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Mary Pope Osborne

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Occupation  Writer
Role  Writer
Nationality  American
Spouse  Will Osborne (m. 1976)
Period  1982–present
Movies  Magic Tree House
Name  Mary Osborne

Mary Pope Osborne Order of Mary Pope Osborne Books OrderOfBookscom
Born  Mary Pope May 20, 1949 (age 66) Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA (1949-05-20)
Genre  Children's picture books, fantasy, myths and fairy tales retold, American biography and fictional diary
Notable works  Magic Tree House series
Education  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Nominations  Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Book, Edgar Award for Best Juvenile
Books  Dinosaurs Before Dark, Soccer on Sunday, Magic Tree House Collectio, Mummies in the Morning, Magic Tree House #4: Pirates P
Similar People  Salvatore Murdocca, Barbara Park, Marjorie W Sharmat, Kristiana Gregory, Kathryn Lasky

Natalie pope boyce mary pope osborne 2012 national book festival

Mary Pope Osborne (born May 20, 1949) is an American author of children's books. She is best known for the award-winning and bestselling Magic Tree House series, which has been translated into more than 33 languages and has sold more than 135 million copies worldwide. Mary Pope Osborne is an ardent advocate and supporter of children’s literacy, and the award-winning author of more than 100 books for children and young adults, including novels, retellings of mythology and folklore, picture books, biographies, and mysteries. Ms. Osborne is also the coauthor of the companion Magic Tree House Fact Trackers series with her husband, Will Osborne, and her sister, Natalie Pope Boyce.


Mary Pope Osborne httpspbstwimgcomprofileimages2995856496cf

Mary is active on Twitter and the Magic Tree House Facebook page has up-to-date information about Magic Tree House happenings and Mary’s appearances.

Mary Pope Osborne Mary Pope Osborne bibliography and photos BookFans

Mary pope osborne interview on the magic tree house


Mary Pope Osborne Magic Tree House39 hits the big screen at last but only

Mary Pope Osborne has written over a children. Her books have been named to a number of the Best Books of the Year Lists, including, School Library Journal, Parents’ Magazine, Publishers Weekly, the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Book and Bank Street College. She has received honors from such organizations as the National Council of Teachers of English, the Parents Choice Foundation, The American Bookseller Association, The Children’s Book Council, and the International Reading Association. She received the Ludington Memorial Award from the Educational Paperback Association, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Random House Sales Force, and the Heidelberger Leander Award, Germany, 2010, and the Minion Academy Global Literature Award, Japan, 2011, the 2015 Books-Ago-Go Literacy Award, and the 2015 Jupiter Award for Science Education. She has also received awards from the Boston Public Library, the Atlanta Public Library, The Carolina Alumni Association, the Virginia Library Association, and the Delaware Library Association; and in spring 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mary Pope Osborne httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Ms. Osborne is a former twice-elected president of the Authors Guild, the country’s oldest and most established organization for published authors. She has since traveled extensively in the states and throughout the world, visiting schools and speaking on issues related to reading and books. She has spoken at a UN event regarding worldwide literacy; and she has visited schools in the tsunami-hit area of Japan. In 2011, she attended the International Tokyo Film Festival for the premier of a Japanese anime based on the Magic Tree House series, which was the #1 children’s book series in Japan. She was profiled on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams for her continued efforts to get books into the hands of underserved children.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Magic Tree House series in 2012, Ms. Osborne created a Magic Tree House Classroom Adventures Program, as a gift to all the teachers who have inspired her for 20 years. Ms. Osborne’s mission with Classroom Adventures is to inspire children to read and to love reading while simultaneously helping kids to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Free of charge, the program provides a set of online educational resources for teachers and is designed to energize a teacher’s entire curriculum and help raise reading scores. The program enables teachers to build upon students’ interest in Jack and Annie’s adventures, while simultaneously meeting curriculum standards across a multitude of subjects. As part of her Gift of Books program, under Classroom Adventures, Ms. Osborne, in partnership with the First Book organization in Washington, DC, has donated hundreds of thousands of Magic Tree House books to underserved schools.

Ms. Osborne is also a strong supporter of children having access to theater arts. She herself benefitted greatly performing onstage as a child and a young adult. “My imagination was set on fire by becoming involved with theater at a young age. The joy of “putting on a show” later extended itself into writing my own stories. To bring these two passions together has been a life-long dream.”

There are now several Magic Tree House books that have been adapted for children’s theatre productions including full length original musicals.


Mary Pope Osborne grew up in a military family, alongside her sister, Natalie Pope Boyce, her twin brother, Bill, and younger brother, Michael. [2]Her father's career required the family to travel rather extensively. By age 15, Osborne had lived in 13 different houses across several states.[3][4] Osborne herself says of the experience: "Moving was never traumatic for me, but staying in one place was.”[5] After her father retired and her family stopped traveling, Osborne found in the local community theater that sense of adventure that she was missing.[5] “In my imagination I could continue to travel to any place and any time...”

College Years and Traveling

Mary Pope Osborne initially studied drama at the University of North Carolina.[6] In her junior year, however, she switched to a major in religion, after she discovered "an even greater realm of adventure" in the worlds of mythology and comparative religion.[4]

Aftergraduating from college, Osborne spent some time traveling again. For a while, she camped out in a cave on the island of Crete. Following this, Osborne joined a small group of Europeans heading to the East. Their journeys took Osborne through 11 different countries throughout Asia, including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Nepal.[4][5]

Writing and Publication

Osborne's travels and experiences have factored largely into her own writing.

Osborne's writing career began with Run, Run As Fast As You Can in 1982. Osborne began writing the book "one day, out of the blue", having had no previous writing aspirations. The book itself is semi-autobiographical in nature, according to Osborne: "The girl was a lot like me and many of the incidents in the story were similar to happenings in my childhood." [5] The book served as the starting point for Osborne's writing career, and she has since published many varied books for young readers. Her work includes young adult novels, picture books, retellings of mythology and fairy tales, biographies, mysteries, a six part series of the Odyssey, a book of American Tall Tales, and a book for young readers about the major world religions.”

Magic Tree House® Series

About Magic Tree House®:

Widely regarded among parents, teachers, and librarians for its power to instill a passion for reading, Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning, #1 New York Times best selling Magic Tree House series is an international phenomenon and has sold more than 135 million books worldwide since its debut in 1992. The books have been translated into 33 different languages in over 30 international markets. All Magic Tree House books are available in print, as ebooks and Listening Library audio books, which are all narrated by Mary Pope Osborne. Visit for more information about the series, activities, and more.

History of the Magic Tree House Series: Mary Pope Osborne is best known for her Magic Tree House series. Osborne originally planned to write only four books for the Magic Tree House series.[7] But after receiving letters from teachers and young students asking her to continue, she agreed to do four more. And then after writing these and meeting more young fans, she found herself immersed in the idea of continuing the series still further. To date, the series has gone far beyond these starting books, comprising 55 separate titles.

The first of the Magic Tree House books, Dinosaurs Before Dark, was published in 1992. It introduces the main characters of Jack and Annie, a brother and sister duo of adventurers. With the help of certain magical books and their treehouse, the two are transported to places and times different from their own.

The first book firmly established the mold for future adventures. It also introduced the recurrent Arthurian characters and settings of the series, which prominently included Morgan le Fay and Merlin. Morgan and Merlin serve as mentor figures for the kids, giving Jack and Annie advice as well as sending them off on new adventures.

Osborne's writing style is credited for the popularity of the series. Osborne tends to place small cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, which has been highlighted as one of the major reasons for the appeal of the books within their target age group. Another important factor in their success is the educational nature of the series. The books are cited for their historical and geographical accuracy, and Osborne’s usage of vocabulary encourages young readers to learn new words.

Magic Tree House chapter books 11 to 16 were all released during 1998. Otherwise about two volumes have been completed annually. Volume 56, set to be released in August 2017, A Big Day for Baseball.[20] celebrates the life of the late Jackie Robinson.

The Magic Tree House series has received a lot of attention in years past and has received a number of accolades. The popularity of the series eclipsed that of Harry Potter as #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list in 2006.[10] The series has received honors from such organizations as the National Council of Teachers of English[11] and the American Booksellers Association[12]. In addition, Osborne received the Ludington Memorial Award from the Educational Paperback Association and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Random House Sales Force.[13]

25th Anniversary: A New Look for Magic Tree House®

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Magic Tree House, in 2017, the entire series was rebranded and given a new look and numbering system with the goal of making it easier for teachers and parents to identify books appropriate for their children and students’ reading level.

Magic Tree House fiction books are numbered 1-29 (with book #29 to be released in August 2017) are for beginning chapter book readers. Magic Tree House Merlin Missions (formerly books 29-55) are now numbered from 1-27. Magic Tree House companion Fact Trackers are perfect for nonfiction fans and cross curriculum studies in classrooms.

Magic Tree House Nonfiction Fact Trackers & Family Ties

In 2000, the first of the Magic Tree House Research Guides, now known as “Fact Trackers”, was released. Furthering the educational purpose of the main series, these pieces serve as companions to the main line of books. Each Fact Tracker specifically details the information and research behind the history described in its companion Magic Tree House book. They serve as tools to help kids to want to learn more about what might otherwise be seen as a stale subject.

The Fact Trackers were created by Mary's husband Will Osborne. Will wrote the first eight before turning his attention to creating a Magic Tree House planetarium show and a number of MTH musicals. Mary's sister, Natalie Pope Boyce then took over writing the Fact Trackers. Natalie has since written more than 30 Magic Tree House Fact Trackers, which are now among the best-selling nonfiction books for children.[3] To date, 36 Fact Trackers have been published, in addition to and alongside the Magic Tree House books.

As with the fiction titles, these nonfiction companion titles feature illustrations done by Sal Murdocca.

Mary loves working with her family and thinks of Magic Tree House as a family affair. 

She has also teamed up with close friends Randy Courts and Jenny Laird who compose and write the Magic Tree House musicals with Will Osborne.

Magic Tree House Children's Theatre

The Magic Tree House brand has taken on other forms. A full-scale musical adaptation was created by Will Osborne; Magic Tree House: The Musical, premiered in September 2007.[13]  Based on the Magic Tree House book Christmas in Camelot, the Musical toured 54 cities throughout 2008-2009.

A planetarium show; "Magic Tree House: Space Mission", also created by Will Osborne, is produced and presented exclusively at the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.[16]

In 2011, Will Osborne collaborated with legendary New Orleans composer Allen Toussaint and "Ain't Misbehavin'" co-creator Murray Horwitz to write "A Night in New Orleans", a musical adaptation of Magic Tree House #42: A Good Night for Ghosts which celebrates the life of Louis Armstrong. The show features an ensemble cast and live jazz band. 

Magic Tree House Kids Shows are theatrical adaptations of selected titles in the Magic Tree House series designed specifically for performance by kids. To date, children’s shows have been created by award-winning playwright and composer team Randy Courts and Jenny Laird in collaboration with Will Osborne based on the following Magic Tree House books: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Pirates Past Noon, A Ghost Tale for Christmastime, A Night in New Orleans and Stage Fright on a Summer Night, a new children’s show based on the life of William Shakespeare, set to premiere at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre in October 2017. Many of these shows are available through Music Theatre International (MTI) Broadway, Jr. productions.

Audio and braille versions of the books are available[17] as well as companion programs aimed at educators using the books to illustrate history and writing skills.[18] However, Magic Tree House merchandise is rarely offered, and even then usually only for an educational purpose. For example, a small selection of T-shirts, bags, and pencils are available in support of Osborne's alma mater at the UNC Morehead Planetarium.[19]

Magic Tree House: The Movie

In 2016, LIONSGATE acquired the license to the Magic Tree House brand to make the first ever Magic Tree House movie sometime in the near future.

Other Books by Mary Pope Osborne include...

Mary Pope Osborne has written many books outside the Magic Tree House series.

  • Run, Run As Fast As You Can (Random House Children's Books, 1982)
  • The Deadly Power of Medusa (Scholastic, 1988), Will and Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Steve Sullivan
  • Jason and the Argonauts (Scholastic, 1988), Will and Mary Pope Osborne, illus. Steve Sullivan
  • Favorite Greek Myths (Scholastic, 1989), retold by Osborne, illus. Troy Howell
  • American Tall Tales (Knopf, 1991), retold by Osborne, illus. Michael McCurdy
  • Spider Kane and the Mystery under the May-apple (Knopf, 1992), illus. Victoria Chess — middle-grade chapter book, first of the Spider Kane series
  • Mermaid Tales from around the World (Scholastic, 1993), retold by Osborne, illus. Troy Howell
  • Haunted Waters (Candlewick, 1994), young-adult fantasy novel
  • Favorite Norse Myths (Scholastic, 1996), retold by Osborne, illus. Troy Howell
  • Rocking Horse Christmas (Scholastic, 1997), illus. Ned Bittinger
  • Favorite Medieval Tales (Scholastic, 1998), retold by Osborne, illus. Troy Howell
  • Standing in the Light: the captive diary of Catharine Carey Logan, Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania, 1763 (Dear America series, Scholastic, 1998)
  • My Secret War: the World War II diary of Madeline Beck (Dear America, Scholastic, 2000)
  • My Brother's Keeper (My America series, Scholastic, 2000), first of three Virginia's Civil War Diary
  • Kate and the Beanstalk (Atheneum Books, 2000), picture book illus. Giselle Potter — adaptation of the traditional fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk"
  • Tales from the Odyssey (Hyperion Books, 2002 to 2005), illus. Troy Howell — six children's novels adapted from Odyssey
  • Tales from the Odyssey (Hyperion, 2010), a two-volume edition
  • Moonhorse (Dragonfly Books, 2010), chapter book
  • References

    Mary Pope Osborne Wikipedia