Lowry Hill doctor’s book aims to inspire resilience

Roshan Khatri, a 33-year-old doctor who lives in Lowry Hill, co-wrote a coloring book about COVID-19 aimed at helping children better understand the disease. Photo by Nate Gotlieb

Roshan Khatri, a doctor who lives in Lowry Hill, said he wanted to help children and families develop resilience during the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

It’s resulted in him and his nonprofit, Golden Valley-based Headwaters Relief Organization, creating a COVID-19-related coloring book.

Khatri and psychologist Rebecca Thomley, founder and CEO of the organization, which focuses on disaster response, published “When We All Stayed Home” in April. He said artists who live in Duluth designed the book.

The book “explores what coronavirus is,” explains the concept of staying home, has pages that teach proper handwashing and tells kids to “thank frontline workers,” Khatri said. The final section of the book has information for adults and caregivers.

“We started with the idea of a storybook, but we know that resilience is best fostered through active engagement,” Khatri said. “In order to engage children and the communities, the coloring book was the best solution for now.”

Khatri, 33, grew up and completed his medical training in Nepal. He met Thomley, who was inspired to start Headwaters Relief Organization after volunteering in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, when she was volunteering after a 2015 earthquake in the country.

Khatri started volunteering with the nonprofit after that and in 2017 moved to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship to study public health at the University of Washington. When he graduated from the master’s degree program last spring, he moved to Minneapolis, where he began working for the nonprofit.

He also works for Orion Associates, the management-services company of which Thomley is CEO.

Khatri, whose title at the nonprofit is medical director — though he has stopped practicing medicine — said he manages its daily operations. In the past few months, the organization has started a “Phone Pal” program connecting people confined at home with volunteers, it has been collecting home-sewn masks and it has started offering homeschooling assistance.

The coloring book “arose based on necessity,” Khatri said. “Parents were having a hard time explaining to kids why they couldn’t go outside and see their grandparents. … In order to help the children and the families, we had to create something.”

Headwaters Relief Organization, which has created eight other children’s books, asks for a $5 donation for each copy of “When We All Stayed Home” that is ordered. The amount includes shipping.

Books have gone out to Germany and Greece, and a Spanish version is coming out, Khatri said, adding that “demand has been overwhelming.”

“We’re trying very hard to catch up,” he said.

Visit tinyurl.com/covidcoloringbook to order a copy of the book or to learn more.