In Robin Yang’s world, a mixed-breed puppy named Eli goes on journeys where both magic and danger happens.
Eli isn’t just any canine. He is the son of a deceased wolf king and is saddled with the task of restoring order in his father’s kingdom after a coyote poisoned the water, causing citizens to go mad. To do this, Eli must find the missing jewels from an enchanted collar.
Along the way, he hooks up with a pig named Earl before they’re joined by Skipper, a squirrel. In their travels, the three learn valuable lessons.
Children can learn those lessons as well.
The characters are part of Yang’s Enchanted Collar storybook adventure series that aim to inspire children ages 7 and older to learn math, finance, reading and writing while getting lessons on values such as honesty and dependability.
Yang’s own personal journey from financial analyst to children’s author and educator is almost as involved as the adventures of her storybook characters.
A graduate of the Sam M. Walton College of Business master’s program, Yang says she experienced two major financial crises when she worked in the business world. She says she learned minor crises happen about every five years while major ones about every 30.
“People never seem to learn from these lessons,” she says. “If you want to prevent a future crisis, you must teach everyone about finance.”
She says her first attempt was through rewriting fairytales with a financial spin aimed at grownups. But she found the stories didn’t resonate well. She realized that the best way to teach good money habits was to start with young children. Yet, most books written for children were nonfiction and not very engaging, Yang says.
“It’s a lot more fun to look at the world through children’s eyes, so I started writing children’s books,” she says.
The Enchanted Collar series was born and continues to evolve. It is also a role-playing game where children participate in real world scenarios, like pretending to interview for a job.