Quebec City in Canada.
I’m 54, though I feel like I’m going on 34!
A Bachelors in Sociology, with a minor in Environmental Studies at McGill University in Montreal, followed by a Masters in Environmental Sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal and a second Masters in International Development from Tulane University’s School of Law.
First language - French or English?
At home we spoke French, though I learned to speak English very early on.
My family is in Canada, and a bit in Costa Rica. I also have in-laws in the United States and Japan, and even a niece in Bangkok.
First job and career:
My first job was working as a guide on whale-watching ships and at a little marine museum along the St. Lawrence River. That job sparked such a passion in me that I have been working on water-related issues ever since!
I have had the privilege of working with high-level policy networks on water security in Japan and throughout Asia-Pacific. I have had assignments with the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, the Asia-Pacific Water Forum, the High-Level Panel on Water and Disasters, the UN-Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, among others.
As hydrological systems are changing right before our eyes, water security is a cause that I continue to be whole-heartedly devoted to. While our societies have accomplished so much in terms of water supply, sanitation, irrigation for food security (to name a few of the water-related issues), climate change is spurring a race for water security and we need to be doing a lot more, now, for our children’s future water security.
We moved to Thailand in January, 2005, as my husband was appointed Special Advisor to the Regional Office of UNICEF in Bangkok. Our son had just turned one and had taken his first steps somewhere along our journey to Bangkok from New York City, where we had been living previously.
How much time do you spend here?
Since 2005, I have lived some 10 years in Bangkok (in two separate stints). I am currently based in Montreal (after 25 years abroad!), but I absolutely love living in Bangkok, so I plan to spend a lot of time here in coming years!
Tell us about your book project – what first inspired you?
The vision for the books came to me in an a-ha moment!
Having traveled extensively and lived in several cities with my son, I found it always a bit frustrating that there wasn’t much for him to support his own explorations.
While we were in the Rocky Mountains in the USA in the summer 2014, we discovered the Junior Ranger program. Every national park had a little activity book for kids, and upon completing it, they were given a certificate and a badge. It was super fun, and my son was so engaged in the discovery of the parks, learning so much with these activity books.
Returning to Bangkok that Fall, I had one of those a-ha moments, you know, one of those where you just stop smack in your tracks with a vision: why don’t activity books like these exist for every destination we visit? The idea poked at me for a long while. Some years later, I finally gave in and sat down at my computer, opened a blank Word document, and slowly started creating my first draft of My Globetrotter Book.
What destination was featured in your first book?
My first book was Tokyo, published in 2019. By then, I had been going regularly to Tokyo with my Japanese husband for over 15 years and had lived there for seven years. It is such a fascinating city, such a mesmerizing culture! The mix of the old Edo heritage laced in through the ultra-modern, the Imperial Palace at its heart, the food, how to be polite in Japan, the anime and manga sub-culture, geishas, ninjas, sumos… there is just so much for kids to marvel at.
So, somehow, I felt emboldened enough (just enough!) to tackle the creative process for a book on Tokyo.
Through many trials and research, we finally came up with My Globetrotter Book’s magic sauce! For each book, we go beyond just the tourist aspects of a destination, and unveil some of the culture and customs, and unique things that will be fun for kids to discover. Each page has puzzles and games, a ‘crack the code’ page to print out a seal, and a certificate you can personalize. They are highly interactive and very colourful.
How many other cities have your books covered since then?
I have published six My Globetrotter Book titles to date: Tokyo, Bangkok, Paris, New York, Singapore and Quebec and Montreal. These are all the cities I have lived in, except for Singapore. The next title in production is Bali.
And then, while we were all immobilized during the pandemic, I explored another type of world: the world of our human cells! This spawned my title, ‘Journey Within: Healthy Cells = Healthy You”. It’s a fascinating voyage into the human body, how our cells are the foundation of our health, how they work and produce energy. Did you know they even talk to each other! And how can kids keep their cells healthy?
2023 will be a big year as my son is heading off to university in September. You will see me in Bangkok a lot! We will of course publish new titles, and translate into other languages. I would also love to explore new content such as the environment, the power of the mind, what is beauty, etc. There are just so many windows we can open onto the world, for children to explore using our books’ format! I am so excited to see what happens next. Please stay tuned and contact us na ka…!