New release! Caterpillars Can't Swim
New release! Caterpillars Can’t Swim

Caterpillars Can’t Swim

“In Caterpillars Can’t Swim, [Liane Shaw] examines the prejudices people exert on those who are different – whether those differences are perceived or real – and crafts a plot that ensures understanding and acceptance…. By casting Ryan, whose cerebral palsy defines him for so many, in the role of hero, Shaw changes up the expected narrative.” – Quill & Quire

“This is a strong addition to the canon of literature in Canada that works within realms of sexual diversity and disability. A thought-provoking and compelling narrative that teenage fans of character-driven books will definitely enjoy. Recommended.” – CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Shaw has written a compassionate, well-crafted story about two boys dealing bravely with challenges and finding support in friendship.” – Booklist

“A coming-of-age story that encourages celebrating one’s differences … Caterpillars Can’t Swim is an encouraging story about what’s possible if teens choose to accept the people around them.” – Foreword Reviews

“Set in a small town, the story zeroes-in on the difficulty of fostering self-worth in a hostile environment.” – Winnipeg Free Press


don't tell cover


“Frederick’s character is developed with maximum attention to the nuances of Asperger’s Syndrome, and he is both likeable and complex.” – CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“Both [Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell and Everyday Hero by Kathleen Cherry] are heavily character-driven, focusing on teens and the friendships they make, and both see their protagonists drawn into tenuous, even dangerous, situations. But the real commonality is the message: the peril of labelling and trying to make everyone fit one definition of normal. These two books evocatively give middle-schoolers and young adults the opportunity to open their minds to other possibilities.” – Quill and Quire

“It was a fascinating look into someone else’s mind, and Frederick’s way of thinking gave me things to think about. The end. It was amazing.” – Inside Toronto

“A character-driven novel, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell is a compelling read because of Frederick and Angel’s unique sense of companionship, and their ability to be just what the other needs.” – National Reading Campaign

“This compelling read explores the nuances of Asperger’s Syndrome through 16-year-old Frederick, whose odd behaviour makes him an easy target and renders him friendless at high school.” – City Parent

“A consistently compelling novel by an imaginative and skilled storyteller, ‘Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell’ is an especially recommended addition to high school and community library YA Fiction collections.” – Midwest Book Review

“Shaw has ably captured two distinct voices… Despite [Frederick and Angel’s] occasional irritation with each other, the two develop a genuine friendship that meets each one’s separate needs and plays to each one’s strengths. This could encourage a more sensitive approach to outsiders in school environments—or just shed light on the sometimes complicated dynamics of friendship.” – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Shaw does an excellent job of giving us two lost and somewhat lonely individuals who benefit from their unusual companionship…. [Frederick and Angel] provide much-needed balance for each other and, in doing so, rewrite some of the rules around friendship, normality and acceptance.” – Canadian Children’s Book News

“Liane Shaw shines a spotlight on what living with Asperger’s looks and feels like…. While this book tackles a number of teen issues including sexual assault and bullying, the story of Frederick and Angel is ultimately one of acceptance, a universal theme to which all students will be able to relate to.” – Professionally Speaking, The Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers

“The story of Frederick and Angel’s relationship is one of two misfits who find each other, tolerate each other, and even like each other. Their friendship is quite captivating… Frederick is anxious and relies on unambiguous routine; Angel is a delightful mixture of the in-your-face, self-reliant teenage girl and the lonely, ostracized, and insecure-about-her-body girl. Both teens experience bullying by a group of kids Frederick calls ‘Despisers,’ and both find comfort in their unusual and even sometimes awkward friendship.” – Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures


The Color of Silence color

“The story starts slowly but builds to a strong emotional climax and gives readers a sense that Alex will recover from her trauma as her world slowly regains color.” – School Library Journal

“Liane Shaw’s poetic novel of grief and friendship examines the vast difference between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us.” – Quill & Quire

“(J)ust as she did in Fostergirls (Second Story Press, 2011)… Liane Shaw demonstrates that perspective is everything and nothing is the same for everyone.” – CanLit for Little Canadians

“With no words between them, they build a friendship and connection that resonates and lets them express themselves louder than talking. The Color of Silence is a strong pick for youth novel collections, highly recommended.” – Midwest Book Review

“Sensitively written with amazing insight into the mind of a person with multiple challenges, as well as a teen who is suffering from trauma and guilt, this book will keep the reader enthralled until the very end.” – Good News Toronto

“The story is a moving one and deals with many issues such as overcoming trauma and grief. Readers will not only sympathize with the characters, but will come to understand their personal conflicts on an emotional level. The character of Joanie is an especially interesting one as Shaw provides great insight into what it may be like to have a disability that is physically restrictive.” – Resource Links

Recommended.  CM magazine


“Strong character development and believable situations provide a robust foundation for her excellent, ultimately hopeful tale. Sadie’s edgy account of finding a real place for herself in the world will keep readers thoroughly engaged. ”

Kirkus Reviews

“I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book, but it surpassed my expectations big time. I can say that Fostergirls will be counted among my favourite reads of 2011.”

Library of Clean Reads

“Sadie, though tough as nails, narrates her story with an amusing edginess that works…For readers seeking an honest account of how a girl without parents survives, this story delivers.”

Publishers Weekly

“The first-person perspective is what makes the book for me. Being inside Sadie’s mind is the best way to understand her avoidance of friendship and her difficulties with school work. From the very first chapter Shaw had me interested in the point of view with this description of the school system…This is an important novel for anyone to read.”

Libraries and Young Adults

An authentic and accurate story…Will engage many reluctant readers and fans of problem novels, and it will have a special appeal to other ‘fostergirls’ and those struggling with learning disabilities or school.”

School Library Journal


“With well-developed characters in the mix of family and friends who engage with this young woman, teenaged readers have the opportunity to enjoy a strong story while at the same time learn about an illness that may hit close to home.”

National Post

“Liane Shaw, who has battled anorexia herself, spins Maddie’s treatment – as she progresses from delusions to tough realizations – into an absorbing psychological drama…through clear and unflinching storytelling, Shaw takes her readers deep into the labyrinthine psyche of a young girl battling an eating disorder.”

Quill & Quire

“… a brave book that succeeds in both being a compelling read and a great tool to spark a dialogue among teens around beauty, media pressure and the effects it has on us all.”

Canadian Bookseller

“With well developed characters in the mix of family and friends who engage with this young woman, readers have the opportunity to enjoy a strong story while at the same time learning about an illness that may hit close to home. Highly recommended.”

Saskatoon Star Phoenix is particularly informative and inspirational for teens dealing with low self-esteem and eating disorders. This book would be an excellent addition to a young adult fiction collection. Recommended.”

Library Media Collection

  • Brent Eades

    Those are some pretty impressive reviews. Nice. I *told* you you were a real writer :)

  • Petya Lowes

    Very nice Mrs Shaw. to my favorite teacher still to this day