Brampton twins write children’s books about vaccines, health and diversity


By Karen Longwell

Published on August 11, 2022 at 4:06 p.m.

Twin sisters Swathi, left, and Shurabi have written four children’s books. Photo courtesy of Shurabi and Swathi Anphalagan

Two Brampton sisters combine their love for writing and medical science in a series of children’s books.

The twin sisters, Shurabi and Swathi Anphalagan, 19, will be entering their second year of medical science studies at Western University this fall, but in their spare time they write books.

The idea for their first book came last summer, when COVID-19 was hitting Brampton hard, they volunteered at a vaccination clinic. When they saw families with children at the clinic, they thought of creating a children’s book on vaccination.

“Seeing how children’s lives have changed dramatically because they couldn’t go to school or understand the situation is what really inspired us to give back to the community,” Shurabi said.

They wrote their first book, Ahana received a vaccinein a series called Twin Tales.

The book tells the story of Ahana who was afraid to get vaccinated.

“We wanted to create a children’s book that followed the vaccination process not specifically against COVID-19, but the generalized process,” Shurabi said.

The aim was to help children better understand the world situation and perhaps reach their parents whose first language may not be English.

Although they hope to pursue a career in medical science, they also want to continue writing.

“Writing is always something we like to do as a hobby and we always wanted to find a way to combine our two interests,” Swathi said.

twin tales

So far they have written three more books in the series.

Mom dad! Please get vaccinated! tells the story of a “daring child who convinces his hesitant parents to get vaccinated during a pandemic”.

Two other books deal with different health topics. I am beautiful tells the story of children with skin diseases such as vitiligo, albinism, alopecia and acne. And their latest book, The race for change is the story of students who help make their school more accessible to a new student.

Miscellaneous characters

The books include characters with several different origins.

“We hope to educate young people to be confident, tolerant and inclusive,” Shurabi said. “And we wanted to provide the representation that we never had growing up.”

They use large fonts and images to make it accessible to children with visual impairments.

“I think accessibility was a big thing that we wanted to keep in our books as well,” Swathi said.

They self-published three books this summer.

Funding scholarship

Last fall, they entered their books in the Bright Ideas Pitch competition, sponsored by Access to innovationand received $1,000 to support the project.

Funding will help distribute the books in communities for free. Although the books are for sale on Amazon, the sisters also give them out at school events. And they even donated books to Sri Lanka where their family is from.

“We come from a Tamil ethnic background,” Swathi said. “So we attribute a lot of our character, our moral compass and our passion to our ethnic community and our family. So, being involved in this community from an early age, we wanted to give back because they helped shape our passions and skills.

They plan to continue writing books that focus on health promotion and diversity. They also want to continue giving away the books for free.

“We want to continue making these donations to help ensure representation and inspire like-minded children around the world,” Swathi said.

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