Born Lillian Aberman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1925, the youngest of three siblings, she attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, studied dance for ten years and danced with the Martha Graham troupe, taught Modern Dance and danced professionally in the 1950s. She was married to writer Russell Hoban for thirty years, from 1945 to 1975. She learned to draw still life and began to write her own stories only after having four children of her own. She based her tales on their experiences.
Her "I-Can-Read" books about Arthur the chimpanzee and his little sister Violet, and the series Frances the Badger written by Russell (some illustrated by Garth Williams, most by Lillian), continue to be extremely popular among children as time goes by, widely considered to be classics. Charlie the Tramp, about a wayward young beaver and his family, is out of print.
Hoban illustrated the Riverside Kids series including Russell Rides Again, Elisa In The Middle, Superduper Teddy, and Busybody Nora. The last Riverside Kids book she illustrated is Ever-Clever Elisa.
Lillian Hoban died at Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan in 1998 (aged 73) from undisclosed causes. She was survived by her four children and extended family.
- New York times, Aug. 2, 1998: obituaries. Cited by Library of Congress Authorities. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
- Lillian Hoban at publisher HarperCollins
- IMDb filmography for Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)
- Lillian Hoban at Library of Congress Authorities — with catalog records