Sharon K. Yntema was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up on St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands where her mother first introduced her to a vegetarian diet. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Earlham College and an M.A. in early Childhood Special Eduction from George Washington University. Before her son was born, she worked as a child development specialist at the Day Care and Child Development Council in Ithaca, New York. More recently, she has worked as a buyer and bookkeeper for a large independent bookstore.