Sarah made her first appearance after the middle of the last century, in Vancouver. Her parents named her Sarah, a family name, but her older brothers, who were learning to read with Dick, Jane and Sally, decided to call her Sally. And Sally she was until she turned eighteen and reclaimed her real name. She’s just grateful that the boys didn’t decide to call her Puff.
Sarah liked school. She liked school so much that she was a student for a long time. First she went to Lord Selkirk Elementary and Lord Roberts Elementary. (Vancouver schools went in for Lords.) Mostly she hung out in the library. Then she went to King George High School (Lords and Kings) where she survived adolescence by playing the French horn in the school band. Also hung out in the library. Then she went to UBC and did a degree in honours English. Was often seen in the library. Then, big surprise, she went to library school. She worked as a children’s librarian at the Toronto Public Library and the Vancouver Public Library and then she went back to school, to Simmons College in Boston to do a degree in children’s literature. B.A., M.L.S., M.A. Okay, that was enough degrees.
For the next couple of decades Sarah worked at the North Vancouver District Library but she had been bitten by the writing bug and so she divided her time between the second best job in the world, being a librarian, and the first best job in the world, writing. Being a writer gave Sarah the chance to travel and she found herself in Japan, Venezuela, Greece, Tanzania, Ireland and all over Canada from Haida Gwaii to Inuvik to Newfoundland, everywhere meeting readers. She has now published a whole shelf of books and she always has a story on the go. Along the way she has picked up some snazzy prizes such as the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature, the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and the Sheila A. Egoff Award. For two years she was the Canadian nominee for the international Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.
In 2007 Sarah retired from the library. But she was only retired for about three weeks before she got another job, teaching at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in their low-residency Writing for Children and Young Adults program. So she’s back at school. Teaching! Her new second best job.
Students, gardening, long-distance walks, book reviewing for The Hornbook Magazine and Quill and Quire, travel, the ukulele, cooking, friends both near and far-flung, it’s the patchwork life of a lucky duck.
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