TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown is best known for wonderful children's picture books such as, Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, The Important Book, The Golden Egg Book, and her Caldecott Award winning The Little Island. Her simple yet touching books have been at the centre of young children's reading for decades and will continue to do so for the years to come.

Margaret Wise Brown was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 23, 1910. Her childhood, however, was spent as the middle of three children in suburban Beechurst, Long Island. Biographer Leonard S. Marcus describes her has having been "the family storyteller, trickster, and daydreamer."*

Known to her friends as "Tim (because her golden hair colour resembled that of timothy)," Margaret first received encouragement to write while as an undergraduate student at Hollins College. However, it would still be sometime before a literary career would become clear. It was while enrolled in the teacher training program of New York's Bureau of Educational Experiments that Brown wrote her first children's stories beginning with When the Wind Blew(1937).

Margaret was strongly influenced by Lucy Sprague Mitchell's ideas on the types of stories children of a very young age needed. Lucy found that children under the age of six best responded to stories about the every day world, which was very amazing to them. She saw that they weren't very interested in stories of fantasy involving such things as kings or castles.

In 1936 Mitchell got Brown and several other writers together to put together an anthology titled Another Here and Now Story Book (a sequel to Mitchell's previous anthology).

Eventually Brown's work led her to become involved with launching a small publishing firm called William R. Scott, Inc.. With Brown as editor it worked to put "Here and Now" type books into the market. This proved to be a good place for Margaret to publish her own works.

In this way, Brown put forth many books which helped define the role and face of children's book publishing. She continued getting her own books published at a fast pace, having authored more than one hundred volumes.

Unfortunately, Margaret Wise Brown died unexpectedly on November 13, 1952 at the age of forty-two. She was visiting the south of France and had an embolism following a routine operation.