About MeI write fiction and non-fiction for all ages. These days, I'm excited about my tenth children's novel, The Great Googlini (Orca Books), which was a Kirkus Best + read more Middle-Grade of 2018. It's fun, has a twist of magic, and is clear-eyed about cancer. Ultimately it's about the things we can know and the things we can't. I have four books coming out this year -- a board book, a picture book, an early novel and a middle-grade novel. ! I LOVE to present to classes. I give lively, immersive writing workshops on imagery, metaphor, character, narrative and more (see below for more). I write, edit, teach and review books in Victoria, BC. Show Less

My Work Speaker Info Contact Me
You May Know Me For:
    Literature Types
  • Board Books
  • Picture Books
  • Chapter Books
  • Middle Grade Fiction
  • Poetry
  • Plays & Screenplays
  • Editorial Services

Published WorksThe Great Googlini. Fun and smart. "A thoughtful glimpse into the life of an immigrant family, and... [a] refreshingly straightforward look at cancer." - Kirkus, STARRED review

Black Gold. Two city boys make a life in the country. "An early chapter book that's jam-packed with likable, well-realized characters and a compassionate but never didactic message." - Kirkus Reviews

A Boy Named Queen. "This middle-grade book is short, sweet, and terribly perfect. A very focused and tight study of that mind-shaking moment when a new friendship changes your entire worldview. Reminiscent of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, but for a younger reader." —Serah-Marie McMahon, Children’s Buyer for Type Books

Blackberry Juice. For new readers, a follow-up to Not For Sale. "Humorous, short, and hard to put down." School Library Journal

Not For Sale. Eight-year-old Cyrus knows just what to do when his house goes up for sale. "A small slice of very funny family life....a heartwarming romp." Kirkus Reviews

Skylark. Angie lives with her brother and mother in a car after an injury costs her mother her job and her father crosses the country for work. Open mike night at a local café introduces Angie to slam poetry. Poetry - whether reading, writing, or performing it - gives Angie the power to shape her own story. "Beautifully written...full-bodied in every aspect." Vancouver Sun

Double Play. About a boy who wants to play ball on a girls' team. "A complex story with no clear-cut answers. This engaging, charming piece will ask reluctant readers challenging questions...and that's a home run." Booklist

Seeing Orange. Imaginative Leland gets distracted in class, but loves to draw. "A wonderful little novel for beginning readers... an effective classroom read." Resource Links

Windfall. Young teen Liza hopes to redeem the loss of a backyard apple tree and make sense of the death of a lo

Speaking InformationI give lively, curriculum-based workshops that immerse students in the artistry and power of telling their stories. I present in person or by Skype, to any + read more group size or grade.

Presentations include:

The Metaphor Tree. K - 5. Students learn what a metaphor is, identify them in a text read aloud -- by shouting "ding!" when they hear one -- then practice making their own. They make a small book (one page, cleverly folded) and write metaphors on labels to hang on a potted tree branch.

Smelly Dog. Writers sculpt, draw and cook with words. In this workshop, kids turn on their senses and practice various forms of imagery (visual, auditory, olfactory, etc.) During a short reading packed with images, they gesture -- stick out their tongues, tug on an ear, wiggle their noses -- to identify the type of images they hear. We "build" a dog together -- how it looks, smells, sounds, feels, even tastes -- and from there, kids learn how sensory details lead quickly to narrative. The dog smells like fish? What happened? The dog needs a bath? Why?

A Powerful Character. For middle school and high school students especially, this introduction to creating rich, full characters resonates beyond the page. How does setting -- where we live -- influence who we are and the stories we tell? How does our personality lead to the plots, big and small, that swirl in our lives? What conflicts, inner and outer, shape us?

Are You Talking to Me? It doesn't get more fun than this! Middle school and high school students practice writing realistic dialogue that moves and compels. With a close reading of examples from their current novel study and dialogue greats such as Roddy Doyle, students learn and apply the tricks of the trade.

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    I Will Travel To:
  • Vancouver
  • Coast
  • Lower Mainland
  • Gulf and Vancouver Islands
  • Thompson Okanagan
  • Northern British Columbia
  • Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
  • Kootenay Rockies
  • The Territories
  • Canada - beyond BC
  • USA
  • International

    I Present to Age Groups:
  • Primary School
  • Grades K-3
  • Grades 4-6
  • Grades 7-8
  • High School
  • College / University / Adult

Request Booking Info

Testimonials“Sara led an interactive and thought-provoking presentation... The grade 4 classes were challenged + read more to think about writing by looking at the world around them rather than staring at a blank page. They were asked to come up with a metaphor for the moon and together the students wrote down their moon metaphors (my favourite: “the moon is a white marble on a black table cloth). All the metaphors were added to a metaphor tree and left in the library on display at the end. The kids responded to her relaxed, friendly style and were very engaged with the metaphor concept. It was a delightful hour!” - Judy Baxter, Library Manager, South Cowichan and Haida Gwaii Branches, Vancouver Island Regional Library Show Less
Awards and Recognition:Best Middle-Grade Books of 2018, Kirkus, The Great Googlini
Finalist, Chocolate Lily Book + show more Award, Black Gold, 2019
Finalist, Chocolate Lily Book Award, Blackberry Juice, 2017
Finalist, Silver Birch Express Award, A Boy Named Queen, 2018
Finalist, Schwartz Children's Book Award, A Boy Named Queen, 2017
Finalist, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice, A Boy Named Queen, 2017
Finalist, Willow Awards 2017, A Boy Named Queen
Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books STARRED, A Boy Named...
Cooperative Children's Book Center Best of 2016, A Boy Named Queen​
Best Books of 2016, CBC Books, A Boy Named Queen
​Books of the Year 2016, Quill and Quire, A Boy Named Queen
Finalist, Kirkus Children's Literature Prize, A Boy Named Queen, 2016
​Junior Library Guild selection, A Boy Named Queen, 2016
CCBC Best Books, Not For Sale, 2015
Finalist, Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize, Skylark, 2014
CCBC Best Books selection, Skylark, 2014
Second Place, Short Story Challenge, NYC Midnight, 2014
Finalist, Chocolate Lily Book Award, Seeing Orange, 2013
CCBC Best Books STARRED, Double Play, 2013
Junior Library Guild selection, Double Play, 2013
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers, Double Play, 2013 

CCBC Best Books STARRED, Seeing Orange, 2012
CCBC Best Books, Windfall, 2011
CCBC Best Books, Slick, 2010
Finalist, Far Horizons Award, The Malahat Review, 2009
First Place, National Magazine Award, Service Category, 2004
First Place, Victoria School of Writing Postcard Fiction Contest, 1999
Honourable Mention, Novel, Atlantic Writing Competition, 1994*
First Place, Poetry, Atlantic Writing Competition, 1992*

*Sponsored by the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia Show Less

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