An Imperfect Ally

Anatomical heart illustration

I am not qualified to run my company. My vision for Popinjay Press is to offer the most diverse, inclusive books available — books that can be customized to represent families of all sizes, shapes and colors. But I don’t have the life experience to speak to all those variables.

True, my family is nontraditional: I’ve experienced divorce, single-parenthood, the blending of families, the death of a sister. I know how important it is to have books featuring single moms, stepdads, grandparents and aunts as caretakers, because that’s been my life experience.

I don’t know what it’s like to be Black, gay or disabled, much less Black, gay and disabled. Who am I to try to represent these intersectional groups with vastly different identities? The answer is: I’m an imperfect ally.

I know I have work to do — that I will always have work to do when it comes to confronting my biases and correcting my behaviors. I know that my lack of awareness can be damaging, even if done with the best intentions. I know that I will make mistakes and inadvertently hurt people, which breaks my heart and almost makes me want to scrap the whole thing. Almost. Because even though I know putting myself out there opens me up to criticism, I also know that the onus is on me to at least try to use my privilege for good. 

I have so many ideas and plans for Popinjay — expanding our collection of books, increasing the number of choices in each one, partnering with authors and illustrators of various backgrounds, incorporating mental health into our stories, and more. The potential is exponential! As with all things worth doing, these things are worth doing right, and they will take time. 

Until then, just know that this imperfect ally is doing everything within her power to learn and grow. Please drop me a line at with any thoughts, comments, questions or suggestions. I’m listening. 

April Pearson-Decklever