It Started With A Red T-Shirt

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We get asked this a lot: “You called your publishing company what? Why?”

Well, it’s a good story, and believe it or not, there’s no better time to tell it than around International Women’s Day. There are two reasons for our name, and both of them have to do with making sure both little girl and little boy thinkers find space in conversations about big questions.

Reason #1: You may have noticed, but one of our feature characters (our first one, actually), Sophia the Wise, wears a funky red t-shirt. Even in children’s illustrations, wardrobe choice matters. We wanted Sophia to wear something gender-neutral, a staple that any little thinker, male of female, could sport comfortably. A simple red t-shirt seemed to fit the bill. Since her original design, Sophia has donned costumes, uniforms, sporting equipment and more, but her signature shirt speaks the loudest about her passion for knowledge, her enthusiasm, and her energy.


Reason #2: We were inspired by Canadian poet Margaret Atwood’s work “A Red Shirt“. This poem is about a couple of women sewing something new for a little girl, and it challenges all kinds of myths about being female. It ponders how we can open doors for the next generation, and help ensure that they face fewer limitations.

In philosophy, as in many fields, women are often underrepresented. When we set out to build a company that focused on thinking skills, we wanted to make sure everyone felt welcome in our narratives. In addition to our company name and our first intrepid female narrator, we made sure to feature famous women thinkers, to pose big questions and create lesson plans that didn’t hinge on gender. We really wanted little girls to be able to open one of our books or play with one of our apps, and think “Yup, there I am!”

If you haven’t already, check out our featured free lesson plan, which explores famous women in history. Then check out our Famous Brain of the Week, who is also a wonderful woman in philosophy. Then get to know six amazing women in our “I Was Wondering” YouTube series!

This week, and every week, we celebrate female thinkers, big and little. May we be them, raise them, and teach them!