Adèle De Leeuw, born to a Dutch-American family in Ohio, loved art and began writing as a child. She and her younger sister Cateau worked together to produce their own magazine: Adèle wrote the poetry and short stories, and Cateau provided the illustrations. As children, they travelled widely through South America, Europe, Africa, and the Far East. The sisters were fascinated by their Dutch heritage, and The Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies would later appear as backdrops in their work. Adèle moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, to pursue a career as a librarian. She also wrote and published short stories for adults and children. After her first books Berries of the Bittersweet (1924) and The Flavor of Holland (1928), she wrote and published about 75 more books for children and young adults. Several of them were collaborations with Cateau, including Mickey the Monkey (1952) and The Expandable Browns (1955). Both sisters lectured extensively at women's groups, art associations, and libraries. After Cateau's death, Adèle wrote Remembered with Love: Letters to my Sister (1982), a joint biography.