jan andrews



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SHORTLISTED: CANADA COUNCIL CHILDREN’S LITERATURE PRIZE

SHORTLISTED: RUTH SCHWARTZ AWARD

SELECTED: INTERNATIONAL YOUTH LIBRARY

AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION NOTABLE BOOKS


Eva Padlyat lived in a village on Ungava Bay in northern Canada. 

She was Inuit and ever since she could remember

she had walked with her mother on the bottom of the sea.* 


Of all my books, this is the one that is most beloved.  Eva’s journey is a very special one.  Today, she will walk on the bottom of the sea alone.  She will go into the cave that is under the ice when the tide is out.  She will search for mussels as her people have done for centuries.  She will find herself in darkness.  She will find too she has brought what she needs with her.  She will come again into the light. 


Illustrations by Ian Wallace are in purple and gold, reflecting the colours of a northern winter.  These pictures remain among his most significant works.


Readers should know that going under the ice for food is something that really happens in the Ungava.  It’s not something I’ve ever done.  I read about it when I was proofreading a manuscript for a friend.  I thought going under the ice would be such a wonderful adventure.  Creating a story about it was one way to know what that adventure might be like. 


The best review I ever received for Very Last First Time came from a mother.  She told me how her daughter had had to go to the hospital for a major operation.  The child was very frightened but as she was going under sedation she suddenly opened her eyes.  “Mum,” she said, “Mum, it’s the very last first time I have to do this.  I really will be fine.”


Why is the book called Very Last First Time?  Children give me all sorts of answers.  I believe it’s because we can only ever do things for the first time once. 



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jandrews@magma.ca



Very Last First Time  ©1985 Jan Andrews, Groundwood Books

www.groundwoodbooks.com

VERY LAST FIRST TIME
By JAN ANDREWS
Illustrations by IAN WALLACE

GROUNDWOOD BOOKS
$18.95  Ages 5-9
ISBN 978-0-88899-043-3
Cover image: with permission Groundwood Books.  All rights reserved.