Herman's Journey is a children's book for people of all ages, young and old alike.

It is a true story about two friends and a caterpillar. The journey began in May of 2008 when Jamina and Kaaren went on a roadtrip to Chattanooga to attend a Kirtan, an event filled with music, singing, dancing and drumming. They were joined by a bright green, hitchhiking caterpillar that they named Herman. He soon become their mascot and favorite little traveling companion.

After spending the day together, they were quite attached to him, and were worried when the next morning they discovered that he had turned brown. Not sure what was happening, they packed him up and headed back to Nashville. Halfway home, the two friends checked on him, but couldn’t find him anywhere. When they arrived at Jamina’s house they unloaded the entire car, and were very worried when they couldn’t find any sign of Herman. It was sad to think this might have been the end of Herman’s Journey.

They decided to read a prayer in his honor and laughed til they cried at the idea that this inch-long caterpillar had such an enormous effect on them. Two weeks later, Kaaren was about to get into her car when she saw a bright yellow butterfly on the backseat. Herman was alive! He must have formed a chrysalis somewhere in the car where he completed his transformation into a beautiful butterfly. It felt like a miracle. Not only was the metamorphosis magical, the fact that Herman had done it under such unusual circumstances filled Jamina and Kaaren with JOY, WONDER and AMAZEMENT.

After this experience, Jamina and Kaaren would retell the story to many of their friends and everyone was amazed by the miracle of Herman. Kaaren decided that it should be put into book form, so on a trip to France in July 2008, she would write her version of the story. Being an artist, she did the initial illustrations using watercolors in a six by six notebook with handmade paper from India.

Next, the two friends would relive the story and return to Camp Kem in Chattanooga where it all started. Jamina had written her version of the experience, and from there, the two friends would collaborate, shaping and molding Herman’s Journey. Over the course of a year, they would take roadtrips to different locations….Memphis, Graybear Lodge and Retreat Center, a cabin on Center Hill Lake and lastly, Italy. The final edits were completed in July of 2009 in an 800 year old farm house in Tuscany, and a charming hotel in Florence. All along, Kaaren was painting and repainting the illustrations, using brilliant colors and images which would appeal to young and old alike.

The final step required combining the words and illustrations into printable form. For this task, Jamina and Kaaren turned to their friend Massood Taj, an artist and graphic designer. Massood played a significant roll in the making of the book, transforming the text and images into digital files, using his Photoshop wizardry. He also helped guide them to Sir Speedy, a local print shop, which completed the process and created the actual book.

On October 5th 2009, Jamina and Kaaren released the First Edition of Herman’s Journey, printing just over 2,000 copies. Since then, the co-authors have held numerous book signings and offered “Herman Events” at book stores, elementary schools, nature centers and libraries across the country. The West Coast Book Tour took place this spring, and soon, Herman will be traveling around the world. The Italian translation is complete and the German and Swahili translations are in process. There will be more (many more!) to come.

To date, all sales have been strictly grassroots, with a focus on independent bookstores and speciality shops – Herman is available in over 50 locations! The car in which the story originally took place has been transformed into “The Hermanmobile”. It has been wrapped in images from the book, it is now the moblie office for the business and attracts quite a bit of attention while out and about.

As of August 5th 2010, the Second Edition of Herman’s Journey is available. It contains a bit more about the journey along with several new illustrations and photographs. We are excited to see where is goes from here!