Shermy and Shake, the Not-So-Nice Neighbor

Happy, happy Sunday! I'm super excited to welcome Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson to Watch. Connect. Read.! We discussed Shermy, Shake, Shinji Fujioka, marionberry pie, and more. I wrote the words in purple, and Kirby wrote the words in black. Thank you, Kirby! 

Shermy and Shake, the Not-So-Nice Neighbor tells the story of two boys with very different personalities who are thrown together for the summer. Shake is fizzy and active; Shermy is cautious and bookish. By the end of the story, they’ve learned to appreciate those differences, a first step in building a friendship.

Shinji Fujioka’s illustrations are humorous and energetic and a dream-come-true! (And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a dog lover, like me!). When I saw his first sketches of the Shermy and Shake characters, I knew he “got” the boys and their story. I admire the way he enriches the text with his art; there is a particularly stunning image in the Fourth of July chapter that took my breath away, even in the rough sketch stage. I consider my editor Kaylan Adair a true fairy godmother for bringing Shinji to this project.

Summer is for bare feet and juicy melons and swimming and farmer’s markets and walks on the beach and, if you live in Seattle like I do, the occasional rained-out picnic.

Story is a magic carpet, a map and a big slice of marionberry pie. A magic carpet because it can transport us to other times and places, broadening our image of the world around us; a map because, like Shermy and Shake: The Not-So-Nice Neighbor, it can show ways to navigate things that are often perplexing, like how to be a good friend or how to put ourselves in another’s shoes or how to own up to our mistakes. And a big slice of my favorite pie because story is sweet and juicy and delicious.

John Schu, you should have asked me...I think you did a great job of asking questions! But I would like to tell you that this story was inspired in part by two of my nephews who, when they were 7 and 8, invented a game with my rose bushes that led to a favorite scene in the book. They are now in their late thirties which gives you an idea of how long a book can take sometimes.

Borrow Shermy and Shake, the Not-So-Nice Neighbor from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 


Popular Posts