Sharon E McKay
In 2009 Sharon E McKay was named as a Canadian War Artist, the first young adult writer to hold the title. This venerable institution that hearkens back to WWI includes Alex Sorrell, George Plante, A.R. Thompson, Arthur Lismer, and Alex Colville. War artists may or may not support the action, but historically they support the soldier. Sharon’s trip to Afghanistan in 2009 (KAF and Bazaar-E-Panjwayi, Kandahar Province, on the Pakistan border) inspired her to write Thunder over Kandahar (2010). She writes outside her level of comfort, and often chooses areas of the world that are hard to reach. War Brothers: The Graphic Novel(2013) is the harrowing story of child soldiers in northern Uganda. To do her research, she went to Gulu, Uganda, and interviewed child soldiers. The striking art by Daniel Lafrance brings the story to vivid life. The original novel has been reissued and is available for sale in the United States only. Sharon also loves historical fiction. Esther is the story of the first Jew to live in New France at a time when Jews and Protestants were not allowed. The Whispers series, stories from the Holocaust, was written with the author Kathy Kacer, herself the daughter of Holocaust survivors. Enemy Territory (2012), addresses the Mideast conflict through the eyes of two teenage boys who learn to trust each other despite coming from opposite sides of the struggle. Once again, Sharon lived with families in Israel and in the West Bank as part of her research. Her latest book, The End of the Line (2014), is a novel for middle-grade readers about a young Jewish girl who is saved from certain death by kindly strangers during the Nazi occupation of Holland in World War II. With her latest book, Prison Boy (Spring 2015), Sharon tackles the difficult issue of child torture. In an unnamed country, two young boys are left to fend for themselves after the orphanage where they were living, is shut down. The older boy unwittingly sets off a bomb, killing many people. What follows is the harrowing story of his ordeal and his fierce determination to protect the younger boy.