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  • Cameron M

Book Chat: Prasha Sooful

I’m honoured to have the opportunity to Book Chat with author, educator and audiologist, Prasha Sooful, whose latest picture book, Counting to Calm, is a charming and invaluable resource for parents and teachers as they give children the tools to self-regulate their emotions and manage their focus and attention.

Many thanks for taking the time to chat, Prasha.

 

Firstly, I’d love it if you’d share a little of the journey that led you to becoming an author, particularly one with such an obvious passion for children’s mental wellbeing.

 

I've always had a passion for reading and books, and transitioning to writing felt like a logical next step for me. Picture books, in particular, hold immense value for me. With my background in health and experience as a parent of a child with additional needs, I saw an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in this space. The books we read as children often shape us in profound ways. That's why I believe writing about mental wellbeing for young readers is crucial—it has the potential to create lasting impressions that resonate throughout their lives.

 

What made you see the need for a book such as Counting to Calm?


So often, we see parents and adults struggling to help children calm down without having the necessary tools to manage meltdowns and regulation. I believe demonstrating rather than instructing is more effective, and modelling the behaviour sets an even stronger example. Counting to Calm aims to equip parents and children with simple steps to navigate intense emotions from an early age so they can carry these tools with them as they enter school and navigate other challenging situations.

Your use of rhyme to communicate the steps in Counting to Calm beautifully reinforces the steps it presents and makes them easy to remember – for adults as well as children. I’d love to know what particularly appeals to you about rhyme for presenting this kind of text.


For this particular book aimed at a specific age group and centred on numbers, rhyme emerged as the most suitable choice. Although I typically don't write in rhyme, achieving a balanced rhythm and meter while integrating numbers one through ten was definitely a challenging task. Rhyme has a unique auditory appeal that children find memorable due to its repetitive structure, aiding in their recall of the steps they need to follow.

 

What was the biggest challenge you encountered in writing the manuscript for Counting to Calm?


There were so many methods and techniques to introduce regulation and calming, so trying to choose the easiest ways that would have the most impact in the shortest amount of time was tricky. The ten steps that were finally selected incorporate movement, breath and mindfulness and I think we landed with a good combination that’s manageable for this age group.  


Your previous book, My Brain Is Magic, explores the wondrous abilities of the human brain, as well as the need to care for it by calming it down and giving it rest. Counting to Calm felt to me like a natural flow-on from My Brain Is Magic. Was this an intentional next step?


Yes, absolutely. The techniques from Counting to Calm were practices I personally used with my own child, and I quickly observed her inclination to mimic my actions. Modelling the behaviour proved effective in teaching these skills during a developmental stage when she lacked the language to express her emotions. Parents are often attuned to signs of dysregulation in their children, and intervening before it escalates can establish habits of self-regulation early on.


The artwork by illustrator Betania Zacarias could not be more perfect at supporting your text. Can I ask a little about the nature of the collaboration between the two of you?


My publisher, Soaring Kite Books, really excels in uniting writers and artists from across the globe. Although we are based in different countries, we were able to collaborate really well in how to capture the emotions and actions throughout the book. Betania did a fantastic job with the vibrant colours and the dynamic sense of movement.

What’s next for Prasha Sooful?


I have a picture book about the history and evolution of sounds in the world which is due to be published in 2025. In meantime, I keep busy with other picture book works-in-progress and maybe one day taking the leap into middle grade writing!

 

Where are the best places online to get hold of a copy of Counting to Calm, and to follow your continuing adventures?


Counting to Calm is available in hardback and also the ebook version from online retailers like Amazon, Booktopia etc. You could also ask your local library to get a copy for you.

You can follow my adventures on my Instagram page: @little_ms_read

 

Thanks so much, Prasha! I've really enjoyed learning more about you and your work, and hope we'll have the opportunity again soon.


Thank you so much for this opportunity to share my work with you! 


You're more than welcome!


This post is part of a blog tour for Counting to Calm, presented by Books On Tour PR & Marketing. Please keep following Prasha's journey on all of the fine blogs and sites below.


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