One of the best loved and most decorated authors of children’s books, Marguerite Henry was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1902. At the age of six, she contracted rheumatic fever, which affected her severely until the age of twelve. Not only bed-ridden for long periods, she was kept out of school and isolated from other children for fear of contagion. Pouring herself into reading, she soon showed a flair for writing. One year’s Christmas present from her parents was a child-sized writing desk, complete with all the supplies a writer would need. The gift changed her life, and ultimately, the lives of countless children to come. As she later recalled, “At last I had a world of my own – a writing world …” The fledgling author sold her first story at age 11!
Growing up in an urban setting, Henry attended the Milwaukee State Teachers College. She soon married and moved with her husband to rural Illinois. There she developed a lifelong affection for animals – especially horses. It was also there that she gradually became a professional writer, and her love of animals filled her children’s books.