Bill (William Joseph) Cleaver was born on March 24, 1920 in Hugo, Oklahoma. When he was five years old, he was sent to a boarding school in British Columbia and he stayed there until he was fourteen. He became interested in writing as a child and spent many long hours in the public libraries of BC and Seattle, Washington, where he lived as a young adult. Mr. Cleaver served in the Air Force during World War II. During that time, he met Vera Allen, a girl from Virgil, South Dakota, and they were married. Bill Cleaver’s extended military service gave the couple the opportunity to travel the world and they used that time to write 279 stories for pulp magazines and write sixteen novels for children. Their books include Ellen Grae (a Caldecott Honor book), Where the Lilies Bloom (a Caldecott Honor book and National Book Award finalist), Grover (National Book Award finalist), Dust of the Earth (Lewis Carroll Shelf Award), and The Whys and Wherefores of Littabelle Lee (National Book Award finalist). Mr. Cleaver died in 1981 at the age of 61.