Mary Pope Osborne, best known as the author of the award-winning Magic Tree House series, was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma on May 20, 1949. By the time she was 15, Mary had already lived in Oklahoma, Austria, Florida and four different army posts in Virginia and North Carolina. After her father retired and her family settled in North Carolina, she still craved the adventure and change of a military life. She found that just a block away at the local community theater where she spent time after school acting or working backstage. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mary studied drama and became a religion major to learn more about other cultures.
During the 1970s, Mary continued to travel to many different places – Crete, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. She nearly lost her life twice! The first time was in an earthquake in northern Afghanistan. The second time she got blood poisoning in Kathmandu. After recovering, she returned to the United States and worked as a medical assistant in Monterey, California and a Russian travel consultant in Washington D.C. She met her future husband, Will, while attending a musical in Washington.
Mary’s first book was a young adult novel called Run, Run as Fast as You Can, partly inspired by her childhood. More than 30 years and 100 books later, she is the author of picture books, biographies, mysteries, novels, retellings of Greek mythology and more. By far her most popular books are those in the Magic Tree House series. There are 55 Magic Tree House fiction books, and her husband and sister Natalie are co-authors on several of the non-fiction companion books.
The year 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the Magic Tree House books. “It doesn’t feel real,” the author said. “In some ways, I feel like I just started writing them. It’s still an adventure and a challenge and I’m still having fun. So I guess as long as I keep having fun I’ll keep writing them.”