Uri Orlev, born Jerzy Henryk Orlowski, was born in Warsaw, Poland. He survived the war years in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where he was sent after his mother was shot by the Nazis). After the war he moved to Israel. He began writing children's literature in 1976 and has since published over 30 books, which are often biographical. His books have been translated from Hebrew into 36 languages, while he himself has also translated Polish literature into Hebrew.
In 1996, Orlev received the Hans Christian Andersen Award for children's literature. The jury's statement was:
"Uri Orlev's experience as a Jewish boy in war-torn Poland is the background of this outstanding writer for children. Whether his stories are set in the Warsaw ghetto or his new country Israel, he never loses the perspective of the child he was. He writes at a high literary level, with integrity and humor, in a way which is never sentimental, exhibiting the skill to say much in few words. Uri Orlev shows how children can survive without bitterness in harsh and terrible times."
In 2006, he was awarded the Bialik Prize for literature (jointly with Ruth Almog and Raquel Chalfi).