WordFest celebrates 25th anniversary of best-selling children’s book ‘Franklin in the Dark’

Children know all about him – his fibs, his blanket, his sleepover and his visit from the tooth fairy. They know about when he got lost, when he was bossy, messy, and when he wanted a pet.

Of course, we’re talking about Franklin — the popular turtle in the Franklin children’s literary series — whose creators plan to visit Calgary Oct. 15.

When six-year-old Robbie Somes heard that Franklin was coming to town he excitedly exclaimed, “I love Franklin the Turtle because he is my favourite colour, green.”

“My favourite story is ‘Franklin Rides a Bike’ because that’s how I learned to ride a bike too,” Somes added.

Photo By Naseem Hrab

Author Paulette Bourgeois said that she never thought in a million years the book would become a series — or that it would take off and have the longevity that it has had.

“When Brenda Clark (the book’s illustrator) and I did the very first book, I thought it would be a one-off story,” Bourgeois said. “In the story that launched the series, Franklin had a problem and he went through the process of finding a resolution — to me the story was complete.”

“I was just delighted that children wanted to read a book I wrote.”

“What I love about Franklin is that it developed gradually. The success happened organically, which leads to its longevity,” Bourgeois added.

Clark said that from the beginning she “loved the idea of kid’s books because there is so much room for creativity and invention.”

“Paulette (Bourgeois) and I didn’t meet until the first book was finished, so I really got my inspiration from the story. I just loved the story,” explained Clark.

“I really appreciated what Paulette (Bourgeois) said and what she didn’t say. It allowed room for imagination to take place – creating a character that would encompass a young boy and the qualities of a turtle.”

In terms of the book launch, Bourgeois said the anniversary edition includes thumbnails of illustrations and additional material for readers to get a behind-the-scenes look into how the book was created.

“Brenda (Clark) and I wanted to tell the story behind the story of Franklin in this version,” Bourgeois said.

Eager fans can rest assured there is a fresh project for Franklin on the horizon.

Clark said, “We are working on a 3D animated series for television, which is very exciting for us. Currently we are constructing a style guide so all the characters can be put into a special book.”

Franklin fans can celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first-in-the-series book entitled “Franklin in the Dark” during WordFest at the Signal Hill Library on Oct. 15.

Free activities, stories and a visit by Franklin will be included in the celebrations.

More information on the event can be found at wordfest.com

aip@cjournal.ca