“I’m no lady; I’m a member of Congress, and I’ll proceed on that basis.”
Kathleen Mary Pearson was born on this day in London, England in 1903. It is the 99th anniversary of her birth.
She grew up in a large Georgian style house, called The Cedars, in Bedfordshire. She used the house as inspiration for her setting of The Borrowers.
During World War II she worked for the War Office and in 1941 she moved to New York as part of the British Purchasing Commission. It was while she was in New York that she started to write.
In 1943 she published The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons. The book sold well and Norton followed it up with Bonfires and Broomsticks. The books were turned into a 1971 Disney film called Bedknobs and Broomsticks that combined live action with animation (something the studio first did in Mary Poppins.) The movie starred Angela Lansbury as a novice witch determined to use her powers to help England in the war effort. It featured the charming music number “Portobello Road,” a memorable soccer game between wild (animated) animals, and concluded with an army (live action) of suits of army fighting the invading Germans.
In 1946 she married Robert Charles Norton with whom she had 4 children.
In 1952 the first installment of her wildly popular The Borrowers series was published. It was followed by five more Borrowers novels. The books have been made into numerous stage shows, movies and TV series.
In 1975 she wrote Are All the Giants Dead?