Brian Backus helps kids be kings or queens of their own destinies 

The founder and CEO of Kidlandia started the San Francisco-based company in 2004. The online company allows children to create personalized maps with their own kingdoms.

Why did you start Kidlandia? I was always obsessed with maps, as there is so much information in one image, and I have been drawing whimsical, playful “Kreechurs” from a young age. I started off with individual commissions, and the results from my first client were profound and unexpected. The idea is that the child is the king or queen of the kingdom in the map, with family members and friends being the other features such as rivers and cities.

Why is it important for kids to have this kind of resource? The map models the child as being grown up and having responsibilities by taking care of their kingdom. They learn about the world in a safe, alternate reality. Every child deserves to have a kingdom of their own in a safe context that allows them to discover the power of their imagination and future. The context of the maps are bigger then the children, but they are relevant and important, so it helps them establish an independent identity. It also creates a connection to the family.

Do you do just maps? There are a range of products, from place mats at $15 to large maps at $150. It is all produced in the U.S.

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Laura Colgan

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