British-born storyteller and children's author Jan Andrews, who immigrated to Canada in her 20s and "wrote books for children of all ages, often inspired by the people and landscape of her adopted home," died September 2, Quillblog reported. She was 75. Last December, she was appointed to the Order of Canada "for her contributions to Canadian culture as a children’s book author and as a pioneer of Canada’s storytelling movement."
Andrews published her first book, Very Last First Time, in 1985 with Groundwood Books. Sheila Barry, Groundwood's president and publisher, said, "Jan's experience as a storyteller gave her a particularly strong voice as a writer, and she used her strong and passionate voice to write honestly and without condescension for child readers. My favorite book of hers is probably The Auction, which is a sad and wise book about a boy helping his grandfather get ready to sell the family farm. Really, though, like all the best stories, it's about more than one farm or one boy--it's about the inevitability of change and the importance of memory."
Andrews other books include Keri (1996) as well as the story collections Stories at the Door (2007) and Rude Stories (2010). British illustrator Francis Blake, who collaborated with her on both collections, observed: "She was always very careful to maintain the integrity of a story. If it came from a cultural background that held certain traditions, then she would be sensitive to those traditions. There were some First Nation stories that she knew belonged to certain individuals within the community, rather than the community as a whole, and she would always get permission from those people before telling the story herself."