Barbara Walker was born on October 13, 1921 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her bachelor's degree from the New York State College for Teachers in 1943 and her master's degree in 1947. In 1943, she married Warren Stanley Walker and had two children. She has taught English and children's literature from elementary school to college. Since 1980, she has been the curator of the Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative at Texas Tech University. She is best known for her children's books of tales and folklore from other societies, especially Turkish culture.