Monica Sherwood writes middle grade fiction. She is a former elementary school teacher with a master’s degree in Childhood and Special Education from Hunter College. She specialized in Learning Disabilities and utilized reading and writing as a tool for inclusion in her work with students with dyslexia.
Monica has crafted a career that revolves around stories: writing and gaining valuable insights from the stories of others. She currently works in edTech designing digital products for teachers and kids at Backpack Interactive.
Her debut novel, The Ice House was published in November 2021 with Little, Brown Young Readers. She is represented by Steven Malk at Writers House.
"The Ice House is a children’s book, but it doesn’t aim to shield its readers. Louisa and Luke are not perfect kids, but like kids today, they’re living in a very chaotic world. Their dedication to keep trying even though they aren’t sure of what comes ahead demonstrates a quality that’s more important now than ever. Because sometimes we all need a reminder that trying, caring, and hoping is brave, and that friendship is a power that should never be underestimated."
When I was writing The Ice House, I strove to be as brave as Louisa, to believe in and work toward the future I envisioned despite the obstacles in my way. I wrote the hero I needed at the time; she just happened to be twelve.
I ended up editing The Ice House at the height of the pandemic, when striking the right balance between honesty and optimism for young readers felt more important than ever. I wanted to be truthful to a generation of school-aged children witnessing collective global grief.
There is a certain weight to having The Ice House in any way associated with the pandemic when it was written before we could have ever imagined what was going to happen in 2020. I do hope that the parallels in the story help to shine a light on what kids have endured since the pandemic began; those that clearly struggled, as well as those that seemed to thrive. If someone recognizes their pandemic quarantine in Louisa and Luke’s experience, I hope it helps them realize they weren’t alone.
Every night at the height of the pandemic, I climbed up onto the roof of my apartment building and listened to my neighbors clanging pots and pans outside their windows to cheer on our front-line workers. I felt a sense of camaraderie; for those few minutes, we all wanted the same thing. We were facing the unknown together.
So as I edited, I began to see more value in the determination Louisa and Luke share to restore their world to its natural order. As they grow to genuinely care for each other, they don’t just wish for a better future—they work toward accomplishing their mission together as partners.
And when they face the ultimate roadblock — the understanding there are some situations that can’t be fixed — it’s their friendship that keeps them inspired to work toward accomplishing the goals they can control. They can find hope in the midst of that bleakness.
Mungo the Puppy
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Another Favorite Picture Book
Mariette on the High Wire
Favorite Ice Cream
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Another Favorite Book
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Favorite Picture Book
The Little Engine That Could