In 2018, business author Ariane de Bonvoisin created a series of spiritually-inspirational books for children, the Giggles and Joy trilogy. She shares with Honeysuckle the backstory of how the books came into being, and where she would like to see them go.
HONEYSUCKLE: Why were you drawn to write children’s books about life skills, rather than writing a traditional story?
ARIANE DE BONVOISIN: The main reason is because there are so few! I really wanted to raise a conscious child. I wondered, how do we build kids up and not tear them down? How do we prepare them for the world they will inherit? How do you build up a child’s heart and spirit, (which are not the focus on school education)? Those were my questions that led me to create this book series and share the life skills that I saw were needed.
For that, I saw the importance of themes such as:
- Self-love, gratitude, teaching a child how to breathe and use that to calm down and manage stress (yes, our kids are stressed!), how to manage their emotions such as anger or sadness, showing them how to have a kind mind without all this self-disapproval, what is intuition and how to use it to make good decisions so they can rely on themselves, the importance of their body and being healthy, how to handle disappointment and having a bad day, understanding grown ups!, all the way to more ‘humanity type skills’ such as appreciating other people, diversity, beauty, prayer and Planet Earth.
The Giggles and Joy trilogy gives parents, grandparents, teachers and caregivers of all kinds a place to start, to instill these important lessons into a child. You can read one at a time and have a meaningful conversation with your tiny human; you can choose a theme for the week and have the whole family practice this skill for a certain amount of time.
The content is wonderfully illustrated with images that have a lasting impression on a child’s mind. So while a deeper message is sinking in to their spirit, the child is captivated by what they see on the page.
Each book has 8 different life skills and each is a story in itself.
What has your mission and inspiration been?
I have a son called Everest. He is nearly 5 and will be going to kindergarten soon. It has got me thinking a lot about what he will learn but especially, what he won’t be learning.
Life skills are always secondary to traditional education. Why?
All this technology and developing the mind are amazing. But what about the development of his heart, his spirit, his emotional life, his ability to navigate change? Is our consciousness keeping up?
Every parent I’ve ever met always says they just want their kids to be happy.
But we don’t really help our tiny humans with that goal…instead, we project lack onto them. Everything becomes about performance and what is expected of them. They learn that what matters, is how well they fit in with the mass consciousness!
My mission has been to help educate kids ‘below the neck’. To protect their heart and their spirit. To show parents and all adults that have the privilege and responsibility of bringing up children, that we need to urgently fill them up with softer skills and make these as important as all the performance and academic success we project and require from our kids.
How do “spiritual books” differ from “religious books” for children?
Spiritual books such as Giggles and Joy aren’t for or against any religion. They do not promote a particular way of thinking or belief structure, and instead co-exist perfectly next to any and all religions. They are meant to be an addition to the religious books a family might choose. They are more what spiritual leaders and heroes of our time, such as a Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela or Gandhi have taught us, applied to young kids. They take what is universal in all religions; things like love, respect, honesty, tolerance, and gratitude and make them accessible to young minds.
And how has your experience been, as a new author? What have you learned?
Following a big career in the corporate world in NYC, I’ve spent the last decade exploring why, as adults, we are so empty of basic life skills. Change being one of them, handling hard times another. I became curious about why we are still so insecure on the inside, despite educational, professional, even personal success. I’ve written books, created apps, speaking engagements and done coaching on life skills for grown ups!
What I’ve learned is that most of our wounds as adults trace back to when we are kids. Neuroscience backs this up and points to so much important wiring being down in the early years. Kids make conclusions about the world, boys/girls, their bodies, money, their emotions, whether they live in a safe world, very young. And yet, it is not what most parents, teachers or caregivers know to focus on. So this was a wake up call to me, to do my small share to help kids now, with very similar life skills as what adults are learning!
This is my first children’s book series. There are 3 books out: Giggles and Joy, You are Loved and Being You.
I think books have their own energy, magic and journey. Parents, godparents, grandparents, teachers are looking for these kinds of books. The intention is there. It is a matter now of what the media focuses on, what is seen as most important. Unfortunately we are still in a world where parents think more about their kids grades and academic performance, than how truly happy their kid is. Kids are asked about their external world, their ‘doing’ world, much more than their inner world, their feelings or what is going on in their heart. Play isn’t encouraged as much. Over scheduling is the norm.
I am optimistic though: I think consciousness is changing and that a book series like Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids, will find its way into the mass audience.
Ariane de Bonvoisin is an author, speaker and entrepreneur, who is passionate about life skills for grown ups and kids. She is the creator of a new kids book series, Giggles and Joy: Spiritual Life Lessons for Kids, that touches on important themes such as honesty, forgiveness, intuition, having a bad day, joy and kindness. gigglesandjoy.com
The books are available in hardcover and Amazon Kindle editions.
For more info on her work, visit arianedebonvoisin.com