Teri Sloat grew up in Salem, in the Willamette Valley where berry crops are grown. As a child, as soon as school was out for the summer, Sloat went to work in the fields. Her and her friends picked berries from 5am until 4pm. Sloat had planned on teaching art in high school. She met her husband in college and before they began teaching high school, they were given a chance to move to rural Alaska and teach elementary school in a small Yup'ik village at the mouth of the Yukon River. They lived and taught for 12 years on the Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers in Yup'ik villages. Sloat has been publishing books for children since 1989.