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Young Adult Fiction Environment

Voice of the Valley

by (author) Sheena Koops

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2006
Environment, Farm & Ranch Life, Coming of Age
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2006
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 12
  • Grade: 8 to 12
  • Reading age: 12


Onja Claibourn is almost fifteen. Her world is one of sage, buffalo bills, brown-eyed susans, cactus, flax, buckbrush, foxtail and orange moss—the world of the valley just beyond the family farm. Old roads twist like a game of snakes and ladders into the valley. Onja and her horse Ginger spend their summer days in exploration.

But things begin to change when Onja discovers first an archeological dig and then the startling fact that there is a plan to dam and flood her valley. She cannot contemplate this change to the landscape she loves so much. And when she also discovers sixteen-year-old Etthen, working with the archaeologists, she begins those first faltering footsteps toward a totally unfamiliar landscape—romantic love.

Voice of the Valley is a poetic, multi-layered, coming-of-age story inspired by the controversial flooding of Saskatchewan's Souris Valley. Onja Claibourn is a wonderfully complex and very real character—innocent, wise, shy, stubborn, playful, and caring. The other major character in the novel is the prairie landscape itself—huge sky, harsh sun, rolling hills, sweeping fields of grain.

About the author

Voice of the Valley is Sheena Koops' first novel. She is an author who has stuck to the old adage "write what you know" and that faith has served her tremendously well in this compelling story. Sheena Koops teaches high school and lives with her family in the historic Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan.


Sheena Koops' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Recommend this to middle school students interested in the environment, activism or archaeology."


"There is no question that young-adult readers will hang on every word of this exciting and totally authentic tale. Highly recommended."

Canadian Book Review Annual

"...will strike a chord for many young people."

Resource Links

"The author's descriptive language...melds well with the timeless themes of young love and independence."