Say Bonjour to the Lady book signing today


Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting from Paris to New York is not a how-to book on child-rearing. It’s a humorous and charmingly illustrated rumination on the differences between American and French parenting styles — written from the perspectives of two ex-Parisians who moved to New York and are raising their children there.

Florence Mars, who co-wrote the book with Pauline Leveque, will sign books and discuss her work from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at The French Library (3811 Magazine St., 504-267-3707; The event is free and the public is invited. A quarter of proceeds from the book will benefit Epic, a nonprofit organization Mars’ husband helped found to connect donors with social causes.

The book takes a lighthearted look at child-rearing from the perspectives of Mars, who follows a more formal French approach, and Leveque, who adopted an American approach.

With all the French influences in New Orleans and the city’s celebration of all things Francophile, Mars says she believes parents in the city will identify with both methods.

“I hope New Orleans moms will recognize themselves somewhere in the middle, between the overly rigid French mums and some over-friendly American mums,” she says. “The truth is, there is no … recipe. We are all trying and failing every day. What our children learn from their parents really is: Perfection does not exist, and that’s OK.”

So how does New Orleans stack up against New York? “People in New Orleans are so welcoming, compared to New York,” Mars says. “And the way of life here seems very French — food, wine and the idea of having a good time — which resonates deeply with me. I love the fact that people here are not afraid to ‘waste’ some time having a conversation instead of always networking. In New York, almost all conversations need to have a purpose. This is so sad.”

Mars, president of Bonpoint USA, a children’s fashion line, lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband the three children. Leveque was a journalist in France who became an illustrator and author of the Beep Beep series of children’s books. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and two children.

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