Boxcar Children and Gertrude Chandler Warner
How could I have forgotten to remember Gertrude Chandler Warner whose birthday was Sunday, April 16? The Boxcar Children are still a mainstay in every public and school library, which also now includes the continued mystery series. Although, I am not in the habit of celebrating birthdays of those who have passed, I do like to take a moment and reflect upon what they have contributed. Unfortunately, when you are a well-known author, many forget to recognize the other contributions made whether big or small. In Ms. Warner's case, Wikipedia reminds us that she also was a Red Cross Volunteer and taught 1st grade for 32 years. In addition, over at Kidsread.com you will find a more comprehensive biography of the remarkable life of Ms. Warner. It was interesting to learn that while she was born in 1890 her first book was not published until 1942. So, I say way to go girl.
There are one hundred and four titles in the Boxcar Children's Mystery series and twenty-one in the Boxcar Children's Special series. Also, there are so far twelve in the The Adventures of Benny and Watch: Boxcar Children Early Readers series. Although these are all listed with Ms. Warner as the author, she only wrote the original and the next 18. After her death in 1979, the publisher had an anonymous author(s) restart the series in 1991. Ms. Warner's last book was published in 1976 when she was 86 years old. Amazing. It was also indicated in her bio that she specifically tried to write her stories so that they would be easy to read. When teaching she found that her stories appealed to those that were learning English as a second language. Hummm, an issue that is still present in today's society as well.