The start of a new school year has us thinking about our own childhoods. Either it was pleasant, embarrassing, or even straight up traumatic, our younger selves are still a part of who we are today. This week we have three writers drawing from their own childhoods, going in three very different directions.


Portland journalist and DJ Emilly Prado organized her memoir, "Funeral for Flaca," like a mixtape with a different song for each essay. 

Portland journalist and DJ Emilly Prado organized her memoir, “Funeral for Flaca,” like a mixtape with a different song for each essay. 

Emilly Prado

Sound and Story with Writer Emilly Prado — 01:32

As a journalist and DJ, Emilly Prado organized her new collection of essays in a way that makes the most of both her words and the music she cares about.

“Funeral for Flaca” isn’t just stories — it’s also a mixtape, delivering beautifully-rendered stories to a soundtrack. The book shares experiences that anyone who’s been a kid could recognize — plus stories that are very specific to Prado’s life as a Latinx teenager in a mostly-white suburb of the Bay Area.

You can purchase a hand-made copy of “Funeral for Flaca,” here. Catch Prado this fall leading a monthly writing workshop for writers of color at Literary Arts through December.


Author and playwright Michelle Ruiz Keil released in June of 2019 her debut YA novel, "All of Us with Wings."

Author and playwright Michelle Ruiz Keil released in June of 2019 her debut YA novel, “All of Us with Wings.”

Courtesy of Soho Press

Michelle Ruiz Keil Harnesses Fantasy to Heal Trauma — 23:09

Author and playwright Michelle Ruiz Keil sees the world through a lens of magical realism, so when she set out to write her debut YA novel, there was no question that fantasy would be involved.

“All of Us with Wings,” finds 17-year-old Xochi running away from her traumatic past in San Francisco. After meeting Pallas, the daughter of two rock stars, Xochi is hired as a governess and whisked into the Victorian mansion Pallas shares with the cast of musicians, costumers, managers and others who make up the household. 

But during a party on the vernal equinox, Xochi and Pallas accidentally summon magical beings that will force Xochi to confront her suppressed history. The novel, meant for readers 16 and up, uses supernatural elements to get to the heart of real world issues like healing from trauma and finding your chosen family.

Keil came by to talk to us about the novel and the playlist running through her head as she wrote it. To hear more from Keil, she has curated a magical reading at the Creeping Museum Artist Market and Fairytale Salon in Portland, Saturday August 24th at 7pm.


Tehlor Kay Meija had a hard time finding Latinx and queer books growing up, so she decided to write her own with "We Set the Dark on Fire." 

Tehlor Kay Meija had a hard time finding Latinx and queer books growing up, so she decided to write her own with “We Set the Dark on Fire.” 

Courtesy of Tehlor Kay Meija

Tehlor Kay Mejia Sets the Dark on Fire — 37:06

Tehlor Kay Mejia had quite the time finding books that reflected her experiences. So she wrote her own in the form of a gripping YA thriller, “We Set the Dark on Fire.” 

Mejia’s debut novel takes place on the imaginary island nation of Medio, with an identifiably Latinx culture.  Daniela Vargas is about to graduate from Medio’s top finishing school, built to teach girls to be wives.

At the top of her class, she’s chosen to marry a politician’s son, who is next in line for the presidency. But the secrets she’s keeping start to fracture her carefully-built persona, just as the country’s political secrets spill into the streets.

Did we mention Daniela’s budding romantic relationship arises with the person she’d least expect? Meija talked to us about the book. She’s already working on a sequel — which is great because this book ends on a serious cliffhanger. 

Music Heard On 'State Of Wonder'

A Spotify playlist to share all the music we feature on our show and anything else that inspires us while we’re making it.