Nicolas Debon Biography
Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights
Born in Nancy, France. Education: Studied at the Nancy School of Arts.
Office—21 rue des Prés aux Bois, 78000 Versailles, France.
Author and illustrator. French Ministry of Culture, worked in the contemporary visual arts department; French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, worked at the French Consulate in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; freelance illustrator, 1998—. Draftsman for a stained glass company in Toronto.
Governor General's Literary Award finalist, Canada Council, 2003, for Four Pictures by Emily Carr.
A Brave Soldier, Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
Four Pictures by Emily Carr, Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre (Berkeley, CA), 2003.
Also author of a guide to contemporary visual art in Ontario, Canada, L'art contemporain en Ontario.
Virginia Walton Pilegard, The Warlord's Puzzle, Pelican (Gretna, LA), 2000.
Virginia Walton Pilegard, The Warlord's Beads, Pelican (Gretna, LA), 2001.
Virginia Walton Pilegard, The Warlord's Fish, Pelican (Gretna, LA), 2002.
Kris Hemphill, Ambush in the Wilderness, Silver Moon Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Stephanie Sammartino McPherson, Liberty or Death: A Story about Patrick Henry, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
Shannon Zemlicka, Florence Nightingale, Carolrhoda Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.
Laura Scandiffio, The Martial Arts Book, Annick Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
Jean E. Pendziwol, Dawn Watch, Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
Virginia Walton Pilegard, The Warlord's Puppeteers, Pelican (Gretna, LA), 2003.
Virginia Walton Pilegard, The Warlord's Kites, Pelican (Gretna, LA), 2004.
Contributor of illustrations to textbooks.
Although freelance author and illustrator Nicolas Debon now makes his home in France, he began his career in children's books while living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Some of his first illustrations were for Virginia Walton Pilegard's "Warlord" series, which includes such tales as The Warlord's Puzzle, The Warlord's Beads, and The Warlord's Fish. In these books, Pilegard relates legends about the inventors of various ancient Chinese innovations, including the compass and the abacus. Debon's illustrations for The Warlord's Fish, explaining the invention of the compass, were particularly praised by reviewers. They "convincingly visualize the historical setting and display a fine sense of color and composition," commented Carolyn Phelan in Booklist, while School Library Journal contributor Laurie Edwards deemed the pictures "stunning" and commented favorably on their "subtle shading and engaging design."
Debon is also the author of two self-illustrated works, A Brave Soldier and Four Pictures by Emily Carr, both picture books dealing with Canadian history. The former, described as a "well told, powerfully illustrated, and timely" anti-war tale by School Library Journal contributor Louise L. Sherman, is about a Canadian soldier named Frank who enlists to fight in France during World War I. He and his friend arrive at the front in high spirits, but they quickly become disillusioned. Before long, Frank's friend is killed, and in the same attack, Frank is wounded so badly that he is sent home. "While Debon does not gloss over the brutal conditions experienced in World War I," Victoria Pennell wrote in Resource Links, "he does not dwell on the horror or glorify the fighting" either.
A finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award, Four Pictures by Emily Carr offers a unique biography of the pioneering Canadian painter. Showing talent as a child, Carr eventually abandoned her art while still young, not returning to the canvas until the age of fiftysix, when some of her early works finally received much deserved critical attention. Debon drew on Carr's detailed journals in writing the book, and often the words which he places in Carr's mouth are drawn directly from her own writings. Told in a format reminiscent of a comic book, Four Pictures by Emily Carr "distill[s] four periods in the Canadian artist's life … into enticing vignettes," Sophie R. Brookover wrote in School Library Journal. Finding Debon's approach "innovative," Horn Book's Lolly Robinson recommended "this unusual and highly successful homage to Carr … for late bloomers of any age and vocation."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, November 1, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of A Brave Soldier, p. 491; February 1, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Warlord's Fish, p. 1002; April 15, 2003, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Martial Arts Book, pp. 1468-1469; December 1, 2003, Hazel Rochman, review of Four Pictures by Emily Carr, p. 658.
Books in Canada, November, 2002, Deborah Wandal, review of A Brave Soldier, pp. 39-40.
Horn Book, January-February, 2004, Lolly Robinson, review of Four Pictures by Emily Carr, p. 100.
Publishers Weekly, April 24, 2000, review of The Warlord's Puzzle, p. 90.
Resource Links, December, 2002, Victoria Pennell, review of A Brave Soldier, pp. 4-5.
School Library Journal, June, 2000, Margaret A. Chang, review of The Warlord's Puzzle, p. 124; February, 2002, Karen Land, review of The Warlord's Beads, p. 110; February, 2003, Louise L. Sherman, review of A Brave Soldier, p. 104, Laurie Edwards, review of The Warlord's Fish, p. 120; August, 2003, Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, review of Florence Nightingale, p. 153; September, 2003, Donna Cardon, review of Liberty or Death: A Story about Patrick Henry, p. 203; October, 2003, review of A Brave Soldier, p. S23; November, 2003, Sophie R. Brookover, review of Four Pictures by Emily Carr, pp. 154-155.
Teaching Children Mathematics, February, 2003, Alison S. Claus, review of The Warlord's Beads, pp. 365-366.