Elsa Beskow, née Maartman, studied art education at the Konstfack in Stockholm, then called the Tekniska skolan. In 1897, she married Natanael Beskow, whom she had met while working as a teacher at the school where he served as headmaster. They had six sons, including Bo Beskow, who grew up to become an artist. During her career, Elsa Beskow wrote or illustrated about 40 books and became one of the best-known of all Swedish children's book authors. Many of her books became classics and are continually reprinted. Her books were often decorated in Art Nouveau style.