Hi, I'm Melanie!

The idea for the map came to me when I was on maternity leave with my newborn son and my five-year-old daughter in tow. I spent months searching for a map of the world for my daughter’s room that was both charming and represented an accurate depiction of the world, to no avail. All I could find were either maps that were too simplistic or maps right from a schoolbook.

Eventually, I took out my scissors and memories of my world travels and began to craft my own map. I used scrapbooking paper, paint and glue and in the process, I thought – let’s add photos of my little ones in a hot air balloon!

Fast forward to 2017 – as we see in everyday news, today’s environment is not exemplifying a world where we embrace our differences. As I watch my children grow, I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most important lessons for them to understand is that the world we live in is rich and beautiful because of its diversity. Difference is something our children should be curious about. After all, imagine a world with the same pandas in China as in Ecuador and everywhere in between – how boring would this be?

With this in mind, I created The Yellow Toucan and developed a map of the world with Calgary-based artist Lawrence Stilwell. Selecting items to represent different countries and cultures was both an exciting and difficult task. I drew on my memories of past travels and what had left an impact on me. I landed on a list that included animals, people, food, nature, monuments, housing, transportation and objects that depict the world as it is today – a place of amazing diversity. Lawrence expertly hand-painted each of them to be both charming and realistic. My wish is now for your children to look at this map and dream of all the places they'll visit one day!

The Yellow Toucan World Map is one step towards growing the future generations of world lovers, world travellers and world changers.

In symbolism, the toucan encourages us to reveal our true self, to dare to be different and to add more colour to our life.

Thank you for your trust.