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My father looks like Barbapapa, portraits of new age children and their parents

Our book was published on 10 May: ‘ My father looks like Barbapapa, portraits of new-age children and their parents (‘We’ are photographer Erik Buis, and journalist and healer Hermelijn van der Meijden.)

When we started, we didn’t have a publisher yet, and nobody to interview. Just an idea, and an agent who saw something in it. And we also had a goal: a book with 30 (young) children, each of whom had to give words to a different subject.

Together they had to span the entire spiritual spectrum; from aura to soul. They shouldn’t all be talking about ghosts, there had to be many more dimensions involved.


We are now looking back on a special process that went almost effortlessly. We found the first two children fairly quickly. The interviews I had with them met my expectations exactly: they were informative and extraordinary. We made a test booklet with those two stories. Three months later, in the summer, the phone call came from our agent: Kosmos/Servire – a topper – wanted to publish it!

With a publisher, there is also a deadline, so from that moment on we had to get to work: approach friends, reach out to networks, ask therapists. Because: where do you find new age children? And also: how do you know for sure it’s one? In order not to make it too difficult for myself, I used a broad definition: children who feel, see, hear and/or know more than their peers.

drum up

We had traced the first 10 children within our own circle. The topics they tackled turned out to be even more interesting than I had imagined beforehand. One girl was a healer, a second had ended up in past lives, and another gave her vision of acceptance. The cover was made. Effortless weather. We chose a photo of Moon. The title became a quote from her. She was our first interviewee!

Then it became quiet for a while. With 20 children to go, the flow seemed to be out. So, following a story from the Native Americans, I came up with a less conventional way of ‘manifesting children’‘. Using drums, the Indians let the universe know what they want. I grabbed my shaman’s drum and started asking for children every morning.

And quite specific. I still wanted children who could talk about guides, angels, and death. It took a while, so I kept drumming them up, and then they came! I found a boy who could explain how reincarnation works, a girl who communicates with guides , and a boy with a guardian angel. But there were also subjects that I would never have thought of myself.

The topics they tackled turned out to be even more interesting than I had imagined beforehand. (© copyright Photo Erik Buis.)


We have indeed reached the number of 30 children. Each one of them tells a special and unique story. As well as their parents.

They give a lot of tips to other parents, teachers, and counselors; about how you deal with these children.

The common thread is always that of love, attention and taking seriously. But also: dare to look in the mirror when your child points out your weaknesses. The 60 interviews together form a wonderful document that can contribute to understanding and support for children who are ‘different’, and in general: more curiosity and interest in spiritual dimensions.


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