• Jean E. Pendziwol was born and raised in Thunder Bay on the Canadian shore of Lake Superior and continues to call Northwestern Ontario home. Her critically acclaimed children’s books includes Once Upon a Northern Night, (Groundwood Books, Illus. Isabelle Arsenault) shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the TD Children’s Literature Book of the Year. She began her children’s publishing career with the bestselling No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (and Dragons) (Kids Can Press, Illus Martine Gourbault), which continues to be used as an important resource for teaching fire safety. Her debut adult novel The Lightkeeper’s Daughters (HarperCollins 2017) became an instant bestseller, and has been picked up for publication in numerous other countries around the world. Jean’s latest children’s book is Me and You and the Red Canoe (Groundwood Books, Ills. Phil) She has two new picture books under contract with Groundwood schedule for publication in 2020 and 2021.


  • Good stories speak to the soul. They allow the reader to disconnect; to escape, to be fully immersed in a world that’s been painted with language, where characters are sculpted, and lives choreographed on the page. But good stories also build connection, bringing together, for a brief time, the author and audience, and allowing the reader to find belonging in the unique similarities of the human experience.


    This is why I write.


    Whether I’m crafting for children or adults, my words are richly layered with imagery — lyrical, poetic, atmospheric. I love to create settings that function as an integral part of the story, becoming as relevant and necessary as the plot or characters. I have found inspiration in the diverse history and culture of northwestern Ontario, in Lake Superior and the shale cliffs of the Nor’Wester Mountains, in the inland lakes and boreal forests of this place I call home. I take the challenges of isolation and weave them into work that explores the strength of human character, and I’m especially drawn to stories that inspire, empower, and acknowledge potential within the flawed and broken.


    While my early publishing career has primarily focused on picture books, I am expanding to longer works of fiction and discovering other genres. I allow the story to direct where it needs to go and who it needs to speak to, all the while respecting the audience. I like nothing more than being drawn into a story I’m writing, pinning it down, giving it life, allowing it to inhabit me, and then having it do the same for my reader, whether they are three or seventy-three years old.

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