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Ohio 4-H Youth Development

Ohio State University Extension


Faces of Ohio 4-H — Margaret Peterson Haddix

Margaret Peterson Haddix

Each month, Ohio 4-H highlights one of many outstanding alumni who have applied their 4-H experience to their personal and professional life. Our June story features Margaret Peterson Haddix, Fayette County 4-H alumna, and best-selling author of books for kids and teens, including the Greystone Secrets series, the Shadow Children series, and numerous stand-alone books including Running Out of Time, Remarkables, and The School for Whatnots.

Current 4-H members most likely know Margaret Peterson Haddix as the author of their favorite series featuring time-traveling children or those living in a dystopian society. They might not know she spent ten years as a 4-H member in Fayette County, long before they were introduced to her books.

As a 4-H member, Haddix showed hogs, and completed sewing and cooking projects, activities she considers life skills. “I did learn how to become a passable seamstress and cook—skills I think everyone should learn. But I also learned how to recover from mistakes. I remember pulling out lots of stitches when I sewed seams too crookedly, and my family to this day talks aboHaddix showing hogsut some of the worst cooking disasters I subjected them to!”Fair Queen Attendant

As an older youth, her writing skill was honed with projects that included journalism, creative writing, genealogy, and photography. Haddix acknowledges just how much her school and 4-H experiences shaped her career choice. “The writing projects I took in high school connected directly to the careers I’ve pursued. Before my first book was published, I worked as a newspaper reporter, so the experience I got covering the Fayette County fair for my local newspaper through 4-H when I was in high school led to that career, too.” Haddix is a New York Times-bestselling author of more than forty books for kids and teens. Her books have won reader’s choice awards in multiple states and have been translated into more than twenty languages.

4-H also meant a variety of leadership roles for Haddix. She was part of the junior leadership club, Junior Fair Board, attended Camp Clifton as a camper and a counselorCamp Clifton Staff , and went to Citizenship Washington Focus in Washington D.C. Her 4-H experiences included many special memories. “I always loved fair week, and the year I was a fair queen attendant was especially fun. I particularly enjoyed being a camp counselor for three years. And the DC trip was eye-opening—I ended up meeting my college roommate there.”

4-H made a positive impact on Haddix. “I learned how to see a project through from start to finish, and how to pace myself with an endeavor that took longer than just a few weeks. I am grateful to those lessons from my long-ago 4-H experiences every single time I write a new book.”

Today, Haddix is a 4-H donor and serves as a resource for 4-H youth by answering questions about their projects. Her advice to current members? “Explore various projects—you may be surprised to discover a new interest!”

Be sure to visit to read more about her work, life,  and resources.