Pop superstar Madonna insists her desire to write children's books came from studying the Kabbalah, because it taught her the importance of helping people.

The MATERIAL GIRL began studying the Jewish mystic writings nine years ago and claims they have moulded her into a better, more generous person.

She says, "It isn't until you've been studying it for several years that you can let it inform your life. That's why I started writing children's books.

"I can assure you, five years ago - and I've been studying for nine years - there's no way I would've said, 'I'm going to write kid's books and give all the money away to charity.' That's not anything that was ever on my agenda.

"It took me a long time before I could go from the girl sitting in the back of the class, wowed by all the information, keeping notes, to thinking, 'There is a point to this life, now I know why there's chaos and suffering and pain in the world, and I can actually do something about it, and the world doesn't revolve around me.'"

The English Roses, published in 2003, was the first in Madonna's series of popular children's books.

The singer says, "It felt really good to publish a book and to know it got into the hands of lots of kids, and to start reading letters from the children who read The English Roses and wrote things like, 'You know, when I read your book it made me think of how horrible me and my girlfriends were to this girl in school.'

"I thought, it's so cool, I'm helping kids, and I never thought I'd be doing that."