Beautiful Joe

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Category: Chapter Books, Jr./Sr. High Non-Fiction

By Margaret Marshall Saunders, 1893

Born in Nova Scotia, Margaret Marshall Saunders (1861-1947) taught school briefly before starting her career as a novelist. Her second book, Beautiful Joe, achieved international recognition. Inspired during a visit to Meaford Ontario about 1892, it is based on the story of a dog rescued from a brutal master by a local miller, William Moore. Margaret relocated the story to a small town in Maine and changed the family’s name to Morris to win a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane Education Society. The book quickly became the first Canadian book to sell more than a million copies. Miss Saunders was awarded the Companion of the British Empire (CBE) in 1934 in recognition of her contribution toward securing humane treatment for animals.