Paulette Bourgeois

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Paulette Bourgeois
Born (1951-07-20) July 20, 1951 (age 69)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
GenreChildren's literature
Notable awardsOrder of Canada [LL.D] [CAOT Order of Merit]
ChildrenNatalie and Gordon

Paulette Bourgeois, CM (born July 20, 1951) is a Canadian writer best known for creating Franklin the Turtle, the character who appears in picture books illustrated by Toronto native Brenda Clark. The books have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 38 languages. An animated television series, merchandise, DVDs and full-length films are based on the character.

Education and early career[edit]

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba,[1] Bourgeois graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational therapy from the University of Western Ontario in 1974. She was a psychiatric occupational therapist for three years before deciding to focus on her writing. She studied journalism at Carleton University then worked as a reporter for the Ottawa Citizen and CBC Television. She became a freelance journalist in Washington, D.C. contributing pieces to Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Reader's Digest and Maclean's. She returned to Toronto in 1983.[2] Bourgeois graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in 2009.


After the birth of her first child, Natalie, she decided to write a children's book inspired by the Season 7 episode of M*A*S*H entitled C*A*V*E, where Hawkeye Pierce admits that he is claustrophobic and refuses to go into a cave, "If I were a turtle I would be afraid of my own shell", he explained. After Franklin in the Dark was illustrated by Brenda Clark and published in 1986.[3]

She is also the author of Changes in You and Me, books about adolescence, the Oma's Quilt was developed as a short film by the National Film Board of Canada, Big Sarah's Little Boots and more. Paulette has also written dozens of non-fiction books for children including the Amazing series, the In My Neighbourhood series, The Sun, and The Moon. She has been a columnist for Homemaker's Magazine, written for Canadian Living, Chatelaine and Today's Parent and she provided the concept and initial research for "The Bee Talker" which aired on CBC TV's The Nature of Things. She has written three episodes of the TV documentary series, Creepy Canada, and has just finished the script for a full-length feature film, Loving Mrs. Twiggy.

She has two grown-up children, Natalie and Gordon and lives in Toronto, Ontario.


In 2003, she became a Member of the Order of Canada[4] and in 2007, she received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from her alma mater, the University of Western Ontario, and an Award of Merit from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.

Selected works[edit]

  • On Your Mark, Get Set ...: All About the Olympics Then and Now (1987)
  • The Amazing Apple Book (1987)
  • The Amazing Paper Books (1989)
  • Starting with Space: The Sun (1995)
  • Starting with Space: The Moon (1995)
  • Oma's Quilt (2001)


  1. ^ "Paulette Bourgeois Biography". Scholastic. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  2. ^ "Paulette Bourgeois, Author". Kids Can Press. Archived from the original on 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  3. ^ Katherine Low (Spring–Summer 2008). "Interview with Paulette Bourgeois; Western graduate and author of the Franklin the Turtle series of children's books" (PDF). Health Sciences Matters - University of Western Ontario. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-08-28. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  4. ^ "Order of Canada citation".[dead link]

External links[edit]