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Phoebe Gilman

Phoebe Gilman is one of Canada’s best-loved creators of children’s books. She has written and illustrated such classics as The Balloon Tree, Something From Nothing, The Gypsy Princess and the Jillian Jiggs series.

Phoebe was born and raised in New York. Her mother passed on her love of reading to Phoebe and her brothers. As soon as they could print their names, they got their first library cards. When Phoebe read picture books, she would cover up the images when they didn’t match what the words had painted in her head.

Phoebe was trained as an artist. She brought her love of art to others as well, going on to teach at the Ontario College of Art. Although she considered herself an artist first and foremost, she had a profound love of words.

How did Phoebe become an author? One day her daughter’s balloon burst on a tree branch and Phoebe wished the tree would sprout balloons. It didn’t, but her idea turned into her first book, The Balloon Tree.

And how did Jillian Jiggs come to life? Phoebe actually got her idea from a Mother Goose nursery rhyme called “Gregory Griggs.” It goes, “Gregory, Gregory, Gregory Griggs,/ Had twenty-seven different wigs….”After her first book, Phoebe went back to her portfolio and saw that she had done many samples using this nursery rhyme. She had a picture of a boy with a mop on his head who was turning everything into wigs. She thought he looked like a girl, so she decided to change him into one. Then she came up with a three-syllable girl’s name, changed the letters, and Jillian Jiggs was born.


Awards

The Balloon Tree, Commended, Today’s Parent, 100 BEST Canadian kids’ books of all time, 2015

Jillian Jiggs, Commended, Today’s Parent, 100 BEST Canadian kids’ books of all time, 2015

Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 2013

A Treasury of Jillian Jiggs, Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 2009

Something from Nothing, Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 2008

The Blue Hippopotamus, Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, 2008

The Blue Hippopotamus, Short-listed, Governor General's Award for Children's Literature - Illustration, 2007

The Blue Hippopotamus, Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year, 2007

Tell Me a Story: Balloon Tree, Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Starred Selection, 2006

The Balloon Tree, Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice, 2006

Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, Short-listed, OLA Blue Spruce Award, 2004

Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, Short-listed, Tiny Torgi Print Braille Award, 2004

Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, Short-listed, Shining Willow Award (Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice), 2003

Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow, Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice, 2003

Jillian Jiggs and the Secret Surprise, Commended, Canadian Toy Testing Council, Great Books of the Year, 2001

Jillian Jiggs and the Secret Surprise, Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice, 2000

Jillian Jiggs and the Secret Surprise, Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year, 2000

The Gypsy Princess, Short-listed, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator's Award, 1996

The Gypsy Princess, Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice, 1996

Something from Nothing, Short-listed, Utah Children's Picture Book Award, 1995

Something from Nothing, Commended, Antigo Sugar Maple Award, 1995

The Gypsy Princess, Short-listed, IODE Toronto Jean Throop Award, 1995

Something from Nothing, Commended, Canadian Materials Best of the Year List, 1994

Something from Nothing, Commended, White Ravens Selection (International Youth Library), 1994

Something from Nothing, Winner, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, 1993

Something from Nothing, Winner, Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Younger Readers, 1993

Something from Nothing, Commended, American Bookseller Magazine's "Pick of the List", 1993

Something from Nothing, Short-listed, Mr. Christie's Book Award, 1992

Something from Nothing, Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice, 1992

Something from Nothing, Commended, Canadian Library Association, Notable, 1992

Grandma and the Pirates, Commended, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice, 1991

Grandma and the Pirates, Short-listed, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award, 1991

Books

The Balloon Tree
The Blue Hippopotamus
Grandma and the Pirates
The Gypsy Princess
Jillian Jiggs
Jillian Jiggs and the Great Big Snow
Jillian Jiggs and the Secret Surprise
Jillian Jiggs to the Rescue
Pirate Pearl
Something from Nothing
Tell Me a Story: Balloon Tree
Tell Me A Story: Jillian Jiggs
Tell Me A Story: Jillian Jiggs to the Rescue
Tell Me a Story: Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs
A Treasury of Jillian Jiggs
The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs

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