Hamline News

The Toymaker's Apprentice by Sherri L. Smith wins SCIBA Award

Sherri Smith Toymakers 375

MFAC faculty, Sherri L. Smith’s middle grade novel, The Toymaker's Apprentice, has won the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association Award for Middle Grade. Read Sherri's blog post on the award here

Each year The Southern California Independent Booksellers Association selects seven award-winning titles. These are nominated by industry professionals, and chosen by independent booksellers as best (mostly) regional offerings from the previous 12 months.

All of the books are written or illustrated by Southern California residents, with the exception of the Glenn Goldman Award for Art, Architecture, and Photography. This legacy award is given to honor Glenn Goldman’s personal interest in this category. Our other legacy award is named for T. Jefferson Parker, in the Mystery and Thriller category, due to his constant support of booksellers and writers in Southern California.


The Toymaker's Apprentice was published October 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. 

Purchase the book through the publisher.


about the book

A gorgeously imagined Nutcracker retelling from award-winning author making her middle-grade debut.

Stefan Drosselmeyer is a reluctant apprentice to his toymaker father until the day his world is turned upside down. His father is kidnapped and Stefan is enlisted by his mysterious cousin, Christian Drosselmeyer, to find a mythical nut to save a princess who has been turned into a wooden doll. 

Embarking on a wild adventure through Germany, Stefan must save Boldavia’s princess and his own father from the fanatical Mouse Queen and her seven-headed Mouse Prince, both of whom have sworn to destroy the Drosselmeyer family. 

Based on the original inspiration for the Nutcracker ballet, Sherri L. Smith brings the Nutcracker Prince to life in this fascinating journey into a world of toymaking, magical curses, clockmaking guilds, talking mice, and erudite squirrels.


about the author

Sherri L. Smith is the award-winning author of five Young Adult novels including the 2009 California Book awards Gold Medalist, Flygirl, a World War II adventure the Washington Post named a best book of the year; the "cli-fi" adventure, Orleans; the middle grade historical fantasy, The Toymaker’s Apprentice; and the neo-noir novel, Pasadena

Sherri is on the faculty of Goddard College's MFA in Writing and Hamline University's MFAC Writing programs. You can find her at www.sherrilsmith.com.