Interview: mother-daughter bridge Atlantic with books — Patti Lecron and Marianne Lecron

Ongoing creative collaboration on children’s books across the Atlantic Ocean has helped bring Patti Lecron and her daughter Marianne Lecron closer together while achieving a family goal of leaving their children a literary, artistic, and entrepreneurial heritage. 

Learn more about this creative mother-daughter collaboration which, so far, has produced these gems:
– ‘Une Véritable Petite Souris’ (‘A Genuine Little Mouse’),
– ‘Le Lapin et la Lune‘ (The Rabbit and the Moon),
‘Le Lapin et le Roi Grenouille’ (‘The Rabbit and the King Frog’),
‘Le Lapin et l’Ornithorynque’ (‘The Rabbit and the Platypus’),and
– ‘Le Lapin à la recherche du Printemps’ (‘The Rabbit in Search of Spring’)

Patti’s story: life in France & link to family in the USA

Patti likes to say: curiosity brought me to France but it was my smile that kept me here. 

“I’m from Oklahoma where people are very friendly and smile and nod at anyone who crosses their path,” she said. “While standing in a long line at a boarding gate waiting to find out why a flight to Paris was delayed, I looked in the direction of a French man who slipped under a rope pole barrier to jump the queue. 

“I was thinking how embarrassed I would be if I were with him, and smiled to myself. He noticed that smile, and the rest is, well, history. We ended up getting married!”

Creative pursuit: Patti’s Art studies prove useful

As well as studying French at university, Patti also studied art but never imagined she’d one day become a children’s book illustrator. That changed when daughter Marianne wrote a book for her children, Patti’s grandchildren, ‘Le Lapin et la Lune‘ (The Rabbit and the Moon), and Patti realised she had the skill to contribute.

“I loved that book and offered to turn it into an illustrated book as a keepsake for her two little boys,” she said. “So, I set myself to work and picked up where I had left off in art school—doing simple pen and ink line drawings, filling in with watercolours.

And lo and behold, we found our niche market: ex-patriated French families!”

Patti describes her illustration style as “simple, accessible, and expressive”. 

“Comments from children and parents have helped me realize that my style appeals to our readers,” she said. “My goal is to do illustrations that are simple enough to be accessible for smaller children, yet expressive enough to maintain the interest of young readers and parents.” 

Unforeseen book appeal develops into a longer running project

Patti has now published four books with her daughter and recently published her first solo work, ‘Une Véritable Petite Souris’ (‘A Genuine Little Mouse’). 

“Our initial intention was to do an auto-edited book for our family,” she said.

“But then the project blossomed and people kept buying our books!” 

Patti says collaborating with her daughter has brought them closer together, especially now they live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. 

“We’ve developed an activity with a shared family goal which will leave her children a literary, artistic, and entrepreneurial heritage,” she said.

“It’s our way of giving them a life lesson and setting an example. That’s what parents are for!” 

Marianne’s story: frustration leads to a creative solution

Daughter, Marianne agrees. 

“Even though an ocean separates my mother and me, our bond is strong,” she said. “Our mother-daughter book projects have even strengthened it.”

For Marianne, writing children’s books is a way to expose her children, aged 4 and 6, to French. 

“As a French expatriated mother of two children, I was frustrated by not being able to easily find children’s stories in French for my boys,” she said. “So, I wrote one myself!

The project brought family closer: best of both worlds

“The experience was so satisfying for both my mother, as illustrator, and myself, that we decided to continue the adventure.”

Marianne was born and grew up in France but now lives in the USA, and is proud to be Franc-American.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” she said. “As an adult, being a dual national simplifies working in either country and doubles the number of valuable contacts. Today, I feel like I’m a world citizen.”

Patti’s advice for people who want to frenchify their life is to engage with the culture.

“Realize that there is a great appreciation in France for specificity, especially in foods,” she said. “Read cultural and travel ‘zines, listen to and sing along with French recording artists, watch French movies, and of course, seriously study French cuisine!”

Marianne agrees, especially about the food.

Start with French cookbooks. Avoid processed foods and cook from scratch, like the French do!

What now? How can I find these books?

Patti is currently working on a new solo project that will be another fairy tale, and awaiting her next collaboration with Marianne.
– ‘Le Lapin et la Lune’ (‘The Rabbit and the Moon’),
‘Le Lapin et le Roi Grenouille’ (‘The Rabbit and the King Frog’),
‘Le Lapin et l’Ornithorynque’ (‘The Rabbit and the Platypus’), and
– ‘Le Lapin à la recherche du Printemps’ (‘The Rabbit in Search of Spring’)
have all been written by Marianne Lecron and Illustrated by Patti Lecron, and
– ‘Une Véritable Petite Souris’ (‘A Genuine Little Mouse’)
is written and illustrated by Patti Lecron. Read my review of this book here.
They are published by Birdie Bergamot Books and can be purchased through the publisher’s Facebook.

Do you have questions to ask Patti Lecron or her daughter Marianne Lecron? Do you have a creative Family project? Which are your favourite French fairytales? – we’d love to know. Please share your comments below.

About the Contributor

Bethany Keats

I'm a former journalist who currently works in media relations. Originally from Geelong, Victoria, Australia, I now live in Townsville, Queensland and I usually visit France once or twice a year.

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