Rylant was born in Hopewell, West Virginia. She graduated from Morris Harvey College (University of Charleston), Marshall University and Kent State University. An author, librarian and educator, she has written more than 100 children’s books including works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, with the theme of many reflecting her childhood in Appalachia. Her novel Missing May won the 1993 Newbery Medal and A Fine White Dust was a 1987 Newbery Honor book. Two of her other books were named Caldecott Honor Books: When I was Young in the Mountains (1982) and When the Relatives Came (1985).