I had the opportunity to chat with debut author Medea Kalantar about her brand new book Honeycake: A Family of Spices. This picture book is a delightful family read full of heart. This book is just the first in a planned series of sweet reads.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Firstly, I would like to say thank you for featuring me on The Nerdy Girl Express. I’m so honoured and grateful to be given this platform to discuss the importance and the valuable lessons my books will give families around the world. My stories are all based on my own family, whose members come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. I was born in Georgia U.S.S.R and came to Canada when I was four years old and my husband Esfandiar was born in Iran and immigrated to Canada in 1987. Our children Shanaz and Jean-Diar both have partners that have diverse ethnic backgrounds, Brandon and Reilly. My husband and I are proud grandparents as our daughter Shanaz and future son-in law Brandon welcomed our first grandchild, his name is Lukenzo Kal Correia. Our beautiful little Luka has a mix of Georgian, Persian, Jamaican, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian and Guyanese. This unique mix is a perfect recipe, and it’s the reason why I call my grandchildren my little Honeycakes.
Outside of writing my Honeycake Books, I’m also a Reiki Master and Practitioner with a home-based studio. When I got the calling to change my career path to step out of the corporate world, and to become a certified Reiki Master and Practitioner, I knew that this is what I was put on earth to do. As a Reiki Master, I pledge to honor and embody the Reiki Ideals. Because of my Reiki training I am committed to my personal growth, healing and living my best life and to inspire others to do the same. This is what I teach my clients on a daily basics. So, transitioning into a writer and sharing the same lessons and tools to children was seamless for me.
How would you describe your book, Honeycake: A Family of Spices?
Book 1; Honeycake – A Family of Spices introduces readers to a diverse, multi-cultural family that is full of love. A grandmother explains why she calls her grandchildren “Honeycakes” while she teaches her granddaughter, Nala, how to bake a honey cake. Through imagination, the grandmother details how each delicious ingredient represents a different family member and his or her unique ethnic background.
As the series expands, what are some of your plans for later books?
With more lovely stories to tell, Honeycake will be followed by a series of books. Each one tells valuable life lessons and gives caregivers and children the tools to overcome obstacles in their everyday lives. These books will help caregivers teach their children how to do random acts of kindness, have honest and open communication, and practice gratitude. Children will even discover how to meditate and manage their emotions when things don’t go their way.
Book 2: Honeycake – “Help I Swallowed A Butterfly” * is about how to deal with nerves, anxiety and those pesky butterflies in their tummies through meditation, mindfulness and setting their intention for a positive outcome.
Book 3: Honeycake – Special Magical Powers * is all about compassion and sprinkling a little magic by random acts of kindness wherever we go.
Book 4: Honeycake – A Circle of Trust * is about teaching your kids about honesty and open communication.
Book 5: Honeycake – Counting All my Blessings * is about how to focus on all the wonderful things we do have in our lives and that being grateful can make those icky feelings of jealousy from the “Green Eyed Monster” go away.
What led you to create Honeycake?
When I found out I was going to be 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, brown sugar and honey. It made me think of all the different ethnic mixes my new grandbaby would have and how they would be just like this honey cake I was baking. That’s where the title of the series came from and the idea for the first book that would introduce the readers to our entire family. Hence, Honeycake: A Family of Spices. The words and stories started to pour out of me. I wrote five books in four days.
Were there any books or writers that inspired you?
I never expected to write a book or a children’s book series for that matter. I have no formal training in writing. So, there weren’t any books or writers that inspired me to write these stories.
What do you hope the overarching message of your work will be?
With all the negativity around diversity in this day and age, I feel it’s very important to create books with positive messages that showcase a diverse multicultural loving family. The idea of a common human bond through the blending of culture and national origins is beautifully represented as mixtures of exotic spices in a manner that children can easily understand. Just like the ingredients in the honey cake we can teach our children about diversity and acceptance because even though we look different and come from different places, we are all part of one race…THE HUMAN RACE. In this beautiful world we live in, WE ARE ALL ONE. My hope is that if we instill these valuable lessons to our youth at an early age, we can shift the universe into a positive direction.
Who is the target audience for Honeycake?
Honeycake will be understood by all ages and truly is a refreshing approach to human life with its joy, blessing and special qualities. While Honeycake has been written as a children’s book series, it has a charm which will delight people of all ages. I feel these books will be enjoyed by parents, grandparents, and children alike and I expect the timeless positive messages in the series to resonate for ages.
I was told that you have a special recipe that you could share with our readers, would you be willing to tell me more about it?
This charming book will delight readers because it also includes a recipe, and step-by-step instructions, on how to bake your own delicious batch of honey cake with your Honeycakes! I strongly believe that cooking with your children is a great bonding experience which provides practical and essential skills such as reading, following directions and measuring. Getting involved in cooking also helps children to develop fine motor skills, eye hand coordination, and even early concepts of math and science. This is more than just a recipe to share with families, there are ingredients here for life!
Where can our readers find Honeycake: A Family of Spices?