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Sky by Odine Sherman

Sky by Odine Sherman


ONDINE SHERMAN has been a life-long animal advocate, passionate about promoting respect and compassion for all creatures. She has put this passion into action as the co-founder and of Voiceless, the animal protection institute.

She has recently released Sky, her new book in the ‘Animal Allies’ series for young adults. gr caught up with her to ask how her passion for animal rights has influenced her writing.


What inspired you to write a young-adult novel centred on animal protection issues? 


Young people are often full of passion, idealism, and creativity. Writing for this age group gives me the wonderful opportunity to engage teenagers with new ideas and stimulate their critical thinking. Animal protection has been my own passion since I was seven years old and as a teenager I was very involved in advocacy, an area that has grown exponentially in the last 30 years. Today, I know so many young people who want to learn more about animal and environmental issues and are seeking to be part of a global change to a kinder world. 


How did you develop the protagonist, Sky


When I first started writing the character of Sky, I had to dig deep into my own teenage memories, some of which I may have preferred to forget! I think we all go through quite universal experiences at that age, be it grappling with our identity, self-esteem, our voice, social pressures or love interests. It also helped that my daughter, Jasmine, was just entering her teen years. There were too many times to count where I ran something by her and she exclaimed, ‘Mum, please! Just, no!’ She is almost as attached to Sky and the characters as I am, something which makes me very happy.


You’re also the co-founder and managing director of Voiceless, an animal protection institute. How did your work with Voiceless influence Sky?


I have lived and breathed animal protection for the last 15 years of  Voiceless. It has influenced my thinking and writing in every possible way. In Sky, I chose to explore our relationship with chickens because I know that of the 70 billion farm animals killed globally every year, chickens are the most abused. They don’t often get a voice and writing the ‘character’ of Chirp was a chance to address that in some small way. However, not all the animal themes in the series relate to Voiceless’s work. 


Where can we expect the series to go next? 


The series is moving between Australia and other countries as Sky has the chance to travel. The next book, Snow, is set in the icy cold Alaskan winter and through our protagonist we meet some of the extraordinary wildlife who call the vast forests home. I’m now working on Star which finds us back in Australia and brings up a complex set of issues connected with social media, activism as well as, of course, animals and nature. I have many ideas brewing as to where our Sky goes next. It’s going to be exciting! 


Sky by Ondine Sherman is published by Pantera Press.