Chakraji book launch – An interview with Hansa Pankhania

The following is a transcript of the Q and A session with Hansa Pankhania during the launch of her two children’s books- CHAKRAJI AND RELAXED RAVINA and CHAKRAJI AND PEACEFUL PETER.

Can you give an overview of the stories in your Chakraji series of children’s books?

The books are aimed at primary school children. The story starts with an everyday issue that the child is feeling upset about; parents arguing, a fallout with a friend etc. The child slips into a dream where a miraculous bird takes the child away to meet the magical Chakraji who passes a coping technique to the child which makes the upset disappear. On their journey back, the miraculous bird passes on positive affirmations that help the child even more. The child is encouraged to pass on the magic to the people around him or her and use the tips whenever he or she may feel upset again.

There are quite a few people here today who were not at the first launch for CHAKRAJI AND CALM CALLUM. I am sure they will be interested to hear how the concept of Chakraji came about.

I wrote the Chakraji series of books on a writing retreat on a barge with my colleagues from the Solihull writers’ group who helped me to develop the character of Chakraji. 

One morning we were sitting on the deck, moored on the canal, 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.  I added the suffix ‘ji’, as that depicts respect and reverence for a person in our culture. That’s how the name Chakraji came about.

Anne Marie, our illustrator, brought the character to life through her fantastic drawings.

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It was an amazing experience and that is not the full story. There is a video of the launch of CHAKRAJI AND CALM CALLUM on our website, so people can hear the full story of how CHAKRAJI came about.

I know that your STRESS TO SUCCESS IN 28 DAYS book is ready for publication. What was the reason you decided to publish your children’s books first?

For a few years, I have been concerned about the rising levels of stress and anxiety in children and young people. 

The age at which children are presented with mental health Issues is getting younger and younger. The statistics are shocking.

  • A recent Public Health England (PHE) survey revealed that 38% of children were more worried since the pandemic and 52% of parents said the mental health of their children was their top concern.
  • Findings by Young Minds in January 2021 found that 49% of children felt their school was not focusing on mental health and wellbeing in the wake of the C pandemic.

Taking care of your child’s mental and emotional wellbeing is more important than ever. My vision 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.

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.

Thank you. I can now fully understand why you are so passionate about releasing your children’s books. I can see they are essential at these trying times for children. Just out of curiosity, when is your STRESS TO SUCCESS IN  28 DAYS being published?

In the Autumn, to coincide with our promotion of our free Wellbeing Forum for Managers.

Back to the two books you are launching today. What problems for parents will your books solve?

Anxiety, sleep problems, difficulty in concentrating, anger, worry about everyday things like a bad day at school, falling out with a friend, loss of a loved one etc.

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Some children may not know how to express these feelings. By learning these skills at an early age, it may prevent the development of mental health issues in later life, as well as build emotional resilience.

Why should children be encouraged to practice mindfulness, positive thinking and the related techniques you are sharing with the children in your books?

These tools can help your children to: 

  • Stay calm, grounded and focused on their education.
  • Build compassion and unconditional love.
  • Reduce stress, anxiety, reactivity and bad behaviour. 
  • Improve sleep, resilience and wellbeing.
  • Increase self-esteem and confidence.
  • increase imagination and problem-solving skills.
  • Heighten awareness of physical body, thoughts and emotions at an early stage so they can look after their own mental health for the duration of their lives.

That is fantastic. I am sure many parents are asking themselves ‘how do I begin to teach my child some of the tools you are passing on in your children’s books?’

Firstly, parents, teachers and carers are encouraged to practice these techniques themselves, to be a positive role model. Remember, children copy our behaviour so we have to model this first. The techniques are equally helpful for adults, so you will benefit enormously yourself.

Then with your child, start each day with 1-2 minutes and build it up from there. 

I love the themes and backdrop of the 3 books so far. What are the next 3 books in this series about? What issues are you introducing? Where is the magical journey you are taking the children to? 

The next 3 books will address the issues of bullying, body image and intimidation by an adult.

Also, each child featured in my books comes from a diverse background, black, white, Asian, Chinese etc

There are also different backdrops for the magical journey and the bird that takes the child to Chakraji. In our next books, we will take the child across a desert on a hawk where their troubles are blown away in the sand, to a journey on a penguin through snow, where their upset melts away in the snow etc. 

I want to add that, in most children’s books the main character comes from a white background. I am trying to redress this balance by introducing the main character from another culture, Chakraji, who comes from eastern Asian culture. 

I am really enjoying working on these books. We have had astounding feedback so far. Children and schools are loving our books so we will carry on with more.

So, to summarise the Chakraji series of books. The books are aimed at primary school age children. The story starts with an everyday issue that the child is feeling upset about, parents arguing, a fallout with a friend etc. The child slips into a dream where a miraculous bird takes the child away to meet the magical Chakraji who passes a coping technique to the child which makes the upset disappear. On their journey back, the miraculous bird passes on positive affirmations that help the child even more. The child is encouraged to pass on the magic to the people around him or her and use the tips whenever he or she may feel upset again.

Have I got it all right?

Yes, spot on.

You can buy my latest Chakraji books, as well as the rest of my collection at www.aumconsultancy.co.uk/books or on my Amazon page.

There is a special discounted rate for bulk purchases by primary schools and children’s charities. Please contact us via our website www.aumconsultancy.co.uk/contact for this.

Or text us on +44(0)7888747438 to discuss your requirements.

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