Inni Kaur is the author of the children’s picture book, “The Story of Us.”
With the summer starting to come to a close, I’ve been finding some really interesting stories that can start getting our children focused back on school. I have found a fascinating book called “The Story of Us”. It’s written by the extremely talented author, Inni Kaur. She is a spiritual writer, poet, educator, painter and advocate for the Sikh community. Her stories help bridge an understanding into how humans are all connected. I had the chance to talk with Inni about her childhood reading experiences, advice for aspiring writers, and future projects.
What is your favorite memory from reading as a child?
Inni Kaur: Reading took me into a different world.
Who was your favorite author and how did they influence you?
Inni Kaur: I did not have any particular author. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I studied in a convent. Basically was in a boarding school for 9 months out of a year.
Do you have a writing routine? Share what works for you.
Inni Kaur: I write when I am inspired by something that I have read. Then the writing flows.
What subjects would you like to write about in future projects?
Inni Kaur: I would like to write on subjects that promote unity of humanity – that we are one people.
What inspired you to write the book “The Story of Us”?
Inni Kaur: This was the blog post that I wrote about why I wrote this story.
“Every book that I have written so far, has its own unique story. A part of me is in every book, though veiled. However, for “The Story of Us,” I am going to reveal what this book means to me.
In 2017 I read Nayan Chanda’s book, “Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization.” The first chapter of the book spoke about human migration from Africa. And how, our color and features changed during the centuries of human migration. I was so intrigued that I ordered the National Geographic Saliva Testing kit and became a part of the Human Journey. This first chapter is the inspiration for “The Story for Us.”
Why was this so important to me?
I was the child that no one wanted to play with.
I was the child that no one wanted to hold hands with.
I was the child that was the last one to be picked to be on anyone’s team.
I was kali-black.
Mothers would tell their children, ‘if you don’t drink your milk, you will become kali-black like Inni.’ By all accounts, I should have had a miserable childhood. But, I didn’t.
I had the unconditional love of my paternal grandfather, my parents, and my sister. They did not see my color, though I saw my color. They saw me. The way they treated me was as if, I was the most precious thing in their lives.
In my teenage years, my constant companions were, “Who will marry her? She is so dark?”
Yet, I saw my mother, fill my dowry chest with beautiful evening bags from Germany, silk temple saris from South India; exquisitely embroidered shawls, evening gowns from England and so much more.
Love protected me.
Love cocooned me.
In my late fifties, I saw myself, and said I am “beautiful.”
Beauty had entered my life.
I know I am blessed.
I recognize it.
This book is written with the hope that children and adults will get to know the story of human migration and hopefully be kinder to each other.
And if my book prevents even one adult from calling a child kali-black, I would have accomplished much.”
FYI: This manuscript was sent to over a dozen mainstream publishers in the USA and India. After exhausting all avenues, I chose to self-publish it, because it was important to me.
What life experiences have influenced you the most to write for children?
Inni Kaur: There are very few books good quality that spoke to the Sikh experience when my children were young. The books did not reflect them. I took it upon myself to change that narrative. My children did not feel part of the mainstream culture because they were invisible in children’s literature.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Inni Kaur: Don’t let rejection and criticism color you. Don’t write because you want to, write because you have to. Become emotionally involved with the characters of your book because that will translate to your readers.
If you could tell your younger writer self anything, what would it be?
Inni Kaur: Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Take the plunge; cross that line. Don’t listen to the voices that say, “You cannot do it.”
What is writing to you in one sentence?
Inni Kaur: It is an outer expression of an inner journey.
“The Story of Us” is a wonderful story of an author visiting a classroom to share the human movement story from the continent of Africa. Mr. Nayan Chanda is visiting Ms. Hollins’ class to give a talk about human migration and how science, through blood and saliva, helped to trace the story. Though we may have different languages, religion, dress differently, and eat different foods, we are all one people. Share this message with your own child or as a read-aloud in the virtual classroom. Recommended for children six to twelve.
“The Story of Us” is available at: Amazon.com and is also available at the website below.
For more information on the author Inni Kaur, please visit her website at: