Debbie Bailey

A teacher of young children, Debbie Bailey is fascinated by the world of children’s literature and has a keen interest in early literacy. Debbie’s career as a writer began when her daughter was a baby. Knowing how important it was to read to Emily at an early age, Debbie sought out suitable books for a baby. She became familiar with many of the picture books and simple stories available for young children. Frustrated by the limited number of board books available, Debbie decided to try writing her own.

Debbie noticed that Emily preferred books that had photographs of other children. She felt, too, that there were a number of obvious topics—daily parts of many children’s lives—that had not yet been explored. Debbie also found that the majority of board books were surprisingly lacking in ethnic diversity. She contacted her friend, photographer Sue Huszar, and together they set out to develop books to address these concerns. As a result, the first six titles in the Talk-about-Books series were released in 1991. The series now includes eighteen titles. Families (1999) is a large-format book incorporating the six books that deal specifically with family interaction. 

Debbie was born in Toronto. She attended Ryerson Polytechnical University, graduating with a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. After working for a year at a daycare center, she returned to school and received a Bachelor of Education degree from the Ontario Teacher Education College. She next attended the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, graduating with a Master of Education degree in Applied Psychology.

In 1981, Debbie moved to Calgary, Alberta, where she began teaching with the Calgary Board of Education. She married her husband, Stan, and has two stepsons. Their daughter Emily was born in 1987. From 1987 to 1991, Debbie taught as an instructor in the Early Childhood Program at the Faculty of Education, University of Calgary. Then, from 1991 to 1993, the family lived in Malaysia, where she opened a kindergarten for local children (which is still operating today). Debbie continues to work as an Assistant Principal for the Calgary Board of Education and is always delighted to hear from her students that they have copies of the Talk-about-Books at home.