Elaine Greenstein was born in New York City in 1959, and started drawing when she was 2 years old. Her parents owned a bakery, so she also learned to bake cookies at a very early age. She studied sculpture at Boston University and Pennsylvania State University, and later taught sculpture at the college level, as well. Greenstein has also worked as a pastry chef and as an executive in the export division of a ceramics company. While that position gave her ample opportunity to travel, Greenstein missed the creative life. She went to live at an artist's colony on a dairy farm, a location which provided inspiration for her first picture book, Emily and the Crows.
Since then, Greenstein has created eight books for young readers and is working on her ninth. She enjoys cooking, gardening, going to movies, traveling to faraway places, making quilts, reading, and relaxing. Greenstein lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog, Ruby.