Sharelle Byars Moranville Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Writings, Sidelights
Female. Education: Attended Southern Illinois University; State University of New York, Binghampton, M.A.; Kent State University, Ph.D. (English literature).
Agent—c/o Author Mail, Henry Holt & Co., 115 West 18th St., New York, NY 10011.
Teacher and author.
Over the River, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2002.
The Purple Ribbon, Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to Storydog.com.
Sharelle Byars Moranville completed her first manuscript—a young-adult novel—while she was a college student. Her first children's book, Over the River, was published in 2002. On her Web site Moranville commented: "I enjoy sharing my interest in writing with both children and adults. When I speak, I'm often asked when I started writing. The truest answer is that I started writing when I started reading. If we don't read, we can't write."
Set in 1948, as electricity was just coming into the mainstream in the rural Midwest, Over the River focuses on families. In the novel eleven-year-old Willa Mae grapples with the death of her mother and the disappearance of her father. After living with her grandparents for some time, Willa Mae's father suddenly appears, and wants to take her away from her home, so the two of them can be a family. While Willa Mae finds many of her questions resolved, new problems soon surface; although with her electrician father she enjoys the novelty conveniences of refrigerators and hot running water, leaving her grandparents behind has been difficult. Reviewing Over the River, Cindy Darling Codell remarked in School Library Journal that Moranville's book is "superbly crafted and has a dramatically tensioned climax." Hazel Rochman noted in
her Booklist review that "This is the best kind of historical fiction, where details of time and place are not a picturesque backdrop but an integral part of the story."
Readers become acquainted with a field mouse named Spring in Moranville's second children's book, The Purple Ribbon, and follow Spring as she grows up, goes out into the world, and has a family of her own. Before being separated from her own family during a big storm, Spring is given a purple ribbon from GranDora that has traditionally been passed down, generation after generation, from mother to daughter. While seeking refuge during the storm Spring makes a nest in an old car, where she has four babies herself. Together the tiny mice survive perilous cat attacks and car rides, and eventually Spring is reunited with her family. While a Kirkus Reviews writer noted that the gentle pace of the story failed to fully engage readers, Shelle Rosenfeld commented enthusiastically in Booklist that The Purple Ribbon is a "delightful tale that illuminates the importance of family."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 15, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Over the River, p. 598; March 15, 2003, Shelle Rosenfeld, review of The Purple Ribbon, p. 1327.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2002, review of Over the River, p. 1396; April 1, 2003, review of The Purple Ribbon, p. 537.
Publishers Weekly, March 24, 2003, review of The Purple Ribbon, p. 76.
School Library Journal, November, 2002, Cindy Darling Codell, review of Over the River, p. 174; May, 2003, Jody McCoy, review of The Purple Ribbon, p. 126.
Sharelle Byars Moranville Home Page, http://www.sharellebyarsmoranville.com/ (February 6, 2004).