Welcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s writers! Today’s guest: Medea Kalantar. Take it away, Medea!
I was born in Georgia, USSR and immigrated to Canada when I was four years old. I lived in Toronto, Ontario for the most part of my life. I’ve been married to my husband Esfandiar for over 28 years and we have two grown children, Shanaz and Jean-Diar who are both married now.
Aside from being a children’s book author, I’m also a Reiki Master/Practitioner.
In the summer of 2018 my daughter Shanaz told me she was pregnant. When I found out I was going to become a Grandma it was a full circle moment for me, so I started to bake a honey cake in honour of my Grandmother. My Bebi taught me how to bake a honey cake when I was a little girl. As I was making the cake, I realized all the different spices the cake had, like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, coffee, brown sugar, and honey. It made me think of all the different ethnic mixes my new grand-baby would have and how they would be just like this honey cake I was baking. The words and stories started to pour out of me. The fact that I have no formal training as a writer didn’t stop me from trying. I always wanted to write my biography someday, later down the road, because I’ve had so many hardships in my life that I had to overcome. But I never had any intention of writing— especially not a children’s book series. But the universe sent me a sign, and the messages were in me to share, and they simply had to come out. I wrote five books in four days, I couldn’t stop. Clearly the universe had something planned.
Like I’ve previously stated, I never set out to become a writer, so I had no clue what to do with the stories I’ve written and how I was going to get them published.
The biggest challenge I had to face was, fear: Fear of failure, and fear of the financial impact on my family since I was independently publishing my own books. As I was facing my fears I remembered a quote by the late and great Maya Angelou:
Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.
So, I released my fears and chose hope. I’m so glad I did because my books have been welcomed with open arms and I’ve received such positive feedback from so many people. The most rewarding experience has been the outpouring of messages I’ve been receiving from people around the world. I’m beyond grateful and so happy to see that my books are making a positive impact.
All the characters and illustrations in all my books are a cartoon version of my actual family. Nala is the only fictional character, and she is based on my grandson Lukenzo. My daughter Shanaz and son-in law Brandon welcomed our first grandchild, on March 2, 2019. Our beautiful little Luka has a mix of Georgian, Persian, (Shanaz) Jamaican, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian and Guyanese (Brandon). This unique mix is a perfect recipe, and it’s the reason why I call my grandchildren my little Honeycakes.
There so many children in the world now that have diverse multicultural families like mine, and there still aren’t many books that represent them. At the end of the day we are all Honeycakes, we all have a little bit of spice in us. With all the negativity around diversity in this day and age, I feel it’s very important to create books with a more positive message to help caregivers teach children to accept others, help children to become more balanced, kind, grateful and honest. Books to help children manage their emotions when things don’t go the way they hoped. I always say there is no such thing as winning or losing, there is only winning. You win when you reach the goal you wanted to achieve or you win by learning a very valuable lesson. It’s all about perspective and how you look at things. Giving children these tools at an early age will help them grow into happy and fulfilled adults that aren’t stressed out, but live in harmony with a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Visit Medea’s website for more information on her inspiration and her books. You can purchase each book in the series here:
Honeycake: “Help, I Swallowed a Butterfly”
Honeycake: Special Magical Powers