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Little by Little: A Writer's Education

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The noted Canadian writer's autobiography.


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The noted Canadian writer's autobiography.

30 review for Little by Little: A Writer's Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This is only the first part of Little's life story: from her youth in Taiwan up to the acceptance of her first book for publication. (Side note: Mine for Keeps was her debut novel. /passes out) Jean Little, as always, demonstrates a fairly peppery insight into children and what they want to read: If I had included all the background material of which I was then ignorant, this might have turned into a full scale, factual autobiography. I could not let that happen. The child I was would never have fo This is only the first part of Little's life story: from her youth in Taiwan up to the acceptance of her first book for publication. (Side note: Mine for Keeps was her debut novel. /passes out) Jean Little, as always, demonstrates a fairly peppery insight into children and what they want to read: If I had included all the background material of which I was then ignorant, this might have turned into a full scale, factual autobiography. I could not let that happen. The child I was would never have forgiven me. Overall, I found this to be less well written than her fiction, but the most striking thing about Little by Little is how much it reminds me of other works. All the adults in my family enjoyed reading aloud, although no two of them did it exactly alike. When Mother got caught up in a story, she skipped boring bits and read faster and faster. Grandma read every word, drawing out the exciting parts, dropping her voice to a thrilling whisper or bellowing with rage. My father, on the other hand, read straight ahead, without skipping or high drama, but showing his enjoyment of the words themselves by the delight in his voice.How could I read that and not think of Natalie Nelson - "like all writers, first she was a reader" - and her parents' different styles of reading to her? And then there's the poem with "Thursday's child has far to go", which immediately brings Noel Streatfeild's Margaret to mind, and the way Little reads The Secret Garden - this book, and clearly Little herself, is immersed in other books, and grows out of other books - cares about children and knows children - and that underlies every word Jean Little has written. One last thing: Remembering how I had never found a cross-eyed heroine in a book, I decided to search for books about children with motor handicaps. I did not for one moment intend to limit my students to reading about crippled kids. I knew that they completely identified with Anne Shirley and Homer Price, that they actually became Bambi, Piglet, and Wilbur. I did not think they needed a book to help them adjust. I did believe, however, that crippled children had a right to find themselves represented in fiction.I like how Little threads the needle here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Jean Little as done it to me again. She has taken my heart, and poured her magnificant words all over it. I love it. Everytime I finish one of her books, I get the feeling that it shouldn't be over, but it is, and that makes me happy. It's one of those feelings where you can't believe it's over, and you're heart is just racing and you loved it, and just want to flip back to the beginning and read it all again. In her autobiography, to me, Jean Little expresses the struggles of being a child, along Jean Little as done it to me again. She has taken my heart, and poured her magnificant words all over it. I love it. Everytime I finish one of her books, I get the feeling that it shouldn't be over, but it is, and that makes me happy. It's one of those feelings where you can't believe it's over, and you're heart is just racing and you loved it, and just want to flip back to the beginning and read it all again. In her autobiography, to me, Jean Little expresses the struggles of being a child, along with being "crossed-eyed" and different than everyone else. And as a child, when you're going through that, you think you should just dissappear, but the thing is: You shouldn't. Jean Little didn't, and she was called named from the time she started elementary school, until the end. It's amazing, that from all the teasing and ridecule, she got out, and she is one of the BEST canadian writers I know. Hurrah for Jean Little!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Yvensong

    "I was gradually learning that if you are different, nothing good about you mattered. And I had not really understood, until now, that I was different." These two statements say so much about Jean Little's life experiences, and the experience of so many young people. She struggled, and got frustrated, and then found the one thing that allowed her to push through her pain and soar, making this a wonderful book for young people read. I could, so easily, turn this into a personal note. So much of he "I was gradually learning that if you are different, nothing good about you mattered. And I had not really understood, until now, that I was different." These two statements say so much about Jean Little's life experiences, and the experience of so many young people. She struggled, and got frustrated, and then found the one thing that allowed her to push through her pain and soar, making this a wonderful book for young people read. I could, so easily, turn this into a personal note. So much of her story brought forth memories of my childhood and all the teasing and bullying I had to contend with. I won't, though. What I do want to add is that I don't usually enjoy biographies and auto-biographies. This one was different, though. She brought so much life and energy to the writing, that I found my self engrossed with every little moment she was willing to share with her readers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Darlene

    This little book has been sitting on my real bookshelf forever, it seems. It is a bookcrossing copy, BCID: 979-11038203. It came into my care by way of my friend, Cheryl in CC NV. She was right, I did love it. The reason, I think, that I put off reading this book is the tiny font. I often felt I could relate to Jean Little as my eyesight has been an issue of late. Trouble is, I can't put the book next to my nose to see the letters better. There seems no good way to hold a book with small font so This little book has been sitting on my real bookshelf forever, it seems. It is a bookcrossing copy, BCID: 979-11038203. It came into my care by way of my friend, Cheryl in CC NV. She was right, I did love it. The reason, I think, that I put off reading this book is the tiny font. I often felt I could relate to Jean Little as my eyesight has been an issue of late. Trouble is, I can't put the book next to my nose to see the letters better. There seems no good way to hold a book with small font so that I can read. I did find that under the right light and best conditions, I could make my way through the book---Little by Little. And, it worked! Still I would have preferred to read this on my Kindle with an Audible version playing. Or at least with text-to-speech enabled. I could have finished this book in a day or so that way instead of taking weeks. Jean Little has written the ultimate 'making of a writer' book. I believe this would make a good book for teachers to read to students from third grade on. The vocabulary might be above the reach of a 9-10 year old, but the story is accessible for everyone. Who hasn't had insecurity or kids teasing them mercilessly? This might just be the kind of book to squelch bullying. To have both parents as doctors, way back in the day, was quite a lesson for families. Jean grew up in that household. Her family had a lot of help. Even so, Jean didn't have the best life. But she found her passion, writing, to be the bread of life for her. There are so many lessons in this little book. I would like to read it again someday. And now I want to read other books by Jean Little including the continuation of her autobiography. I'll be moving this book to my friend Yvensong next

  5. 4 out of 5

    Janet Barclay

    I'm not sure how I've managed to live this long without reading any of Jean Little's books, especially considering that she's a friend of my sister and I've met her at least once! This happened to be one of many books at a cottage my husband and I rented, and of the few I could count on finishing before the end of our week away. It was so good! I've never read anything quite like it, and not only is Little an excellent story teller, but I came away with a deeper understanding of what it is like t I'm not sure how I've managed to live this long without reading any of Jean Little's books, especially considering that she's a friend of my sister and I've met her at least once! This happened to be one of many books at a cottage my husband and I rented, and of the few I could count on finishing before the end of our week away. It was so good! I've never read anything quite like it, and not only is Little an excellent story teller, but I came away with a deeper understanding of what it is like to grow up with a disability. I want to read more about her life as well as some of her stories.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Selena

    Really enjoyed this book as it is only the second, besides Planet of the Blind that's about someone with visual impairment (minus Helen Keller, but that's a slightly different perspective). Really happy that it's in large font and it mirrors my own realisations about my limited vision.

  7. 5 out of 5

    מונטסרת

    This was an inspiring read with short chapters and very simple actions. It's definitely enjoyable, but for me nothing beyond that.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    I felt sorry for you Ms.Little, but I really admire the way you faced problems. Even when you got really upset about other kids teasing you, you still faced it. I know it is hard to be called with a nickname. It reminded me when I was called by my classmates with a nickname. Unlike yours, ine was called "four-eye-chicken." I know how you feel about being picked on. I felt like I was smaller than everyone else, and like I'm a weirdo, like I don't belong here, like I belong in a different planet. I felt sorry for you Ms.Little, but I really admire the way you faced problems. Even when you got really upset about other kids teasing you, you still faced it. I know it is hard to be called with a nickname. It reminded me when I was called by my classmates with a nickname. Unlike yours, ine was called "four-eye-chicken." I know how you feel about being picked on. I felt like I was smaller than everyone else, and like I'm a weirdo, like I don't belong here, like I belong in a different planet. I hate it when someone keep trying to take my glasses because I know ehn wearing glasses for a long time, my eyes will become smaller, and people will not see me the same way and also I don't look good without my glasses. But i thinkg I'm a little luckier than you are Ms.Little (sorry to say that) because I can make friends even though they called me "four-eye-chicken," and sometimes we became friends because of teasing. When she teased me, I know she was only kidding, so i tell her not to call me that and explain why. And lasylt, I truly hope you will find a good husband that truly loves you and will love you for the rest of his life. sinerely, Mandy Zhao

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane Buttery

    Jean Little is a wonderful children's writer. Because of her own disability, she has empathized with anyone with problems in life or a disability. Jean, against all odds, has written 35 books and this autobiography reveals that it hasn't been an easy life. I met Jean 15 years ago at her home and watched her Tell children a story in the middle of a busy afternoon. She deserves to be known and this autobiography shows her love of writing and determination against all odds to get the job done. Brav Jean Little is a wonderful children's writer. Because of her own disability, she has empathized with anyone with problems in life or a disability. Jean, against all odds, has written 35 books and this autobiography reveals that it hasn't been an easy life. I met Jean 15 years ago at her home and watched her Tell children a story in the middle of a busy afternoon. She deserves to be known and this autobiography shows her love of writing and determination against all odds to get the job done. Bravo Jean

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eunice

    Jean Little writes with great honestly about the pains and joys of her childhood. Most adults, it seems to me, would write of their childhood as an adult. Miss Little writes as though she is experiencing her childhood in the present. She was fortunate to have amazing parents who helped her navigate the struggles of rejection by her peers because of her visual handicap.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Aidan

    A truly terrible book oozing with self pity about a very minor disability. Unless you like stories about someone complaining about life when they have a good one just choose a different book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shirleen

    Loved every minute of reading this book. I felt that this author, Jean Little, is kind and generous and insightful and I have a lot I could learn from her. I loved and learned much from her parents as well. She was very much loved by them, and yet they did not pamper her or fight her battles. So sad to see some of the challenges she encountered while growing up. She was legally blind, and was teased and shunned by classmates in school. But, much because of her parents' wise upbringing, she learn Loved every minute of reading this book. I felt that this author, Jean Little, is kind and generous and insightful and I have a lot I could learn from her. I loved and learned much from her parents as well. She was very much loved by them, and yet they did not pamper her or fight her battles. So sad to see some of the challenges she encountered while growing up. She was legally blind, and was teased and shunned by classmates in school. But, much because of her parents' wise upbringing, she learned to overcome her challenges and became a successful author. I will definitely read more of her books.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I read it twice in a row. I read a number of Little's children/YA books as a kid and it was fun to see some of their roots in her own childhood. The room with the skylight, the math-test cheating, having to give up her private room, WWII, and getting caught in lies all turn up in this book. I already knew that From Anna was partly drawn from life. Little was born blind and gained partial sight later, but often no one realized how little she saw. She too attended Sight Saving classes. She was tea I read it twice in a row. I read a number of Little's children/YA books as a kid and it was fun to see some of their roots in her own childhood. The room with the skylight, the math-test cheating, having to give up her private room, WWII, and getting caught in lies all turn up in this book. I already knew that From Anna was partly drawn from life. Little was born blind and gained partial sight later, but often no one realized how little she saw. She too attended Sight Saving classes. She was teased and bullied for years, and she had to deal with insults from a home ec teacher in high school. She has an easier time at home, though. There are good photos too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Cougler

    Little by Little: A Writer's Education by the wonderful Jean Little. This is once again a powerful Jean Little work. Her ability to make the reader empathize with the plight of the handicapped is amazing. This autobiography (with a little fiction thrown in) makes me wonder at Jean's mother, a doctor in Guelph, Ontario, because of her ability to inspire and direct her daughter. What a mother model!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Aziza

    Jean little has led an extraordinary life. Nearly blind from birth, also she had what her friends called bad eyes. I feel sad for her in this story and I think even her friend are being mean with her as well and I don’t like it when friends and mean to her. In my way I think friend should help us out not just say bad things about you. If you have friend then friend should support me and not agree with other people say things to me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    As a kid with bad eyesight, who pre-glasses read with the book pressed up to my nose, this book about a blind woman was a revelation. I can vividly remember proudly delivering a book report about this book right after I got my first pair of glasses. When my parents moved out of the house I grew up in, this book was one of the few childhood belongings I rescued from the donation pile.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Carlin

    This book is a great portrayal of the author's struggles as a young child with vision problems. It tells of her struggles with bullies and how she overcame them. It clearly illustrates her spirit of never giving up in spite of teachers and fellow students ridiculing her.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Darlene Foster

    It is always great to learn more about an author you admire. Jean Little is not only a wonderful writer, she is a fine example of someone who has succeeded in spite of barriers. What an inspiration. Her autobiography is written with truth, humour and emotion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Absolutely delightful. Jean Little's story of her childhood, struggle with blindness, and development into one of Canada's beloved writers was a pleasure to read. Will have you laughing... and perhaps crying too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rayna

    Very touching. It will make me think twice next time before I even think about looking down on someone's differences.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leni

    What an interesting life!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Louisa

    An excellent story of growing up with disability.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    Extra 1/2 star.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Good read!

  25. 5 out of 5

    happyd

    One of my all time favourite books - an autobiography by a great Canadian children's writer. My copy is signed!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    love it so far.

  27. 5 out of 5

    The Hofs

    I bought this book for my 12 yr old daughter and as usual, Im reading it as well. It is always an inspiration to read books about authors with an early penchant for writing. So far, so good.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jerkfacegirl

  30. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Fry

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