Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Lady On The Cutting Edge

Give Yourself  To The Rain
Give yourself to the rain when it falls
Give yourself to the wind
Go with it
Blow through the bright dark
Green light on the trees
Listen to the rain
Again-through sleep
Dream of it
Brace nothing against it
Safe in your bed 
And give yourself to the rain
When it falls down.
by Margaret Wise Brown
Give Yourself to the Rain

May 23-1910-Nov. 13, 1952
It was no surprise when I held up the book Goodnight Moon a buzz rang out in the kindergarten room. Excited voices "Oh, I have that book,"  "I know that story"  " My dad reads that to me." 
Amazing the popularity of this book still after some 65 years. 
Today we were celebrating the birthday of a woman who was on the cutting edge of innovative ideas in the field of publishing children's books. Note that five year olds will get into celebration mode with the promise of a treat:)
Margaret Wise Brown was one of the pioneers of children's literature. Before she arrived on the picture book publishing scene fairy tales and fables dominated the world of illustrated stories. She wrote with the then new idea that children would rather read about their own lives instead of fairy tales and fables. She never had any of her own children but had the unique ability to see the world through a child's eyes. Brown was once quoted as saying "I wish to write a story that would seem absolutely true to the child who hears it and to myself." 
Brown was a New York socialite who lived life to the fullest mingling with the famous and the royals. Stories about the energetic Brown show her to have lived an extravagant and adventuresome life. I especially enjoyed reading a story about the time when Brown bought an entire street vendor's cart of flowers and threw herself a party to celebrate her first royalty check. Each subsequent book Brown sold she would then purchase a coat, car or airplane ticket to Europe to celebrate. 
Her dual role of author and publisher gave her a platform to make significant changes in the publishing world of children's books. She pushed for changes in payment practices for authors and illustrators. She insisted her artists receive the same royalty as she did for a book. She also was passionate about wanting stories for children affordable to all children. So she penned many stories for Golden Books.   
Brown died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 42.  It really is quite amazing in her short career she published over 36 books. Many are still popular today which include: The Important Book, The Noisy Series and the beloved Runaway Bunny
Question for you...Can you finish the sentence on the first page of Goodnight Moon ...In the great green room...

1 comment:

  1. You would think I could finish that sentence, as many times as I read that book to my three children. But it's been a few years. I found your story about Margaret Wise Brown so interesting. And that poem is so perfect for this rainy day in Minnesota.