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Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings by Medea Kalantar - Book Review

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In the fifth installment of the delightful Honeycake book series, Nala’s mama and papa are celebrating the birth of their newborn son. But, when baby Luka receives so many presents and all the attention, Nala becomes angry and green with envy.
This book teaches children the importance of gratitude and how to focus on what matters most in life. Showing gratitude is a great way to find balance in the materialistic culture we live in today.
With the help of her grandmother, Nala learns the importance of gratitude and how being thankful for all the wonderful things she has in her life equips her with a powerful tool to make those icky feelings of jealousy from the “Green-Eyed Monster” disappear.

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My Review
Honeycake: Counting All My Blessings is the fifth book in the Honeycake series. However, this is my first foray into the series. I have to say, I really liked this story, and I think it's a great book for parents of young readers (and older readers, too). The story has a great lesson to be learned within the pages, and I think both children and adults can benefit from understanding that feelings of jealousy are normal, but realizing and remembering  all of the good things in your life is beneficial. 
The story follows Nala (aka Honeycake, her nickname) as she goes to the hospital with her aunt and uncle and grandparents to see her new baby brother. But when they arrive, Nala gets an icky feeling in her tummy after seeing all of the attention and gifts being lavished on Luka. Nala's grandma then takes her aside to explain about her jealous feelings, and how to banish them by counting her blessings. Nala also receives a gratitude journal so she can write down three things she's grateful for each day. 
As someone who remembers the jealous, icky feelings I had when my little sister was born, and as someone who has struggled with feelings of jealousy a lot throughout my teenage years and early twenties, I could relate to Nala quite a bit. I just wish I had had someone to help me when I was younger so I could have learned to deal with those feelings at an early age. It did take until my thirties before I finally started to count my blessings and keep a gratitude journal myself. Better late than never, I suppose.
As a parent, I would definitely recommend this book for young readers. It's a good way for parents to open a discussion with their children about feelings and how to overcome them or deal with them in a healthy way. 
5 stars!

Author Interview
1. First tell us something about yourself ?
Firstly, I would like to say thank you for featuring me and conducting this author interview. 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 name is Medea Kalantar, I live in Ontario Canada, I was born in Georgia former USSR and immigrated to Canada when I was four years old. I’m a mother of two grown children, who are both married and a grandmother. I’m also a Reiki Master, Intuitive Healer, Spiritual Teacher, a Guinness World Record Holder and a Multi-Award-Winning Best Selling Author of a new children’s book series titled Honeycake.

I see my purpose as being one of serving humanity. In my understanding, the idea is for us all to live in a world of love and peace, both in the physical world as well as the etherial. That time is far off, but attainable. The work I do of helping people is a step in that direction.

I am grateful to God for allowing me to serve, influence and transform this planet for the higher good.

2. How and when your journey started as a writer?
I started my journey as a writer when my  daughter  Shanaz found out  that she was pregnant June of 2018. I was so excited that I was going to become a  grandma. So much so  that  in  honour of  my  own grandmother,  my  Bebi,   I started  to  bake  a  honey cake—a  traditional   Jewish  cake   from   my  native Georgia which is typically baked for  Rosh Hashanah and  other  special  celebrations.  It was a  full circle moment for me because  my Bebi  taught me  how to make a honey cake when I was a young girl. The correlation of the cake to my grandchild-to-be lay in the  mix of  different spices,  which  I  realized  was much  like the mix of different ethnicities in my family. There are  all these  different spices  in a honey cake, like cinnamon,  cloves,  and  nutmeg, and  here is my grandson  with all these  different mixes of ethnicities. As I was baking,  I realized  that he  was going  to be my little Honeycake, which gave  me  the idea of the name for the series I was now envisioning.

The first book that flowed from me  was a story about acceptance   and   celebrating   the   many   different backgrounds   that  make  us  unique. 

At the end of the book there is a recipe for readers to follow so they can make their own honey cake.

3. When did you write your first story? Is it published or not?
In October of 2018 a few  months  after finding out I was going to become a grandmother to a  beautiful  soul  that  is  mixed  with many different ethnic  cultures,   I woke up one day  and 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 on 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. My first book Honeycake: A Family Of Spices was published February 28th 2019.

4. Tell us something more about your books?
Honeycake: A Family Of Spices, just like the spices in a honey cake, our different ethnicities blended together, create the single beautiful entity that is humanity, which adds flavour to life! Shedding light on what makes us unique and different brings compassion, understanding and positivity to the darkness.
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.

5. Why do you choose kids as your reader ? is there any specific reason?
As I previously stated, I was inspired to write these books when I found out I was going to become a grandmother. My stories are all based on my own family, whose members come from many ethnic backgrounds. This unique mix is a perfect recipe, and it’s the reason why I call my grandchildren my little Honeycakes. My MC Nala in the series comes from a bi-racial family which is all based on my actual family. There are so many children in the world that are like my grandson whose parents are a mix of ethnicities. My daughter is a mix of Georgian and Persian, My son-in-law is a mix of Guyanese and Jamaican, so my grandson is a mix of all four ethnicities. What do kids like them do? There are no books out there that represent them. That is what the term Honeycake means, a whole bunch of spices. But I didn’t just want to put books out there that spoke only about race, I wanted each story to also teach valuable everyday life lessons, like diversity and acceptance. How to overcome anxiety and stress with meditation and deep breathing exercises. How a simple acts of kindness is a “special magical power” that we all have inside of us. How to have honest and open communication in a safe space so children aren’t afraid to talk with their parents when things go wrong in their lives. How to live in gratitude and not just be thankful for only all the material things in their lives. Even though my books are classified as a children’s books, it also teaching the parents, caregivers etc.
If we teach our children these valuable lessons and give them the tools they need at a young age, they will grow up to be kinder and more balanced adults.

6. How did these stories and characters come to your mind?
As I stated in the previous question, all the characters are based on my actual family, the only fictional character is Nala, as I wrote my books before I found out that my daughter was actually having a little boy. So, I based Nala on my daughter when she was a little girl. All the stories are real life events and core family values that I truly believe and practice in our everyday lives.

7. Do you want to give any message for your readers?
I feel it’s very important to create books with a more positive messages 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.

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.
With all the negativity in the world today, the Honeycake series is a much-needed glimmer of hope and positivity. The Honeycake books are a great children’s series that teaches valuable life lessons on diversity, kindness, mindfulness, trust and gratitude. These books will enlighten, empower, educate and entertain children and their families for generations to come. ‬

8. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
The one piece of advice I would give to my younger self would be: “Don’t be so hard on yourself”.

9. Favorite childhood memory involving books?
My favourite childhood memory are books that had strong characters and storylines like “The Outsiders”. Or books that had sci-fi or fantasy elements like “The Explores”. I would get lost inside the stories and imagine myself as if I was one of the characters.

10. If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

11. What creature do you consider your "spirit animal" to be?
My spirit animal would be a Phoenix. I’ve had to overcome many challenges and obstacles in my life, but just like the Phoenix, I have raised up from the ashes stronger than before.

12. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Just be authentic, understand your “why” what’s the reason you want to write this book? What message are you trying to get across?
Just be yourself, don’t try to be like anyone else. If you truly are passionate about what you’re writing about, the words will just flow out. Enjoy every moment of your journey, the ups and downs because life is a gift, so live in the present. 

Author Bio

Medea Kalantar, a Reiki Master/Practitioner, a Guinness World Record Holder and a multi-award-winning best selling author of a new children’s book series titled Honeycake.

Inspired to write these books when she learned she would become a grandmother, Kalantar’s stories are based on her own family, whose members come from many ethnic backgrounds. This unique mix is a perfect recipe—just like the spices in a honey cake. That is why she calls her grandchildren her little Honeycakes.

With all the negativity in the world today, Kalantar’s series is a much-needed glimmer of positivity. The Honeycake series teaches valuable life lessons, giving children the tools to overcome obstacles in their everyday lives.

The Honeycake books teach children about diversity, kindness, mindfulness, trust, and gratitude. This series will enlighten, empower, educate, and entertain children for generations to come.

“No matter where we come from or what colour our skin is, we are all one race ... the human race. We are all one!” says Kalantar.

Canadian author Medea Kalantar immigrated from Georgia U.S.S.R. when she was four years old. She and her former husband Esfandiar, who immigrated to Canada from Iran, are parents to two beautiful children. They welcomed their first grandchild in 2019.

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