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Leslie V. Ryan, born in Japan and raised in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, moved to the United States in 1987. She received her bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and Japanese language from the University of California at Berkeley. Her book, I am Flippish!, is inspired by her real-life experience of someone telling her son that he couldn’t possibly be Irish because of the way he looked. In response to this hurtful and confusing incident, Flippish! was born. Ryan’s hope is that more children from multicultural families will be empowered by discovering who they are and be able to take pride in and celebrate their ancestry.
Story Behind "I am Flippish!"
Leslie Ryan is Filipino-American and her husband is Irish-American. They have 2 children, Sean (10) and Linley (7). Ever since their children were born, people said they looked more Asian than Irish. They thought it was pretty funny at first. But in 2007, when Sean was in Kindergarten, a mom in his class told her son that he didn’t look Irish and he couldn’t be Irish. Even though it was meant as a joke, it was a little hurtful and no longer funny. Leslie’s son then asked her if he really is Irish. She said yes, half Filipino and half Irish, or Flippish for short. After this incident, Leslie started looking for children’s picture books about multi-cultural families. To her disappointment and frustration that there were no books explaining to kids about where their ancestors came from, she decided to write a story herself.