When Roma Chadha Sood wrote a book for her daughter's 5th birthday, she didn't know it would be a gift for all ages.
"Looking at the chaos in our world, at the hatred and especially the fear, my deepest hope is that this book will serve as a reminder to shift our attention to love, connectedness and peace," says Sood. "It reminds us to find our own strength from within, so we can be the change we want to see in the world."
Watching daughter Ekaa grow has been a delight for the Livermore resident.
"Ekaa was the absolute personification of joy, even as a baby," says Sood. "The constancy and ease with which she radiates laughter and happiness has always been a source of wonder for me. When she turned five, I wanted to write something to remind her when she would later hit the turbulent teens or go through more difficult times in life, that her inherent quality was love. It was what comes naturally to her, and it is who she is."
"How Souls Are Made" is a children's book that reads like a song, its lyrics lingering long after the last page is read. The story follows the creation of a soul in the Land of Love, as a divine King's life-giving energy animates a baby. Before vanishing from sight, the King tells the baby she is perfect, that her true home is with Him, and that He will always be with her whenever she needs Him.
"Give love and joy to all you meet, for you and I are one. All I have, I give to you, your journey has begun."
The story shifts to earth where the baby - a happy, spiritual being - starts to go through the human experience.
"Years go by and the baby grows, through sunshine and through rain. She laughs, she cries, she walks, she plays - learning love and pain."
As she grows older, she feels a yearning that she cannot understand.
"Unknown longing haunts within, for something not in sight. It feels the day will never dawn, upon this darkest night."
Yet when she becomes still, she can hear a whisper - someone is telling her, "I'm right here."
"This book is universal," says Sood. "It is a spiritual book, but is in no way religious. Anyone of any faith can embrace the idea that our soul is love. My hope is that as parents read this book to their children at night, it envelopes them both in a cloud of love."
After writing the book for Ekaa, now 11, Sood found herself going back to the story whenever she was going through a rough time.
"I am uplifted by it, and as the years went by, I started to feel perhaps it would be a source of comfort to others as well," says Sood, a reading specialist at Valley Montessori School in Livermore and former journalist in India. "Seeing the effect the book has on others has been especially rewarding. Sometimes they cry, sometimes they smile, but they tell me it is a book that moves them."
"How Souls Are Made" is available on Amazon, both in paperback and on Kindle, as well as on the author's website.
"It would make a great gift this holiday season, especially in light of all the chaos happening around us in the world," says Sood, who says she would be happy to sign books for residents in January when she returns from holiday travels.
"I hope this book reminds us all, myself included, that we are never alone, and that we are loved and protected," she adds. "We are spiritual, eternal beings, supported by our divine source, and being here is an opportunity for us to be the best we can be."
To learn more, visit www.howsoulsaremade.com.