Jean Fritz was born on November 16, 1915 in Hankow, China. The only child of missionary parents, she lived in a French compound, attended a British school,and spoke fluent Chinese. She received her A. B. degree in 1937 from Wheaton College and also studied at Columbia University. Fritz has worked as a research assistant, a children's librarian from 1937 to 1941, a teacher for the Board of Cooperative Educational Service, a lecturer, and faculty member at Appalachian State University, from 1980-1982. She also founded the Jean Fritz Writer's Workshops and taught writing from 1961 to 1969. Fritz published her first book, Bunny Hopewell's First Spring, in 1954. Fritz was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association, and honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature, presented by the New York State Library Association for her body of work. Other awards include Outstanding Pennsylvania Author, 1978; Honor Award for Nonfiction, Washington, D.C. Children's Book Guild, 1978-1979; Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Book Award, 1980, for Stonewall; American Book Award nomination, 1981, for Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold; Child Study Award and Christopher Award, both 1982; Newbery Honor Book Award, American Book Award and Boston Globe Horn Book Honor Book Award, all 1983, for Homesick: My Own Story; Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Award, 1984, for The Double Life of Pocahontas; and Regina Award, 1985.