Mary Francis Young was born on 23 February 1923 in Pratt, Kansas, the daughter of Jack Fant and Mary Francis (Milstead) Young. When she was very young, her family moved to the Pacific Northwest, where she raised. She studied at Maryville State College. On 24 October 1943, she married Daniel Charles Shura, who died in 1959. They had two children: Marianne Francis Shura (Spraguc) and Daniel Charles Shura. On 8 December 1961, she married Raymond C. Craig, they had a daughter Alice Barrett Craig (Stout), before their divorce. She lived in Hinsdale, Illinois, where her apartment apartment burned on 13 December 1990. At 67, she died of injuries suffered in the fire on 12 January 1991 in Loyola University Medical Burn Center in Maywood.

Since 1960, she wrote over 50 books of various genres: children's adventures and teen-romances as Mary Francis Shura, M. F. Craig, and Meredith Hill; gothic novels as Mary Craig; romance novels as Alexis Hill, Mary Shura Craig and Mary S. Craig; and suspense novels as M. S. Craig. Her children's novel "The Search for Grissi" received the Carl Sandburg Literary Arts Award in 1985, and she also was nominated to the Young Hoosier Book Award. In 1990, she was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America.

Book List in Order: 41 titles


  • When Miss Dixon suddenly disappears the adults don't seem to take her disappearance seriously, but Eliza knows that she must find her missing teacher. Lost: One Teacher Eliza is happy to finally have a teacher so much like herself -- quie...



    • / Contemporary Romance
    • Buy Buy

    Eilen can't get Michael out of her mind. She knows he might be dangerous, she knows she might get hurt - but she can't stop wanting him. Everyone tells her she's crazy to fall in love with Michael. He may be gorgeous, but he's olde...



  • Jane doesn’t mind being plain and shy as long as Natalie is willing to be her best friend. She finds it exciting that Natalie had magical powers that cause strange things to happen. Jane doesn’t even care that the other kids want nothing to do wi...








  • Eleven-year-old Kate and her family are in Oregon at last and Kate is having a difficult time adjusting to her new life. The dark woods are frightening, and her best friend Tildy wants to return to her mother back East. But by Christmastime, Kate'...



  • When Kate's father decides to sell their Ohio farm and move to Oregon, the family has many regrets. Nonetheless, they pull up stakes and begin the long journey across the plains. The bumpy roads, slow pace and cramped living conditions prove drea...



  • The Galveston hurricane of 1900 is the wind of change. For her sixteenth birthday, Galveston, Texas belle Darcy wants to have fun. She wants to laugh with her best friend Angela, flirt with Angela's handsome, maddening Yankee cousin Michael, and dan...







  • Saving the dog means big trouble for Kate and Bugs! He's a very special dog... Kate's pesky little brother James sees the Newfoundland dog tied to the overturned boat in the flooded Wolf River. But it is Kate and her best friend Bugs Moran who save ...



  • Shy, twelve-year-old, chess-loving Greg is apprehensive about spending six months with his grandmother in Pineville, Illinois, but his relationship with the outgoing Nolan family involves him in some real-life chess moves with a troubled girl, that o...



  • It was a time for adventure...and a time for love. On the eve of the dangerously controversial Louisiana Purchase, Diana meets David, a handsome and charming French Creole aristocrat, at a gala New Orleans party. When her family sends her to St. L...



  • Thirteen-year-old Emmy finds herself sheltered again from her family's problems when she is hastily sent to Aunt Harriett's for the summer because of a serious problem involving her older sister Jayne....



  • Is it the showboat magic that makes him love her? She's a showboat star. Will she have to give it up for love? Sixteen-year-old Gabrielle Prentice is practicing a new tight rope act for her father's showboat on the banks of the Mississippi River wh...



    • / General Fiction
    • Buy Buy

    DON'T CALL ME TOAD!...AND DON’T CALL ME FRIEND! It only took a minute for me to decide I didn't want to be friends with Dinah Dobbins. First she jumped out of the shadows, scaring me half to death, and rudely demanded to know if I'd seen her lit...



  • RICHES AND REVOLUTION Here are two of the most exciting stories in literature, retold from the original novels written by Charles Dickens. Meet Pip, the orphan boy who suddenly becomes enormously rich -- but who doesn’t know where the money came ...



  • One man will love her, one protect her, one understand her. Whom will she choose? From the calm of England to the wilds of the new colony, Marilee is torn between three loves... Until her father dies, Marilee lives a peaceful life in England. Sudde...



    • / General Fiction
    • Buy Buy

    It all happened in a matter of seconds. My little sister DeeDee was screaming, "No, Grissi! Come back!" But the gray cat was over the fence, running for his life, with a dog chasing him down the alley. DeeDee was sobbing hysterically. Well, here w...



  • She lived in a time when loving the wrong man could mean exile from her home. One Man would love her; one man would lose her. Jessica had lived all her life on the flat Kansas prairie. It was there, the year she turned sixteen, that Jessica fell in...







  • All the neighborhood boys and girls work at earning money to give Jefferson a surprise birthday party....



  • When Millard C. Fillmore Elementary School must come up with a special float to be entered in a field day contest which the school's most famous graduate will judge, Chester's sister Eleanor saves the day....




  • Nobody believed it was possible for just one new kid to change a whole neighborhood in one week--until Chester came....



  • Barkley Street was almost like the street where Jane's dad had grown up, with big back yards and lots of kids. Shy, plain Jane is delighted with her new best friend, but Natalie managed to keep the kids apart with magic and cruelty. This association ...






    • / General Fiction
    • Buy Buy



  • Bart decides to do his own investigation of the events which are giving the ravine along his paper route the reputation of being haunted. Original title: The Riddle of Raven's Gulch...



  • Attracted as a child by two very life like dolls in a shop window, Liza Quentin is told that they represent real children, Katya and Nikolas Lvov, who had disappeared in an orphanage fire and are presumed dead. But the shop owner, Sophia, believes th...







    • / Action Adventure
    • Buy Buy



  • Maggie learns many things when she befriends the strange new girl in her class. Original title: The Seven Stone...




    • / Action Adventure
    • Buy Buy

    Young Francisco helps farmer catch and re-load run away pigs to a truck. The last to be caught is an odd, gentle and artistic (yes, artistic!!) creature that prefers to feast with his eyes rather than gorging on food, and so never fattens up enough f...



    • / Action Adventure
    • Buy Buy

    A superstitious little boy becomes very worried when his new kitten quickly begins using up its nine lives....



    • / Action Adventure
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    Alec was the first of the mouse colony that lived in the trash heap to see the strange object. Dominie, a young female mouse, was the second. She was not wholly accepted because her tail seemed somewhat long for a proper field mouse....



    • / Action Adventure
    • Buy Buy

    Eleven-year-old Mike and his family were moving from the city of Wichita to a small Colorado town. But Mike did not want to go. It meant leaving all his friends, his paper route, his second-base spot on the Little League team. When they got to Colora...





  • How an unusual witch, dragon, and knight solve Prince Todd's problems....



    • / Action Adventure
    • Buy Buy









Complete Series List in Order

Kids of the Neighborhood

1) Chester the Great / Chester (May-1980)
2) Eleanor (Jan-1983)
3) Jefferson (May-1984)