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Mingma, our visionary founder, was born to a humble family outside the village of Melemchi, in the Helambu Valley, Nepal. In 1971 Mingma met anthropologist Naomi Bishop and her filmmaker husband John Bishop, and began to study the lives of humans. (Photo by John Bishop)

Byron Barton has created many picture books for young children, including My Car, Building a House, Machines at Work, and Little Red Hen.

The late historian John M. Brewer was born and lived in Pittsburgh where he was Special Consultant to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art and archivist of the extensive Pittsburgh Courier photographic collection. He was married to quilt and textile artist Christine Williams Brewer. His other books include Pittsburgh Jazz, African Americans in Pittsburgh, and Kingpins of Pittsburgh.

Natalie Vance Lewellyn was born in California.  After growing up in Baton Rouge, LA, she studied French, psychology and art at Carleton College, then trained as a social worker and counselor. She currently lives and works in Appleton, WI, with her scientist husband Eric and their son and daughter, Misha and Annika.

Laurie Marshall was raised in Pittsburgh where she met Alan (below) through an American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) youth program.  The Quaker values of her childhood have informed her life and relationships. She and her husband Tom West were last seen on their way to Texas to be nearer her two grown sons.   She paints, writes, and educates.  In 2007, her 3rd grade class at Novato (California) Charter School staged the first dramatic production of Take Me With You When You Go.   She is proud to have also  illustrated “The Flood of Kindness – Inspired by Hurricane Katrina,” written by 8 year old De’Ante Webster, which is also being turned into a play.   Laurie met De’Ante’s grandmother at an AFSC work camp in Richmond, Indiana in 1963. You can see more of her art, life and work at or find out about her ongoing Singing Tree Collaborative Mural Project

Alan Venable was born in Pittsburgh and sojourned other remarkable places before re-rooting in San Francisco.  He lives with his orthographer wife Gail and is forever learning the accordion. Their daughter Noe writes music, sings and teaches.  Their son Morgan helps Google invent stuff.