American novelist best known as the writer of the popular young adult science fiction books The Compound and The Gardner. She is also the creator of pictures books like Elizabeti's Doll, which received numerous honors, including the Charlotte Zolotow Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.
She was raised in a dairy farm in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
She has served as a Peace Corps volunteer in East Africa.
She has been married and has daughters.
She and Carmen Tafolla are both winners of the Charlotte Zolotow Award.