At the age of 28, she became a widow with two young children. Determined to support her family, she began writing children’s stories, which she first read her stories to her own children. In 1865, she published “Hans Brinker”; or “The Silver Skates.” The book was a huge success and is now considered a classic of children’s literature. In 1873, Dodge became the first editor of St. Nicholas Magazine, a popular 19th-century magazine for children. The magazine published renowned authors such as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Mark Twain.