Marguerite Kelly, columnist and author, has given thoughtful, practical parenting advice for 40 years, but as a parent, not an expert. She is not, however, your typical Washington player. She has never had a publicist or a speech agent, she doesn’t invite big shots to parties for business reasons–or any reason–and she thinks that her family is more important than her career.
Marguerite was a reporter, a daily columnist and the assistant woman’s paper editor for the New Orleans Item when she married Tom Kelly at 20 and came to Washington the following year, first to tend his aging parents and then to care for their four children.
During those years Marguerite led a successful fight to release a prisoner who had been on death row longer than anyone in U. S. history; served as a Democratic ward leader and a member of the Democratic Central Committee where she exposed one of the largest food store chains in the nation because it systematically raised prices on Welfare Day. Marguerite also served as co-director of the press office for Jimmy Carter’s inauguration and was on the boards of a settlement house and of the D. C. Public Library for many years as well as the board of an organization that taught parents the best way to rear their children.
In time Marguerite returned to journalism and wrote articles for local magazines, including the one that broke the codes which grocery stores put on perishable foods, causing the stores to switch to ‘sell by’ dates across the country a few weeks later. It was The Mother’s Almanac, however, which she co-authored for Doubleday in 1975, that solidified her reputation as a parenting expert, because it was the first comprehensive book written by parents for parents. This book, which she revised in 1992, sold more than 800,000 copies, became a Book of the Month selection and a Parents’ Choice winner and was anthologized in England; translated into French and Portuguese; excerpted by Woman’s Day and quoted on everything from Hollywood Squares to Sleepytime Tea. Later she wrote The Mother’s Almanac Goes to School (Doubleday), about 6-12-year-olds, and Marguerite Kelly’s Family Almanac (Simon and Schuster), a collection of the columns she wrote for the Washington Post for 35 years and were syndicated in other papers for almost that long. Marguerite also wrote a chapter for the revision of What Jackie Taught Us (Perigee), which came out in 2014; monthly columns for Woman’s Day and Family Life magazines and articles in the New York Times Magazine, Parents, Family Circle, the Weekly Standard, Traditional Home, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Ladies Home Journal and the International Herald-Tribune. Marguerite’s books and columns have also been reviewed in the major U. S. newspapers and magazines; she has been interviewed on hundreds of radio and television shows, including Good Morning America, CBS Morning, CNN, Lifetime, All Things Considered and Diane Rehm; she has lectured extensively and promoted parenting concepts—but never products—for Minute Maid, Disney and MCI.