Mildred D. Taylor was born in Jackson, Mississippi on September 13, 1943 and grew up in Toledo, Ohio. She received a Bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Toledo in 1965 and then spent two years in the Peace Corp teaching English and History in Ethiopia. She received a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Colorado. During this time, she joined the Black Student Alliance and assisted in creating the black studies program at the university. After graduation and before becoming a full-time author, she worked for the Black Education Program as a study skills director. Using her personal experiences and family stories she heard while growing up, Taylor has created several historical fiction books that offer realistic portraits of African-American families in the mid-1900s. Her novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry won the Newbery Award in 1977 and was made into a television movie in 1978. The Well: David's Story received the 1997 Jason Award. She has also received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Jane Addams Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, and the Christopher Award multiple times. She currently lives in Colorado.
Brian Pinkney, author and illustrator, was born August 28, 1961. He has received the Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations, three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, and in 1997, he won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for his book, The Adventures of Sparrowboy. He has also won two Caldecott Honor awards for his illustrations with the books: The Faithful Friend, by Robert D. San Souci, and Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Pinkney primarily uses the scratchboard illustrative technique with most of his books. Pinkney lives with his wife, Andrea, and their children in Brooklyn, New York.