Books

Mamas, Don't Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Write Kid Lit

EW gives you the inside scoop on the darker side of four celebrated children's book authors

Biographies of kid lit writers reveal tragic lives

In Frances Hodgson Burnett, Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina recounts the eccentric life of Burnett, author of the 1911 children's book The Secret Garden, who was forced to write to support her family, and whose too-intense relationship with work prevented her from ever truly mothering her kids.

Rock Bottom ''For months [after son Lionel's death] Frances wandered Europe like a ghost....''

Stabs Mother to Death With a Carving Knife? No.

In The Dreaming Game, Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. recounts the quirky life of his mom, Dorothy Kunhardt, author of the 1940 children's book Pat the Bunny, who was forced to write to support her family, and whose too-intense relationship with her best friend, Kate, prevented her from ever writing a concise letter.

Rock Bottom Hospitalized after nervous breakdown (masquerading as pneumonia).

Stabs Mother to Death With a Carving Knife? No.

In The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll, Jean Nathan recounts the lurid life of Dare Wright, author of the 1957 children's book The Lonely Doll, who was forced to remain eternally juvenile by an overbearing mother, and whose too intense relationship with her brother, Blaine, prevented her from ever finding true love.

Rock Bottom ''With Blaine's death, she lost all will to live.''

Stabs Mother to Death With a Carving Knife? No.

In The Devil Kissed Her, Kathy Watson recounts the twisted life of Mary Lamb, coauthor of the 1807 children's book Tales From Shakespeare, who was forced to sew to support her family, and whose too-intense relationship with brother Charles (and many asylum stays) prevented her from ever finding true love.

Rock Bottom ''Then something...made Mary snap.''

Stabs Mother to Death With a Carving Knife? Oh, yes.

Originally posted Sep 24, 2004 Published in issue #785 Sep 24, 2004 Order article reprints
Advertisement

Today's Most Popular

  1. Photo Gallery: American Music Awards 2014 American Music Awards '14: We grade the performances
  2. Photo Gallery: American Music Awards 2014 American Music Awards 2014 style: What the stars wore

From Our Partners