Born on February 11, 1939, in New York City,Jane Yolen showed early promise as a writer; she wrote a play for her first-grade class, and a piece on pirates written in the eighth grade was probably the source for her first published book, Pirates in Petticoats (1963).
Yolen wrote avidly while attending Smith College, producing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. She graduated in 1960 and took jobs with publishers while still writing. Her success with books for young adults and younger children enabled her to move on to graduate school; she earned a master’s in education in 1976 from the University of Massachusetts and eventually returned to Smith College to teach. She has become one of America’s most esteemed experts on literature for young readers. Yolenis
married to David Stemple, a college professor, and has three children, a daughter and two sons. Her experiences with her family have inspired much of her writing, including her fantasies.