Charlotte grew up in suburban Chicago, attended Wellesley College and earned her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. She began her teaching career in Midwestern elementary schools. Her master's and doctorate degrees were also from Northwestern University.
Charlotte joined the education faculty of Ohio State University in 1955 where she organized the first course in children's literature at Ohio State, founded the Ohio State Children's Literature Conference, and built a nationally respected program that offers both a master's and doctorate in children's literature.
Her classic textbook, Children's Literature in the Elementary School, now in its tenth edition and authored by Barbara Kiefer, has been renamed Charlotte Huck's Children's Literature. During her career, Charlotte served on the Newbery Award Committee, chaired the Caldecott Award Committee, was inducted into the Reading Hall of Fame, was an Arbuthnot Lecturer, received several distinguished teaching awards, and was elected president of the National Council of Teachers of English. Upon her retirement from Ohio State, the Charlotte S. Huck professorship was established, the first endowed professorship in children's literature in the nation.
In "retirement", Charlotte moved to Redlands to live near her nieces Charlotte Burgess and Jean Gaylord. Retirement for Charlotte meant continuing to bring books and children together. She wrote five children's books, was the force behind the evening read aloud program at Smiley Library, the Children's Literature Festival, the annual Family Day at Smiley Library, and a children's literature book discussion group that continues to meet. She also served on the board of the YWCA and Redlands Day Nursery and was named by Town and Gown as a "Woman of Distinction." Charlotte continued to be a teacher, mentor, and an active participant in the festival planning until her death at her home on April 7, 2005.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Charlotte S. Huck Children's Literature Festival Endowment by leaving a check made out to the University of Redlands at the registration desk or by mailing a check to the Charlotte S. Huck Children's Literature Festival Endowment, University of Redlands, PO Box 3080, Redlands, CA 92373-0999.
"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both." - from "Charlotte's Web" © 1952 E. B. White