Kathi Appelt was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina and grew up in Houston, Texas. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She and her husband, a researcher in adult literacy at Texas A&M, have two grown sons. She lives in College Station, Texas.
Appelt is the author of more than thirty books. She writes novels, picture books, poetry, and nonfiction for children and young adults. She has won numerous awards for her writing, among them the PEN USA award. Her first novel, The Underneath, was a National Book Award finalist and was awarded the Newbery Honor in 2008. Her books have been translated into several languages: Spanish, Chinese and French
Appelt teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her papers are held at the University of Southern Mississippi.