The story of how I received Ari the Brave's Jungle Journey was a pleasant surprise! I was looking for a new printer for my upcoming book and reached out to a rep. I had asked if they could provide me samples based on what I was looking for. And guess what showed up? Ari the Brave's Jungle Journey! I was so excited as I had been following author Krystal Wallick's journey. So I'm excited to be able to share our review of this wonderful book!
About the Author
Krystal Wallick is an author, teacher, mental health counselor, and mom of three. Her writing journey began after her son’s life-threatening medical diagnosis. She hopes that her writing can help children be brave and resilient through challenging situations. When Krystal is not writing amazing adventures for other children, she enjoys her career as an Instructional Facilitator to mental health professionals and teachers in her public school district. Krystal loves having her own adventures with her husband and three young children at the beach, parks, and zoos where they live in south Florida with two dogs and two cats.
What Was Your Inspiration to Become an Author?
I’ve always been a writer. Since I was young, I would write silly stories and adventures and basked in the smiles and laughter of people reading my stories. My school had a book binding machine and I must have made 20 books in my time there. I loved it. Throughout adulthood, I would journal as a way to cope with struggles, but never felt like I could actually be an “author”. But then, last year after going through something really traumatic and journaling my way through it, I felt like I finally had something real to contribute to the world of publishing.
Why This Book?
Because it was meaningful and it was real. I knew that this book could help a child or a family struggling with challenges in their life and this book meant something beyond just me being funny and silly like I had always written before.
What Have You Enjoyed Most About Writing and/or Publishing?
After the writing part, I most enjoy the illustration process. I put the words on the paper, but then to see an illustrator bring it to life in color has been one of the most exciting parts. It’s interesting to see someone else’s interpretation of a page and what they pick out of the writing as “the scene” to display. We usually go back and forth a few times to marry our two visions together before creating the final image. It’s so much fun!
What is Something That Has Surprised You During Your Book Publishing Journey?
What surprised me most is how much comes after the writing. The writing was the easy part! It’s the part that I’m naturally good at and that people think of when you say that you’re an author. But when you become a self-published author, you are really building a book business and leading an entire team of people to create each book. There’s so many people working on your book baby and you have to make sure that everybody is on the same page bringing the vision to life. And then you have to sell the book!
What Advice Would You Give to Aspiring Authors?
I’ve heard so many people say to me “I’ve always wanted to write a book, that’s so cool that you actually did it”. The only difference between me and them, is that I actually did it. But it took many, many years of writing and thinking and analyzing to get to that point. So start! Just do it! If you’ve ever thought that you want to write a book, go for it. You’re the only one stopping you. Write and write and write and then find a dynamite team of people to help you get from manuscript to physical book.
Book Description: Young Ari was born with lungs that don't work like everyone else's. When he is hospitalized for a surgical procedure, he finds himself on a wild jungle adventure with a miniature cheetah sidekick, victoriously battling rhinos and octopuses. During his hospital stay, Ari encounters unusual creatures on his imaginative expedition and he realizes that he can use bravery and his imagination to overcome his fears.
(Katie) Cover Review: I love the bright bold colors and adorable illustrations. I also like the inclusion of the hospital bed and IV as it creates curiosity around the story.
(Kids) Cover Review:
(8-yr-old): I liked the cheetah and the octopus on top of the waterfall!
(6-yr-old): I liked the sword!
(Katie) Story Review: As someone who personally spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals as a child, I really resonated with this story (and wish I would have had this book back then)! Krystal takes a situation that would typically be riddled with anxiety and worry and turned it into an adventurous story. I enjoyed the detail of transforming common hospital room items into jungle elements and creatures. I loved the adorable friend, Cindy, who helps him on his jungle journey as he escapes dangerous encounters.
My favorite aspect of the book is that repetitive mantra that Ari's mom states in the beginning that he states throughout the book, " I am brave, I am strong, I can do this!" What a wonderful mantra for any child going through anything difficult.
(Kids) Story Review:
(8-yr-old): I thought the story was amazing. I liked that he was nervous, but then decided to be brave. My favorite part was when he met Cindy. I learned that even if you're scared, you can still have fun. I thought the illustrations were detailed and colorful. My favorite pages were 8 and 9! It reminds me of when I went to the hospital and I also had to have the tubes put in me. I think it would be fun to turn a hospital trip into an adventure. I would definitely recommend this to my friends.
(6-yr-old): I really liked all the animals!
(Katie) Overall: I really love how well the illustrations brought the story to life in fun, bold colors and lots of details. There was a good balance of both story and complementary imagery. I also enjoyed the variety of fonts used to emphasize the mantra and the emotions Ari is feeling. A very well-written and important story for children going through some tough times to bring light to the situation.
I enjoyed how Krystal also included definitions for common hospital terms and fun activities like finding all the frogs throughout the book! My kids enjoyed that activity a lot!
Interested in adding Ari the Brave's Jungle Journey to your library? Book details and where you can find it are listed below!
Title: Ari the Brave's Jungle Journey
Author: Krystal Wallick
Details: For children 3-8 years old
P.S. - Krystal is working on the next book in this series: Ari the Brave and the Magic Dream Fairy!