Nancy Van Laan was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She began writing in 1962 while studying art and working in television. She earned an MFA in Theater from Rutgers University in 1979. She taught English and creative writing for a number of years before publishing her first book, The Big Fat Worm, in 1987. She is the author of over two dozen children's books, including the beloved picture books Rainbow Crow, Little Baby Bobby, and the Parents’ Choice Award winner Possum Come a-Knockin’, among others.