Dianne E. Gray’s first novel for young people, Holding Up the Earth, woJean Merrill was born in Rochester, New York on January 27, 1923. She received an undergraduate degree from Allegheny College and a master's degree in English from Wellesley College in 1945. After graduation, she worked as an editor for Scholastic Magazine. Her first book, Henry the Hand-Painted Mouse, was published in 1951. In 1952 she received a Fulbright Fellowship to study folklore at the University of Madras in India. She later based several of her books on Asian folk stories including Shan's Lucky Knife, The Girl Who Loved Caterpillars, and The Superlative Horse, which won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. Her other books include A Song for Gar, Blue's Broken Heart, and The Pushcart War, which won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. She also wrote a dozen scripts for animated television adaptations of her work. The Toothpaste Millionaire was adapted for television in 1974. She died from cancer on August 2, 2012 at the age of 89.