People often ask me how I became a writer. I had no idea when I was growing up, first in Winnipeg, then in Ottawa, Beaconsfield, and Toronto that I would spend most of my life creating stories. I had lots of jobs—a peanut-buster parfait-maker at the Dairy Queen, flower-seller, waitress, occupational therapist, television reporter and freelance writer before I had a daughter, and then a son, and decided to write books for children.
Franklin in the Dark, illustrated by the talented, Brenda Clark, was my first picture-book. Six publishers rejected the story, but Kids Can Press thought it showed promise (but they wanted a rewrite or two!) Franklin the turtle went on to have adventures in a series of books, on television and even on the big screen. The books have sold more than 60 million copies around the world and have been translated into more than 38 languages. Many children go to sleep every night with a Franklin the Turtle toy tucked beside them.
I’ve have written many other books, including Big Sarah’s Little Boots, Oma’s Quilt which was made into a short film for the NFB and series of science books that you can find in the Book Section. There you can also see which books have become award winners.
The Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists asked me to write a picture book, You, Me and my O.T., to explain the many jobs that O.T.s do at homes, schools and in the community. It brought me full-circle back to my first career.
Now, I am hoping to write more stories. Some for older children, some for grown-ups and after completing an MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, I’m hopeful that some of the stories will show up on the big screen or on television.
But the best part of being a writer has been listening to the stories of all the people I’ve been able to meet across Canada from sea to sea to sea, across the United States and around the world. Stories connect us.
I am very honoured to have received the Order of Canada, an honourary Doctor of Laws from the University of Western Ontario, and an Award of Merit from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists.
I am afraid that I no longer do school visits but I look forward to hearing from you. Please include your email address with any correspondence.