Born on June 6th, 1911, in New Era, Michigan, Verna Aardema received a BA degree from Michigan State University and then taught grade school in her home state until 1973. From 1951 to 1972, she was a staff correspondent for the Muskegon Chronicle. She knew she wanted to be a writer when she was 11 years old. At MSU, she won three writing contests. Ms. Aardema was an avid reader. She often read books about Africa, which may explain why so many of her books are retellings of African folktales.
In fact, her first book was Tales from the Story Hat, published in 1960. She and Leo and Diane Dillon created three books together: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears received the Caldecott Award in 1976.
Who's in Rabbit's House?, published in 1977, won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year award.
From 1991 until her death in the year 2000, Ms. Aardema lived in Florida.