Margot Benary-Isbert was born in Saarbrücken, then in Prussia, and raised in Frankfurt, Germany. She began writing at a young age and published her first story at age 19. She attended a convent school and briefly attended the University of Frankfurt before working as a secretary at the Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology in Frankfurt from 1910 to 1917. In 1917, she married Wilhelm Benary, a psychologist, with whom she had a daughter and lived and worked on a family farm in Erfurt. After World War II, they fled to a city near Göttingen, West Germany. There she wrote her first book, Die Arche Noah (The Ark), about a family of refugees, published in 1953. In 1952, the family moved to the USA, settling first in Chicago and later in Santa Barbara, California. She produced other children's books and later turned to writing for older adults, starting with The Grandmother and Her First Grandchild, based on her own experiences.