Author and illustrator of several children's books, including Boat Ride with Lillian Two Blossom, The Keeping Quilt, and Thank You, Mr. Falker. She received numerous literary honors, including the 1992 Golden Kite Award (for her book, Chicken Sunday).
She began her career as an artist; she did not begin writing children's books until she was forty-one years old.
Christopher Curtis, another popular children's book author, was also born in Michigan.
She struggled with reading as a child, and was diagnosed with dyslexia, which she eventually overcame. Her book, Thank You, Mr. Falker, details this childhood struggle and honors the elementary school teacher who recognized her disability and helped her cope with it.
She was born in Lansing, Michigan to a family of mixed Eastern-European and Irish heritage. Her beloved grandmother, who died in 1949, appears in several of her children's books. She married an Italian chef named Enzo and has two children.