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by Valerie Sherrard


JUV039240 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Depression & Mental Illness

JUV002040 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Birds

JUV013060 JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Parents


Corbin Hayes has felt alone for as long as he can remember. His mom’s illness means lost jobs, constant moves, new schools and friendships that never get to grow. There’s a gap in his life that’s been waiting to be filled.

So, when a classmate offers Corbin the talking bird she can no longer keep, he’s stoked.

But when things begin to spiral out of control, Corbin can no longer get his mom – or himself – through the dark period. At his lowest moment, he’s forced to do the one thing he fears the most.

Price: $13.95

Ages: 9 to 12

Publication Date: March 13, 2021

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ISBN: 9781770866133

Format: Trade Paperback

Size: 5.375" x 8.00"

Shortlisted, 2023 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award

Nominated, 2023 MYRCA Sundogs Award

Shortlisted, 2022 Mrs. Dunster’s Award for Fiction - New Brunswick Book Award

Nominated, 2022 Forest of Reading - Red Maple Award

Finalist, 2022 SYRCA Diamond Willow

Commended, 2021 OLA Best Bets


“Honest and straightforward, with no sugar-coating of the challenges of bipolar disorder, Birdspell offers remarkable insight to young readers unfamiliar with mental-health issues. At the same time, it provides rare validation for those children who struggle with it in their daily lives. … Despite the gravity of the subject matter, Birdspell is a very readable book laced with humour and grace.”

— Charis Cotter, Quill & Quire

Birdspell is a deep and beautifully written title that once begun is hard to put down. Despite the tragedy of the circumstances, the novel is a compelling story of strength, hope and compassion. Highly Recommended.” 

CM Magazine

“... Sherrard does an excellent job of lacing humour into the story without making light of what Corbin's going through. She also keeps the story hopeful and optimistic and reminds readers that there's nothing wrong with asking for help. Highly recommended for middle-grade readers.”

Rachel Seigel, Canadian Children's Book News

“Young-adult fiction has to do everything a novel for adult readers does and more: it must be accessible by and relevant to an audience that has no patience for homily. Birdspell by Valerie Sherrard succeeds beautifully in that regard, steering clear of didacticism. Corbin, the book’s teenage hero, navigates an unpredictable home-life that would sink most grownups. His pluck and optimism are inspiring.”

— Mrs. Dunster's Award for Fiction jurors

“An extremely good middle-grader read, Birdspell truly had me engrossed from page one. A serious mental health issue, a single-parent household and a young boy called upon to live by his wits during his mother’s ups and downs, there is no shortage of drama in Corbin’s life. … A highly recommended read for middle-graders on up.”

— James M. Fisher, The Miramichi Reader

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