Sheri L. Gilbert Biography
Beginning her authorial career after dedicating several years to her family, Sheri L. Gilbert approached the craft of writing children's books seriously. She studied, wrote, and connected with other writers, ultimately publishing her first book, The Legacy of Gloria Russell, in 2004. Taking place in the Ozarks of Missouri, Gilbert's debut recounts the affect small-town's prejudice has on an unfortunate outsider with the Eastern European last name Satan. After twelve-year-old Billy James Wilkins' best friend, Gloria Russell, dies of an aneurysm, Billy decides to follow the outgoing girl's example and befriends Mr. Satan, a reclusive woodcarver who had also been a friend of Gloria's prior to her death. While his friendship is at first motivated by curiosity as much as anything, Billy gradually comes to appreciate his new friend, as Gloria did, and defends the foreign-born craftsman when suspicions start to circulate among neighbors. "Billy James' grief over the loss of his friend is palpable, and young readers will admire his determination" to defend his friend's memory, stated Booklist reviewer Jennifer Mattson, while a Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Gilbert's prose as "skillful." In a review for School Library Journal, Connie Tyrrell Burns praised the book as an effective coming-of-age novel, adding that The Legacy of Gloria Russell is "lyrically written."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, May 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Legacy of Gloria Russell, p. 1559.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2004, review of The Legacy of Gloria Russell, p. 329.
Publishers Weekly, April 5, 2004, review of The Legacy of Gloria Russell, p. 62.
School Library Journal, April, 2004, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of The Legacy of Gloria Russell, p. 154.
Sheri L. Gilbert Web site, http://www.sherigilbert.com (January 25, 2005).