“Quietness is an essential part of all awareness. In quiet times and sleepy times, a child can dwell in thoughts of his own, and in songs and stories of his own.”
Miss Margaret Wise Brown and her phenomenal writing prowess is evident in this extremely thoughtful and wisdom driven quote. Also called ‘the laureate of the nursery’ for her endless list of achievements, Brown is considered one of the most renowned American writers of children’s literature.
Born on May 23, 1910 in Brooklyn, United States, Margaret went on to pursue a Bachelor’s in English, followed by venturing into writing books for children while also dabbling between her other stints. Her writing credits ran across more than a 100 titles.
Brown rejected the idea of children’s literature being considered a synonym to the likes of fairy tales and fantasy stories. She introduced newer horizons for children’s writing. Brown reportedly believed that the children of those age groups don’t really care as much about plot or structure as much as they did about the action. This went on to be termed as the ‘Here and now’ approach to writing which Brown sincerely stuck to. As per one of Margaret’s professors, she enjoyed writing sound and color driven pieces.
Brown’s first ever manuscript ‘The blue grey kitten’ was published under the title ‘When the wind blew’. Her collaboration over ‘Five Little Firemen’ celebrated simple, ordinary, routine things; thus championing and elevating the ‘Here and Now’ approach further.
Brown believed children’s literature was one of the purest fields for experimental writing. She has also put across her minute observations while narrating stories to children, where they would be unattentive many a times and instead just focus on the colors visible around, fur of the apparels at an arm’s distance, so on and so forth. She put all of these observations to use by incorporating them into her writings and cementing her brand of storytelling.
‘The Little Island’, another of Brown’s renowned works, was filled with meticulously detailed observations. ‘The dream book’ made readers venture on a journey filled with dreamy characters and animals. Brown’s most widely received, popular piece of work ‘Goodnight Moon’ was an intentionally slow paced, poetic piece of narration. Surreal and hallucinatory in nature, the book went on to become an acclaimed and a highly original work of children’s literature and developed a legacy of its own over years and decades. The book also leaves a lot of questions open-ended, thus also subtly introducing the idea and concept of ambiguity to children at a very young age.
Margaret Brown’s long list of unique and original titles go on and on. Her impact on the way children consumed literature opened up newer doors for children’s literature back in the day. And it must have also influenced hundreds and thousands of potential authors across the globe.
“A child’s own story is a dream; but a good story is a dream that is true for more than one child.” That’s Miss Brown along with her invaluable, precious wisdom. Pick one of her books and allow your sensory receptors to sign up for an unforgettable adventure.
Cherish the memory, expand your reading, introduce yourself to beautiful, lively literature. It’s time to be ‘Here and Now’.