Although writing has always been a part of her life, Sadhna Sheli never pictured herself as a children’s book author. She ended up on this unexpected, yet purpose-filled path when her oldest son became drawn to anything and everything firefighter related. But in all the books they read together “there was hardly ever a female character, and if there was she was simply a ‘sidekick’.” Sadhna set out to change this through her new children’s book series, Firehouse 1.

Using a cast of strong female lead firefighter characters as the foundation of her stories, Sadhna’s goal with Firehouse 1 is to empower girls and engage boys at the same time with “exciting subject matter that’s relatable to both.”

Of the debut book in her series – Firehouse 1: Fire at the Bakery – Sadhna told us in an email, “It relays important messages about gender equality, team work, and fire safety by showing both male and female characters working together in a traditionally male dominated profession.” She added, “It’s a medium to model a new ‘norm’, which creates a shift in the mind of young readers.”

Sadhna Sheli Firehouse firefighter

Her @firehouse1kids Instagram page is an extension of this idea as it offers an inspiring showcase of real-life women firefighters who are making news, breaking barriers and crushing gender stereotypes all over the world.

Due to the “overwhelmingly positive” response Sadhna has received from readers of Firehouse 1: Fire at the Bakery, her focus for 2018 is on “engaging with local fire departments to visit schools for Firehouse 1 readings”. Beyond that, her dream is “to continue releasing books in the series to help children grow up in a world where they see that anyone can do anything.”

lead photo of Sadhna Sheli by Jim Purdum