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Jean Little (January 2, 1932 – April 6, 2020) was a Canadian writer. She was a key author in creating and writing the Dear Canada series. Her novels included Orphan at My Door, Brothers Far from Home, If I Die Before I Wake, Exiles from the War, and All Fall Down and she was a contributor to several Dear Canada story collections.


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Little was born in Taiwan to Canadian doctors working as medical missionaries in 1932. The Little family returned to Canada in 1939 and settled in Guelph, Ontario. Little has been partially blind since birth as a result of scars on her cornea and is frequently accompanied by a guide dog.

After teaching disabled children for several years, Little wrote her first children’s novel, Mine for Keeps, about a child with cerebral palsy. It won the Little, Brown Canadian Children’s Book Award and was published in 1962. She has subsequently written numerous published works, which include novels, picture books, poetry, short stories, and two autobiographical books. Her novel, His Banner Over Me, was based on her mother's childhood. Little has won literary awards for her work and has been published internationally.

Little has taught Children's Literature at the University of Guelph, where she was an Adjunct Professor in the Department of English. She has six honorary degrees and was a Member of the Order of Canada. She has journeyed widely talking to both adults and children themselves about the joys to be found through reading and writing. In March 2004, she went to India and in November 2006 to Bulgaria. Little gave the 2016 Margaret Lawrence Lecture at the Canadian Writers Summit in June. She was also a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Little resided in Guelph, Ontario with her sister Pat, her great-niece Jeanie, and her great-nephew Ben. She continued to write through the aid of a talking computer and traveled with her Seeing Eye dog Honey. Little passed away on April 6, 2020 at the age of 88, in Guelph.


Dear Canada[]

Selected works[]

  • Mine for Keeps (1962)
  • Spring Begins in March (1966)
  • From Anna (1972)
  • Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird (1984)
  • Little by Little: A Writer's Education (1987)
  • Stars Come Out Within (1990)
  • Listen for the Singing (1991)
  • His Banner Over Me (1995)
  • Pippin the Christmas Pig (2003)
  • Dancing Through the Snow (2007)
  • Hand in Hand (2016)


External links[]