Penny Colman was born in 1944 in Denver, Colorado. Growing up with three brothers in a hectic, active family prepared her for raising her own three sons, twins and their older brother, who are only one year apart in age. Colman has always enjoyed the outdoors and a wide variety of interests, and her ability to focus amid chaos has served her well not only in the family setting but as a writer of clear, interesting nonfiction for young readers. A graduate of the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University, Colman also studied at the University of Oklahoma and New York University.
Colman's deep interest in women's history and social issues has led her to write numerous critically acclaimed works that introduce children to little-known individuals and causes. She has written biographies of famous women and women who should be famous, as well as historical overviews of movements in labor and education. Extremely dedicated in preparation for her books, Colman traveled the country doing extensive research for her compelling study Girls! A History of Growing Up Female in America.
A resident of Englewood, New Jersey, Penny Colman has been active in social issues at the grass roots level, too, working as executive director of the Center for Food Action and serving on the New Jersey Commission on Hunger and the New Jersey State Women Infant Children Advisory Council. She enjoys adventure sports, jogging and bicycling, doing puzzles, driving on long trips, and exploring cemeteries to find the graves of the historic people she writes about.