Paulette Bourgeois, CM (born July 20, 1951) is best-known for creating Franklin the Turtle, the character who appears in picture books illustrated by Toronto native Brenda Clark. The books have sold more than 60 million copies around the world and have been translated into 38 languages. An animated television series, merchandise, DVDs and full-feature movies are based on the character.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bourgeois graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational therapy from the University of Western Ontario in 1974. She was a psychiatric occupational therapist for three years before deciding to focus on her writing. She studied journalism at Carleton University then worked as a reporter for the Ottawa Citizen and CBC Television. She became a freelance journalist in Washington, D.C. contributing pieces to Chatelaine, Canadian Living, Reader's Digest and Maclean's. She returned to Toronto in 1983.
After the birth of her first child, Natalie, she decided to write a children's book. Inspired by the Season 7 episode of M*A*S*H, C*A*V*E, where Hawkeye Pierce admits that he is claustrophobic and refuses to go into a cave, "If I were a turtle I would be afraid of my own shell", he said. After Franklin in the Dark was illustrated by Brenda Clark and published in 1986.
She is also the author of Changes in You and Me, books about adolescence, the Oma's Quilt was developed as a short film by the National Film Board of Canada, Big Sarah's Little Boots and more. Paulette has also written dozens of non fiction books for children including the Amazing series, the In My Neighbourhood series, The Sun, and The Moon. She has been a columnist for Homemaker's Magazine, written for Canadian Living, Chatelaine and Today's Parent and she provided the concept and initial research for "The Bee Talker" which aired on CBC TV's The Nature of Things. She has written three episodes of the TV documentary series, Creepy Canada, and has just finished writing a full-length feature film, Loving Mrs. Twiggy.
She has two adult children, Natalie and Gordon and lives in Port Hope, Ontario and also has a home in the Beeches Toronto.