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Whispers of War
dear reader

I love writing the Dear Canada books. A diary lets you do things you can't do in a straight novel. You get to put in things the characters feel but would not admit out loud. You can also include small jokes or silly tangents. And you get to live somebody else's life.

Not only do you get inside another person's life but you get to travel back in time. I am seventy-three but when I am writing Victoria Cope's diary or Marianna's, I become them and live over a hundred years ago. I have to think what people would have thought then - before plastic or TV or Lego or Barbies were invented. People ate different foods and sang different songs and wore different clothes. They studied different subjects in school too. They called them Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. They never heard of Language Arts or Social Studies. They played different games too. I love moving around in a younger Canada than ours for awhile. My grandmother was born in 1867, the year of Confederation, and she told stories about her childhood. They had a "home boy" who lived with them and helped her father in his blacksmith shop. That was where I first heard of the "Barnardo children." I wish Grandma could read Orphan at My Door. She would set me straight on lots of things, but she would be pleased as punch that I wrote about long-ago days.

- Jean Little

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