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Children's Fiction Special Needs

From Anna (50th Anniversary Edition)

by (author) Jean Little

foreword by Katherine Paterson

illustrated by Joan Sandin

Scholastic Canada Ltd
Initial publish date
Sep 2022
Special Needs, Post-Confederation (1867-)
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 7
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


A beloved Canadian favourite is available again with a fresh new cover and classic interior illustrations for its 50th anniversary.


Nine-year-old Anna has always been the clumsy one in the family. Somehow she can never do anything right. She bumps into tables, and she can't read the blackboard at her school. Her perfect brothers and sisters call her “Awkward Anna.”

When Papa announces that the family is moving from Germany to Canada — after the disappearance of some Jewish neighbours he can see what the Nazis' rise to power will bring — Anna's heart sinks. How can she learn English when she can't even read German properly?

But when the Soldens arrive in Canada, Anna learns that there is a reason for her clumsiness. And suddenly, wonderfully, her whole world begins to change. Especially when her new friends in a special class at school help her stand up to some bullies who call her names.

A truly heartwarming story of an underdog who prevails; it is impossible not to cheer for prickly, determined, wonderful Anna.

Bonus content includes an introduction by Katherine Paterson, an afterword by the author, plus reader discussion questions and activities.

About the authors

Jean Little was born in Taiwan in 1932. Her parents were both doctors. Jean grew up in Ontario and graduated from the University of Toronto. She was born with a severe eye problem and is severely visually impaired. A special "talking" computer assists her with her writing. She has a retired seeing-eye dog named Ritz and a new one named Pippa, with whom she travels. The author focuses on her experiences from the time she was a child through young adulthood in her autobiography, Little by Little, and continues her story in Stars Come Out Within. The books, which will appeal to children 10 and older, are both humorous and poignant as Jean describes living with a disability and the ridicule she sometimes experienced as a result, as well as her love for the world of reading and books. Jean's books include From Anna, Listen for the Singing, Stand In The Wind, Mama's Going To Buy You a Mockingbird, Hey World, Here I Am!, Look through My Window, Emma's Yucky Brother, The Belonging Place, and Mine For Keeps. Listen for the Singing was the Canada Council Children's Literature Award winner in 1977. Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird was the CLA Book of the Year in 1985.
Jean Little's first book, Mine for Keeps, won the Little, Brown Children's Book Award in 1962 and was republished by Viking Penguin in 1995. It tells the story of Sally Copeland, a 10 year old with cerebral palsy, and her adjustment to being home after spending several years in a special school. You'll find that several of the themes in this book appear in a number of the author's other books: dealing with a handicap and the responses of others, fitting in, and adjusting to new situations and surroundings.


Jean Little's profile page

Katherine Paterson's profile page

JOAN SANDIN est née au Wisconsin, elle a grandi à Tucson, en Arizona, et elle a vécu 15 ans à Stockholm, en Suède. Elle a toujours aimé dessiner et elle a illustré son premier livre – une histoire écrite par son grand frère Tom – à l’âge de cinq ans. Joan a trois enfants et plus d’une dizaine de petits-enfants, et elle a publié plus de 100 livres en anglais et en suédois. Elle est de retour en Arizona, où elle continue d’illustrer, d’écrire et de traduire des livres pour enfants.

Joan Sandin's profile page


  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Starred Selection
  • Commended, Today's Parent 100 best Canadian kids' books of all time
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Children's Choice)
  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre

Editorial Reviews


“Jean Little has again created realistic characters whose interactions make this a touching story with which children will readily identify.” — School Library Journal



“In Canada [Anna] comes into her own. A moving, honest and strong story.” — Michelle Landsberg’s Guide to Children’s Books



“Moving is never easy, especially when you're a little 9-year-old girl moving from the tumult of living in Nazi Germany to Canada in the 1930s. And if you're clumsy and your older brothers and sisters all call you "Awkward Anna" as well, it's even worse. In award-winning writer Jean Little's poignant novel, From Anna, readers are sure to be touched by Anna Solden's struggles with her new home in Canada, the unfamiliar language of English, and the realization that, in fact, there is a reason for her being such an awkward child. When it’s discovered that Anna needs glasses and that her clumsiness is actually the result of being visually impaired, Anna’s life changes completely. Suddenly her brothers and sisters see Anna in a new light and try to make amends for being unkind. From Anna is one of Jean Little’s most popular novels, and it’s little wonder. Readers will also want to check out the sequel, Listen for the Singing.” — Jeffrey Canton


Other titles by Jean Little

Other titles by Katherine Paterson

Other titles by Joan Sandin