Sanjay Nambiar grew up in Carson, CA, where he overcame a gang- and drug-riddled environment with the help of a closely-knit family and a focus on education. He graduated with honors from U.C. Berkeley, with degrees in Economics and Neurobiology, and earned an M.B.A. from UCLA. He now is a freelance copywriter in Los Angeles, CA. Sanjay practices meditation on a daily basis and sees extraordinary potential for happiness (and frustration) in the confluence of Western lifestyles and Eastern philosophies. Through his books, Sanjay hopes to inspire readers to consider life in a different perspective, one that incorporates a little bit of Zen as well as a lot of fun. He won a Mom’s Choice Awards Silver Medal and a Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards Gold Medal for his debut book, “Maybe (A Little Zen for Little Ones)”. Sanjay kindly sat down an answered questions for us about his writing inspiration, his twin daughters, and the importance of positive role models.

1. What motivated you to write these books?
I have two eight-year-old daughters (identical twins) who inspire many things in my life. For my A Little Zen for Little Ones series, I wanted to make ancient Zen stories—which have amazing concepts and provide wonderful guides to living well—more accessible to modern children. For the Super Duper Princess Heroes, I wanted girls to have better, more empowered, more independent role models. Girls can wear cute gowns and jewelry, but how about they save the world once they put their outfits on?!

51HNO3EGffL2. What are your girls’ favorites and why?
They’re my biggest critics! But seriously, they love the girl in “Maybe,” but I think their favorite would be the Super Duper Princess Heroes. It’s a rare combination of princess cuteness, super powers, and girl power.

3. What were two of your favorite books growing up?
I loved books about sports, especially biographies about my heroes, like Julius Erving. Through the benefit of having a smart older brother who guided me, I got into literature at an early age. I remember reading Of Mice and Men in sixth grade while waiting for the bus. If I had to pick just two titles that I loved from my youth, they would be The Great Gatsby and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance(which I really didn’t get as a teenager, but I loved because I hoped one day I would get it . . .).

4. How has your passion influenced your own children when it comes to reading?
We’re lucky—our girls are voracious readers. But, they also like to write, and their imaginations are endless. I would like to take credit for that, but in reality they’re much more talented and interesting than I am!

5. What is the illustration process like? Do you have a general vision in your head and then you collaborate with an illustrator or do you write the words and then send them off to an illustrator who then decides what to draw?
My illustration process was unconventional. I had a specific vision in mind, but my drawing skills don’t extend much beyond stick figures . . . So, I worked as a creative director with a team of illustrators in India, and after much collaboration and many iterations, we produce our final product. For my upcoming book in the Super Duper Princess Heroes series (coming out in Spring 2016), the illustrator is a fine artist based in Los Angeles who is incredibly talented and acclaimed. I’m very excited for that project, for which all proceeds will go to the World Children’s Initiative, an amazing non-profit organization that built a heart surgery center in Uganda (the first of its kind on the African continent).

51c98G6j4EL._SY498_BO1,204,203,200_6. What do you hope parents and children take away from reading your stories?
For my A Little Zen for Little Ones series, I hope parents and children will use the stories as springboards for discussion. Those tales touch upon so many meaningful concepts—being present, mindfulness, letting things go, not being attached. If the books can spark a conversation about those ideas, that would be phenomenal. For the Super Duper Princess Heroes, I hope parents and children can realize that cute girls and powerful girls and not mutually exclusive. I want our girls to have role models who don’t need to eschew beauty or glamor to be empowered and independent. Our girls should know that they can indeed wear the fancy gown, but once they put it on, they can go save the prince instead of waiting to marry him!

Share this:

More in this category: Building Relationships in Blended Families » Teaching Children Humility » What Does Mindful Parenting Look Like? » How Do We Show Our Families We Love Them? » Avoiding Good Cop, Bad Cop with a Balanced Approach » Modeling Positive Behaviour Through Community » Balancing Childrearing and Career » Shielding Children From Marriage Troubles » Build Confidence as a Parent » How Sleep Deprivation Affects the Whole Family » Dental Health from Baby Teeth to Braces » 20 Tips for Preventing the Spread of Germs » Sleepover Check List » Packed Lunch » Santa, Online » Holiday Gifts to Make with Kids » Holiday Do’s (and One Don’t) for Teens » 5 Ways for Little Hands to Help During the Holidays » Halloween Crafts » Brown-bagging it » Getting Carried Away » Get Outside! » Cyberbullying » Getting Ready for Sleepaway Camp » A Handful of Gratitude & How to Teach It to Our Kids » Calling all UK Families for Jo Frost Family Matters » Halloween and Allergies, A Heads Up » When Opt-Out Isn’t An Option » Jo Frost Rewards » Family SOS with Jo Frost Premieres May 28th on TLC » Gifts For a New Baby » Girl Power » Jo Frost’s Toddler SOS » Black History Month » 10 Holiday Tips for Kids » Kids and Natural Disasters » Good Cop, Bad Cop » Can Women Have It All? » The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee » Jo’s New Show » Family Valentine’s Day Activities » Gender Marketing » Holiday Dinner Table Tips for Teens » Book Signings, TV Show Premiere Date & More » Happy Birthday, Jo! » Celebrate the Royal Wedding » Kids, Food Dye And ADHD » Jo’s Extreme Parental Guidance Roadshows hit the U.K. » Reading, Writing, Tweeting, Blogging » One Good Deed » UK Families: Are You In Need of Jo’s Expert Advice and Extreme Parental Guidance? » Have a British-American Christmas » Are Your Kids Tuning In or Tuning Out? » Get Back to Giving Back » Come On and Get Healthy (on the ‘net!) » YOU Time » Off to college, they go! » Create your own Waterpark! » Announcement about the website » Dental care » Kids and nature » Great crafts for kids of all ages » Talk about sex with kids » Unique and handmade presents » TIP OF THE MONTH » Videos that made us laugh » Children’s homework » Bon Appetit! » Children and their dreams » Summertime … and the livin’ is easy » Family comes first » New activities » Women’s History Month » Tune out » Fun kid activities » New Year » Halloween or Mischief night » Good ideas for after-school programs » Some tips for your vacation »
Read previous post:
A Sweet Summer Treat

Here's a sweet and healthy summer treat you can make with your kids. Frozen Banana Bonbons Cut bananas into 1-inch...

Close