Apr 16, 2020
On Apr. 6, 2020, the well-beloved Canadian children’s author Jean Little died, aged 88. The daughter of medical missionaries, Jean was born with damaged corneas. Over the years, she had other vision issues, resulting in her becoming legally blind. Graduating from university with a degree in English literature, Jean became a teacher, and then a writer of fiction, biography and poetry. She was most noted for her children’s books, many which touched on issues dealing with physical disabilities or emotional challenges. Her unforgettable characters and stories resonated with many readers.
Jean’s books included the novels Mine for Keeps, about a girl with cerebral palsy, and Mama’s Going to Buy You a Mockingbird, about a boy dealing with both family grief and new friends. She worked with Scholastic Canada as a writer of the Dear Canada historical series, and her book Orphan at My Door – the Home Child Diary of Victoria Cope won the CLA Book of the Year for children in 2001. She also wrote several picture books, including Harry’s Hiccups; her last one, Maya and the Monarch will be published in 2021. Jean Little won numerous literary awards and accolades and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1993. The Ottawa Public Library has her books in print format, as well as e-Book and e-Audio. A listing of them is included here.