Children's book illustrator and author Lynne Cherry was born on January 5, 1952, and grew up in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Encouraged by her parents at an early age to use her creative mind, Cherry wrote a book called Kitty's Adventures when she was just ten years old. As an adult Cherry reillustrated the book, while still keeping the original story, and published it as Archie, Follow Me. Cherry earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Tyler School of Art in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, in 1973. After graduating college, Cherry held a succession of jobs, including serving as artist-in-residence at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland, acting as an historical consultant, organizing teacher-training conferences with The Center for Children's Environmental Literature, and doing illustrations for the Java History Trail Project. In 1986, Cherry went to Yale University to get her Master of Arts degree in history, in part so that she could successfully write a children's book about the environment. The finished book, which Cherry entitled A River Ran Wild, was named a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies and a Children's Choice Book by a CBC/International Reading Association committee. Cherry's book, The Snail's Spell, was awarded the 1983 New York Academy of Sciences Children's Book Science Award, and her book The Great Kapok Tree was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the Children's Book Council and the National Science Teachers Association.