Cynthia Rylant was born on June 6, 1954 in Hopewell, Virginia. She attended and received degrees at Morris Harvey College, Marshall University, and Kent State University. Rylant worked as an English professor and at the children's department of a public library, where she first discovered her love of children's literature. Rylant wrote A Kindness, Soda Jerk, and A Couple of Kooks and Other Stories, which were named as Best Book for Young Adults. When I was Young in the Mountains and The Relative Came won the Caldecott Award. Her novel, Missing May, won the Newberry Award.