Published on January 9th, 2018 | by Meg Lemke0
LEAGUE OF VALOR: Feminism is in the Cards—Talking to Leah Vincent on Her (Kids!) Game
From The Little Book of Little Activists and Rad American Women (and many more) to the NASA Women Scientists lego set (so good, but also read this), there’s plenty to entertain the youngest feminists of all genders. With this breadth of progressive playthings, no reason your child should not have Sojourner Truth and RBG rolling off their tongue.
My new favorite, though, is just as interactive and trend-aware, if you’ve been in an elementary school teacher’s desk drawer lately and viewed what they’ve sequestered from back pockets. The currently crowd-funding card game, League of Valor, boasts 40 playing cards celebrating 40 phenomenal women, in a nifty style for trading and “debating” (aka Pokémon style battles).
I admit bias, as my daughter, Lola, was a beta-tester for these collectible/inspirational/playable decks. Leah Vincent, their creator, is the mother of one of her most-beloved classmates, a firecracker of a kid named North. (The other first-grade class has both a Wolf and a Lionel, so I keep whispering to them that if a Dragon shows up in the pre-k, they should keep an eye on her sparkly rocks…). Leah is also the author of two memoirs, Cut Me Loose: Sin and Salvation After My Ultra-Orthodox Girlhood and the co-author of Legends of the Talmud, a collection of illustrated children’s stories. This project is funding fast, and could use all your MUTHA support. Here’s a convo with Leah about her inspirations and feminist family game nights. – Meg Lemke
MUTHA: What was your inspiration for this project?
LEAH VINCENT: My six-year-old daughter, North, recently got into Pokémon and started learning the names of dozens of characters. I’m always thinking about how underrepresented women are in the stories we tell about the world, so I thought—why not introduce her to those names, in a fun game. I mocked up a bunch of cards featuring phenomenal women and she took to it right away.
MUTHA: How do the kids “play” with the cards? I asked you about changing the “War” game to “Debate,” partly as a joke but actually to ask—how do we foster competition in a healthy way and not think about pitting figures against each other with the Pokeman model?
LEAH VINCENT: You can play “War” with the cards, but you can also play Go Fish and matching games. This Kickstarter is just a first stage—if there’s enough interest, I plan to expand the game to allow for even more types of cooperative play. Of course, you can also simply collect the cards and tell the stories of the women featured. We have a family tradition to do a light-hearted “tarot” reading every New Year’s eve. This year we used the League of Valor cards and talked about the qualities of the different women that we wanted to bring into our lives.
MUTHA: Has North played with other friends yet, what kind of conversations are you seeing?
LEAH VINCENT: We’ve played with a few people and the best part about the conversations is that they’re just normal kid talk! “I’ve got Helen Keller!” “Do you have Ruth Bader Ginsburg?” Kids learn easily through play and it’s exciting to hear this crew of women naturally become a part of a child’s world.
MUTHA: What will you do with the funding?
LEAH VINCENT: The funding covers the costs of printing and shipping the cards with a symbolic pittance for the hours of drawing, research, and production. Making a small batch of anything is expensive 🙂
MUTHA: Tell us about the artist…
LEAH VINCENT: I’m the artist! Many years ago I worked in graphic design, but nowadays I channel my love of art into small passion projects when I have the time.
MUTHA: Wow. So what else are you working on—other than cool card games for kiddos?
LEAH VINCENT: I’m writing my third book. It’s a memoir the explores healing from trauma within a romantic relationship, post-secular spirituality, and my relationship to gender.
To go deeper, read this excellent conversation in The Forward. And check out the project / show your support / get your own deck…