About Margot

A national award-winning author and speaker, Margot Theis Raven’s long professional career included writing in the fields of radio, television, magazines, newspapers and children’s books.  She has more than 1,000 published articles to her name, and nine published children’s picture books with numerous others to come.  As a national speaker she addressed a wide variety of groups annually at Military Conferences, Veteran’s Groups, Social Studies Conferences; Colleges; Library Conferences; Book Conferences; Women’s Groups; High School, Middle and Elementary Schools.  Audiences range from small focus-groups to 2,000 attendees.

Margot’s books are unique, bridging generations of readers through the belief that the worst of times can bring out the best in people.  Often set against powerful backdrops such as World War II or America’s civil rights period, her books present  inspiring stories of history before their windows close and capture moving moments in the lives of real people – often the quiet ones — who become heroes by example.

To date, Margot’s works have been featured on major national television and radio shows such as:  ESPN; Nightline; C-SPAN; National Public Radio; and Good Morning America; and in major newspapers and magazines including:  the Boston Herald; Boston Globe; Los  Angeles Times; Washington Times; Washington Post; the Houston Chronicle; Charleston Post & Courier; Charleston Magazine; Vero Beach Magazine; and Low Country Living.

Her many national awards include:

  • The International Reading Association’s Teacher’s Choice, Children’s Choice, and Editor’s Choice Awards
  • Booklist Editor’s Choice Award
  • The Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People List
  • First Place Carter G. Woodson Book Award, National Council for the Social   Studies
  • First Place 2002 Midwest Children’s Literature Book Award
  • Three Storytelling World Honor Awards
  • Two Skipping Stone Magazine Honor Awards
  • Writers Notes Book Award
  • The Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award
  • Fielder Freedom Award
  • Children’s Crown Honor Book Award
  • Honor book Winner — Jane Addams Peace Award
  • A select nomination for the James Madison Book Award, which recognizes
    excellence in knowledge and understanding of American History
  • Book Sense Top Ten Pick

Book signing at South Carolina Author’s Conference

Her book, Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot (Sleeping Bear Press,  May 2002, about the US Air Force’s humanitarian  – Berlin Candy Bomber, Col. Gail Halverson) has gone into seven printings; has sold more than 70,000 copies; was first runner up on the lauded Texas Blue Bonnet List for best book of the year (voted on by students in more than 260,000 schools in the state); and was voted one of the best books released in the last five years by America’s Independent Booksellers.

Circle Unbroken (Farrar, Straus, Giroux, April 2004) received starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly and was featured in Time Magazine as one of the ten best books of the year.  The book was also nominated for the 2005 Blue Bonnet List; was a 2004 Booklist Editor’s Choice; was read at the Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C. during Black History Month 2006; was named a Top Ten African-American picture book; and was the recipient  of the 2005 Children’s Africanna  Honor Book Award for Young Children:

The African Studies Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2005 Children’s Africana Book Awards. The ASA annually honors outstanding authors and illustrators of children’s books about Africa published in the United States. The announcement was made April 30th at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. at a ceremony hosted by the Friends of the Children’s Africana Book Awards.

A specialist in historical fiction for children, Margot Raven concentrates on the lives of children in times of upheavel – Dust Bowl Depression, war-torn Berlin, desegregating baseball leagues in the South.  With Circle Unbroken: the Story of a Basket and its People, our 2005 Honor Book for Young Children, Raven tells the history of the Gullah people in South Carolina and their links to Sierra Leone through the art of sweetgrass weaving.

Margot’s recent books include: AMERICA’S WHITE TABLE; LET THEM PLAY; CHALLENGER, AMERICA’S FAVORITE EAGLE, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, THE MYSTERY BEHIND THE MOST FAMOUS SONG IN THE WORLD (Sleeping Bear Press), and NIGHT BOAT TO FREEDOM,( Farrar, Straus, Giroux).  Her newest book, RAGS – HERO DOG OF WWI  (Sleeping Bear), was released in August 2014, two week before her death.

A resident of Charleston, SC, Margot was also a Fine Artist whose oils, while no no longer in galleries, were sold in Washington, DC; Alexandria, VA; and Charleston, SC. She was on the Board of the Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, TX.  Margot also served with great pride, for two years, as an Honorary Commander at Charleston Air Force Base.

America’s White Table — Illustrations by Mike Benny and a letter from Laura Bush


Vero Beach Press Journal (FL)
March 1, 2006

Raven’s books light a fire for young people
Author: Fahim Hashmi News on Books

Margot Theis Raven is an exceptional children’s book author. She has been writing for more than 30 years. She won five national awards for her first children’s book, “Angles in the Dust.” She recently published three books with Sleeping Bear Press. The books “Challenger: America’s Favorite Eagle,” “Let them Play” and “America’s White Table” are artfully told. These are stories that focus on the good deeds of people.

When a fire destroys an eaglet’s home, he is raised by humans to become a symbol of America. “Challenger: America’s Favorite Eagle” tells the story of the bird’s travels and its rise to stardom. Illustrated by Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen, the story focuses on how Al Cecere, a bird enthusiast, took care of a displaced bald eagle after attempts to reinstate into the wild failed. With patience and love, he takes Challenger, the eagle, to perform at events. With the help of Challenger, he tells people the predicament of all of our nation’s eagles. The eagle, once on the edge of extinction, is making an encouraging comeback, but destruction of its habitat and other factors continue to threaten its existence.

This book is my personal favorite of the three. I like how it focuses on a particular eagle that was working to help all of its brethren.

In the summer of 1955 in segregated South Carolina, a team of young African-American boys formed the Cannon Street YMCA All-Stars to participate in the Little League Tournament. Then there were 62 chartered Little League programs in South Carolina. All these teams were composed of white players, except the Cannon Street All Stars.

Because of a prejudiced baseball director, they were left out. The rest of the 61 teams refused to play the Cannon Street All Stars and left the league, forming their own personal all-white league: Dixie Baseball for Boys. What should have been a light-hearted game between young children escalates into a national controversy.

“Let Them Play” recounts the story of these children and the times they went through. Raven explains a complicated event in words that a child can comprehend. This book is wonderfully illustrated by Chris Ellison.

“America’s White Table” follows the story of three young sisters who are setting the “white table” at their home for their Uncle John. The white table originated during the Vietnam War. This table is a symbol for and remembrance of prisoners of war and those missing in action. The three children set the table as their mother explains the significance of each particular item that is placed on it.

The children also inquire about their Uncle John, and learn his story as well as the price he paid for his country. This book is very interesting and informative; it also lights the patriotic candle in one’s heart. The story is coupled with meaningful illustrations by Mike Benny.

These three books are perfect for young children, especially in elementary school. This doesn’t mean an older person could not enjoy them; they send a message to all ages.   Fahim Hashmi is a sophomore at Sebastian River High School. The books are provided by the Vero Beach Book Center.

This wonderful review reminds me of my youthful promise “to use words well.”                                                                Thank you, Fahim!