Jennifer Rouse Barbeau ~ author & illustrator

Jennifer Rouse Barbeau is a mother, a wife, a teacher, a writer and an artist. 
Let me introduce myself.  

A graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, I began my academic career with the intention of becoming a fine artist. By the second year of my four-year degree, I shifted my focus to Advertising & Illustration with a special interest in Creative Writing.  
I am now a professor of Advertising & Marketing Communications with an Ontario College.
The middle child of a stay-at-home, French-Canadian Roman Catholic mother and an English Protestant banker-turned-insurance-salesman father, I have lived a quiet, middle-class life that is rich in conflict, chaos and cultural clashes.  

My maternal grandmother was a 4-foot-9-inch French-Canadian workhorse who created modest wealth out of a derelict gas & grill after her wild, schizophrenic husband wandered into the woods to die, leaving her to raise nine children aged 5 and up. Mém
ère lived by the biblical maxim that if you laughed today you'd cry tomorrow -- though she cackled wickedly at JR's antics on Dallas. Her hands were gnarled and her face grim, but she bought a personal Christmas gift for everyone in her ever-growing family, even when the numbers surpassed sixty. 

My paternal grandmother was a tall Englishwoman from a prosperous family, who used her bright blue eyes and auburn hair to seduce the boys away from their girlfriends when she was a young nurse. She helped perform abortions and would occasionally stash an especially ugly newborn under the bed until he gave up the fight. She told chilling stories of the startling reflexes of dead people she'd prepare for burial. At sixteen, she read tea leaves at a sleepover with girlfriends, and every word of what she predicted came true. Nan's hair turned white from the shock. Everyone whispered that she was a witch, and I think Nan herself feared it was true. She married a creative genius -- a professional figure skater who invented and sold a new car engine design to a major automobile manufacturer. Willie liked to drink. They lived without indoor plumbing or electricity, long after the masses had them. Their union produced two sons who lived within blocks of each other for a lifetime, yet rarely spoke. Nan's husband -- my grandfather -- died young of alcoholism, but only after he stole a life insurance policy from his son -- my father -- who shared the same name.

My parents grew up throwing rocks at each other, French against English, on the sharp, barren moonscape of Sudbury, Ontario. And then they married. Go figure.

These are my roots.
Alcoholism. Mental illness. Witchcraft. Religion.
uirky mix that fills my stories and pictures with brave imagination and

Think: Erma Bombeck meets Stephen King.
May you enjoy it all.
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