Marie Louise Gay’s blog has moved to her website. You can find the newest posts at marielouisegay.com/blog. Please update your bookmarks!

Last fall, I was approached by The Jewish Public Library of Montreal to create a permanent signage for their Children’s Library. They wanted an image that would underline the importance of a children’s library, entice children to enter and celebrate the joy of reading. The illustration would be enlarged and printed on three vertical banners and hung at the entrance to the Norman Berman Children’s Library.

I have often been invited to give many talks at this wonderful, pro-active, community-oriented library, from presenting at their huge Young Author’s Conference to more intimate talks for their  Mother-Daughter Book Club. I have always been impressed by the dedication and energy of the librarians who work there. I wanted to represent this energy with a dynamic, vibrant, colourful image. I also wanted it to be playful and humorous. Libraries are full to the brim with stories, so my illustration had to tell a story. I wanted children to stop and immerse themselves in my picture, “reading” it in the smallest details . . .

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This month, the third book in the Travels with My Family Trilogy, Summer in the City, is coming out. This trio of books was written with my husband David Homel, in the often funny and ironic first-person voice of Charlie, the eldest son. When we wrote the initial book, Travels with my Family, we wanted to tell and relive our family’s traveling stories, summer vacations and adventures, when we traveled across Canada and the USA and on to Mexico with our two boys (and our cat), crammed into an old car between suitcases, books and fishing nets.

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Depuis déjà vingt-cinq ans j’ai la joie d’écrire des histoires pour les enfants et les jeunes et de créer des personnages qui vivent entre les pages de mes livres. À commencer par Stella, Sacha et leur chien Fred qui découvrent le monde avec joie et ravissement, en passant par Caramba et son insupportable petit frère, Henri. Il y aussi Charlie et Max qui vivent des aventures rocambolesques en voyageant avec leurs parents. Ou encore Loïc et sa petite peste de soeur, Louise, jusqu’à Roselyne Rutabaga, une jeune lapine déterminée à creuser jusqu’en Antartique pour voir un pingouin… Toute une galerie de personnages!

J’adore écrire avec les mots et les images. J’ai lu mes histoires à d’innombrables enfants aux quatres coins du monde et je suis toujours aussi ébahie et ravie devant leur émerveillement et leur imagination sans bornes.

Je crois que chaque enfant devrait avoir un accès facile aux livres ainsi qu’à l’expérience de lire uniquement pour le doux plaisir de lire.

En lisant un livre à un enfant, on partage les mots, les images et l’émotion.

On lui offre le plaisir de lire.

On transforme sa vie…

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“. . . Caramba had always wished for a brother.
A brother he could go fishing with.
A brother to collect caterpillars with.
A brother who would love his cheese omelets
A brother who would share all his secrets.
But Caramba never imagined a brother like Henry . . .”

Caramba is in for a big surprise . . . But, while we wait for the arrival of my new book Caramba and Henry, I thought it would be interesting to look at a short animation of Caramba’s attempts to fly in the first book as well as the swooping and loop-de-looping antics of Caramba’s friends . . .

This animation was produced by by Lucion Media for the TD Children’s Book Awards.

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Filming a special video at home for Teaching Books:

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I have been asked quite often how Stella and Sam became TV stars. What was my role in their transformation? How did I participate in this transformation? Am I happy with the results?

It certainly wasn’t done overnight! About 10 years ago, Groundwood Books and I started receiving offers to do an animated series with my Stella and Sam characters and stories. At that time, there were only two Stella books: Stella, Star of the Sea and Stella, Queen of the Snow. For various reasons, these deals fell through. One thing was most important for me: I wanted to have creative approval and work with the production, especially at the beginning.

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I was absolutely delighted and surprised to learn in the fall that my picture-book Caramba was chosen for the TD Grade One Book Giveaway Program.

Imagine! My book would be given to every child in Canada who entered first grade last fall. Children living in Nunavut or Montreal, on the Magdelene Islands or the Queen Charlotte Islands, children in Inuvik or Great Whale. Children who speak French or English and others whose native language might be Cree or Ojibway, Mandarin, Tamul or Creole. In all, more than half a million children received my picture book, brought it back to their home and read it with their family. Who would have thought that my rather plump and worried little cat would travel from sea to sea without ever having learned to fly?

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. . . my brand new website, where you will meet the characters who live, breathe, laugh, run and dance across the pages of my books. I hope you will enjoy reading about My Life So Far, taking peeks inside my books, downloading stickers, and discovering what I am working on and where you might hear me read from my books.

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