Friday, March 24, 2023

Standing on Neptune


Am I pregnant?

This question shatters the peace of seventeen-year-old Brooke Palinder’s life one Monday morning when she realizes her period is late. Although shaken, she’s determined to hide her feelings and go about her daily routine as though nothing is wrong.

Brooke’s boyfriend Ryan handles the news poorly, and she can’t bring herself to confide in anyone else, not even her best friend.

In an effort to distract herself, Brooke throws herself into a school project about Neptune, which leads her to some startling discoveries and a surprising sense of connection to the distant planet.

But by Saturday, she knows she must face the answer to the question that began her week.


Standing on Neptune has been reviewed by:

Kirkus Reviews: "By situating the story in this weeklong moment of suspense, Sherrard focuses affectingly on the intricacy of a teenager’s scattered yet profound internal emotional experience ... A tender, intense story capturing the vast scope of a young adult’s interior universe." 

Canlit for Little Canadians:  Novels in free verse are one of my favourite genres and Valerie Sherrard, knows how to use the genre to tell gripping stories. She takes us into the thoughts of teens as they contend with issues of teen pregnancy, shaky friendships, blended families, insecurities, and self-awareness. 

5 STARS from CM MagazineThe book’s title is an unusual one and comes from a science class astronomy assignment in which Brooke drew the slip labeled “Neptune”. Though Brooke’s working on the assignment provides her with moments of respite from thinking about the consequences of her late period, she also finds the planet Neptune to be metaphor for the enormous isolation she feels...

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

A Bend in the Breeze


The people of TeJÉ have never had a visitor. Not once. Not ever.

But they have been expecting one. For a long time, they’ve believed the story of the Long Awaited, a person who will arrive on their island and tell them what their fate will be.

So when eleven-year-old Pascale’s lifeboat comes ashore, they wonder if she is the one they have been waiting for all these years.

But Pascale cannot answer their questions. She doesn’t even know how she got there.

Until strange things begin to happen and Pascale is forced to wonder: Could she be the Long-Awaited?

Read the opening chapter by going here and clicking on the EXCERPT link! 





Imagine how thrilling it was to learn that Sheree Fitch selected A Bend in the Breeze as her favourite NB book! (Yes, there were tears!)


Awards and Accolades for A Bend in the Breeze:

Shortlisted for the Mrs. Dunster's Fiction Award  Remarks from Judge Leslie Greentree: Valerie Sherrard hits all the right notes in this beautiful story for young readers, set in an island utopia filled with gentle magic. Like all of the best children’s stories, A Bend in the Breeze is a joy for adult readers, as well. Themes of human frailty, and the importance of community are laced with compassion and humour, and brought to life through an irresistible cast of characters. Sherrard’s writing is confident, polished, and infused with warmth; the deeply satisfying twist ending deftly melds wit with redemption. This charming chapter book written for early readers is a delight for any age. 

 CanLit for Little Canadians: "You never know where a bend in the breeze can take you: here or there, away or to. And the bend in the breeze that transports 11-year-old Pascale Chardon to the island of TeJÉ might have done all those things. Think of A Bend in the Breeze as The Little Prince meets Island of the Blue Dolphin."

The Miramichi Reader: "While I was reading this book, it was as if I was on a roller coaster. I felt happy, I felt sad, and for some moments, I felt as if I had drifted away from my home and was actually on the island of TeJÉ. Then, towards the end I was hit with a message so powerful, I went back and read it again. It was then I realized that the message had been there the whole book. It was everything I think a book should be and more. Every aspect of this book was incredible, from the cover to the very last page. - Ella Breau" 

CM Magazine: Highly Recommended. There are a number of interesting topics to discuss: survival, education, community, mythology, empathy, marriage, death, friendship, envy, mindfulness, love, peace, conflict, honesty, and prophecy. Pascale leaves readers of A Bend in the Breeze with several strong messages about our society:

Chris Benjamin: My daughter and I really enjoyed reading this. The characters were quirky, fun, and interesting. The world Sherrard creates is believable, curious and joyful, yet full of human imperfection and emotion. There was magic throughout without it ever overshadowing the humanity and the ability to put ourselves in young Pascale's place. 



Please have a look!

A Bend in the Breeze


Friday, October 15, 2021


Corbin Hayes has felt alone for as long as he can remember. His mom’s illness means lost jobs, constant moves, new schools and friendships that never get to grow. There’s a gap in his life that’s been waiting to be filled.

So, when a classmate offers Corbin the talking bird she's unable to keep, he’s stoked.

But when things begin to spiral out of control, Corbin can no longer get his mom – or himself – through the dark period. At his lowest moment, he’s forced to do the one thing he fears the most. 


Honours and Awards for Birdspell

Shortlisted for the 2022-23 Hackmatack Award

Shortlisted for the 2023 Sundogs Award (MYRCA)

Shortlisted for the 2022 Red Maple Award

Shortlisted for the 2022 Diamond Willow Award

 Listed as one of CBC's Best Canadian middle-grade and YA books of 2021

An Ontario Library Association 2021 Best Bets Selection in the Junior Fiction category

Shortlisted for the 2021 Mrs. Dunster's Award for Fiction

 Reviews and Accolades:

From Quill and Quire:  "Birdspell offers remarkable insight to young readers unfamiliar with mental-health issues. At the same time, it provides rare validation for those children who struggle with it in their daily lives. Despite the gravity of the subject matter, Birdspell is a very readable book laced with humour and grace." Full review here: Quill and Quire 

From CM Magazine: "Birdspell is a deep and beautifully written title that once begun is hard to put down. Despite the tragedy of the circumstances, the novel is a compelling story of strength, hope and compassion." Full review here: CM Magazine

“... Sherrard does an excellent job of lacing humour into the story without making light of what Corbin's going through. She also keeps the story hopeful and optimistic and reminds readers that there's nothing wrong with asking for help. Highly recommended for middle-grade readers.” Rachel Seigel, Canadian Children's Book News

"Young-adult fiction has to do everything a novel for adult readers does and more: it must be accessible by and relevant to an audience that has no patience for homily. Birdspell by Valerie Sherrard succeeds beautifully in that regard, steering clear of didacticism. Corbin, the book’s teenage hero, navigates an unpredictable home-life that would sink most grownups. His pluck and optimism are inspiring.” — Mrs. Dunster's Award for Fiction jurors


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Every. Child.


I have buried a child. 
I have been a home to sorrow. Empty rooms,
silences and echoes have left scars. But 
there are things I did not, 
could not 
and will not
ever know.
I have buried a child.
My child was not stolen from me.
My child was not forced into the unfamiliar.
My child was not made to feel:
I have buried a child.
And it is true that I know grief
That I am acquainted with loss
But I know nothing of the pain of:
I have buried a child.
My child's grave is marked
I can kneel with memories and tears,
knowing every effort was made on her behalf.
She was not:
I have buried a child
And if there is one thing I know
One thing I believe
It is this:
Every child matters.
Every. Child.
- Valerie Sherrard


Thursday, March 18, 2021

This many...

A friend once remarked that it's difficult to keep track of my books. I can hardly argue with that when I regularly have to double-check details myself. This explains the confused look you'll see on my face if you ever happen to ask me how many books I've written. Which, of course, is not the same as how many have been published (also an incomplete figure as it doesn't take into account those that are under contract but not yet released). And the tally never includes the wretched efforts that have been abandoned (not deleted, mind you) at some stage of writing, or, if completed, stories which good sense has kept me from sending out.

I am aware, of course, that a general figure is more than enough to satisfy the innocent curiosity of anyone who happens to venture that dreadful question. Sadly for them, that rarely prevents me from offering (much) more information than their polite interest warrants. 

All the same, it seems the responsible thing to do -- to have a list of publications readily available. So here it is!   

Picture Books

Down Here (2015)
Isabelle Malenfant, Illustrator
Miss Wondergem's Dreadfully Dreadful Pie (2011)
Wendy J. Whittingham, Illustrator
There's a GOLDFISH In My Shoe! (2009)
David Jardine, Illustrator
There's a COW Under My Bed! (2008)
David Jardine, Illustrator
Early Chapter Book

Cooper Clark and the Dragon Lady (2019)
Cover art and drawings by
David Jardine

Middle Grade Novels

A Bend in the Breeze (2022)
Birdspell (2021)
The Rise and Fall of Derek Cowell (2020)
Random Acts (2015)
Rain Shadow (2014)
Driftwood (2013)
The Glory Wind (2010)
Tumbleweed Skies (2009)
Speechless (2007)

Young Adult Novels

Standing on Neptune (2023)
Finding Avalon (2020) collaboration with Pamela MacDonald
Counting Back from Nine (2012)
Testify (August 2011)
(Testify has been translated into French and Korean)
Accomplice (2011)
Watcher (2009)
Three Million Acres of Flame (2007)
Sarah's Legacy (2006)
Sam's Light (2004)
KATE (2003)

Shelby Belgarden Mystery Series

Searching for Yesterday (2008)
Eyes of a Stalker (2006)
Hiding in Plain Sight (2005)
Chasing Shadows (2004)
In Too Deep (2003)
Out of the Ashes (2002)


More than Words: Navigating the Complex World of Communication (2023)
with co-creators Natalie Hyde and David Jardine
Vanessa Hudgens: Superstars Series (2010)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Rise and Fall of Derek Cowell

 Hi, my name is Derek Cowell.

You might remember me from when I was popular.
Before that, I was invisible. And after.. well, that's a long story.

I never expected to become popular. It just sort of happened.
An accidental photobomb, a chance encounter with a real live celebrity, and suddenly, I was somebody.

These things never last, though, unless you help them along.
That's where I ran into trouble.

Reviewed in Atlantic Books Today 
Award News for this book:
Shortlisted for the 2021 Red Maple Award! 

Shortlisted for the 2022 MYRCA Northern Lights

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Finding Avalon

This is my daughter Pamela's first novel. I was so happy to be part of it, contributing a minor character voice. You can't even imagine how proud I am of my girl! Here is the stunning cover of this forthcoming story for teens!

A bit about the story:

Avalon Monday doesn’t mind telling schoolmates that her mother ran off to California to live with a guy she met on the internet. After all, that’s way less embarrassing than the truth.

But one fresh start and three years later Avalon discovers there are things you can never truly leave behind. When her past collides with her present, will it expose her secret and leave her new life in ruins?

 Finding Avalon has been reviewed in:

CM Magazine

Atlantic Books Today