Patricia Reilly Giff was born in Brooklyn, New York on April 26, 1935. She knew she wanted to be a writer, even as a little girl. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Education from Marymount College, a Masters of Arts from St. Johns University, and a Professional Diploma in Reading and a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hofstra University. After she graduated from college, she taught in the public schools in New York City until 1960 and then in the public schools in Elmont, New York from 1964 until 1971. She then became a reading consultant before finally, at the age of 40, deciding to write a book. She also worked as an educational consultant for Dell Yearling and Young Yearling Books and as an advisor and instructor to aspiring writers. She is the author of more than 60 childrens books, as well as a member of the Society of Childrens Book Writers. Together with her husband, Giff opened The Dinosaurs Paw, a childrens bookstore named after one of her own stories. She is the author of the Polk Street School books. Lilys Crossing, about the homefront during World War II, was named a Newberry Honor Book by the American Library Association as well as an ALA Notable Book for Children. The novel also won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor. Pictures of Hollis Woods was also named a Newberry Honor Book and Nory Ryans Song was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.