Sirin Doumanis’ gentle German Shepherd teaches kids to be kind in new book

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Sirin Doumanis has many roles.

She is a clinical psychotherapist who has worked in clinics focused on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and substance abuse. She later moved into relationship and children’s therapy, where she developed a love of working with kids and became inspired to publish her first children’s book, Kaiser the Gentle German Shepherd.

To mark the release of her book this year, The Greek Herald sat down with Mrs Doumanis to hear all about it.

What inspired the story of the book, Kaiser the Gentle German Shepard?

I had gotten a German Shepard puppy, Kaiser, and one day while I was walking this little puppy, people are crossing the road away from us and they are getting scared. He’s only small and not what people associate scary things with. I was thinking this could be something children can relate to in primary school or in life with bullying, judging others, and not fitting in.

I saw this correlation there and thought, ‘What if I make Kaiser the main character of my book?’ Kids can relate to animals a lot, better than anything. My idea was to tell the story through his eyes.

What is the overall message of the book?

Sharing the values of being kind, accepting, not judging others, and making sure you get to know a person before you judge them.

Kids can be pretty mean in school and they’ll pick on anything. You might have a big nose, big ears or scars and they’ll just pick on that and won’t take the time to get to know you. It’s about encouraging kids to understand people and see what they’re about, before focusing on things you might not like about them.

What were some challenges that came up for you when you were writing the book?

Even though it’s a children’s book and it might seem simple, one challenge was trying to structure it so it makes sense to children who are three to eight years of age. So, making sure that they can follow the book and understand the meaning.

I sat on it for a few years because I couldn’t envision what it would look like. The editing process and everything was done but it took an illustrator to draw up the pictures and a cover page and I was like, ‘Oh my, this is coming to life!’

I couldn’t just sit on it because it’s so precious. I felt it would resonate with children and get a message out there. That’s what pushed me to do it. My husband also gave me the confidence. He pushed me especially when he read the story and I started showing him pictures.

Sirin with Kaiser.

How did it feel once your book was out there?

Releasing the book was a big relief, but then I was thinking, ‘What are people going to think about it?’ I might like it, but I couldn’t be 100 percent happy until I got feedback from kids and families. It was really nice when I heard people say the story resonates, whether it’s their child with special needs struggling to fit into their school, or whether it’s sending a message to children that they’re perfect just the way they are. That’s what I wanted kids and families to get out of it. It’s a fun book but it’s also an educational piece.

Are you doing book tours or signings?

We have the book at some of the local bookstores, library, and local schools. We’ve done paw-tographs with Kaiser’s signature and a video of him doing it. And it’s on Amazon. It’s very much the start of the journey.

You can purchase Kaiser the Gentle German Shepherd here: https://amzn.to/3UTCohO

Book signings by Kaiser.

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