Saturday, February 26, 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!

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A Bend in the Breeze has been reviewed by:

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.

Monday, March 22, 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, March 18, 2021

A Dangerous Question

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

Finding Avalon (2020) collaboration with Pamela MacDonald
Counting Back from Nine (2012)
Testify (August 2011)
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)


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


Monday, March 30, 2020

I LOVE this guy!!

By this post's heading, you're probably expecting a long, mushy message about my husband (whom I DO love) but I'm afraid another fellow has also captured my heart. His name is Cooper Clark, and I have to admit, I'm quite smitten with him.


Cooper is full of opinions and ideas! In his first adventure (book # 2 is in the works) he comes up with one zany plan after another in order to avoid facing his fear of dragons. Some of his plans will be recognized by young readers as things they themselves have tried. Others are unique. Here's what happens:


Cooper Clark's world takes an alarming turn when his regular babysitter gets a new job. 

 Arrangements are then made for Cooper to spend his after-school hours with old Mrs. Mulligan — a plan he does not care for one bit! Everyone knows that Mrs. Mulligan has a real live dragon in her basement and although he has kept his fears secret, Cooper is very afraid of dragons. 


Not willing to expose his secret, Cooper does his best to find a way to avoid Mrs. Mulligan's dreadful pet . 


It isn't until he runs out of ideas that Cooper makes a most important discovery. 


This is my first chapter book. I hope you love it as much as these reviewers did -- or even more! 


Review of this story from Atlantic Books Today

Review of this story from CM Magazine

Review of this story from CanLit for Little Canadians



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Rain Shadow

Bethany knows that she is special.

She doesn't learn things as easily as her classmates do and that sometimes makes them mean to her. They call her names -- including the really "bad" name. Even her mom and her sister Mira say unkind things at times. But Bethany has friends like her neighbour Mrs. Goldsborough as well as happy times with Daddy when he gets home from work. And now, Mira has promised to protect her from the bullies when the new school year begins.

Then tragedy strikes, tearing Bethany's world apart in way she could never have imagined, and she starts to wonder if there will ever be a place that feels like home again.
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I have chosen to return to the fictitious setting of Junction, Manitoba (setting for The Glory Wind) in this story.
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Please support independent bookstores, whenever possible. 

  Select Awards and Reviews for Rain Shadow: 

Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association 2015 Book of the Year for Children.

Silver Birch Fiction Honour title Award 2016.

Shortlisted for the 2016 Ann Connor Brimer Award. 

Shortlisted for the 2016 Diamond Willow Award. 

Shortlisted for the 2017 Rocky Mountain Book Award 

Rain Shadow has been reviewed by: