Rodney Barker was born on February 9, 1946 in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, United States. He is a son of Thomas and Jean Barker (present surname – Dawson).
Barker grew up in Darien, Connecticut, United States. His family was from the Quakers, and often welcomed in its home less fortunate people such as Fresh Air Fund kids, exchange students from Brazil, two young women disfigured in the atomic bombing of Japan, two women subjected to senseless medical experiments by Nazi doctors. The dramatic, human stories of these people inspired Rodney Barkers' future books.