Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Kate by Valerie Sherrard

Valerie Sherrard's books have long been favourites of mine. I really like her Shelby Belgarden mystery series set in New Brunswick, they are real stories with real teenagers. This book is a bit different from the mystery ones. This is a really nice story about a young girl who is growing up in a small town in the 1960's.

The main character is Kate Benchworth and while in many ways she is just like any other 14 year old, there is one thing that sets her apart- she has been diagnosed with a brain tumour and knows her time is limited. Yet she is determined to make the most out of the time she has left. This may be what sets her apart from most 14 year old kids. Kate wants to make sure that she appreciates and takes advantage of the time she has. This includes getting to know the people in her community and befriending a boy in jail. The lessons Kate shares are really remarkable. She learns about love, and really knowing a person before passing judgement. Kate isn't afraid to show her parents she cares and this is quite different from most books about teenage girls.

As I was reading this book it didn't seem like it was set in the present- the expectations adults had of children were quite different from todays expectations. Kate's father was often reminding Kate of showing respect to elders, not questioning their decisions and how to behave around boys. It wasn't until the middle of the book that it was confirmed that it was set in the 1960's. I don't think that took anything away from the story, however, it will be different for kids to read. I think this book would best be enjoyed by girls who are a little more innocent than most of the intermediate students I teach. Having said that, it is a wonderful story- full of hope, love and strength. It was quite enjoyable.


  1. Thank you for your review, do you happen to know where in the book the time reference to the 1960's is made ?

  2. It was pretty close to the end of the book because I remember thinking "oh, now it makes sense" But other than that I can't help you. Sorry.

    1. I am in grade 8 and i noticed right away that the story took place in the 1960`s. I found it obvious. The events that happened and peoples reactions and actions made it clear. No direct references made though.