Nancy Smiler Levinson was born in 1938 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A graduate of the University of Minnesota, she worked as a reporter, researcher, editor, and Head Start teacher before taking time to raise her two children. It was while reading to her kids when they were toddlers that Levinson first became interested in writing for young people, and in 1981 she published her first novel for young readers, World of Her Own. The first of many critically acclaimed biographies came in 1981, and since then Levinson has written a variety of well-received fiction and nonfiction for beginning readers as well as middle grade and young adult audiences.
Levinson has also contributed articles and stories to such publications as Seventeen magazine, Highlights for Children, Library Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. She has been a tutor for disabled children. She lives in California, where she enjoys reading and attending theater and symphonies.