MARTHE JOCELYN

Quick Links

non-fiction
Eleven writers you've likely never heard of, but will never forget...
picture books
How do you decide which pile to put that zebra in? Is it striped? Is it an animal? Is it black and white?
co-created with Nell Jocelyn
middle grade
historical fiction
Orphan meets real world. Part of the SECRETS series.
craft books
Picture Books
Illustrated by Tom Slaughter
Originally written by Beth Gleick in 1960! Now re-printed with collage illustrations by Marthe Jocelyn
Who eats what?
Alphabet in English, French & Spanish
Look at Opposites "with pizzazz"
also available in Danish and Japanese!
Summer is the season that lingers and hurries by at the same time.
Wake up, Nellie! The fun is about to begin!
Governor General Award Finalist
Teen Novel
Short stories in Anthologies
Stories selected by Marthe Jocelyn
Board Books
What should you wear to feel best all year?
Toddler favourite now a board book!
Opposites on board...
Historical Fiction
"An irresistible blend of depth, wit and inventiveness."(Toronto Star)
A story for reluctant teen readers about the first New York City subway!
Most Distinguished Book of the Year! 2004
2002-2003 Finalist for Hackmatack and Red Cedar Awards
Short stories in Anthologies
Stories selected by Marthe Jocelyn
a story in On Her Way Stories & Poems About Growing Up Girl
Non-Fiction
A history of the Foundling Hospital in London, England Shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award! (Best Non-fiction of the Year)
Chapter Books
The Invisible Day, The Invisible Harry, The Invisible Enemy 3 books about being invisible in Manhattan

Would You


from the Toronto Star:

... Marthe Jocelyn, author of the TD Award-winning middle-grade novel Mable Riley plus several other novels, anthologies and a shelf full of picture books now takes her considerable talents into the realm of teen literature in Would You (ages 12+). Jocelyn demonstrates, once again, the versatile creativity that allows her not just to captivate readers, but to take them farther than most in thinking about and understanding the human condition.

Natalie is spending the summer before Grade 11 having fun working as a lifeguard, hanging out with friends and doing the occasional midnight pool-hop for excitement. One night, her older sister Claire is hit by a car, left so badly injured that she falls into a coma.

Suddenly, the game "would you?" that Nat and her friends play takes on a whole different meaning. It's no longer a funny contest to gross each other out, but a way to pose questions Natalie must confront about her sister's future:

"Would you rather feel blinding, scorching pain and then die quickly? Or no pain, but prolonged, trembling decay instead?" Or, in another version, "What if she dies? And what if she doesn't?"

Jocelyn writes with sombre wisdom and humour about this life-changing situation. We get a strong sense of Claire as sister and friend, but this is Natalie's story. She recounts the impressions, thoughts and experiences of an intense 10 days, from the night before the accident to the evening after Claire's funeral.

Nat's tale is an accumulation of short passages with headlines; a map of the geographical, practical and emotional distance she travels. "The First Doctor of Many" is one section. "What Do They Mean, Exactly?" is another. "Invasion of the Well-meaning" marks the descent of friends and neighbours. "We Make Room For New Truths" is the moment the family realizes that Claire's brain is dead.

How sensational, how melodramatic a subject, one might think. But this is a sane, compassionate novel, reflecting not predictable YA angst but the calm, sadness, fear and even pleasure of a girl who lives a traumatic week with clear-eyed perception and openness.

Would You offers the brisk pace and sparky friendships of a quick YA read... but the critical difference is Jocelyn's hallmark as a writer a dry, quirky sense of humour; unexpected, refreshing turns of phrase; and insights articulated so lucidly that they will stick in the mind for years.

Deirdre Baker, Small Print