Fantastic Stories from New York's Past at the Brooklyn Book Festival

November 1, 2012 | By French Culture

On the occasion of the Brooklyn Book Festival, French author and illustrator François Roca visited New York to share his books with young fans.

New York was the ideal setting to present Roca’s picture books since many of his stories are drawn from the city’s incredible history. His book Soar, Elinor, for example, was inspired by Elinor Smith’s seemingly impossible 1928 aerial maneuver in which she flew under all four bridges that span the East River. Another, Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing, is based on the true story of how circus legend P.T. Barnum crossed the Brooklyn Bridge with 21 elephants to convinced New Yorkers of its safety after construction was completed in 1884.

In addition to the Brooklyn Book Festival, Roca also visited La Petite Ecole, an immersion school in Tribeca, where he gave a workshop to preschool children before moving on to Providence, Rhode Island where he gave a conference on illustration to students at the Rhode Island School of Design and finally to Minneapolis where he gave book presentations at two bilingual schools, Pierre Bottineau French Immersion and Normandale French Immersion School.


(Click on image to view photo gallery.)


About François Roca
François Roca is a French illustrator born in 1971 in Lyon. He studied applied arts at the École Nationale Olivier de Serres, and illustration at the École Émile Cohl. Since 1996, François Roca has illustrated more than twenty books, most of them written by French author Fred Bernard. Their first book, La reine des fourmis a disparu, was awarded several prizes in France. In the U.S., he has published five books, including Soar, Elinor and Twenty-One Elephants: and Still Standing. His sophisticated oil painting and the refined texts attract readers of all ages. Muhammad Ali, written by Jonah Winter, has particularly received considerable acclaim.

François Roca’s US tour was part of the French Embassy’s French Authors on Tour program. 

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