A Las Vegas mother is hoping to help other parents and their kids with the release of her book series that teaches them about the essentials in life.
Late one night in December 2014 when her 3-year-old daughter, Avelle, was only a few months old, Elle Grey thought about what would happen if something were to happen to her and how that would affect her daughter. What lessons and stories would be missed?
"There's too much to teach her," she said. "There's too many things about life, things that are dangerous, things that she has to know, things that will shape her character, things that will completely change her as a human being."
Grey couldn't get back to sleep and decided to write.
"Instead of worrying about how I was going to leave it for her any longer, I just started writing," she said. "The very first thing I really thought about was what are the things that I want to be absolutely sure that if something happens to me tomorrow that she knows."
Grey wrote 16 stories in five nights. She has now written 39 books, which are housed in separate collections.
Originally, Grey meant to keep the stories within her family. But with encouragement from her husband, she decided she needed to share the stories.
"It was like a switch had flipped that if I truly could do for other families what I had envisioned doing for our own through these stories as I wrote them, I couldn't not share them," Grey said.
While the books share lessons such as peer pressure, stealing and kindness, Grey makes them relatable to kids with fun illustrations and rhyming throughout. The books are between 24 and 50 pages each with 10 stories in "The Values Collection," 9 stories in "The Growing Collection," 10 stories in "The Emotions Collection" and 10 stories in "The Protection Collection."
Grey said one of the most important stories is called "Monsters," which helps teach kids about potentially dangerous people but also empowers them to do something about it.
"It was an extremely difficult story to write because how do you tell your child that there are dangerous people in this world," she said.
Grey has personally funded the illustration and publication of the books so far, but for 39 books, the costs add up. Each collection of books costs around $15,000 to publish, with the costs varying on length of the stories.
Grey has launched a Kickstarter campaign that runs through July 24 to fund the publication of the collections.
Before even launching the Kickstarter, Grey reached out to parents on social media where parents give their feedback and even give suggestions for names of characters and illustration designs.
Instagram, in particular, has been a key to spreading awareness about her stories. Grey has gotten even more ideas for stories from the platform.
"Stand Together," which was written about how to talk to kids after the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, was inspired by a mother who wanted a way to talk with her child.
"The fact that people are already reaching out to me and saying help me, I need help, I need to be able to talk to my child about this, I am so deeply honored by that," Grey said. "That's really what the hope of these stories was for was to be able to allow parents to talk to their kids, open a dialogue about such hard things."
The interaction with parents is why Grey decided to do a Kickstarter campaign, rather than go to a publisher.
"I wanted to be able to maintain that ability to have parents and families involved. I want them to be able to tell me what they want, what they need help with," Grey said. "... I want them to be a part of this because they're for them."
Grey doesn't plan on going to a publisher if the Kickstarter campaign is not successful. She will release the books individually, starting with "Words" and others in "The Growing Collection" later this year. While Grey would be disappointed if she doesn't reach her Kickstarter goal of $60,000, she wants the stories to get to families.
Once the books are published, they can be bought individually or as part of the collections. The books will eventually be available on Amazon and Grey's website. There will be discounts for military and their families.