“The tree house started to spin. It spun faster and faster. Then everything was still. Absolutely still.”
Mary Pope Osborne’s timeless words are the start of a thrilling adventure. For countless children – including the two of us – these words were the entryway to the wonders of literature and a lifelong love of reading. And this year, book lovers of all ages will have the opportunity to meet Osborne herself at the Tenth Annual Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival on September 30, 2023.
The Magic Tree House books were a staple of our childhoods. We eagerly awaited the release of the latest book in the series and the thrill of exploring the Osborne display at the Roaring Brook School Scholastic Book Fair every year. Osborne’s stories not only took us on incredible adventures – from a 19th century twister in the United States to ancient Greece and beyond – but showed us what was possible in the world of books.
Words As a Window to the World
The Magic Tree House series launched our journey towards becoming voracious readers. For our young minds, it was incredible to travel to far-off places and times with our friends Annie and Jack–and learn a few things along the way. As noted by The New York Times in 2008, Osborne’s writing is simple and direct – modeled after Ernest Hemingway – and allows readers to lose themselves in a captivating exploration of time and space. With the intrepid siblings leading the way, young readers like us could travel to the ends of the earth, meet historical figures, and expand our minds and imaginations with each turn of a page.
Osborne’s work is as undeniably magical as Jack and Annie’s tree house, and its power grows from the author’s own philosophy that “writing is a miracle.” Her enduring success has been driven by her deep love for the craft and fundamental understanding of the magic that words can hold, especially for children. As her remarkable storytelling ability makes reading accessible for new readers, Osborne’s stories continue to touch the imaginations of so many, generation after generation.
Over 30 years after the first installment in the series, Dinosaurs Before Dark, was published, her astoundingly prolific career–as author of over 100 children’s and young adult books–continues to be bolstered by her deep commitment to literacy, getting books in the hands of underserved students, and speaking and meeting with her readers.
An Eagerly Awaited CCBF Debut
This year will mark the first time that Osborne joins thousands of readers and fans at the beloved Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival – ccbfestival.org – celebrating its tenth anniversary.
“I am so thrilled to be participating in the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival this year,” Osborne shared. “Books play such an important part in a child’s development, and the festival’s mission to connect kids with authors will do wonders for helping them develop a lifelong love for reading.”
We know that we are not the only ones who are excited for Osborne to be a part of this year’s CCBF, which did not exist when we were discovering the world of books. We have no doubt that we would have spent the entire day hitting every table, meeting our favorite authors – our heroes – and begging our parents to buy every book available for our shelves that had long since run out of room. CCBF is a Town gem, made all the more special by the participation of authors like Osborne whose work has been transformative for so many young readers. We are thrilled to witness Chappaqua’s commitment to fostering imagination in the next generation.
Though we 20-something sisters have grown up, graduated from college, and moved away to start our adult lives, we will remember and cherish Osborne’s world for the rest of our lives. It was a privilege to grow up alongside Annie and Jack, exploring the many faces of the world and its history through the worn, re-read pages of the Magic Tree House books. Though we may never journey through the Egyptian pyramids, walk on the moon, or fight alongside Washington in the Revolutionary War, the Magic Tree House will always be home to us.