Friday, April 22, 2016

It’s Almost Children’s Book Week

By Shirley Raye Redmond

Children’s Book Week is just around the corner—May 2-8, 2016. If you’re like me, you have fond memories of the many children’s books you read as a youngster and a list of favorite children’s book authors. Here’s one of mine:

  1. She never received a rejection slip in her entire writing career.
  2. She became an American citizen in 1865.
  3. She loved dollhouses and wrote a short story, “Racketty Packetty House” about the lively antics of a dollhouse family.
  4. She wrote her most famous book, The Secret Garden, following the death of her young son Lionel.

Did you guess who she is?

Frances Hodgson Burnett
This successful author was Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Little Princess. Although these titles were first released in the late 1800s, they are still in print today. During her lifetime, Frances earned a great deal of money from her writing. She gave away a lot of money too—particularly for the care of orphans. She became good friends with many other famous writers of her day, such as Mark Twain and Bret Harte.

But instead of rejoicing at her great fortune and literary success, Frances kept wondering when she was really going to “arrive.” She doubted her own success. She kept thinking there would be “something more.” She once asked, “Is this the party? Is this all there is?”

It’s sad, don’t you think, that she should have doubted herself and her God-given abilities? Before she died in 1924, Frances wrote: “With the best I have in me, I have tried to write more happiness into the world.” When I think of the hours I have enjoyed curled up with one of her books, I believe she did succeed in doing that.

Do you have a favorite Burnett book or short story? I’d love to know what it is. She wrote dozens.

An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of two inspirational historical novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED and AMANDA’S BEAU, as well as two dozen children’s books, including LEWIS & CLARK: A PRAIRIE DOG FOR THE PRESIDENT (Random House), which was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Shirley Raye holds an M.A. in literature. She has been married to her husband Bill for forty years. They live in New Mexico and are blessed with two grown children, two adorable grandsons, and one spunky Scottish terrier. Touch bases at or Facebook and


  1. It is sad to read that Frances doubted her abilities as an authoty. I loved The Secret Garden!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. I loved the Secret Garden, too! I had no idea she doubted herself so. And I don't think I realized these books were written so long ago.