Rochman was born and raised in South Africa, where she worked as a journalist. She left Johannesburg for England in 1963, and the following year, the South African authorities withdrew the passports of her and her husband. She taught high school in London, and in 1972 she and her husband moved to Chicago. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she worked for eight years as a junior high school librarian and high school librarian at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. She is now an assistant editor at ALA Booklist.