Muriel L. Feelings was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 31, 1938. She received a bachelor's degree in art with minors in Spanish and education from California State University at Los Angeles. She worked as a teacher in Philadelphia, New York City, and Kampala, Uganda. She wrote several children's books including Zamani Goes to Market, Moja Means One: A Swahili Counting Book, which won the Randolph Caldecott Medal, and Jambo Means Hello: A Swahili Alphabet Book, which also won the Randolph Caldecott Medal. She died on September 29, 2011 at the age of 73.