Chakraji and Calm Callum – An interview with Hansa Pankhania
Hansa Pankhania’s first ever children’s book has just been released. In this blog, she answers some questions about the book and her inspiration for writing children’s literature.
Q-Hansa, this is your first children’s books after many adult ones on the topic of wellbeing and resilience. How did the first seeds or ideas emerge?
I have 30 years expertise in helping adults overcome stressful situations and enable them to live a happy healthy life. I have written 7 books in on this topic, so it’s something I am very passionate about.
For a few years, I have been concerned about the rising levels of stress and anxiety in children and young people. Just like all life skills, it is imperative for children to have the skills to overcome stress, otherwise it builds up and causes mental health issues in later life.
My forte is to pass on simple natural techniques that do not cost anything and are easy to integrate into everyday life. I have made a commitment to share these with children and as a writer, the best way for me would be through books.
Q- I read the book and was fascinated by Chakraji – how did the concept of this magical character come about?
Well, one of the characters would be a child who is stressed. I needed to come up with a magical character that can be the child’s best friend and help the child to banish the stress.
I wrote the series on a writing retreat on a narrow boat with my colleagues from a Solihull writer’s group, who helped me to develop the character of Chakraji.
One morning we were sitting on the deck in our dressing gowns, sipping cups of tea. A beautiful rainbow appeared. I started to talk about how the universal energy of the rainbow is depicted in all its colours. These colours are the same as the chakra point energies in our body as humans, and how we are all connected with the universe in this way. This is how the name CHAKRA came up. The suffix JI, is attached to a name when you have respect and revere for that person and that’s how the name CHAKRAJI came about.
Then we discussed what gender CHAKRAJI would be. In most spiritual traditions the divine is depicted as a male such as Jesus, Allah, Budhha. In my eastern tradition, there is a strong presence of feminine spiritual depictions of the divine. I chose CHAKRAJI as female to offset this balance.
Q- That is fascinating. So, why this particular image of Chakraji? How did that come about?
I sent off for samples from a few illustrators, to get their perception of Chakraji after reading the story. Anne Marie Sonneveld’s CHAKRAJI was amazing. There was an instant connection with her image. I felt that was the one that would reach out to the hearts of the children as well as the adults who would be reading to the children.
Q- So are you saying this book is for children, but will appeal to adults as well?
Absolutely – it can be read to, read with and read on your own? So far the feedback has been that the adults reading the story to the child also feel calm and relaxed as well, so it is for everyone to benefit from.
Q– You said this book is the first in the series of six. What are the next ones and when can we expect to buy these.
The next ones are CHAKRAJI AND RELAXED RAVINA and CHAKRAJI AND PEACEFUL PETER. Anne Marie Sonneveld has almost finished the illustrations for RAVINA and will start on PETER soon. The trilogy will be available in the spring of 2021.
Q- Where can we buy CHAKRAJI AND CALM CALLUM?
The best outlet is our website www.aumconsultancy.co.uk/shop. It is also available from Amazon and all the usual outlets.
There is a special discounted rate for bulk purchases by primary schools and children’s charities. Please contact us via our website www.aumconsultancy.cu.uk/contact for this.
Or text us on +44(0)7888747438 to discuss your requirements.