Born to Christian missionaries in Qing Jiang, China, she now lives in Barre, Vermont.
She won the Newbery Medal for "A Bridge to Terabithia" and again for "Jacob I Have Loved."
In 1998, she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Writing, thus becoming the fifth American to receive it. (By contrast, only one American - in 1970 - has ever won the HCA Medal for Illustration, and that was Maurice Sendak.) She was nominated twice before that.
In 2006, she won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature.