Charlie May Simon

Charlie May (Hogue) Simon (1897-1977) had a challenging life, having experienced poverty, young widowhood, and issues in her marriages. Read more about her here: She is now known as a children’s book author who is the namesake of a literary award that honors books selected by the votes of Arkansas children.

Simon’s most successful book, Robin on the Mountain, was published in 1934 and captured the essence of living in the rugged Ozarks. She later traveled the world and wrote prose as she discovered new people and places. Other titles she published include The Sharecropper (1937), Lonnie’s Landing (1942), Art in the New Land (1945), Secret on the Congo (1955), The Andrew Carnegie Story (1965), and Razorbacks Are Really Hogs! (1972).

According to “Her additional honors included a Doctor of Laws degree from University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the Albert Schweitzer Book Prize, the Boy’s Club of America Junior Book Award, and the Charles and Bertie G. Schwartz Award of the Jewish Book Council of America.”

Her Marriage to John Gould Fletcher

Charlie May Simon’s third husband (she was widowed and divorced before marrying a third time), John Gould Fletcher, was an established writer before meeting Charlie May Simon. In their 14-year marriage, his career took priority, though they each continued writing. Simon’s legacy, however, has lasted longer than she may have imagined through the annual statewide children’s writing competition in her name. She also outlived John Gould Fletcher by 27 years.

They lived in a house called “Johnswood” (Charlie May Simon authored a book with the same title) that was designated as a national historic landmark. At various times, members of the community proposed that it be made open to the public but it is currently privately owned. (The address is 10314 Cantrell Road, near the western border of Little Rock.) Since it is not open to the public, we suggest visiting the library named for her husband in the meantime, the John Gould Fletcher Library (Little Rock).

Read more about the house here:

On the Path

The John Gould Fletcher Library is the third stop on our Arkansas Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart