Valerie Sherrard is the author of 12 previous novels for young people, including the Shelby Belgarden Mysteries, Watcher, Sarah's Legacy, Speechless, and her first historical novel, Three Million Acres of Flame. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous Canadian awards, including the Red Maple, White Pine, and Arthur Ellis Awards. She lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick.
Commended for the 2008 Best Books for Kids and Teens, short-listed for the 2008 Snow Willow Award and Ann Connor Brimer Award
"No one pays much attention to you if you donâ€™t have much to say, so there was no way I could have predicted what would happen when I stopped talking altogether."
When his teacher announces that itâ€™s time for the yearly class speeches, Griffin Maxwell starts to sweat. His past experience with the dreaded speech was humiliating, to say the least, and he just knows thereâ€™s no way he can go through that again. So Griffinâ€™s best friend, Bryan, comes up with a solution â€“ one thatâ€™s so simple it just has to work. But neither boy can begin to predict the bizarre chain of events that will be set in place when Griffin goes along with the idea.
From squaring off with the school bully to reading a teacherâ€™s private letters, Griffin Maxwell will have to face things he never imagined, and all without saying a word!
Readers will find a plot full of twists and turns, one that packs an emotional punch. Telling the story in the first person, Sherrard deftly mixes realistic family dynamics (Griffin is the third child of four and the only boy); the painful details of the child soldier horror; and just the right amount of humour to tell a gripping and important story.
Readers will easily identify with the likeable, realistic characters of Griffin and Bryan in this enjoyable, light-hearted story.
Much like author Eric Walters, Valerie Sherrard manages to introduce young readers to an important social-justice issue through her fiction, and in a way that is neither heavy-handed nor didactic â€¦ this book could easily appeal to reluctant readers, while still offering more accomplished readers much to think about