Jean Mills

Jean Mills

Guelph, ON

Nominated for OLA Forest of Reading Red Maple Fiction Award (2019)

Barbara Novak Award for Memoir/Humour Writing (Winner, 2009)


Skating Over Thin Ice (Red Deer Press, 2018)

The Toymaker's Son (Pugwash Publishers, 2009)

Wild Dog Summer (Nelson Canada, 1990; re-issued by Pugwash Publishers, 2008)

Abby and the Curling Chicks (Pugwash Publishers, 2003)

The Legacy (Nelson Canada, 1991)

Andrew and the Babysitter (Caramel Tree, 2012)

Joey and the Firehall Ghost (Caramel Tree, 2012)

The Ugly Duckling (Caramel Tree, 2012)


Early chapter books, Intermediate Fiction (Ages 10-14), Short stories, Young adult (YA) Fiction (Ages 12 and up)


Jean Mills is the author of the YA novels Skating Over Thin Ice (Red Deer Press, May 2018), The Toymaker&;s Son (Pugwash Publishers, 2009), Abby and the Curling Chicks (Pugwash Publishers, 2003), as well as Wild Dog Summer and The Legacy (Nelson Canada, 1990, 1991). She&;s also written three books for younger ESL readers (Caramel Tree) as well as short stories for younger readers.

Jean&;s essays, features, short stories and reviews have appeared in various publications across Canada, including The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, Canadian Geographic and Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids. She&;s a freelance writer and editor, with clients that cover a wide spectrum, including textbook publishers and national sports organizations.

Jean also has a teaching résumé: she developed and taught writing and communications courses at three Ontario community colleges for 15 years. She also taught Middle School Language Arts for one year at St. John&;s-Kilmarnock School, and she used that classroom experience in her position as Writer-In-Residence at both SJK and Hillfield-Strathallan College, and as a writing workshop presenter at the prestigious Eden Mills Writers Festival. 


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Learning to write stories - true or made-up stories - is exactly the same process as learning to hit a tennis ball or play the piano: it requires practice and training. And it should be fun, too!

In this workshop, we&;ll have fun with words and sentences and paragraphs. With description and dialogue. With word choice and sentence structure. We&;ll stretch our writing muscles through exercises such as Short Story (all about picking the right word - the right SHORT word) and P.O.V. (I tell the story, then he tells the story, then you tell the story...). There also might be a little bit of Story-In-The-Round (a group effort with always-hilarious results). 

Using a variety of exercises, participants will engage in essential writing tasks, all of which stretch the "writing muscles" needed to be creative and tell stories. It&;s an informal, interactive and busy workshop with lots of sharing and feedback. (All grades)



Presentation type: Workshop

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8), High school (9-12)

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Exploring Inspiration from Real Life in "Skating Over Thin Ice" - and Beyond


My novel Skating Over Thin Ice uses lots of real-life material - music, hockey, settings, school, even well-known people. Let&;s explore some of these connections together and see how young writers can mine their own lives and experiences for creative purposes. (Grades 7-12)

Presentation type: Workshop

Recommended levels: Intermediate (7-8)