Sherri L. Smith is the award-winning author of YA novels Lucy the Giant, Sparrow, Hot Sour Salty Sweet, Flygirl and Orleans. Her bestselling novel, The Toymaker’s Apprentice is the Southern California Booksellers Association Award winner for Middle Grade. Her books have been listed as Amelia Bloomer, American Library Association Best Books for Young People, and Junior Library Guild Selections. Flygirl was the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist. Sherri was a 2014 National Book Awards judge in the Young People’s Literature category. She is a three-time writer-in-resident at Hedgebrook retreat in Washington State, as well as a resident at Wassard Elea retreat, in Ascea, Italy.
Born in Chicago, IL, she has lived on all three coasts (West, East and Lake Michigan!). She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Broadcast Journalism, an M.S. in Business and an M.A. in Humanities. Sherri has worked in film, animation, comic books and construction. She worked in stop-motion animation on Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!, and spent three years at Disney TV Animation, helping to create stories for animated home video projects.
Upon leaving Disney, Sherri found an unlikely home with a construction company, working in a triple-wide trailer on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport, while she worked on her first novel. From there she went on to work and write for Bongo Comics, the company that brings you The Simpsons in print. Recently, she worked in a monster factory, wrangling the folks that make monsters and dead people for movies and television.
Sherri’s first novel, Lucy the Giant, was unanimously selected as an ALA Best Book for Young People, and received an Honorable Mention from the Dutch Golden Kiss/Gouden Zoen Awards. Her 2009 novel Flygirl, a WWII novel about a light-skinned black girl who passes for white in order to join the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post. In 2012, Sherri made her first foray into speculative fiction with the “cli fi” novel, Orleans, a book dedicated to her mother, who survived Hurricane Katrina. The Toymaker’s Apprentice , is a vibrant retelling of the story of the Nutcracker. Her latest novel is the young adult noir mystery, Pasadena.
Sherri is a faculty member of the Creative Writing MFA program at Goddard College and the MFA in Children’s Writing at Hamline University. She lives in Los Angeles with the love of her life and a disreputable cat. She is represented by Kirby Kim of Janklow and Nesbit.
Oh, and if you’re wondering, her name is pronounced “Shur-REE”– not “SHARE-ee!”
Find out more about Sherri at
by Sherri L. Smith
Sep 13, 2016
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Available in hardcover from Vroman's Bookstore
at the Vroman's pop-up shop during the festival, and wherever books are sold
Bad things happen everywhere. Even in the land of sun and roses.
When Jude’s best friend is found dead in a swimming pool, her family calls it an accident. Her friends call it suicide. But Jude calls it what it is: murder. And someone has to pay.
Now everyone is a suspect—family and friends alike. And Jude is digging up the past like bones from a shallow grave. Anything to get closer to the truth. But that’s the thing about secrets. Once they start turning up, nothing is sacred. And Jude’s got a few skeletons of her own.