Bechard was born in 1953 in Chico, California. She received her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Reed College in 1976. She is married to Lee Boekelheide and they have three sons. She lives in Tigard, Oregon.
Bechard served as the Young People’s Literature Chair of the 2006 National Book Award Committee. Her books are published in English, French, Swedish and Korean. She teaches in the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.