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Shelly Sanders


Contact Information


shelly [at] shellysanders [dot] com

156 Gloucester Avenue
Oakville ON
L6J 3W5

p. 905-337-2343
b. 905-337-2343

Selected Bibliography

Rachel's Secret
(Second Story Press, 2012)

Location: Oakville, ONAvailability: nationalAvailable: Any time

Reading Location:

libraries, schools


6 to 8

Audience Size:



$250.00 per reading




I start with a PowerPoint presentation about the facts behind my historical fiction novel: Rachel's Secret. I was actually inspired to write this book because my grandmother escaped a similar pogrom a few years later.

Set in 1903, Kishinev Russia, Rachel's Secret is about a pogrom, inspired by rumors and lies in the local newspaper about a boy's murder. "The body was found without any wounds or bruises, and his eyes, ears, and mouth had been sewn shut. All the blood was drained." (Pavel Krushevan, publisher, Bessarabetz) Jews were blamed for the boy's death, and during the Easter weekend, riots began,leaving 49 dead, and thousands injured and homeless. Since my book is based on actual events, I have photos in my presentation depicting the town where this pogrom took place, before and after the riots.
Then, I look at the town of Kishinev today, and how this pogrom has affected the demographics. Back in 1903, there were 50,000 Jews here; today Jews make up .1 percent of the population--4,174. This shows students how important it is to understand and remember the past, for it has an important impact on the future.

Next, I read from Rachel's Secret, and then talk about how I became an author, and the writing process. I emphasize the importance of reading books, magazines, and newspapers, to see different styles and writing techniques, and to improve vocabulary and spelling. I explain the necessity of multiple revisions and accepting criticism, and tell the students that I wrote 14 drafts of my first manuscript before it was accepted for publiation. Finally, I give the students some writing exercises and recommend books to read. Then, I answer any questions the students may have, and sign copies of my book.

Special Equipment:

Screen for PowerPoint

Book Sales:

Copies of books can be brought to be sold and autographed.


After receiving an Honours Degree in English from the University of Waterloo, I went on to complete a degree in Journalism at Ryerson. I've been a freelance writer for 20 years, for publications such as Maclean's, Canadian Living, the Toronto Star, the National Post, Homemaker's, and Reader's Digest. A few years ago, I began working on Rachel's Secret, a book I had been thinking about for years, to honour my grandmother's memory. Then I started taking creative writing classes at U of T and began working on another novel. I have received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to work on the sequel to Rachel's Secret, and hope to complete this in less than fourteen drafts!