Author and Illustrator Bios
Co-author Patricia Branigan
Patricia Branigan Walker graduated with an art degree from CMU. She combined art and writing when she was featured during the 2016 Grand Rapids Art Prize Competition. Her installation highlighted the words of her children’s book, A Weed Grew In Our Garden, a picture book about waiting for and searching for beauty that is all around us. The story was brought to life by ten 3ft x 3ft shadow boxes. That’s over thirty feet of art!
Later in life, she dreamed of helping children as they faced the juvenile justice system and went back to school where she obtained a criminal justice degree and studied psychology. Patricia earned her addiction studies certificate. In her day job, she helps people who struggle with addiction. Through her job, she was drawn to a local Buddhist recovery program. She has combined her education in psychology, her mindfulness Buddhist practice, and her passion for writing children’s books.
As Patricia encouraged her three amazing children to follow their dreams, she became relentless in following her dreams of being a writer. She has the added bonus of working with her best friend who doesn’t seem to mind her calling every day to share the excitement of their current project.
co-author Beth Buttery
Beth Buttery was born in Kalamazoo Michigan in the ’70s. Beth considers her family to be most important to her and has spent several decades raising her four children.
When her youngest daughter, Lainey, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes Beth learned to think like a pancreas.
Beth’s earliest memories of books were when her mom read Charlotte’s Web to her every night before bed. She never thought she would be an author, but she understood the power books held and loved getting lost in their pages. She feels privileged to have been able to join forces with her best friend and author, Patricia, to write their first children’s chapter book, Mixing Up Magic: Paris Adventure. The experience of seeing her ideas come to life on the pages of a book has been powerful. Beth desires to give hope to her daughter and to other families who receive the news of a type 1 diagnosis.
When Beth has a free moment she likes to bake a batch of her famous chocolate chip cookies and watch her favorite sitcoms with her incredibly soft bunny, Bunjamin Button.
illustrator Stephanie murray
Stephanie Villarreal Murray is an artist and art teacher in West Michigan. She started drawing at a very young age when she fell in love with animated movies. She fulfilled her dream of going to art school when she attended Kendall College of Art and Design for her Bachelor’s in Visual Arts Education. Stephanie then went on to take classes in comics and graphic novels at California College of the Arts.
When she is not teaching children art or illustrating Patty and Beth’s books, she is studying to be an animator - another lifelong dream! Her work has been featured in Tales from La Vida: A Latinx Comic Anthology, Chubby Witches Vol. 1, and on infographics for A Pleasant Dog.
Stephanie’s work is inspired by her love of cartoons and dogs, her journey with mental health and overall wellness, and the events of her everyday life with her most favorite person - her husband Kevin.