When asked what she hopes children will learn from her books,
Paulette Bourgeois explains: "It is most important to look for the
wonder in ordinary things." Some of this wonder, and a curious
anxiety, spill over into her character Franklin. The world's
best-loved turtle overcomes the challenges of the everyday life of
a five-year-old in a way that resonates with children. Since 1986,
Franklin and Paulette have championed a fear of the dark, boastful
fibs, thunderstorms, new friends, museum dinosaurs, ...
When Paulette finished writing her first book, Franklin in the Dark, she knew that she would always write stories for children. With each new book, she imagines a child turning the last page and giving a satisfied sigh. Paulette explains: "I want readers to feel connected to my storybook world -- to feel, to smell, to touch and to explore the landscapes, both internal and external, that I have created. As I write, I draw on my own experiences and find it easy to remember emotions and situations."
Although Paulette is best-known for the Franklin books, she is also the writer of fiction and non-fiction for young readers. In her non-fiction writing, she explores another realm of wonders with her young readers. She shares "amazing" information on many topics: from apples to potatoes; from fire fighters to garbage collectors; from the moon to the sun! What's next, the universe! The Sun: Starting with Space was shortlisted for a Science in Society Book Award (1995), given by the Canadian Science Writer's Association, and won the honor of Parents' Choice Approval, given by the US Parents' Choice Foundation (1997).
Currently, Paulette is endeavoring to write longer books for children, and trying to follow the advice she gives to children: "Read, read, read and write, write, write."
K-Gr 3‘Two books that present slices of life that have significance for children. In Franklin's New Friend, the turtle befriends Moose, who's new in town, even though Franklin is afraid of him because he's so large. In the second title, Franklin feels left out when his friends learn to ride their bikes without training wheels. As he tries to overcome his fear of falling, he realizes that other activities, such as swimming, are easy for him. Finally, he decides to put pads on his knees and elbows, and he learns to ride. In both titles, the writing flows smoothly, while the bright, cheery watercolor illustrations match the books' sunny outlooks. The only drawback, especially in the first title, is the ease with which resolutions are reached. Franklin overcomes his uneasiness around Moose to become his friend all in one morning. While this may be unrealistic, the author does present a positive picture of accepting others regardless of physical differences.‘Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI