Vale Sherryl Jordan, beacon of Aotearoa New Zealand children’s and YA literature


Readers and the Aotearoa book sector are sharing memories of award-winning children’s author Sherryl Jordan who has died aged 74. Her publisher Scholastic New Zealand has written a tribute to the author, originally posted on Facebook and republished with permission below.

We at Scholastic New Zealand are deeply saddened to report the passing on Friday, 15 December 2023, of beloved children’s and YA fiction author, Sherryl Jordan, aged 74 years.

Born in Hawera, Taranaki, but living most of her adult life in Tauranga, Sherryl’s first published work was as an illustrator for Joy Cowley’s The Silent One in 1982. She then went on to write a multitude of children’s and YA fiction titles, many of which were also published internationally, beginning with the much-acclaimed Rocco in 1988, which was published simultaneously by Scholastic in NZ and the USA. Other favourite and award-winning Scholastic titles include The Juniper Game, Winter of Fire, The Wednesday Wizard (junior fiction series), Ransomwood, The Freedom Merchants, Finnigan and the Pirates (which she also illustrated) and, most recently, The King’s Nightingale.

Sherryl is survived by her daughter Kim, grandson Kael and two great-grandchildren.

Vale, Sherryl, you were a shining light in New Zealand’s children’s and YA literature scene. You will be missed