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Marthe Jocelyn

Tom Slaughter

When I was a child, I liked to read books about ordinary children who stumbled across enchantment. I really thought that if I looked hard enough, I might find a magic nickel or a secret room behind the bookcase or a gnarled gnome whom only I could see. As I grew older, I felt the same thrill of seeing mysteries unveiled when I went to the theatre or read a book. In my childhood activities, I played with dolls way past the normal age, made dioramas out of junk scraps, directed backyard plays with casts of neighborhood kids, and was always, always reading–only as an adult can I clearly see my pursuit of illusion.
When I was 14, I spent a year in a Quaker boarding school in England, encountering a world utterly different from my own, no magic necessary. I learned the advantage of being a stranger; I created a new character for myself, far from my family and not dependent on anyone’s preconceptions. This later fed my approach to fiction: My heroines are small part “me” and large part invention of who I’d like to be, or to have been.
My earliest chapter books (the Invisible trilogy) were about an ordinary child who stumbles across enchantment. My next several books were historical novels (Earthly Astonishments, Mable Riley, and How It Happened in Peach Hill), set in worlds utterly different from my own. It’s easy to see in retrospect that exploring alternate realities began as a game in childhood and eventually became a consuming pastime, otherwise known as research. I love doing research. I depend on what I learn not only for flavor and accuracy of details, but also for the occasional serendipitous discovery that alters the plot of a story.
But then we come to my most recent novel, Would You. It is a complete departure from any of my other stories, because its inception was in the accident that gravely injured my sister when I was 20 years old and she was 27. Paula was hit by a car and remained comatose for several weeks. When she emerged, she was severely brain-damaged and a paraplegic. Ten years later, she was again hit by a car–in her wheelchair–and killed.
Friends were concerned that Would You would be too difficult to write. In fact, it was the easiest book I’ve tackled yet. I didn’t have to worry about plot! The characters are teenagers and the main challenge was to capture their irreverence and humor alongside the tragedy.
The friendship between the sisters, Natalie and Claire, is inspired by that of my own two daughters. As a mother, I delight in the love they have for each other. It is impossible not to think about my own sister and what I have lost. But here I am, 30 years later, having a fine life, and surrounded with the alternate reality that only teenagers can provide. I hope that I have written an elegy for my sister and an homage to my children.


Author Bookshelf

ABC x 3 English, Espanol, Francais

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Tom Slaughter

From airplane/avión/avion to zigzag/zigzag/zigzag, Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter have created a unique ABC for the very young. The book works perfectly in three languages, English, Spanish, and French...

A Day with Nellie

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Wake up, Nellie! The fun is about to begin. First, there’s deciding what to wear. Then there’s breakfast with all kinds of shapes and textures and tastes. From indoor play in a made-up train, to a...

A Home for Foundlings

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Nominated for the 2005 Norma Fleck Award

Thousands of mothers carried their babies to the gates of the Foundling Hospital desperate to save them from the cruel streets of eighteenth-century London. Each baby was left with...


Earthly Astonishments

By: Marthe Jocelyn

In the late nineteenth century, in a dot of a town called Westley, lives the smallest girl in the world. Josephine stands only twenty-two inches high and her parents charge gawkers a penny a piece to see her – until they realize...

Eats

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Tom Slaughter

With a fresh cast of animal characters — and what they eat — the creative team of Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter has produced another work in their award-winning series for very young book and art lovers....

Hannah and the Seven Dresses

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Hannah is a little girl with a big problem. She loves her dresses – so much so that she cannot decide what to wear. Her solution is inventive. She will assign one dress to each day. The problem seems to be solved...


Hannah's Collections

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Hannah loves to make collections. Whether it’s new barrettes for her hair or seashells from the shore, she likes to gather things and sort them by size, shape, and color.

But now she is facing a dilemma. The...

How It Happened in Peach Hill

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Annie's mother has special powers.

Annie's mother is a master at drawing out secrets.

Annie's mother is the one and only, the irresistible Madam Caterina.

Annie and her mother come to Peach Hill, the...





Mable Riley

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Winner of the 2005 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award


It is 1901 and Mable Riley dreams of adventure and of becoming a writer. When her older sister leaves home to become a schoolmistress in the small...



Mayfly

By: Marthe Jocelyn

School is over! Hurry, pack up all your summer clothes (don’t forget your bathing suit!), load everything into the car, and find a spot in the backseat. Summer is about to begin.

The siblings in Marthe...

One Some Many

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Tom Slaughter

One Some Many by Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter is an excellent early introduction to numbers and to the principles of modern art. It is the perfect companion to 1 2 3, a counting book with a difference....

Over Under

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Tom Slaughter

Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter explore opposites in this gorgeous introduction to modern art for small readers. Cut paper images introduce children to color, form, and design as they explore tall giraffes and...


Ready for Autumn

By: Marthe Jocelyn

What am I going to wear? The question that diverts us all is first presented in the toddler years when the mastery of getting dressed is a triumph and opinions about clothing are emphatic.

These four board...

Ready for Spring

By: Marthe Jocelyn

What am I going to wear? The question that diverts us all is first presented in the toddler years when the mastery of getting dressed is a triumph and opinions about clothing are emphatic.

These four board...

Ready for Summer

By: Marthe Jocelyn

What am I going to wear? The question that diverts us all is first presented in the toddler years when the mastery of getting dressed is a triumph and opinions about clothing are emphatic.

These four board...


Ready for Winter

By: Marthe Jocelyn

What am I going to wear? The question that diverts us all is first presented in the toddler years when the mastery of getting dressed is a triumph and opinions about clothing are emphatic.

These four board...

Same Same

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Tom Slaughter

Forget about differences! Here’s a wonderful new concept book to explore and enjoy!

Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter team up again to deliver a delightfully simple book. Jocelyn’s marvelous...

The Invisible Day

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Abby Carter

Billie Stoner’s mother is stuck to her like glue. In the Stoner family, togetherness rules. Billie is desperate to be like other eleven-year-olds she reads about, who are allowed to walk to school alone and who have...


The Invisible Enemy

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Abby Carter

Alyssa is mean, sarcastic, and just plain no fun. Billie Stoner considers her to be an enemy and sometimes wishes that Alyssa would just disappear. That’s exactly what happens when Alyssa snoops in Billie’s...

The Invisible Harry

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Abby Carter

What’s more fun – and more hard work – than a puppy? An invisible one!

Author Marthe Jocelyn takes readers back to Manhattan to meet up once again with Billie Stoner in her follow-up to The...

Would You

By: Marthe Jocelyn

WOULD YOU RATHER know what’s going to happen or not know?
A summer night. A Saturday. For Natalie’s amazing older sister, Claire, this summer is fantastic, because she’s zooming off to college...


Which Way?

By: Marthe Jocelyn
illustrated by: Tom Slaughter

A new book from the team of Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter, Which Way? is an invitation to explore and understand the concepts we see every day in the signs around us. Navigating the world involves many...

Folly

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Three fates intertwine in this moving and passionate love story set in Victorian London. 


Mary Finn: country girl, maid to a lord in London

Caden Tucker: liar, scoundrel, and heart's delight

James Nelligan:...






"Scribbling Women"

By: Marthe Jocelyn

In 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to his publisher, complaining about the irritating fad of “scribbling women.” Whether they were written by professionals, by women who simply wanted to connect with others, or by...


Ones and Twos

By: Marthe Jocelyn and Nell Jocelyn

Marthe Jocelyn’s ability to present important-to-learn concepts to the very young has garnered accolades from around the world. Ones and Twos is her first book collaboration with her nineteen-year-old...

What We Hide

By: Marthe Jocelyn

Americans Jenny and her brother, Tom, are off to England: Tom to university, to dodge the Vietnam draft, Jenny to be the new girl at a boarding school, Illington Hall. This is Jenny's chance to finally stand out, so accidentally,...

Where Do You Look?

By: Marthe Jocelyn and Nell Jocelyn

Where do you look for glasses? On a shelf? Or on a face?

In this playful exploration of homonyms, readers will discover the fun they can have with language. Is a wave at a beach? Or at a train station?...


Viminy Crowe's Comic Book

By: Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger
illustrated by: Claudia Dávila

When chubby, geeky Wylder Wallace spills lunch on cool and aloof Addy Crowe at Toronto's Comicon, she dashes to the bathroom, leaving behind the latest issue of her uncle's steampunk comic hit: FLYNN GOSTER in...