawega.com


Illinois Connection

Surratt is from Southern Illinois. She graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale's School of Art and Design. She now lives in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Tereasa Surratt and Donna Lukas have been co-creators and friends for many years, first working together as part of a creative team at Ogilvy & Mather advertising firm. The Forever Tree is their first picture book and is inspired by a very special tree on the Camp Wandawega property. The summer camp has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Today, NPR, and HGTV, as well as in the Wall Street Journal and Martha Stewart Living, among others. When not lounging in the tree house, Donna and Tereasa can be found spending time with their families in Chicago.

Surratt has also written books on her own.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Forever Tree
ISBN: 0553523929

Crown Books for Young Readers. 2018

A fresh twist on Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree based on a real tree in Wisconsin that became something more, this is a timeless story about loss and renewal at home and in nature.

"This is a true story about a Tree that grew from something more than water and sunshine. It grew from love."

The animals and humans always knew their tree was special. The trunk was the best place to host championship bingo tournaments, and the branches were perfect for swinging in the shade!

But when the tree gets sick, neighbors new and old will have to join forces if they have any chance of saving their treetop home.

A touching tale based on the true story of one special tree, and the community that brought it back to life.

A Very Modest Cottage (Country Living)
ISBN: 1588167976

Hearst. 2010

The amazing story of the charming little cottage that could—and the woman who rescued it "Tereasa's journey of renovation and resurrection proves that any one of us can make a difference when it comes to preservation." -James Peters, President, Landmarks Illinois When Tereasa Surratt decided to restore a dilapidated old cabin to its original state AND move it 245 miles from Illinois to Wisconsin, everyone said she was crazy. But she saw potential where others saw junk, and knew that with hope and a hammer there is always a way. To her, this cottage was not just a building, but a precious piece of her childhood and hometown that she was determined to keep alive. A Very Modest Cottage follows Tereasa€™s adventures as she rescues this gone-to-ruin ca

Found, Free, and Flea: Creating Collections from Vintage Treasures
ISBN: 0307885291

Potter Style. 2011

Grandma’s rusty teakettle, old fishing lures, a broken antique camera from the attic—these are your foundation pieces for building authentic collections on the cheap.

When Tereasa Surratt’s husband convinced her that they should buy a derelict summer camp in Wisconsin, they had no idea the treasure trove they’d inherit with the property. While renovating the decrepit cabins at Camp Wandawega, they kept stumbling upon curious objects, some dating back ninety years or more: a Boy Scout patch, an old sled, a pristine set of Fiesta Ware, dozens of midcentury aprons, an untouched box of board games in their original packaging.

Tereasa knew the power that one mundane object has when grouped with its siblings. So rather than discard everything, she set out on a five-year expedition to turn the more than 150 found items into full-fledged collections. Relying on her own thriftiness, she only acquired pieces for free or at a bargain price: items that she found, negotiated for free, or unearthed at a flea market.

Found, Free & Flea explores Tereasa’s passion for collecting while encouraging you to tap into your own with ideas on where to look to see collectibles. Throughout the book, she shares her secrets and historical tidbits behind these prized antiques, now used to create innovative displays and for entertaining guests at her renovated lakeside retreat. From vintage wine taster cups turned into a wind chime to cheese boxes reinvented as drawer organizers, to a chicken feeder that houses old tea cups for impromptu coffee bar setups, everything at Camp Wandawega earns its keep.

Learn how to navigate flea markets and how to best negotiate, why “localvore” collecting should matter to the thrifty shopper (and what finds to expect on your travels), which vintage collections are easiest to start and the quickest to fill out, and what tips you should employ for turning even the most simple items into stunning displays. The beautiful photography and Tereasa’s clever DIY projects and sharp eye for design will inspire anyone to add charm and personality to interiors with a few well-worn objects.

A celebration of Americana and ingenuity, Found, Free & Flea is a must-have for knowing how to spot treasures, complete collections, and display them artfully.


Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes.