Shirlee Smith Matheson

Shirlee Smith Matheson - January 2015 008Shirlee Smith Matheson

What is your latest release and what genre is it? Young adult novel titled Prairie Pictures

Quick description: This award-winning book was first published in 1989 by McClelland & Stewart. It has been completely updated and was released in 2014 by Heritage House Publishing Company Ltd. under their hot new young adult imprint, Wandering Fox.

For twelve-year-old Sherri, moving is a way of life – migrating with her wanderlust family from Calgary to Fort McMurray to Regina. Now, she’s preparing to start Grade Six in Gardin, an Alberta prairie town that has recently been shaken from its cowboy culture to become an industrial hub. Sherri must once again meet new teachers, adapt to a new curriculum – and try to make friends amidst the cultural conflicts found in this wild country.

Prairie Pictures is told with compassion and stark realism, and portrays a lifestyle that is becoming increasingly common across North America. Author Q & A, and Questions for Reading Comprehension included in book.


Brief biography:
Shirlee Smith Matheson was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but has lived in over 20 different communities. Her own experiences of making new friends and leaving familiar things behind inform many of her stories. Shirlee is an alumna of Banff Centre’s writing program and Athabasca University, and has published 20 award-winning fiction and nonfiction books for adult and young readers. She currently makes her home in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

(Shirlee’s story “Valley Girl” also appears in the collection Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada, ed. by Pam Chamberlain, that was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

Links to buy Shirlee’s book:
Heritage House Publishing Co. Ltd.

Shirlee’s promo links:

What are you working on now?
City Pictures, a sequel to Prairie Pictures, is currently receiving the same quality updates and will be released by Heritage House as part of its Wandering Fox series in the summer of 2015. This story takes the family back to Calgary, where Sherri instantly makes a new friend of her next door neighbor – with calamitous consequences in her ill-fated attempt to be cool.

Shirlee’s reading recommendation:
Lori Hahnel is a Calgary-based author whose latest book After You’ve Gone was released by Thistledown Press in 2014. I found it to be a most enjoyable and insightful story, detailing the lives and loves of two generations of family musicians. (Lori was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

Ken Rivard is also a Calgary-based author with many publications to his credit, including his latest novel, Motherwild also by Thistledown Press. This book is set in Montreal – an area Ken knows well – and tells the story of a mother and son relationship with all its joys and heartaches. (Ken was previously featured on Reading Recommendations.)

I attended the dual book launch for Lori’s and Ken’s books in Calgary last November and of course bought – and have enjoyed – reading both of them!

John Wilson is a writer after my own heart, with his spellbinding historical tales that are widely enjoyed by young readers. I especially enjoy his stories that embrace aviation (one of my favorite subjects, and the focus of eight of my published books!). John’s titles such as Shot at Dawn and Wings of War (chronicling tales of the First World War) — and especially his newly updated book, And in the Morning, just released by Heritage House as part of their new Wandering Fox series, are highly recommended.

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