Sheree Fitch (children’s author, poet, and novelist) was born 3 December 1956 in Ottawa, Ontario, the oldest of three children. Her father, an RCMP officer originally from Nova Scotia, was stationed on Parliament Hill at the time of her birth; her mother is from Sussex, New Brunswick. When Fitch was nine months old, her family moved to Miramichi, New Brunswick, where she lived until the age of three. From the Miramichi, Sheree and her family moved to Moncton, where she lived for ten years before moving to Fredericton. She graduated from Fredericton High School in 1974 and was named valedictorian of her graduating class. She remained in Fredericton until she was thirty-seven but moved to Washington, DC, in 2001 with her husband, Gilles Plante, a technical supervisor of US operations of the CBC. She still has a cabin in Nova Scotia.
In 1974, Fitch entered a two-year nursing program but withdrew a month into it when she realized nursing was not the right career for her. In 1987 she graduated with a BA from St. Thomas University. That same year her first book, Toes in my Nose, was published by Doubleday Canada. This publication came ten years after she had written her first “nonsense” poems. At the time, she was the single mother of two boys, Jordan and Dustin. Fitch has said during interviews that she found inspiration for her first two books, Toes and Sleeping Dragons All Around (1989), in her children. Both books were well-received, and the second won the Atlantic Bookseller’s Choice Award in 1990.
In 1994—seven years after finishing her BA—Fitch completed her Master’s degree from Acadia University. Between degrees, she published Merry Go-Day! (1991), There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen! (1992), I Am Small (1994), and In This House Are Many Women (1993). The last of these titles is a departure from her previous work. Revised in 2004, In This House is a collection of adult poetry that focuses on domestic violence, women living in poverty, and the struggles of single mothers. This collection enabled her to reach a whole new readership. Her other books of note are Mabel Murple (1995), which received the Anne Connor Brimer Award in 1996; If You Could Wear My Sneakers! (1997); There’s a Mouse in My House (1998); The Hullaballoo Bugaboo Day (1998); The Other Author, Arthur (1999); and If I Were the Moon (1999). More recent books include No Two Snowflakes (2001); Everybody’s Different on Everybody Street (2001); One More Step (2002); Persnickety Pete (The Cleanest Boy in the World) (2003); Pocket Rocks (2004); The Gravesavers (2005), winner of CBC’s Young Canada Reads Award; Peek-a-Little Boo (2005); If I Had a Million Onions (2005); and Kisses Kisses, Baby-O! (2008). In 2008, she released another adult title, a novel entitled Kiss the Joy As It Flies (2008), which was her 23rd publication.
Fitch has spent a great deal of time presenting her work at public libraries and schools at home and abroad. She has also taught children’s literature at St. Thomas University and in the Faculty of Education at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. Fitch has also produced an autobiographical “how-to” guide, Writing Maniac: How I Grew Up to Be a Writer (And You Can Too!) (2000).
Fitch is the honorary spokesperson for the New Brunswick Coalition for Literacy and the honorary spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Read With Me Program. In addition to promoting literacy, she has been a presenter at numerous literacy festivals and conferences in North America. In recognition of her many achievements, she has received two honorary doctorates (from Acadia University and Saint Mary’s University) for her contribution to Canadian literature. In 1988, she received the President’s Award from the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick for the unpublished poetry that would become In This House. In 2000 she also won the prestigious Vicky Metcalf Award for a body of work in children’s literature.
Catherine Boyle, Winter 2008
St. Thomas University
Bibliography of Primary Sources
Sheree, Fitch. Everybody’s Different on Everybody Street. Illus. Laura Jolcoeur. Halifax, NS: The Nova Scotia Hospital Foundation, 2002.
---. The Gravesavers. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 2005
---. The Hullaballoo Bugaboo Day. Illus. Jill Quinn. Lawrencetown Beach, NS: Pottersfield Press, 1998.
---. I Am Small. Illus. Kim LaFave. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1994.
---. If I Had a Million Onions. Illus. Yayo. Vancouver, BC: Tradewind Publishers, 2005.
---. If I Were the Moon. Illus. Leslie Watts. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1999.
---. If You Could Wear My Sneakers! Illus. Darcia Labrosse. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1997.
---. In This House Are Many Women. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 1993.
---. Kiss The Joy As It Flies. Halifax, NS: Vagrant Press (Nimbus), 2008.
---. Kisses Kisses, Baby-O! Illus. Hilda Rose. Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2008.
---. “The Laundry Hamper and the Moon.” Words Out There: Women Poets in Atlantic Canada. Ed. Jeanette Lynes. Lockeport, NS: Roseway, 1999. 156-163.
---. Mabel Murple. Illus. Maryann Kovalski. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1995.
---. Mabel Murple. Illus. Sydney Smith. 1995. Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2010.
---. Merry Go-Day! Illus. Molly Lamb Bobak. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1991.
---. No Two Snowflakes. Illus. Janet Wilson. Victoria, BC: Orca Soundings, 2001.
---. One More Step. Victoria, BC: Orca Soundings, 2002.
---. The Other Author, Arthur. Illus. Jill Quinn. Lawrencetown Beach, NS: Pottersfield Press, 1999.
---. Peek-a-Little Boo. Illus. Laura Watson. Victoria, BC: Orca Soundings, 2005.
---. Persnickety Pete (The Cleanest Boy in The World!). Illus. Jane Wallace-Mitchell. Australia: Pearson Education, 2003.
--. Pluto's Ghost. Toronto, ON: Doubleday Canada, 2010.
---. Pocket Rocks. Illus. Helen Flook. Victoria, BC: Orca Soundings, 2004.
---. Sleeping Dragons All Around. Illus. Michelle Nidenoff. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1989.
---. There Were Monkeys in My Kitchen! Illus. Marc Mongeau. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1992.
---. There’s a Mouse in My House. Illus. Leslie Watts. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1998.
---. Toes in My Nose. Illus. Molly Lamb. Toronto, ON: Doubleday, 1987.
---. Writing Maniac: How I Grew Up to Be a Writer (and You Can Too!). Markham, ON: Pembroke Publishers, 2000.
Bibliography of Secondary Sources
Babinski, Bob. “Sheree Fitch: Reaching for the Moon.” The Atlantic Advocate 81.6 (Feb. 1991): 9-11.
Catto, Susan. “Fitch Goes After the Grown-Ups.” Quill & Quire (Oct. 2008): 8-9.
Dyer, Hadley. “Nonsense Poet Explores New Forms.” Quill & Quire (June 1997): 61-62.
Jenkinson, Dave. “Sheree Fitch: Prize Winning Writers of ‘Utterature.’” Emergency Librarian 21.1 (Sept.-Oct. 1993): 66-70.
Jones, Raymond E., and Jon C. Stott. “Sheree Fitch.” Canadian Children’s Books: A Critical Guide to Authors and Illustrators. Don Mills, ON: Oxford UP, 2000. 126-129.
Kroop, Paul. “Sheree Fitch: Poetess in Motion.” Today’s Parent (Apr. 2000): 22.
Lynes, Jeanette. “‘A Purple Sort of Girl’: Sheree Fitch’s Tales of Emergence.” Canadian Children’s Literature 90 (Summer 1998): 28-37.
“Sheree Fitch: Poet.” Contemporary Canadian Biographies. Detroit, MI: Thomson Gale, 2000. 19 Jan. 2010
“Turning Over a New Page; Veteran Children's Author Sheree Fitch Feels Like New Writer With First Full-Length Novel.” Guelph Mercury 14 July 2008: A10.