Getting to know Sheryl

Award-winning author of books for kids and teens.

Although I’ve written many books, including The Smell of PaintWaiting for the Whales and Jessie’s Island, I was never the sort of kid you’d imagine becoming a writer when they grew up.

I didn’t even read much until I hit my teen years. I was too busy building forts in the cottonwood trees that lined the irrigation ditch near my home, playing hide & seek in the orange groves and cotton fields, playing pick-up baseball with the neighbourhood kids, or building skateboards out of discarded baby carriage wheels and scrap wood.

Junior high opened up a whole new and unexpected world for me; the world of books. For the first time, I stepped beyond the boundaries of my neighbourhood, and I loved it. I travelled to distant places, met fascinating people, and lived in a multitude of pasts and a wealth of possible futures. I was convinced that authors must be an exotic species indeed, to be able to achieve such feats of wonder.

I kept a secret poetry journal, sure that if my brothers found it, they would tease me. It never occurred to me that I might myself someday become an author. It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I began to try writing for others instead of just for myself. Like most other authors, I had several years of rejections before finally getting published. Now, I know there is nothing in the world that I would rather do than write books for kids.

I still love to curl up with a good book, although when I’m working on one myself, my husband complains that I’m either preoccupied or grumpy, and sometimes both!

Now, when I’m not writing, I have the perfect excuse for hiking, kayaking, gardening, and walking the fabulous west coast beaches near my home. “It’s research,” I tell everyone. After all, these are the places and things which help to inspire the stories I write.

Happy Reading,
Sheryl McFarlane


Sheryl McFarlane

Sheryl McFarlane is the author of many books for children. Waiting for the Whales, Jessie’s Island, A Pod of Orcas and Eagle Dreams are a few of her best-selling, award-winning picture books. The Smell of Paint was her first young adult novel, and she is working on a second. Her recent picture books include, I Love Kisses, and Island in the Salish Sea. The former is a reminder that love is diverse and universal while the latter celebrates the west coast. Sheryl enjoys reading, renovating old houses, gardening, and stocking a little free library for her friends and neighbours. Her latest book, Welcome Rain!, is a joyous celebration of rainy weather and it’s many benefits.


Sheryl McFarlane has won numerous awards and honours for her books. The awards and honours are listed by book within the genre they belong.



The Smell of Paint

Moonbeam Award gold medal

  • Short-listed for the 2008 Saskatchewan’s Readers’ Choice Willow Award
  • Gold medal winner of the 2007 Moonbeam Award in the Young Adult category
  • 2007 Victoria Butler Book Prize nominee



A Pod of Orcas

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre ‘Outstanding Book’
  • Short-listed for the Chocolate Lily Book Award

This is the Dog

  • Recommended by the Canadian Toy Council
  • Short-listed for the Ameila F. Howard-Gibbon Award

What’s That Sound? By the Sea

Moonbeam Award silver medalCanadian Toy Testing Council 'Great Books' award

  • One of the 10 “Great Books” of the year as chosen by children at the Canadian Toy Testing Council
  • The Moonbeam Award silver medalist in the Board Book category

Waiting for the Whales

  • IODE National Chapter Book Award (text)
  • Governor General’s Literary Award (illustration)
  • Canadian National Library Notable Book
  • A CBC Radio’s Morningside’s Children’s Book Panel ‘Recommended Book’
  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre ‘Outstanding Book’
  • Short-listed for the Mr. Christie Book Award
  • Short-listed for the BC Book Prize (children’s book category)

Jessie’s Island

  • Canadian Children’s Book Centre ‘Recommended Book’


On-line Interviews

Book Bites for Kids

Sheryl is interviewed by Suzanne Lieurance on Book Bites for Kids (October 17, 2007).

Want to Interview Sheryl?

To arrange for an interview, please contact Sheryl.

Want to Arrange a Personal Visit by Sheryl?

Keynote addresses and hands-on workshops are available for students, teachers and other groups interested in children’s literature related topics. For more information please use the contact form to get in touch. 


Photo of Sheryl McFarlane

Sheryl McFarlane signing copies of The Smell of Paint.

  • Photo credit: Linda Bailey
  • Photo taken: 2007
  • Dimensions approximately 5 inches x 6.5 inches
  • Download larger image (1.48 MB)
Sheryl McFarlane

Sheryl McFarlane
at Cattle Point
photo by Lloyd Mildon

Karl enjoying his copy of I Love Kisses.


The photos on this page are protected by copyright.

The photos on this page are provided for publicity purposes only. Please ensure the photo credit is included in your publicity materials where indicated.

Obtaining additional information:

Please contact Sheryl for additional information.

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