Holly Haggarty was born in 1960 in Midland, Ontario. She grew up in Toronto, fifth in a family of ten children and attended Loretto College School.
In a wonderful, magical moment, when she started grade one, she discovered she knew how to read. She spent the rest of her childhood immersed (whenever possible) in books, her preference being storybooks. Stories provided obvious material to help her with her everyday childhood chore of caring for younger siblings. Her storytelling talents led her to take on part-time jobs which offered more opportunities for storytelling: babysitter, camp counsellor, waitress, host at the Ontario Science Centre, drama teacher, rat catcher...
Holly graduated three times from the University of Ottawa, after having read thousands of books, some in old English, some en français, some largely in Latin. Finally she realized that storybooks in any language were still what appealed to her most and what she wanted to build her career around. So she became a mother, teacher, storyteller, writer.