Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 9
- Grade: 1 to 4
Based on a true story, Mr. Gauguin’s Heart is about the birth of imagination and the solace of art. Young Paul Gauguin sailed from Denmark to Peru with his family: his mother, his father, his sister, Marie, and his odd-looking, imaginary orange dog. At first being on the boat was fun; he loved to walk his dog on the ship’s bridge. Then one day, Paul found his mother in tears; his father had died.
When the ship docked, Paul refused to leave. Then an old man took him by the hand and in a few brush strokes, he had stirred a passion that lay just beneath the boy’s surface. He had shown Paul how to paint, but, more than that, he taught him how to bring his memories to life.
Mr. Gauguin’s Heart is a charming and heartwarming story of how, as a boy, Paul Gauguin learned to channel his grief from the death of his father and pour it into his first painting — one that would pave the way to many masterpieces.
About the authors
MARIE-DANIELLE CROTEAU was born in Quebec's Eastern Townships and dreamed of travel and adventure from an early age. Educated in Communications and Art History, she has worked for Radio-Canada and Montreal's Musée des Beaux Arts. She has lived in Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, and France. She has written many books, for people of all ages.
Isabelle Arsenault is a very talented Quebec illustrator who has won an impressive number of awards and has achieved international recognition. She has illustrated Migrant by Maxine Trottier, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award; Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, winner of the Governor General’s Award; Le coeur de monsieur Gauguin by Marie-Danielle Croteau, winner of the Governor General’s Award; and My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson, a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. She has also illustrated Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean Pendziwol and Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt, forthcoming from Groundwood. Isabelle has won the Grand Prix for illustration (Magazines du Québec) for six years running. She lives with her family in Montreal.
Susan Ouriou is an award-winning literary translator who has translated the fiction of Quebec, Latin-American, French and Spanish authors. She won Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation in 2009 for Pieces of Me by Charlotte Gingras, after first being shortlisted for The Road to Chlifa by Michèle Marineau and then for Necessary Betrayals by Guillaume Vigneault. The Road to Chlifa was also awarded an honour list placing by IBBY (International Board of Books for Youth) as were Naomi and Mrs. Lumbago by Gilles Tibo, This Side of the Sky by Marie-Francine Hébert and Pieces of Me. Necessary Betrayals was also voted one of the 100 best books of 2002 by the Globe and Mail. Another translation, The Thirteenth Summer by José Luis Olaizola, was runner-up for the John Glassco Translation Prize. She has worked as the director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre and as faculty for the Banff Centre's Aboriginal Emerging Writers residency. She is the editor of the 2010 anthology Beyond Words – Translating the World.
Mr. Gauguin’s HeartThis charming and heartwarming story tells how young Paul Gauguin, who became a famous artist, learned to channel his grief from his father’s death into his first painting. Based on a true story.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.