Remembered for her autobiographical All-of-a-Kind Family children's book series, she is notable for highlighting the Jewish-American experience in her literary work.
Following her graduation from New York University, she pursued professional acting and dancing careers. She published her first All-of-a-Kind Family book in 1951.
For many years, she helped run Cejwin Camps, a summer program for Jewish-American children.
Members of the Brenner family of Jewish immigrants, she and her siblings grew up in New York, New York. Her marriage to Ralph Taylor resulted in a daughter named Joanne.
She and her contemporary Henry Roth both penned important works describing the mid-20th-century lives of Jewish Americans.