How did you get started in children’s books?
I stumbled into children’s writing quite by accident. I studies theatre and broadcasting in the hopes of working in television or radio. One of my first jobs in the industry was as the co-host of a children’s program. Since the teams were small (and the budgets even smaller) the hosts also had to direct and write scripts. So I wrote scripts… and I loved it! My first published book was a compilation of some scripts I wrote and adapted into picture book format. When my hosting contract ended I decided to try my hand at an actual manuscript and the rest is history.
What (or who) inspires your writing or art?
As an author I often tell people I have “story antennas” and that anything and everything at anytime can become the spark for a new book. I’ve been inspired by my a word scribbled on an envelop, a paintbrush found in my refrigerator, an ice storm, a bug-loving friend, a strangely named hat, an orange peeled in the shape of an elephant and so on. Who knows where my next story idea will come from?
What was your favourite book as a child? Why?
As a child, my favourite series was “The Little House on the Prairie”. Of course, I read the series in French! I loved Laura Ingall’s stories of pioneer life because it was so different from my experience growing up in Ottawa, but also because there was something timeless about her life. I could both relate to Laura and be in awe of her adventures.
How can teachers use your books in the classroom?
The Branch has many themes that can be explored in the classroom. It’s a story about loss and resilience. It’s about making the best out of a bad situation. But The Branch is also a story about weather (ice storms), a story about trees and a story about salvaging/reusing/recycling. Furthermore, The Branch is a beautiful story about inter-generational friendship and collaboration. Finally, it’s a story about woodworking. There’s truly something for everyone in this picture book!
What are you looking forward to most during TD Canadian Children’s Book Week?
This will be my first time ever setting foot in Labrador. I’m very excited! I’m a Toronto girl and I am thrilled to bits to be keeping my winter jacket and boots out until mid-May!