Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio. Drawing on her Palestinian-American heritage, the cultural diversity of her home in Texas, and her experiences traveling in Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America and the Middle East, Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.
She is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), A Maze Me: Poems for Girls (2005), Red Suitcase (1994), Words Under the Words (1994), Fuel (1998), and You & Yours (2005) (a best-selling poetry book of 2006). She is also the author of Mint Snowball (2001), Never in a Hurry (1996), Ill Ask You Three Times, Are You Okay? Tales of Driving and Being Driven (2007) (essays); Habibi (1997) and Going Going (2005) (novels for young readers); and Baby Radar (2003) and Sittis Secrets (1997) (picture books).
She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, and numerous honors for her childrens literature, including two Jane Addams Childrens Book Awards. In 2011 Nye won the Golden Rose Award given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry reading series in the country. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writers Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials and appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. In January 2010 Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. In October 2012 she was named laureate of the 2013 NSK Prize for Childrens Literature.