An American author of children's literature, he is best known for such titles as Where the Red Fern Grows (1961) and Summer of the Monkeys (1976). His numerous literary honors include the Sequoyah Children's Book Award and the Golden Archer Award.
He became a carpenter and traveled to South America, Canada, and Alaska. He later worked for the Atomic Energy Commission.
He grew up in the Ozark Mountains, a location that would serve as the setting for many of his books.
He was born in Oklahoma and traveled with his family to New Mexico during the Great Depression years. He married Sophie Ann Styczinski in 1958.
As a child, Rawls read Jack London's work and was greatly inspired by it.