Natalie Babbitt was born and grew up in Ohio. She spent large amounts of time in those early years reading fairy tales and myths, and drawing. Her mother, an amateur landscape and portrait painter, provided early art lessons and saw to it that there was always enough paper, paint, pencils, and encouragement. In those days, Mrs. Babbitt wanted only to be an illustrator. She spent a lot of time drawing at Laurel School in Cleveland and went on to major in studio art at Smith College. She married Samuel Fisher Babbitt, an academic administrator, right after graduation, and spent the next ten years in Connecticut, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., raising Christopher (born in 1956), Tom (1958), and Lucy (1960). She and her husband decided to collaborate on a children’s book, The Forty-ninth Magician (Pantheon, 1966), and then came another move, this time to Clinton, New York, where Mr. Babbitt became the first president of Kirkland College, the women’s college coordinate to Hamilton College for men. Finding herself without a writer -- college presidents are very busy people -- Natalie Babbitt decided to try becoming her own author, and now finds that though she still enjoys illustrating, writing provides an equal challenge and is equally satisfying.