Ask Gertrude Chandler Warner

Gertrude Chandler Warner

Gertrude Chandler Warner, author of The Boxcar Children books, passed away in 1979, when she was nearly 90 years old, but we often still get mail for her from Boxcar fans.  In this occasional blog feature, we’ll answer frequently asked fan questions, such as…

Q: How old were you when you wrote your very first book, Gertrude?

Kids love to ask this question, and there’s more than one way to answer it:

1.) She was nine! In 1900 she wrote a story about going to the zoo, which she illustrated and gave to her grandfather as a Christmas present. Her subsequent childhood efforts include a story called The Mumps and another called 13230 Gold Dollars (best title ever!).

2.)  She was twenty-six! In 1916 she published The House of Delight with Pilgrim Press in Boston, a book about her childhood dollhouse, complete with photos. You can see the cover here, and a closer look here. Only a thousand copies were ever printed, which makes the book extremely rare. Today an intact copy of The House of Delight is no doubt worth a lot, maybe even 13230 gold dollars.

3.) She was fifty-two! In 1942, the version of the The Boxcar Children that we all know and love was first published, after Gertrude had spent years reading the story to her elementary school students. For most kids today, The Boxcar Children probably seems like Gertrude Chandler Warner’s first book, since it’s the first of her books that they read. But of course there’s always more to the story, and more than one way to answer a question.

Answers come from the book Gertrude Chandler Warner and the Boxcar Children, by Mary Ellen Ellsworth.

Ask Gertrude Chandler Warner

One thought on “Ask Gertrude Chandler Warner

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am a mother of two beutiful children and reading to them is my love an pation for my children . I live in pennsilvania for know three years.And my children are my life. there ages are 8,4. the have me read to them alot. Ithink as parents reading is very inportant for them to learn.My son was given Boxcar children #1. Iloved this book.. I would like to buy some more when i can. Ibuy books in sets if they are something thing that realy intrests them. Mrs. warner should be alwasy prould for the gift of words she has gave to my children . you should be very prould of her too .Thank you for alowing me to thank a wonderful person. Mrs. Tammy Grover

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