Marie Hall Ets was born on December 16th, 1895 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her happiest memories were of summers in the North Woods of Wisconsin, which figure largely in many of her books. She attended Lawrence College, the New York School of Civics and Philanthropy, the University of Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Royal Academy of London, and Columbia University. She decided to use her talents to write and illustrate children’s books after a long illness.
Ets was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 1956. Five of Ets’ books were chosen as Caldecott Honor Books: In the Forest, Play With Me, Just Me, Mr. Penny’s Horse Race, Mr. T.W. Anthony Woo. Her Nine Days to Christmas won the Caldecott Medal in 1960.
Gilberto and the Wind was inspired by a young boy she met in La Jolla, California. After asking his mother if he could model for her illustrations, Ets spent many hours with the family, coming to know them quite well.
Ets died in 1988.