Pearl Binder's father was a Russian-Ukrainian Jewish tailor who emigrated to England. She was born in Salford, Greater Manchester, and studied at the Central School of Art in London in the 1920s and 1930s, living in the Whitechapel district. It was an exciting and liberating time for her, as one of the first generation of women living independently after World War I. She explored London's poor East End and illustrated the life of its people. In 1937, she married Elwyn Jones, a lawyer who later became Lord Elwyn Jones and a Member of Parliament, with whom she had three children. She became a prolific writer and illustrator, producing many varied works, including picture books with Alan Lomax and A.L. Lloyd, the folk song collectors, and was involved in children’s programs during the earliest days of television. She was also an accomplished sculptor and stained glass artist, and created a series of 22 windows for the House of Lords.