Born in New York City in 1951, “Dino Don” Lessem saw his first dinosaur at the age of five: the awe-inspiring Tyrannosaurus Rex at the American Museum of Natural History. His fascination with extinct creatures never left him, and though he tried to pursue other interests — majoring in Oriental art history at Brandeis University, for example — he found himself returning to his favorite subject. Lessem studied biobehavioralism at the University of Massachusetts and was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. Shortly thereafter he published his first book for children, Life Is No Yuk for the Yak: A Book of Endangered Animals, and since then he has written more than 20 books for young readers, most of them on dinosaurs and other extinct creatures.
In addition to writing books, Lessem has a regular column in Highlights magazine. He has written and hosted television programs for the Discovery Channel and the PBS documentary series Nova, and worked as a technical advisor on films and for theme parks featuring dinosaurs. Founder of the nonprofit Dinosaur Society and its children's newsletter, Dino Times, he is also a member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. He has created a Web site, www.giganotosaurus.com, as well as a popular CD-ROM for Microsoft. Lessem has cast life-sized re-creations of some of the largest dinosaurs and built traveling museum exhibits. He has won several National Science Teachers Association Awards for his books for children.
Don Lessem lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.