Verna Aardema was born in New Era, Michigan, in 1911. A cedar swamp in the back of her house served as her inspiration and retreat as a young aspiring writer. At Michigan State College, Verna took many writing courses, but none that were aimed at writing for children. She didn’t think about the children’s book field until many years later, when she had to make up stories to get her baby daughter to eat. Verna wrote mostly African folktales because of her fascination with that infinitely diverse continent. She published more than 25 books that have been translated into French, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Chinese, and Afrikaans.