Children’s Book Author and Illustrator Rémi Courgeon Toured the U.S. to Present His Book Feather (Brindille)

From September 30 to October 13, 2019, award-winning French author Rémi Courgeon travelled across the United States with the help of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy through its program French Getaways. Stopping in Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Columbus and New York City, Courgeon conducted workshops at French dual language and immersion schools related to his graphic novel, Feather (Brindille).

Feather has garnered awards on both sides of the Atlantic, receiving the New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award in 2017 and being selected for the Prix Albertine Jeunesse in 2018. It tells the story of a young girl nicknamed Feather who lives with her three brothers and father. One day, Feather decides to swap piano lessons for boxing and her life changes for good. Feather is a fantastic tale of being a girl and taking charge.

At each school, Courgeon read the story aloud in French to students and then participated in a Q&A session about the book as well as his work as an author and illustrator. After the experience, one student named Madison in Atlanta concluded that she wanted to become an author herself: “I want to write in English and French.” Courgeon also drew a picture of his book’s title character or of a student in a boxer stance, just like Feather.

This tour was part of the French Getaways program, which aims to support French Dual Language Programs in the United States by providing students with access to non-traditional learning environments where their Francophone language skills can be put to good use. The program allows students to see the value of their language abilities outside of a standard classroom setting. As Rebecca Courouble, an administrator at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington DC put it, “For our students, it’s a great chance to have an experience like this and it motivates students to use their French language skills” French Gateways is an initiative of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.