Gerald McDermott was born January 31, 1941 in Detroit, Michigan. He began studying art when he was admitted to a class at one of the nations finest museums, the Detroit Institute of Arts, when he was just four years old. He continued pursuing his passion for art at Cass Tech, a public high school for the gifted. Upon graduation, he was awarded a National Scholastic scholarship to New Yorks Pratt Institute. He took a leave of absence during his junior year to become the first graphic designer for Channel 13, New Yorks educational television station, the year it went on the air. He also designed and directed his first animated film, The Stonecutter. He then toured Europe, visiting and exchanging ideas with filmmakers in England, France, and Yugoslavia. He returned to Pratt to finish his degree in 1964 and began producing and directing a series of animated films on folklore. It was then that he met Joseph Campbell, who served as the consultant on four of McDermotts films. McDermott then began to adapt his films into picture books. His first book, Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti, was named a Caldecott Honor Book. His other books include Arrow to the Sun: A Tale from the Pueblo that won the 1975 Caldecott Medal, Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest, another Caldecott Honor Book, and Musicians of the Sun. He died on December 26, 2012 at the age of 71.