Monday, August 3, 2020

Review: Ahmed’s Journey


Ellen Whitfield

(615) 576-0554


Kids experience social and emotional learning as they connect with internal environment in Ahmed’s Journey


NEWPORT BEACH, CA Be Still.  Journey Inward.  Know Yourself. We are emotions, feelings, and sensations. Breathe into all of you, ride along with Ahmed, and discover the most exciting journey in the world! You!


Ahmed’s Journey unfolds through the eyes of a young boy named Ahmed. The book tells of the Camel Races, a tradition in Ahmed’s country and in much of the Middle East.


While traveling to the Camel Races with his family and favorite camel, Jamal, Ahmed faces his fear of riding in the upcoming race. Watching Jamal calmly breathe, Ahmed finds his own breath, and in doing so he discovers he has a colorful array of emotions and feelings. By the end of the book, the reader learns that Ahmed is “grateful to be Ahmed.”


Award winning Author of Nothando’s Journey, Jill Apperson Manly, releases her second book deepening the themes of exploring  thoughts, emotions and sensations. Manly uses international cultural festivals to educate the reader and teach the importance of  self-love. Jill is a certified iRest® teacher and Somatic Yoga Therapist. She loves sharing yoga and meditation with children and adults, coaching girls’ high school basketball, and being a mom to her four children. She lives with her husband and children in Newport Beach, CA.








“Ahmed’s Journey:

A Story of Self-Discovery”

Jill Manly | Jan. 1, 2019 | Jabu Books Publishing

Hardcover |  978-0-9980220-0-0 | $16.95

Genre: Children’s picture book

Review: Ahmed’s Journey is a story of a young boy looking inward on himself and his feelings. His story takes us on a journey that many face including children about being loved and being counted. The importance of taking a breath means so much nowadays and this book has made it clear that sometimes we need to stop and think inside of us. A time of reflection. I love also at the end of the book how there are exercises for reflection. This book is made for children, but I can see adults reading this as well.

An Interview with Jill Manly


  • How important is it for kids to explore and know their own emotions? There is nothing more important.  It is essential to learn and value who you are.


    1. Do you think that emotional lessons can be integrated into school studies? Yes, Absolutely! Globally and in the U.S. we are seeing this done right now. My first book, Nothando’s Journey, is part of part of a SEL curricula created by Think Equal ( currently in 147 schools across 15 countries. The pilot program is being evaluated by Yale Center for Emotional Learning. Kids live in present. There is no better time to discuss how a child is feeling then when  it is occuring. Of course, you cannot disrupt the class to deal with each emotion so therefore, it is better to have a set time within a lesson, for example in social science, to include a SEL lesson.


  • How did your experience teaching and studying in Saudi Arabia affect the writing of Ahmed’s Journey? My overseas teaching experiences with children gave me great joy. Picking stories from “far-away places” gives a different perspective and we all benefit by learning about others. It’s fun to think about riding a camel. Kids in America don’t get to do that. It is even more fun to think about racing one!


  • What aspects of yoga do you bring to writing children’s books? Yoga is seen in mainstream America as primarily a form of exercise, in my books, some of the deeper benefits of yoga or any mindful (peaceful) practice are explored.
  • How were the emotions and sensations that Ahmed experienced in the book reflections of your experiences traveling abroad or those of your own children? I hope my experiences do not create experiences for others. I hope they are only a springboard for a discussion of everyone’s self potential. There is SO MUCH in our kids and in ourselves that gets stuffed down or swallowed up or is undervalued. I hope my books encourage and support kids and adults to value who they are on the inside.
  • Why is it important for kids to experience cultures different from their own? We are more alike than different. As we see others, we see ourselves.
  • What is some advice you can give to parents who have children experiencing fear and anxiety like Ahmed?  The Best advice is to have the conversation around these topics. Our children have lots of anxiety and being able to help them address their anxiety around their fears is very empowering. My website has additional resources both for the child and adult on this topic.
  • How is Ahmed’s Journey a continuation of your first book, Nothando’s Journey?It is takes kids and parents to another place in the world to learn about others and at the same time to learn about themselves.
  • Are you planning any other books in the same theme? We’ll see.



The Pen and Muse Interview:

Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!

I am a 4th generation Californian, I grew up on the Eastside of Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Valley. I headed overseas as a young adult for about 18 years and now I live in Orange County.

Tell us about your book? How did it get started?

My books are about living overseas and about children. These are probably my two most favorite things.

How do you create your characters?

My characters and story lines come from the countries I have lived in and customs and traditions that are from these countries. I try to educate American children on other countries but at the same time attempt to show them how similar we all are.

What inspires and what got your started in writing?

I think of writing as sharing and reading as learning. I learned so much in these countries and now I want to share it.

Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)

I need to be in the zone. It really takes a lot. I surround myself with memories from the country, the music, the food and my old photos then it starts to evolve. I have trusted friends and a mini salon of sorts where I can safely share my work with other artists. They give me feedback and encouragement.

How do you get your ideas for writing?

I get my ideas from the places I have lived, from the kids I meet and from my own inner meditations.

What do you like to read?

I like to read about people’s lives.

What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?

Start, just start! Start today!

Anything else you’d like to share?

I love exchange. Please visit my website and keep in touch.

Denise Alicea
the authorDenise Alicea
This blog was created by Denise in September 2008 to blog about writing, book reviews, and technology. Slowly, but surely this blog expanded to what it has become now, a central for book reviews of all kinds interviews, contests, and of course promotional venue for authors, etc

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