You may have read the books The Runaway Bunny, Goodnight Moon, and Big Red Barn. Did you know that Margaret Wise Brown was the author? She claimed that the author is not what is memorable to a child but the story itself. However, Margaret Wise Brown's legacy to the world of children's literature is far from unforgettable. It was the work of Margaret Wise Brown that shifted the focus from fairy tales and fables to books involving topics closer to the lives of a child.
I was fascinated to find out about Margaret Wise Brown's experience at the Bank Street College of Education which began as The Bureau of Educational Experiments in 1916. Here, teachers, psychologists, and researchers met to observe how children learn. It was the work at this school that helped urge early reform of how children were taught in schools. Brown began her time at the Bank Street program in 1935. She spent time with the school's founder, Lucy Mitchell, who felt that Brown could write books for children. Brown quickly proved that her mentor was correct when she published her first book, When the Wind Blew, in 1937. Lucy Mitchell taught Brown to pay attention to children and the words they use. Brown talked to countless children, yet had her favorites (one child was actually in her will to receive royalties from Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny), to find out their interests, struggles, and experiences. From this careful observation Brown was able to publish over a 100 books. However, her career was cut short when she died suddenly at the young age of 42 from an embolism after a surgery. Many people share the opinion that her early death prevents her from being remembered as one of greatest children's writers of all time. - Click Here to Read More -