Prolific author Johanna Hurwitz was born in 1937 into a New York City home filled with books. Her father, a journalist and bookseller, and her mother, a library assistant, instilled in her a love of reading and writing, and from an early age, Hurwitz intended a future in books. Until she was 15, the family lived in the Bronx, where Hurwitz attended P.S. 35, a name she has given to several schools in her books. She finished high school in Queens, and then went on to Queens College and Columbia University, where she got her Master's in Library Science. She worked as a children's librarian for many years.
In 1962, Hurwitz married and had two children within four years. Her daughter, Nomi, was the inspiration for the main character in her first book for young readers, Busybody Nora, published in 1976. Since then, Hurwitz has used situations in the lives of her family members for inspiration and details in her more than 50 books. She is best known for her lighthearted school stories, many of which can be grouped loosely into series about characters that have won the hearts of her readers. In addition, Hurwitz has written historical fiction, picture books, young adult novels, nonfiction, and biographies of Anne Frank, Astrid Lindgren, Leonard Bernstein, and Helen Keller.
Hurwitz and her husband live in Great Neck, New York.