Little, Jean

Jean Little, writer, lecturer (b at Taiwan [Taichung], Formosa [Taiwan] 2 Jan 1932 to Canadian medical doctors). A successful contemporary writer of children's fiction, Little has won the Canada Council Children's Literature Award as well as foreign acclaim. She was educated at the University of Toronto and was a special-education teacher before her royalties made her self-supporting.

Almost blind since birth, she has nevertheless travelled to 27 foreign countries, and her books are widely translated abroad. Her novels and poetry treat with insight such universal themes as loneliness, alienation, intolerance, family stress, and the difficulties in interpersonal and intercultural relationships.

Her best-known book is From Anna (1972), which has sold more than 130 000 copies. Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird (1985) won the Canadian Library Association's book-of-the-year-award for children's literature and the Canadian Booksellers' Association Ruth Schwartz Award. In 1996 her novel about the children of missionary parents who are away in Taiwan, His Banner Over Me, won the National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award.