Welcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s book creators! Today’s guest: Valerie Sherrard. Take it away, Valerie!
I’ve been making things up since I was a young child, although my talents went generally unappreciated back then. As a small maker-up-of-things, I felt insulted when playmates refused to believe my stories. So what if they were obviously untrue? It was beyond me why that would make any difference.
Fast forward to today and I can truthfully say that the love of building characters and creating stories has never left me. When I got serious about writing, fiction was the natural place for my words to find a home. At long last I could make things up and reap amazing benefits. (Such as heaps of cash, because that’s the wild kind of imagination I have!)
And so, for more than 20 years, I have happily composed stories for young people, from picture books up to young adult novels.
You can’t even imagine how unprepared all of this made me for the day when an idea for a non-fiction book on communication came to me. The concept took a few forms over the next I’m-not-sure-how-many years and during that time I put together several samples and outlines and made some very feeble pitches. (I didn’t know they were feeble at the time, obviously.)
Eventually, the sad realization came: I had no clue what I was doing. Which was frustrating, considering how strongly I believed in the idea. On the other hand, I knew people who were experts on non-fiction. It was time to find a partner.
What a lucky thing it was, the day I reached out to Natalie Hyde. Natalie has more than 100 books to her credit, the bulk of them being non-fiction for young people. (Her fiction is fantastic too, by the way.) I ran the idea by her, she liked it, and a very happy partnership began.
We worked on an outline and sample. And we reached out to artist David Jardine. He liked the project, and found room for it in his busy schedule.
Together with some sketch samples from David, we sent our pitch to DCB Young Readers Publisher Barry Jowett and in what may have only seemed like an agonizingly long time we had his answer. It was YES. (This would be a much duller story if he’d turned it down.)
And now, it’s here! More than Words: Navigating the Complex World of Communication.
Here’s why my co-creators and I think you should read this if you’re a young person, or even just a person:
Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but you are constantly communicating, and with more than just words. Body language, hand gestures, facial expressions — they all have a lot to say. Are you aware of the silent signals you may be sending? How do you read verbal and nonverbal cues from other people?
Through this illustrated book, you will learn how to communicate effectively —virtually and in person —with more confidence and fewer misunderstandings. You’ll learn about active listening, speaking skills, empathy, conflict resolution, critical thinking, and more!
Then you’ll put your newfound knowledge into practice through individual exercises and group activities that will help you master your communication superpowers!