Ilse-Margret Vogel was born to a German family in Sibyllenort, Lower Silesia (present-day Szczodre, Poland). She was educated in Germany and studied art in Berlin and in Basel, Switzerland. In the early 1940s, she co-founded and co-owned the Galerie Gerd Rosen, the first modern art gallery in Berlin. She spent the years 1944-1945 among a small group of artists, intellectuals, and other dissidents and anti-Nazis in Berlin who risked their lives to help each other. In 1950, she emigrated to the USA and married Howard Knott, an artist and children's book writer and illustrator. She became the author and illustrator of many children's books herself, beginning with The Don't Be Scared Book (1964). Others included My Little Dinosaur (1971), The Rainbow Dress and Other Tollush Tales (1975), and Dodo Every Day (1977), some of which drew on stories from her childhood. She is perhaps best known for her memoir Bad Times, Good Friends: A Personal Memoir, published in 1992. Her story was adapted into a 2001 film called Daybreak Berlin.