Shalev was born in Nahalal in 1948, and has lived most of his life in Jerusalem. He studied psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and worked as a researcher, presenter, and editor on Israeli Television. In 1988 he published The Blue Mountain, his first of seven novels, which include Esau, As a Few Days, and A Pigeon and a Boy. Shalev has published two collections of literary essays, two collections of biblical studies, and fifteen books for children, including My Father Always Embarrasses Me, A Louse Called Thelma, Vanilla Forehead Strawberry Nose, and The Tractor in The Sandbox. His books have been translated into 26 languages and have won numerous awards, including the Brenner Prize, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature, the Publishers Association’s Gold Prize, the Chiavari and Verona Prizes (Italy), the National Jewish Book Award (USA), and two unusual awards: from the Entomological Society of Israel for the “portrayal of the humble world of insects in the novel The Blue Mountain,” and from the Department of Zoology of Tel Aviv University and the Israel Ornithological Society for the novel A Pigeon and a Boy. Shalev received an honorary doctorate from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and is a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He also received the Pratt Award for the contribution of his writing to environmental protection causes.