Appreciating Jean Little

In a previous post, I mentioned Jean Little, one of Canada’s most notable children’s authors. She was a favourite of mine growing up, and so I decided to revisit her life and work and write about it here.

About Jean

Jean Little was born in 1932 in Japanese-occupied Taiwan.  Her parents Gorrie (Flora) and Llew were both doctors working as missionaries with the United Church of Canada. Gorrie herself grew up in a missionary family, which often meant a life of long-distance relationships, ably described in Jean’s His Banner over Me (2008).

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Mole and Niece featured in the NonBinary Review

Big news! A story of mine was accepted by the NonBinary Review for their Wind in the Willows issue!

Mole and Niece imagines a time after the conclusion of The Wind and the Willows story when Mole gets to have an adventure of his own. For once, he is more than a sidekick to Ratty and Toad. Along for the fun is his niece Tally, and Mr Badger makes appearances too.

The Wind in the Willows is a multi-generational favourite in our family (I have my Nanner’s copy), so it’s a great honour for me to have my piece accepted.

Now, to read the story in text, you do have to buy the issue (it’s $1.99) here or you can until it’s featured Zoetic Press’s Alphanumeric podcast. Once it’s available in audio format, I will post the details here. Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

I should also note that it’s my first paid writing submission, and I’m the first author listed on the contributors’ page! Very exciting and humbling.

A big shout out to S, H, and A (who all loved the story), and the IF and LL groups for their suggestions while I was writing it. Your support means the world to me!

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Melt with You up on Wattpad

It’s 15 years since the Great North American Blackout. It was a stinking hot day, especially for the poor squirrel that caused it all.

Here’s part one of a story I wrote based on that day. I’ve put it up on Wattpad as the whole thing is a bit longer than I’d like for a blog post. (It also gives me a chance to try out Wattpad) Hope you like it!

Note, you’ll need to sign up for a membership but it’s free.

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A Martian Birthday

The planet Mars has been in the news a lot lately, what with:

  • The discovery of water;
  • the planet being at its closest perigee in 15 years;
  • the 6th birthday of the Curiosity rover;
  • The use of “Mars Awaits” in one of the proposed logo for Trump’s “Space Force”. (Still shaking my head at that whole thing)

So, here’s a bit of Mars-related sci-fi for you, a short story I wrote last fall. I hope you like it!

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Cracking the recipe

I am baking on a Tuesday evening. This is unusual for me. Normally my Tuesday evenings are tied up with choir practice or volunteer work, but in the summer, these things are on hiatus. And even though we have central air, baking isn’t something I do much of in the summer. But this evening is different as it’ll only come once. It is the 100th anniversary of my paternal grandmother’s birthday, and so I’m marking the occasion by attempting her signature cookie recipe once more. This time, I hope to get it right.

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Owls and Okayama

Owls have been my favourite bird as long as I can remember. I’m not sure what the root of this affinity is. It might be that I was drawn to its association with wisdom and the goddess Athena. Or perhaps it’s because their feathers allow them to fly silently, unseen until they wish to be seen. It could be their shared resemblance with cats, who are also favourite creatures of mine, or it could be that their facial discs resemble the glasses I’ve worn pretty much constantly since I was in grade two.

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A weekend away

Here’s another adventure (the first, actually) about the gang from “Happy Birthday, Valerie.” It was inspired by a conversation I was having with some friends about our ideal road trip and by a word prompt from StoryaDay.org that tasked us with writing a story in the format of a list.

To Do/Itinerary

Key people: Brooke, Sonya, Valerie, and me.

Goal: to have a great girls’ weekend away

Note to self: the others will laugh at this document, especially the 24-hour clock, so keep it hidden, but close.

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An essential aspect

When you visit this website, if you look to the right of your screen, you’ll see a couple of icons in a vertically oriented grey rectangle. The top icon is a black circle that is half open, half solid. The lower icon has two black letter Ts in capital case, but of different sizes.

You’ll also notice that these icons stay in place whether you move the image by scrolling up and down or by using your arrow keys.

The top button allows you to shift to a high contrast screen:

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Exactly as you are

The other day, we went to pay homage to an old friend of mine. I hadn’t seen him in many years, and he died some time ago, but he left an impression on me. It’s only now that I’m really starting to comprehend and appreciate the unique soul known as Fred Rogers.

When I was a very young child, I visited him every weekday. I would wait for him to come through the door, give a cheery greeting, and come down the steps to the front closet. He’d take off his jacket and pull out and put on a cardigan. Then he’d sit down and change out of his outdoor shoes for a pair of sneakers, singing all the while, asking if I would be his neighbour, or announcing that it was a such a good feeling to know we were friends.  

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A Canada Day compromise

Ottawa is broiling today. According to the Weather Network, it’s 33 degrees Celcius, with a Humidex reading of 45. We’ve been under an Extreme Heat Warning since Friday. While there’s a breeze, there isn’t much relief from the blazing sun. They said on the news last night that today is projected to be the hottest Canada Day since 1963.

Thankfully, we don’t have to go anywhere today. My husband’s on duty this weekend, which means that he has to keep his eye on his work email and be prepared to go to work on his laptop if needed. It’s been quiet so far, but one never knows. Still, it puts the kibosh on making any big plans for the weekend. But the heat and humidity have clinched it.

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