Panic in Santa’s Workshop: an original Christmas children’s story

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Photo: J-F Faucher

Jean-François Faucher (author) and Martin Aubrey (illustrator) are the creators of Slush the Elf and Panic in Santa's Workshop.

Jean-François Faucher, extracurricular activities coordinator of the French immersion program at Université Laval, has just launched his first children's book, Panic in Santa's Workshop. Originally written in French, with charming illustrations by Martin Aubry, the story was translated into English and Spanish by colleagues at the École de Langues.

Sheila Advigue, who coordinates the English-second-language courses at Laval, translated part of the English version of the book. Suzanne Parent, the teaching consultant for Spanish, translated the Spanish version.

In conversation with the QCT, Faucher said he was inspired to write the book by his children, who were tired of hearing the same stories over and over. He created his main character, Slush the elf, and many different stories about him for his children. The one about Slush creating havoc in Santa's workshop was their favourite.

Faucher started putting the story down on paper two years ago, and his friend Martin Aubry began the illustrations last year. The 44-page book was launched on November 22, 2013. Faucher reported that they sold 500 books in three weeks.
Faucher has been touring local Francophone schools and day-care centres in the Quebec City area, where he does readings from the book. He hopes to do the same in some of the area's Anglophone schools next year.

Faucher explained, "We are independently published. We sell our own books via our trilingual website and through a few stores in the Quebec City area: La Maison Anglaise, Vidéoasis in Lac-Beauport, Vert Limette and the Aquarium de Québec. In each book sold online, we write a personal note."

Faucher and Aubry's company also offers a free package for teachers. "When they buy the version online, we send them images in jpeg format, and a PDF file of the book, which they can print themselves, and suggested activities," explained Faucher. "A former teaching assistant and student at the Laval music department recorded a jazzy version of a classic Christmas song for our digital edition," he added.

The Journal de Quebec recently listed Slush, le lutin: Panique à l'atelier du Père Noël in the top 10 Christmas stories of 2013. Faucher was interviewed by CBC radio's Jacqi Czernin on Breakaway on Friday, December 13. You can hear that interview at http://www.cbc.ca/breakaway/