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The Glory Wind

by Valerie Sherrard

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prejudice & racism, friendship
list price: $12.95
also available: eBook
published: 2010
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Glory Wind

Eleven-year-old Luke’s vacation takes a vibrant turn when Gracie becomes his neighbour. Impulsive and imaginative, she is a perfect foil for Luke’s quiet dependability, and they become fast friends. When school begins, students vie for Gracie’s friendship, but attitudes change dramatically as rumours surface regarding her mother’s morality. Only Luke and one courageous teacher refuse to participate in Gracie’s subsequent persecution. Finally, just as life has new hope for Gracie, unspeakable tragedy strikes, literally from the skies. Luke watches in horror as his best friend is swept up by a tornado, never to be seen again.

The story, told by Luke, attempts to make sense of his terrible loss, his guilt over Gracie’s death and his failure to understand the cruelty of her tormentors. Throughout his quietly emotional narrative there is a sense of impending disaster, increased by seemingly unrelated but regular references to the nature of tornadoes. These devices create a suspenseful dramatic plot, but the action does not overwhelm the marvellous nuances of innocence and idealism that need to be savoured.

Set in the prairies during the 1940s, the ambience of time and place is aptly created, but what makes this book so great is the depth of human emotion that has no boundaries. Valerie Sherrard has created strong, clearly defined characters in Luke and Gracie, who live in your mind long after the story is finished. There are no easy solutions in this award-winning book, but the writing style and subject matter make this a thought-provoking and beautiful coming-of-age novel.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2011. Volume 34 No. 3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Glory Wind

Luke has never met anyone like Gracie before and they quickly become friends. When they start school in the fall, Gracie makes a wonderful impression upon the other children, but when the community finds out the truth about her mother’s past, they shun both of them. Luke bravely stands up for Gracie, but how will he handle the event that changes his life forever? Winner of the 2011 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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A young boy must come to terms with the moral prejudices of his small town in the prairies in the 40's when he befriends the daughter of a young widow who moves in next door. Gracie is unlike anyone Luke has ever met - fun, charming, imaginative and full of life. But when the townsfolk discover that her mother's past is less than completely honourable, they set out to isolate both mother and daughter.

This striking new novel from Valerie Sherrard explores themes of friendship, loyalty, hypocrisy, and forgiveness.

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Contributor notes

Valerie Sherrard
Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Valerie's ambition to become a writer was kindled when she was in grade six and living with her family in Lahr, West Germany, where her father was stationed. Her homeroom teacher praised her efforts and instilled in her a lifelong belief in her ability to write. Valerie has written a number of books for young readers. Out of the Ashes was a Red Maple Award Honour Book and a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award. Kate was a White Pine Award Honour Book.

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Editorial Review

"Set on the Canadian prairie, as was Tumbleweed Skies (2009), Sherrard's latest movingly documents 11-year-old Luke's coming of age in 1946 as he comes to deeply love his new neighbor, Gracie, also 11. . . This haunting depiction of small-mindedness will leave readers wondering, as Luke comes to, about Gracie's true nature: heavenly child-or angel?"
— Kirkus starred reviews

"This latest gem from wordsmith Valerie Sherrard is a poignant and powerful tale that captures a time and place even as it gently reveals truths that are timeless and heartbreaking. Luke's voice rings clear and true as he narrates this story simply, sensitively and with the innocence of a small-town boy in 1947 who can't even make sense of his own feelings much less of all the outrage and anger that his community has chosen to direct at its newest members.

"Sherrard has filled her book with memorable characters and raises many provocative questions. She casts a light on some of the more disquieting aspects of human nature, and she doesn't provide the happy ending that might allow readers to breathe a sigh of relief. Instead, there is heartbreak and sadness and a lack of closure, as is so often the case in real life. Yet somehow Luke makes his own peace with what has happened as does the reader in this finely wrought tale that is as touching as it is unforgettable."
— Atlantic Books Today

"This is a moving story and a pivotal point in this boy's life. It brings him understanding of things that were beyond his world before and helps him to grow. A great book about character, acceptance and society."

"The Glory Wind is a charming read with plenty to ponder, highly recommended."
The Midwest Book Review

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About the Author

Valerie Sherrard

Valerie Sherrard contributed the voice of Avalon's mother. The author of more than two dozen books for young people (many of which have been nominated for or received awards), Valerie also happens to be Pamela's mom. She was delighted to collaborate on Pam's debut novel.
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