A popular author of young-adult fiction, she won both a Newbery Medal and a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award for her 1935 novel Caddie Woodlawn. Her other works include Baby Island, Goody O'Grumpity, and Lad with a Whistle.
She studied at both the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Idaho.
She published her first novel, Anything Can Happen on the River, in 1934.
With her husband Raymond, she had two children: David and Norah.
She won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958.