Born in Philadelphia and raised in Florida, Ruth Belov Gross has lived in New York City ever since graduating from the University of Miami in 1950. Although her first job out of college was as an editorial assistant for a children's publishing house, Gross never planned to write for children herself. Instead she went on to a successful career as a medical writer, where she became adept at thorough and meticulous research and translating complex medical information into nontechnical language. Such skills served her well when she wrote her first children's book, What Do Animals Eat?, in 1970, and though she initially assumed she would return to medical writing, she never did. “I was finally doing what I had always wanted to do without knowing that it was what I had always wanted to do.”
Since then, Gross has written numerous books for children, specializing in nonfiction and retellings of traditional tales. She welcomes questions and comments from children, and often uses their input to make her work more thorough. When they are not working, Gross and her husband enjoy cooking, gardening, and vacationing in Vermont, where they have a tiny A-frame house in the woods.