A lullaby for the world

Jacques J.M.Shore, LLB’80, is a celebrated lawyer (he helped Amazon enter the Canadian marketplace), but his true passion is writing books for children. His latest work has found a new audience – in Ukraine.

Story by Dinah Zeldin

November 2023

Jacques J.M. Shore, LLB’80, has made an impact in a multitude of ways.

A prominent lawyer and partner at Canada-based, international law firm Gowling WLG and an engaged community activist, he was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2022. From helping Amazon enter the Canadian marketplace by acting as their legal counsel, to co-founding Operation Abraham, a non-profit initiative that helped evacuate 1,500 Afghans within the first two hours of the Taliban takeover and resettled 500 people, he has played a key role in projects that have had a wide influence. An avid baseball fan, Shore even helped bring professional baseball back to Ottawa, acting as legal counsel for the Titans and then joining the team’s ownership group.

But his true passion is writing stories for children.

“So much of the future of this world rests on what we give our children,” says the father of three daughters and grandfather of one. “I think that if we can provide the right stories and images, we can help shape our children into incredibly fine people equipped to deal with the challenges of the world.”

Shore’s most recent children’s book, Sleep, My Baby – which he co-authored with his late mother, Holocaust survivor, writer, philosopher and educator Lena Allen-Shore, MA’72 – is a moving ode to the universality of a mother’s love. In several short stanzas, the book voices every mother’s wish for a peaceful and happy life for her child, while evoking a sense of interconnectedness with those around the world.

Published in 2021, two years after his mother’s passing, it is an adaptation of a lullaby Shore’s mother composed for him when he was born. That lullaby has now been shared with three generations of children in his family. The book project, which was started in the last year of his mother’s life, was Shore’s way to help her realize her wish to produce one last written work.

“It is the perfect bookend to her career in that it was about building bridges,” he reflects. “In these times of global turmoil, it is the kinds of ideas expressed in this book that I hope can help us recognize that we have to live together in peace and harmony on this planet.”

This year, Sleep, My Baby was translated into Ukrainian, and 10,000 copies of the book were distributed to children in Ukraine and to Ukrainian refugee families by Save the Children. The costs of translation and production were covered by publishing company Simon & Schuster Canada. Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada Yuliya Kovaliv provided the foreword to this new Ukrainian version.

To extend the book’s reach, Shore created a digital version. His daughter Emily Shore, BA’07, DipPublicRelationsMgmt’12 (the public affairs and communications coordinator for McGill’s Office for Science and Society), recruited Grammy Award-winning children’s singer Jennifer Gasoi, BA’96, to record the vocals, and Shore himself worked closely with STUDIO NYC to bring Jessica Courtney-Tickle’s poignant illustrations from the book to life in an animated version. The video is available in both English and Ukrainian.

Shore hopes that Sleep, My Baby will be translated into many languages and made available around the world, and that children and mothers will appropriate it, substituting their own cities for those mentioned in the book.

“I see no reason why it can’t be ‘In Longueuil, in Quebec City and in St. Donat’ instead of ‘Rome, Warsaw and Calcutta. It’s such a universal message,” he says. “It is my hope that this lullaby will engender the sense that, when a child wakes up in the morning, wherever they are, they are safe and protected.”

Shore is the author of two earlier children’s books: Menorah in the Night Sky: A Miracle of Chanukah (2002), and Friday Night with the Pope (2006), inspired by a Sabbath dinner his family once enjoyed with a particularly prominent friend of his mother’s – Pope John Paul II.

While he views Sleep, My Baby as primarily his mother’s work which he helped bring to the public eye, he is determined to write more books in the years to come.

“I’m hoping that from the things I have learned through my experiences and my ancestry, I can share more stories that will resonate with others,” he says.

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