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Orphan at My Door: The Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope is the first book in Scholastic Canada's Dear Canada series. The book was written by Jean Little and is her first entry for the series. It was published in August 2001 with Sarah Ellis' A Prairie as Wide as the Sea. A French edition was released in February 2005.


"For Mary Ronzio, an inspired researcher and cherished friend."

Book description[]

"Saturday, May 28, 1897, Bedtime
We went and got our Home Girl. She is very small and shy. Her name is Mary Anna Wilson and she is twelve years old. She looks as though she's ten.
There were just four children on the station platform. Only one of them was a girl. All four wore labels with their names written on them, and each of them had a trunk—a big, wooden one with brass corners.
I could tell Father was displeased about something. "We need someone strong to help my wife," he told the woman waiting with the children. "That girl is nothing but a child. A sickly youngster wouldn't be worth her keep."
The girl had her head ducked down so far we could just see the top of her hat. She could not help but hear every word he spoke.

"Samedi 28 mai 1897, dans mon lit
Nous somme allés chercher notre orpheline. Elle est toute petite et très timide. Elle s'appelle Mary Anna Wilson et elle a douze ans. On dirait qu'elle n'a pas plus de dix ans.
Quand nous sommes arrivés à la gare, il n'y avait que quatre enfants sur le quai. Et seulement une fille. Chacun des quatre enfants portait une étiquette avec son nom écrit dessus et se tenait à côté d'un coffre avec son nom écrit dessus, aussi. C'étaient de gros coffres en bois avec des coins en laiton.
Je voyais biens que papa était contrarié par quelque chose.
«Nous avons besoin de quelqu'un de fort pour aider mon épouse, a-t-il dit à la dame. Mais vois m'emmenez une enfant. Un pauvre petit être maladif qui ne sera d'aucune aide.»
La fille a baissé la tête, tellement qu'on ne voyait plus que le dessus de son chapeau. Elle ne pouvait pa faire autrement que d'entendre ce qu'il disait.



Historical Note[]


Main article: List of Orphan at My Door characters


Main article: Jean Little



  • Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children (2001) - winner[5]
  • Canadian Children's Book Centre, Our Choice (2002) - commended[6]
  • Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice, Diamond Willow Award (2003) - short-listed[7]
  • Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award (2003) - short-listed[8]
  • Red Cedar Award, BC Young Readers' Choice (2004) - short-listed[6]


"Thanks to Barbara Hehner for her careful checking of the manuscript, and to Dr. Joy Parr, author of Labouring Children, for her historical expertise."


  • The portrait on the cover is a detail from a photograph by William James Topley. The background is photograph depicting the arrival British immigrant children. Both photographs were licensed from the National Archives of Canada.[9][10]


See also[]

Dear Canada

Orphan at My Door | A Prairie as Wide as the Sea | With Nothing But Our Courage | Footsteps in the Snow
A Ribbon of Shining Steel | Whispers of War | Alone in an Untamed Land | Brothers Far from Home | An Ocean Apart
A Trail of Broken Dreams | Banished from Our Home | Winter of Peril | Turned Away | The Death of My Country
No Safe Harbour | A Rebel's Daughter | A Season for Miracles | If I Die Before I Wake | Not a Nickel to Spare
Prisoners in the Promised Land | Days of Toil and Tears | Where the River Takes Me | Blood Upon Our Land
A Desperate Road to Freedom | A Christmas to Remember | Exiles from the War | To Stand On My Own
Hoping for Home | That Fatal Night | Torn Apart | A Sea of Sorrows | Pieces of the Past | A Country of Our Own
All Fall Down | Flame and Ashes | A Time for Giving | These Are My Words

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