I’m honored to bring you such a powerful and important conversation on the podcast today with a woman who has already impacted my life and my children’s life, Ashia Ray of Raising Luminaries and Books for Littles. 

Ashia is a multiracial (Chinese/Irish) autistic neurodiversity rights advocate and the mother of two kyriarchy-smashing young children! As the founder of Raising Luminaries, she helps parents and educators ignite the next generation of kind and brilliant leaders.

Thousands of parents like me, on a quest to tackle hard topics with our children, turn to Ashia, who through her thoughtfully researched and child-tested book lists, at BooksForLittles.com and in her private group, helps us find the best books to foster age-appropriate conversations with our kids about white supremacy, cissexism, ableism and more.

By using picture books to make hard conversations easier, and to introduce complex topics simply, Books for Littles also educates grownups like me, who then go on to have ongoing discussions with our littles and our extended community. 

I loved the opportunity to delve deeply into how Ashia experiences the world as an autistic adult and mother, how we can deepen our own awareness, understanding and advocacy for neurodiversity, and how we can fight all the isms, smashing the kyriarchy (the intersection of them all) through the power of books.  

This idea that we don’t have to be the same to want the best for each other connects to everything that Ashia embodies. And just as my last episode with Pamela Slim and Desiree Adaway made me feel like I wanted to be a better friend, this conversation, and the micro-challenge that Ashia gave us, made me want to be a kinder more inclusive human being. 

In addition to saying yes to providing captions to photos in anything I post, I also committed to providing a transcript for this episode. I hope you will not only listen, but also read through the transcript, as this conversation is so full of insights that I found myself needing to go back over again and again. I hope what Ashia shares will help you, as it did me, to see things from a new perspective and feel inspired to smash the kyriarchy in your own ways in your epic life.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Click forward now to pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

This  Episode is Dedicated by:
Kate Amoo-Gottfried

This episode is dedicated by Kate Amoo-Gottfried to her two sons, Marlowe and Miles, as well as to the group of women in her life teaching her what it means and how to be an activist: Ebele Okobi, Dr. Khadijah Costley White, Regina Islas, Ginny Kraus, and Dania Rajendra.

Kate is a recovering business consultant and a life-long learner of how to make change happen and also a full-time mom of two active boys named Marlowe and Miles. She is passionate about children, mothering, education, and the plight of second-class citizens around the globe. The daughter of bleeding-heart liberals, she has spent a life-time reconciling being both “Minnesota Nice” and a revolutionary at heart. 

Kate is an enthusiastic social justice warrior working to bring civilian oversight and reform to San Mateo County and across California as an organizer with Justice for Chinedu.

You can read some of her writing here: Bigger and Bigger and Always Black

Read Dania Rajendra’s piece she co-authored in Newsweek with the definition of solidarity that Kate quotes from in the dedication here https://www.newsweek.com/white-christian-nationalism-most-dangerous-weapon-america-opinion-1197073

Get involved in Kate’s civilian oversight and reform organizing here:Justice for Chinedu

In This Episode We Talk About:

  • The definition of “allistic” and how Ashia’s allistic husband helped her translate the Mother’s Quest Podcast questions into more pragmatic language

  • Unraveling stigmas about autism and exploring how autism can be a powerful and positive part of someone’s identity 

  • How to think about the spectrum as not linear but muti-dimensional on five different points

  • Identifying the ‘ism’s’ and the intersections of them all known as kyriarchy 

  • Ashia’s thoughtful explanation about how classifying autistic people as “high functioning” and “low functioning” is harmful and perpetuates supremacy. 

  • Her journey to creating Books for Littles and Raising Luminaries and some of the favorite books on her bookshelf (listen to the bonus audio for more on this!)

  • How Ashia is exploring the meaning of “transformative justice” and applying it to situations that come up with her children at home 

  • What is exposure anxiety and learning how to ask for and receive help

  • The power of micro-challenges to start to shift our own sense of self as someone who cares about inclusivity

  • The importance of centering people with differences and providing a space for those whose stories are not traditionally seen or understood

Resources Connected to this Episode:

Additional nuggets from today’s episode:

Resources mentioned in the “bonus” content:

This Week’s Challenge:

For this week’s challenge, Ashia challenges us to write descriptions or captions whenever we post pictures on social media. This helps people of low vision, or who can’t afford high speed internet connections, to understand what the image is trying to portray. Starting with small micro-challenges like this one helps us to shift our own perception of our identity as someone who cares about people who are different than us who have different needs.

Learn More About Ashia:

Ashia Ray is a multiracial (Chinese/Irish) autistic neurodiversity rights advocate and the mother of two kyriarchy-smashing young children! As the founder of Raising Luminaries, she helps parents and educators ignite the next generation of kind and brilliant leaders

If you’re nervous about tackling hard topics with young kids, Ashia helps you find the best children’s books to foster age-appropriate conversations with your kids about white supremacy, cissexism, ableism, and more on her website at BooksForLittles.com.

By using picture books to make hard conversations easier, and to introduce complex topics simply, Books for Littles educates grownups, who then go on to have ongoing discussions with their littles and wider community.  

Connect with Ashia:

Immigrant Solidarity Family Action Toolkit

Join Aisha’s Raising Luminaries – Student Ignition Society group on Facebook here.

If you want to know more about Ashia’s work, experiences and the current project she is working on, click here!

Read the Podcast Transcript


Watch out for a Bonus Episode!

If you want to know what is on Ashia Ray’s bookshelf, join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group and will be releasing the episode to the group next week!

Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia Ray

My incredible guest, Ashia Ray, and I have set aside October 3rd from noon to 1 pm for a Mother’s Quest Q & A with Ashia. To register to join us, follow the link here or join us in the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group to find announcements. Click mothersquest.com/comunity to join.

Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative

Recently, we marked the two year anniversary of the Charlottesville Rally. I remember waking to the news the next day and deciding I had a responsibility to use my voice and the platform I’m building with the Mother’s Quest Podcast to pursue social justice. Many said “yes” alongside me and The Women Podcasters in Solidarity Initiative was born.

First season episodes, with a focus on anti-racism and police brutality, are up at www.womenpodcastersinsolidarity.com, and episodes I recorded for our second season, on the intersectional impact of gun violence, are assembled on the latest Mother’s Quest Blog.

We’ve also begun identifying the topic for our next season’s series. If you’re a women podcaster who wants to join our effort, come on over to the Women Podcasters in Solidarity Facebook Group to help us select our topic.

Want More Reflection in Your Life?
Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from all my conversations, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit mothersquest.as.me/discoverysession to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call

One Minute Mom Manifesto

⚡️Have you been feeling a nudge to say “yes” to create your Mother’s Quest Manifesto? The official challenge and giveaway may be over, but the invitation and content is always there for you to create your #oneminutemommanifesto 

Here are some easy steps you can follow…

👉 Join the Mother’s Quest Facebook Group www.mothersquest.com/community to find the “unit” for the Manifesto Challenge’s reflective prompts and live videos. It’s all waiting for you!

👉 Follow along with the “unit” at your own pace. Share your reflections along the way in the comments. Let us cheer you on!

👉 Give yourself some quiet time to create your own #oneminutemommanifesto in whatever way feels good…writing, art, photos, song. It can be simple and quick. Don’t overthink it. What matters most, as a guiding light, for how you want to live your life at this stage of raising your children?

👉 Share your #oneminutemommanifesto on social media with the hashtag. Tag me if you can to make sure I’ve seen it. Consider nominating a friend who would benefit.

–Join us, share or tag a friend, or comment on how the #oneminutemommanifesto has helped you if you’ve already created yours.–

Would LOVE for more of you to join us in claiming, or reclaiming, HOW you want to live your life ✨🙌


A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Kate Amoo-Gottfried
Nicole Lee
Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Three of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at julie@mothersquest.com

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mothersquest/