Career Builder: Valerie Sherrard

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By Lena Coakley

Valerie Sherrard was born on May 16, 1957 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Her dad was in the Air Force and so the family moved on a regular basis.

One posting was to Lahr, West Germany, where Valerie’s grade six English teacher, Alf Lower, encouraged her writing and told her she could become an author.

Although nearly three decades would pass before she began to pursue writing seriously,

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Susin Nielsen, Winner of the Governor General’s Award for Canadian Children’s Literature

By Lena Coakley

Susin Nielsen got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, “Degrassi Junior High.” They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show.

Since then, Nielsen has written for many TV series, including “Arctic Air,” “Heartland,”

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Linda Joy Singleton

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Linda Joy Singleton on Linda Joy Singleton: “As a kid, I was always writing. During a two-week school vacation, when I was 14, I challenged myself to write a chapter a day, completing a 200 page manuscript. I kept many of my stories and show them to kids I speak to at school.

“After high school, life detoured me away from writing,

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Caroline B. Cooney

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

What memories of your debut author experience stand out?

In my twenties, I wrote eight full-length adult historical novels set in ancient Rome, none of which were ever published. You’d think I would have noticed prior to writing eight of them that nobody wanted them.

I started writing short stories instead; one was accepted in Seventeen Magazine,

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Career Builder: Bonnie Christensen

With Chester, art from A Single Pebble (Roaring Brook, 2013).

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Bonnie Christensen is the author and illustrator of the Schneider Family Book Award winner Django, World’s Greatest Jazz Guitarist (Roaring Brook, 2009) and Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People (Knopf, 2001), a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a New York Times Notable Book.

Her illustrations also appear in the London Folio Society’s edition of The Grapes of Wrath and nineteen children’s books.

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Shelley Tanaka

Shelley & Fiona

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Shelley Tanaka is a writer, editor, teacher and translator. She has a B.A. in English and German from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto.

She is the author and translator of more than two dozen books for young readers. Her books have won the Orbis Pictus Award,

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Career Builder: Janet Tashjian

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

What memories of your debut author experience stand out?

When Tru Confessions came out fifteen years ago, I had my very first book signing at a Borders Bookstore in Cranston, Rhode Island.

(A moment of silence for Borders, RIP.)

Lots of friends and family came, but I was utterly shocked to see my tenth grade English teacher,

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Janet Lee Carey

photo of Janet Lee Carey by Heidi Pettit

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Janet Lee Carey was raised in the redwood forests of California. In the whispering forest, she dreamed of becoming a writer.

She is the award-winning author of eight young adult novels including Dragonswood (Dial Books, 2012) which received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal. School Library Journal calls her work,

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Career Builder & Giveaway: Lisa Wheeler

Lisa at the release party for Boogie Knights


By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Lisa Wheeler is passionate about children’s books. “I love everything about them, including the smell.”

To date, Lisa has thirty titles on library shelves, with more to follow. She’s written picture books in prose and rhyme, an easy reader series, three books of poems, and creative nonfiction for the very young.

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