Eleanor H. Ayer is an American novelist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her book Parallel Journeys. She was born and raised in Vermont, and was inspired to write at an early age by her mother's career as a teacher. After graduating from high school, Ayer attended Syracuse University where she received degrees in Journalism and Childhood Education. She later moved to Wyoming before settling in Colorado with her husband, where she began publishing her work.
Ayer's literary output has been varied and diverse. She has published biographies of Charles Dickens, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Margaret Bourke-White among others. She has also written geographical works about various countries and states, including Germany, Poland, and her home state of Colorado. As well, Ayer has published self-help and instructional guides geared towards teens, discussing issues such as depression, stress, and the dangers of smoking.
A central topic in Ayer's work has been World War II and the Holocaust. She has published works about Adolf Hitler, Berlin during the War, and Holocaust memorials, among many others. Ayer dealt with this topic in Parallel Journeys. As the title indicates, the novel tells the stories of two children in Germany during Second World War. Helen is a young German girl persecuted by Hitler's policy, and Alfons is a powerful member of the Hitler Youth. The contrasting events of their lives demonstrates just how horrific and inhumane the Holocaust was. The book was well-received and went on to win the ALA Best Book for Young Adults and the Christopher Award in 1995. Ayer continues to live and work in Colorado.