misty the pony chincoteague assateague author illustrator

The Author

Marguerite Henry  

Marguerite Henry was born in 1902 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the youngest of five children. Her father was a publisher. On Saturdays, Marguerite enjoyed going to her father's publishing house, where there were rows of loud presses printing pages.

On Christmas Day when she was seven years old, Marguerite's father gave her a little red table with a small pitcher holding pencils, scissors, paste, a hole punch, paper clips, a pencil sharpener and stacks of colored paper. This gift helped her become a writer.

The next year, Marguerite had a serious illness. She had to stay indoors, and couldn't go to school. So she read lots of books and wrote at her red table in the kitchen.
  When Marguerite was 11 years old, her mother told Marguerite that a magazine was looking for articles from children about the four seasons. Marguerite wrote "Hide-and-Seek in Autumn Leaves," and the magazine published her article. The magazine paid her $12.

Can you figure out what year that was? Hint: 1902 + 11.

If you earned $12 in 1913, what could you buy with that much money in today's dollars? You can use an "inflation calculator" to find out.

Did you get $248.79? Would you like to earn that much money by writing a story for a magazine? Try finding a magazine looking for an article and writing a story to see if you can!

  After school Marguerite visited the library. Her favorite books were biographies and mysteries. Reading Western adventures by Zane Grey, she decided that she wanted to own a ranch someday where she could see horses play. She knew that she would need money to be able to own such a farm, so she got a job at the library repairing books.

Marguerite still wanted to write, but in college, she decided to become an English teacher. One summer, she took a trip with her sisters to a fishing camp where she met her future husband, Sidney Henry.

When they were married, Marguerite kept writing articles for magazines. Her husband suggested that she try writing for The Saturday Evening Post. She submitted an article and it was published. She then wrote for popular magazines such as Reader's Digest. Her husband traveled a lot, so Marguerite focused on her writing. After writing her first children's book, Auno and Tauno, a story she heard from a friend about Finland, Marguerite decided to become a writer for children. This book is still available for sale online, after almost 70 years.

Marguerite later found the book, Flip, by Wesley Dennis and loved the illustrations. She decided to send him one of her books, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, to see if he would illustrate it. He agreed, and the book won a prize as a Newberry Honor Book.

In 1945, Marguerite received a letter telling the tale of ponies that washed into the sea hundreds of years ago when a Spanish galleon crashed on a hidden reef. The ponies swam for the nearest shore at Assateague Island.

Marguerite decided to go to these islands on Pony Penning Day, when the ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island. Wesley Dennis came along. They found the story of a colt named Misty, and wrote and illustrated the book, Misty of Chincoteague. Later, Marguerite came back and bought the real Misty pony and took her on tours for children. Rand McNally published the book in 1947. It was a big success.

Next Marguerite wrote King of the Wind, which won the Newberry Medal. She wrote many other books, working with Wesley Dennis. For almost 20 years, she enjoyed his enthusiasm and good sense of humor. His drawings captured what she wrote in words.

Over the years, Marguerite and her husband Sidney had a pony, a burro, three fox cubs, a horse, two dogs, a cat and many kittens. She wrote 58 books in all. Children from all over the world wrote her letters, which she enjoyed very much.

Marguerite Henry died in 1997 at her home in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

You can find more facts and lists of Marguerite Henry's movies, books and awards in Wikipedia.  
  The Story of a Book
In a 16-minute VHS videotape, Marguerite Henry shares the story of how she gets ideas for writing a book, plans the steps and writes the book. She tells how she received a letter from a boy who had a difficult life, and how his father sold the horse he loved. The boy sent a drawing he made, showing him crying. Marguerite wanted to help, so she decided to write a book about the boy's story. But she didn't want to get him in trouble with his father, so she changed the place and time of the story. Marguerite Henry photo
Marguerite was visiting a ranch and found an old wagon wheel that gave her the idea for the boy’s story. She tells how she does the research for a book, keeping notes in folders and sending ideas to the artist who will illustrate the book. Then the story comes alive. She sent the boy a copy of the book as a Christmas present. Your parents or school can buy the video, Story of a Book here, or you can see if your library has the video.
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