Diane Carmel Léger
Categories: Female Authors - Anglophone Authors - Francophone Authors - Authors of Juvenile Fiction; - Southeast
Source: Robert Gallant
Diane Carmel Léger grew up in the Memramcook Valley in New Brunswick. A graduate of Polyvalente Mathieu-Martin, she obtained her B.Ed. from the Université de Moncton, in 1980 and taught in the Maritimes until 1982 before moving to Vancouver Island.
For 20 years, she lived in Victoria, where she taught French Immersion programs and wrote books in both languages. Upon her arrival on the West Coast, Diane had the good fortune of living in Emily Carr’s House of All Sorts for a year, which inspired a picture book and incredibly, lived in the very same apartment once again, for her last year in British Columbia.
Diane is now living in Memramcook where she continues to teach and write. The environment and Acadian history remain her main themes.
A presenter in both languages and a Canada Council Reader, she has toured schools in Canada and the United States since 1991.
How has New Brunswick influenced your work?
Despite living on beautiful Vancouver Island, I missed New Brunswick. Fortunately for me, this homesickness led to writing my first book, La butte à Pétard, which is also the name of my village before 1755. This little novel, based on the survival of my ancestors who escaped deportation by hiding in the woods, brought me closer to my roots, even though I was living on the Pacific coast of Canada.
Also, writing my picture books in our two official languages reflects the linguistic landscape of my native province. Rosette and the Muddy River, a story that takes place on the banks of the Petitcodiac River, is an English picture book which has Acadian words and elements of Acadian culture. My latest French picture book, Mémère et Nannie, is a comical comparison of my Acadian grandmother who lived in Memramcook and my Scottish grandmother who lived in Dorchester, New Brunswick.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?
It was in 1992, when a logger and his union attempted to ban Maxine’s Tree, a story based on my family’s experience in helping to save the Carmanah and Walbran virgin rainforests from the ravages of clear-cutting. Ironically, this happened a week before Freedom to Read Week.
The controversy appeared in the news during the winter and spring in the Vancouver Island media to the Globe & Mail and the CBC in Toronto. Subsequently, Maxine’s Tree became a Canadian bestseller and Orca Book Publishers won the distinction of Publisher of the Year 1992.
But the very highest point was in the fall of the same year, when an endangered bird’s nest was discovered in the real Maxine’s Tree. The researcher claimed that my picture book inspired her to climb the tree in the story. This amazing discovery was one of only five marbled murrelet’s nests found in Canada, a fact that helped to save the giant tree.
|Finalist, Prix littéraire France-Acadie - 2012||In recognition of: Échos de la butte à Pétard|
|Choisir-un-livre-sélection (France) - 2011||In recognition of: Échos de la butte à Pétard|
|Best Books for Kids & Teens (Canadian Children’s Book Center) - 2009||In recognition of: Emily Carr’s Attic|
|Selected, Choisir un livre (France) - 2009||In recognition of: Retour à la butte à Pétard|
|Nomination - Prix France-Acadie - 2009||In recognition of: Retour à la butte à Pétard|
|Best books for Kids & Teens (Canada) - 2009||In recognition of: Emily Carr’s Attic|
|Droits-Canada-sélection - 2009||In recognition of: Retour à la butte à Pétard|
|Selected, Choisir un livre (France) - 2008||In recognition of: La butte à Pétard|
|Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award - 2006||In recognition of: La butte à Pétard|
|Nomination - Selected, Sélection de livres pour jeunes, Communication-Jeunesse - 2005-06||In recognition of: La butte à Pétard|
|Nomination - Prix France-Acadie - 2005||In recognition of: L’arbre de Maxine|
|2nd place, Atlantic Writing Competition - 1996||In recognition of: Zel-Mai’s take-out|
|Nomination - Selected, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Our Choice” list - 1992||In recognition of: The Attic of All Sorts|
|Nomination - Selected, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre “Our Choice” list - 1991||In recognition of: Maxine’s Tree|
|Nomination - Honourable Mention, Prix France-Acadie (1st edition) - 1990||In recognition of: La butte à Pétard|
Echos de la butte à Pétard
Emily Carr’s Attic
Two totem eagles spread their wings across the ceiling, each underlined by a parade of totem frogs.
From the bottom of the ladder, the old man called out:
“Paul, with your mother’s permission, you can play in the attic any time you please. I will leave the ladder in place.”
The next day, Paul climbed up to the attic and stared at an eagle for a moment. From the corner of his eye, he noticed something near the attic wall. It was an old baby carriage. He did not remember seeing it there yesterday. All of a sudden, the carriage shook slightly. Paul slowly approached to take a closer look. From inside a small voice called, “Woo. Woo. Woo!” Paul froze when he saw a monkey sitting in the carriage.