Born just after the turn of the century, Doris Gates lived on a ranch in Mountain View, California. After attending Fresno State Teachers College, Los Angeles Library School, and Western Reserve University, Gates worked as a children's librarian from 1930-1940 at the Fresno County Library. By spending time with and helping families in migrant camps during the Great Depression, Gates gained insights which inspired Blue Willow. She won a Newbery Honor award in 1941 for this book. Retelling myths and legends also earned Gates much popularity. She passed away at age 86.