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Bourgeois, Paulette 1951-

BOURGEOIS, Paulette 1951-

PERSONAL: Born July 20, 1951, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; daughter of Mathias (a chartered accountant) and Freda (a small business owner) Bourgeois; married Ian Urquhart (a journalist), May 3, 1980 (separated); children: Natalie, Gordon. Education: University of Western Ontario, B.Sc., 1974; attended Carleton University.

ADDRESSES: Home—Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Kids Can Press, 29 Birch Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4V 1E2, Canada.


CAREER: Royal Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, staff occupational therapist, 1975-76; Canadian Broadcasting Corp., reporter, 1977-78, 1980-81; freelance writer, 1981—.


MEMBER: Writers Union of Canada, Canadian Society of Children's Authors, Illustrators, and Performers.


AWARDS, HONORS: Recipient of several Canada Council grants and numerous Children's Choice Awards from the Canadian Children's Book Centre.


WRITINGS:

FOR CHILDREN

Big Sarah's Little Boots, illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

On Your Mark, Get Set: All about the Olympic Games,Then and Now, illustrated by Tina Holdcroft, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987.

The Amazing Apple Book, illustrated by Linda Hendry, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1987, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1990.

The Amazing Paper Book, illustrated by Linda Hendry, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1990.

Grandma's Secret (also see below), illustrated by Maryann Kovalski, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989, Joy Street Books (Boston, MA), 1990.

The Amazing Dirt Book, illustrated by Craig Terlson, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1990.

Too Many Chickens!, illustrated by Bill Slavin, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1990.

The Amazing Potato Book, Addison-Wesley (Reading, MA), 1991.

Canadian Fire Fighters ("My Neighborhood" series), illustrated by Kim LaFave, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991, published as Fire Fighters, 1998.

Canadian Garbage Collectors ("My Neighborhood" series), illustrated by Kim LaFave, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991, published as Garbage Collectors, 1998.

Canadian Police Offıcers ("My Neighborhood" series), illustrated by Kim LaFave, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1991, published as Police Offıcers, 1998.

Canadian Postal Workers ("My Neighborhood" series), illustrated by Kim LaFave, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1992, published as Postal Workers, 1998.

(With Martin Wolfish) Changes in You and Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly for Boys, Andrews & McMeel (Kansas City, KS), 1994.

Changes in You and Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly for Girls, Andrews & McMeel (Kansas City, KS), 1994.

Too Many Hats of Mr. Minches, illustrated by Kathryn Naylor, Stoddart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994.

The Sun ("Starting with Space" series), Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

The Moon ("Starting with Space" series), Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Oma's Quilt, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.


"FRANKLIN" SERIES

Franklin in the Dark (also see below; Book-of-the-Month Club selection), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1986.

Hurry Up, Franklin (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1989, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1990.

Franklin Fibs (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1991.

Franklin Is Lost (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1992.

Franklin Is Bossy (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1993.

Franklin Is Messy, illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1994.

Franklin and Me: A Book about Me, Written andDrawn by Me (with a Little Help from Franklin), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1994, published as Franklin and Me: My First Record of Favourite Things, Personal Facts, and Special Memories, 1997.

Franklin Goes to School (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.

Franklin Plays the Game, illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.

Franklin's Blanket (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.

Franklin Wants a Pet (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1995.

Franklin and the Tooth Fairy (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

Franklin Has a Sleepover (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

Franklin's Halloween (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996.

Franklin's School Play (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1996. Franklin's Bad Day (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1996, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

Franklin Rides a Bike, illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

Franklin's New Friend (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1997.

Franklin's Valentines (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Finders Keepers for Franklin, illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Franklin and the Thunderstorm, illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Franklin's Christmas Gift (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

Franklin's Secret Club (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Sharon Jennings) Franklin's Class Trip (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Franklin's Classic Treasury (contains Franklin in theDark, Franklin Fibs, Franklin Is Bossy, and Hurry Up, Franklin), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 1999.

Franklin's Classic Treasury, Volume II (contains Franklin Is Lost, Franklin Wants a Pet, Franklin's Blanket, and Franklin and the Tooth Fairy), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Franklin's Baby Sister (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Franklin's Friendship Treasury (contains Franklin Has a Sleepover, Franklin's Bad Day, Franklin's New Friend, and Franklin's Secret Club), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.

Franklin and Harriet (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2001.

Franklin's School Treasury (contains Franklin Goes toSchool, Franklin's School Play, Franklin's Class Trip, and Franklin's Neighborhood), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Franklin Says I Love You (also see below), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2002.

Franklin's Holiday Treasury (contains Franklin'sHalloween, Franklin's Valentines, Franklin's Christmas Gift, and Franklin's Thanksgiving), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.

Franklin's Family Treasury (contains Franklin Goes to the Hospital, Franklin's Baby Sister, Franklin and Harriet and Franklin Says I Love You), illustrated by Brenda Clark, Kids Can Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.


Many of Bourgeois's books have been translated into French; several have also been translated into Spanish.


ADAPTATIONS: A television series based on the "Franklin" books was created, airing on Canada's Family Channel, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and Nickelodeon. An animated movie, Franklin and the Green Knight, was produced by Nelvana and Hong Guang Animation in 2000. Other authors have written books in the "Franklin" series which were based on Bourgeois's characters, including Franklin's Neighborhood, Franklin Goes to the Hospital, and Franklin's Thanksgiving.


SIDELIGHTS: Paulette Bourgeois is known across the United States and her native Canada as the creator of the classic, beloved children's book character Franklin. Franklin is a tiny turtle who suffers from all of the fears and trials of childhood. As he overcomes them, Franklin teaches preschool children lessons about trust, friendship, bravery, family, and many other topics, but he accomplishes this in a different way than most children's book characters do, note critics. As Valerie Hussey, co-owner of the "Franklin" series publisher Kids Can Press, explained to Maclean's interviewer Diane Turbide, "Very often, there's a kind of pedantry in children's books, with adults pointing out the lesson to be learned. . . . We try hard to avoid that. Franklin's parents are there to support him, but he usually resolves it himself. That's a large part of the appeal."

Around the time that her daughter, Natalie, was born, Bourgeois thought that she might like to write children's books, but she could not think of an original idea for one. She finally came up with the idea for Franklin while sitting up late one night with her infant daughter. She was watching an episode of the television series M*A*S*H in which the star, Hawkeye Pierce, declared that he was so claustrophobic that if he were a turtle, he would be afraid to go inside his shell. Bourgeois sat down and in less than a week wrote a story about just such a turtle. This story eventually became her first children's book, Franklin in the Dark.


The "Franklin" series has grown to encompass scores of books, a television series, and a movie, but the theme of facing one's fears remains common. In Franklin and the Thunderstorm, the little turtle wants to stay home with his mother instead of going to visit his friend Fox on a day when there might be a thunderstorm. His mother convinces him to go, and with his friends to support him, he learns that thunderstorms are not so bad after all. "Children will relate to the situation and the gentle humor of the solution," thought a Resource Links contributor. In Franklin Is Lost, Franklin and his friends have fun playing hide-and-seek. The little turtle forgets that he is not allowed to go in the woods, tries to hide there, and cannot find his way back out. "Bourgeois captures . . . well the surprise and fear that accompanies being lost," commented another Resource Links reviewer.


In Franklin's Class Trip, both Franklin and his friend Snail are afraid. Their classmate Beaver tells them that there are real dinosaurs at the museum the class is visiting. Franklin and Snail (who rides around the museum on Franklin's shell) spend the whole morning getting more and more worried about the dinosaurs, but finally, when they make it to the dinosaur room in the afternoon, the two critters realize that the dinosaurs are not alive and stop worrying.


The "Franklin" books also teach social skills like sharing, not being bossy, and cooperating. In Franklin's Secret Club, the turtle creates a club that excludes one of his classmates. The girl, offended, forms her own club that excludes Franklin. Franklin comes to realize that, rather than excluding others, it is better to be friends with everyone. It's another "wonderful, lesson story," from Bourgeois, a reviewer wrote in Resource Links.


Franklin learns another important insight about friendship in Franklin's Valentines. On his way to school on Valentine's Day, he accidentally drops all of his cards for his classmates in a mud puddle. Franklin is worried that his friends will be angry that he does not have valentines for them, and that they will not give him any valentines if they do not receive one in return. However, Franklin's friends are understanding and give him their cards, and the next day, Franklin brings "Friendship Day" cards for everyone.


Another holiday tale, Franklin's Christmas Gift finds the little turtle trying to make a very difficult decision. His class is collecting toys to give to poor children for the holidays. Franklin likes all of his toys and does not want to give any of them up. He finally discovers a broken toy that he would be willing to give away, but then his teacher, Mr. Owl, tells the class that the children who will be receiving these toys might not get any other presents this Christmas. Franklin realizes that his broken truck is not such a good present after all and donates one of his favorite toys instead.


Although she is best known for creating the Franklin character, Bourgeois has also written other books for children. Oma's Quilt offers "a gentle and subtle story about how the love and support of family members can make difficult transitions in life less painful," explained Resource Links reviewer Zoe Johnstone Guha. The beginning of the story finds Emily's grandmother, Oma, moving from her beloved house into a retirement home. At first, Oma hates the change. She wants to be able to cook her own meals, she misses her things, and she thinks that the other residents of the nursing home are "nincompoops." When Emily and her mother go to Oma's house to sort through her things, they realize that the old woman kept many items of clothing with sentimental value over the years. Together, Emily and her mother create a quilt for Oma out of those clothes, and being able to snuggle up with the quilt makes the move easier for Oma. The story is "told in simple, appealing language," thought Booklist's Gillian Engberg, and School Library Journal contributor Sheilah Kosco dubbed the book "reassuring."

Bourgeois once commented: "I believe that children's books can give children a key to the world as it is, and as it can be. I try to give my characters—the children—a sense of power in a world where they are so often powerless."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Behind the Story: The People Who Create Our BestChildren's Books . . . and How They Do It!, Pembroke (Markham, Canada), 1995.



PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 1, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Changes in You and Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly for Boys, p. 1000A; September 1, 1997, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Sun, p. 108; April 15, 1998, Lauren Peterson, review of Fire Fighters and Garbage Collectors, p. 1447; March 1, 1999, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Franklin's Class Trip, p. 1218; July, 1999, Carolyn Phelan, review of Postal Workers and Police Officers, p. 1948; June 1, 2000, Kathy Broderick, review of Franklin Goes to the Hospital, p. 1904; December 15, 2001, Gillian Engberg, review of Oma's Quilt, p. 738.

Canadian Children's Literature, spring, 2000, review of Franklin's Secret Club, Franklin's New Friend, Finders Keepers for Franklin, and Franklin's Class Trip, pp. 32-38; spring-summer, 2002, review of Oma's Quilt, p. 185.

Canadian Living, May, 2001, Paulette Bourgeois, "Franklin's Two Moms," pp. 121-122.

Canadian Materials, January, 1988, review of TheAmazing Apple Book, p. 22; March, 1988, review of Big Sarah's Little Boots, p. 56; May, 1988, review of On Your Mark, Get Set: All about the Olympics Then and Now, pp. 107-108; September, 1989, review of Hurry Up, Franklin, p. 216; March, 1990, review of Grandma's Secret, p. 62; November, 1990, review of Too Many Chickens!, pp. 264-265; May, 1991, review of Franklin Fibs, p. 170; September, 1991, review of Fire Fighters and Garbage Collectors, pp. 226-227; September, 1992, review of Franklin Is Lost, p. 207; November, 1992, review of Police Offıcers, p. 308; January, 1993, review of Postal Workers, p. 20; March-April, 1994, review of Franklin Is Bossy, p. 56.

Horn Book, May-June, 1990, Hanna B. Zeiger, review of Grandma's Secret, p. 318.

Language Arts, September, 1992, Miriam Martinez and Marcia F. Nash, review of Too Many Chickens!, p. 372.

Maclean's, December 11, 1995, Diane Turbide, "A Million Dollar Turtle," pp. 50-51.

New York Times Book Review, March 12, 1995, Betsy Hearne, review of Changes in You and Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly for Girls, p. 20.

Publishers Weekly, April 5, 1991, review of Too ManyChickens!, p. 144; June 5, 2000, review of Franklin's Pet Problem, p. 96; April 2, 2001, review of Franklin's School Treasury, p. 66; April 28, 2003, review of Franklin's Family Treasury, p. 73.

Quill & Quire, May, 1991, Peter Carver, "Paulette Bourgeois Branches Out," pp. 21, 24; June, 1991, review of Fire Fighters and Garbage Collectors, p. 24; July, 1991, review of The Amazing Potato Book, pp. 52-53; February, 1992, review of Franklin Is Lost, p. 32; August, 1992, review of Postal Workers, p. 28; July, 1993, review of Franklin Is Bossy, p. 56; December, 1994, review of Changes in You and Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly for Boys, p. 34; September, 2001, review of Oma's Quilt, p. 52.

Resource Links, June, 1996, review of Franklin Has aSleepover, p. 208; February, 1997, review of Franklin's School Play, p. 109; June, 1997, review of Franklin Rides a Bike, pp. 204-205; December, 1998, review of Franklin's Secret Club, p. 2; June, 1999, review of Franklin's Class Trip, p. 2; October, 1999, review of Franklin Is Lost, p. 2; February, 2000, review of Franklin's Classic Treasury, p. 2; April, 2000, review of Franklin Goes to the Hospital and Franklin and the Thunderstorm, p. 2; December, 2000, review of Franklin's Baby Sister, p. 2; April, 2001, Judy Cottrell, review of Franklin's Pet Problem, p. 3; December, 2001, Zoe Johnstone Guha, review of Oma's Quilt, pp. 4-5; April, 2002, Elaine Rospad, review of Franklin Says I Love You, pp. 2-3.

School Library Journal, November, 1989, Gail C. Ross, review of Big Sarah's Little Boots, p. 74; July, 1990, Jane Gardner Connor, review of Grandma's Secret, p. 56, and Barbara B. Murphy, review of The Amazing Apple Book, pp. 81-82; March, 1991, Susan L. Rogers, review of The Amazing Dirt Book and The Amazing Paper Book, pp. 198-199; June, 1991, Lee Bock, review of Too Many Chickens!, p. 72; February, 1992, Carolyn Kenks, review of The Amazing Potato Book, p. 92; March, 1995, Virginia E. Jeschelnig, review of Changes in You and Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly for Boys and Changes in You and Me: A Book about Puberty, Mostly for Girls, p. 208; May, 1997, Elisabeth Palmer Abarbanel, review of Franklin's Bad Day, p. 93, and John Peters, review of The Moon, p. 200; December, 1997, Martha Topol, review of Franklin's New Friend and Franklin Rides a Bike, p. 87; June, 1998, Stephani Hutchinson, review of Garbage Collectors and Firefighters, pp. 127-128; July, 1998, Sally R. Dow, review of Franklin and the Thunderstorm, pp. 64-65; May, 1999, Dina Sherman, review of Franklin's Class Trip, p. 86; July, 1999, Paul Kelsey, review of Postal Workers, p. 84; November, 2001, Sheilah Kosco, review of Oma's Quilt, pp. 111-112.*

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