Local authors help parents tackle tough conversations

Education

The children's book series includes subjects like racism, depression and creativity

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new book series is hoping to make tough conversations easier for parents to have with their kids.

One of the series’ authors, Emma McIlroy, came to the United States 12 years ago to work for Nike. She eventually quit and founded the retail store, Wildfang.

“Wildfang started because I was frustrated by the lack of choice women had when it came to clothing. It felt like they were being put in a box and told exactly what they would wear,” McIlroy said.

Author and Wildfang founder, Emma McIlroy, Nov. 27, 2019. (KOIN)

She recently wrote “A Kids Book About Feminism” as part of a series that tackles what can be difficult subjects for children.

“There are misconceptions that men can’t be feminists, which is wrong; that women hate men or don’t like men somehow, which is also wrong. So the idea of a kids’ book to reset some of that really early seemed cool,” she said.

McIlroy was approached to write the book by her friend Jelani Memory who started the series with the book “A Kids Book About Racism.”

“I have a blended family: 6 kids — 4 white kids and 2 brown kids — and we talk about race, culture, skin color all the time,” Memory said. “Last summer, I decided to write a book just for them.”

That single book went on to spawn multiple installments tackling a variety of subjects, including depression, creativity and anxiety.

“Our thesis with the books is — kids are ready for adults to be honest with them and so we give them the actual words about a thing,” said Memory. “We try and give kids a lexicon to have a shared language with the grownups in their lives and, ultimately, kids — it’s easy for them, they’re ready for it. It’s the grownups who get uncomfortable with words like ‘racism’ and they don’t know what to say. So our books give a launchpad for grownups to have a language to dive in with kids.”

Author Jelani Memory, Nov. 27, 2019. (KOIN)

There are currently 12 books in the series and Memory hopes to eventually reach 100.

“This generation of millennial parents cares so much about raising thoughtful, empathetic kids and where we step in, we offer conversation starters,” he said.

You can buy books in the series here. “A Kids Book About Feminism” can also be found at Wildfang stores.

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