Juanita Havill grew up in a small town in Southern Illinois. As a child she loved cats, dogs, horses, and books. Her family had many cats and dogs and she learned about horse ownership from taking care of her own horse Prince, with whom she spent many adventurous hours during her high school years. Her love of books led her to become a writer. Her first book Jamaica’s Find illustration by Anne Sibley O’Brien won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award and was a Reading Rainbow book. Since then she has written over thirty children’s books — picture books, early readers, poetry, and novels. Her novel in verse Grow illustration by Stanislawa Kodman won the 2009 Carol D. Reiser Children’s Book Award and the Santa Monica Public Library Green Prize for Youth Fiction.