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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.  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.  You can see more of her art, life and work at .

Alan Venable was raised in Pittsburgh and worked in Africa and other places before settling in San Francisco with his orthographer wife Gail.  Their children, Noe and Morgan, live nearby along with their grandchildren Ember, Peregrine, and Juniper. 

Gail Portnuff Venable grew up in Montreal.  She had been working for 35 years as a speech-language pathologist and Orton-Gillingham-trained reading tutor in San Francisco when she discovered that there was a more profound logic and order in the spelling system than she had realized. From then on, she embraced a new way of working with students: investigating the spelling of words to uncover the principles of English orthography—an approach that brought with it new understanding and joy. 

Gil Venable was raised in Pittsburgh.  He was executive director of the Pittsburgh American Civil Liberties Union for several years before moving to Phoenix where he practiced civil rights, civil liberties, environmental, and other public interest law on behalf of many groups.  Gil and Chris Locke raised their daughters Elizabeth and Jessica in Phoenix where they live today.

Matleena (Lena) Hanninen Venable grew up in Finland, took up art and studied at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. She designed wedding gowns and other clothing in Paris before teaching English in Shanghai.  Right now she engineers software and lives in Pacifica, California, with her husband Morgan and daughter Juniper.