Karen Cushman has a long-standing interest in history. She says, "I grew tired of hearing about kings, princes, generals and presidents. I wanted to know what life was like for ordinary young people in other times." Research into medieval English history and culture led to the writing of Catherine Called Birdy,winner of the 1995 Newbery Honor Award, and The Midwife's Apprentice, winner of the 1996 Newbery Medal. Her research moved in a new diredtion as she learned about nineteenth century women and children for The Ballad of Lucy Whipple.
Ms. Cushman was born in Chicago, Illinois. She received an M.A. in Human Behavior and one in Museum Studies. She and her husband and daughter share their Oakland, California, home with two cats, a dog and a rabbit.