I grew up on 50 acres in western Pennsylvania, the second of four children. As a child I spent plenty of time outdoors—roaming woods and fields, splashing in streams, climbing trees, and swimming in my family's backyard pool. I also loved to draw, read, and write.
In school my best subjects were science and art. Although I loved to write, I never really considered becoming an author. Instead, I went to college and studied the natural sciences. I earned my bachelor's degree in biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts, then continued on to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, where I did laboratory research in plant biology and genetics.
After two years of postdoctoral research, I decided to leave the lab. By then I was married with two young children, and I wanted to stay home and raise my children. Meanwhile, I began growing plants in my own garden. I became a Master Gardener and soon was teaching gardening to schoolchildren and writing articles on horticulture for the local newspaper. From those volunteer experiences, I took a leap, switched careers, and began working as a science writer for children. I discovered that writing built on my background as a working scientist and gave me a way to share my passion for the natural world with children.
To date I have authored more than sixty books, ranging from picture books to nonfiction for teens. I have also written for magazines like Spider, Odyssey, and Today's Science, and for the American Chestnut Foundation and Penn State University.
When I'm not writing, you can find me reading, baking bread, hiking with my dog, and planting gardens at my home in central Pennsylvania. My favorite people in the world to spend time with are my husband, Rick Hirsch, and our three children, Anna, Eva, and Ellie.
My favorite thing about being a children’s writer is that I am always learning something new about the natural world. I get a thrill out of sharing what I have learned with my readers.
Interviews and more
Rebecca Hirsch's author's page at Lerner Books.
Author Q&A on the Lerner Books blog.
Author interview: Rebecca Hirsch on Nancy Sanders' Blogzone
Author interview in The Centre Daily Times (State College, PA)
Websites of friends who make wonderful books