Jan Berenstain was born Jan Grant on July 26, 1923 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She met Stan Berenstain on their first day of classes in 1941 at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. During World War II, Stan served as a medical illustrator in an Army hospital and Jan worked as a draftswoman in the Army Corps of Engineers and as an aircraft riveter. They married in 1946 and together began drawing cartoons for the McCall's/Good Housekeeping All in the Family series. They worked on this feature from 1956 through 1990. They also published artwork in magazines like Colliers and the Saturday Evening Post. The Big Honey Hunt, published in 1962, was their first book for children. This book, which was written for Dr. Seuss's Beginner Books series, was so popular that Dr. Seuss himself, Theodore Geisel, encouraged them to write more stories. His advice launched them on a life-career writing and illustrating the Berenstain Bears books. The Berenstain Bears' New Baby, published in 1974, was the beginning of the First Time Books series. She wrote more than 300 books during her lifetime. The couple received numerous awards including the Children's Choice Award for The Berenstain Bears' New Neighbors in 1995 and the Ludington Award in 1989 for their work in children's literature. There have been television shows based on the Berenstain Bears books, as well as CD-ROMs and videos. She died after a stroke on February 24, 2012 at the age of 88.
Writer and illustrator Michael Berenstain is the younger son of Stan and Jan Berenstain. He writes and illustrates children's books on his own as well as collaborates with his parents on the Berenstain Bears series. He currently lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.