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BookWorthy Chat with Dr. Sonia E. Amin


BookWOrthy Podcast Season 2 Episode 7
When Love Flows Cover





 

 Valerie- Welcome to BookWorthy, today we’re talking with Sonia E. Amin about her book When Love Flows, the beauty of encouraging others, which is the second in Sonia’s social-emotional learning series. I had the pleasure of interviewing her back in 2022 about her debut book, Bax and his Bubbles, on my Instagram interview series. I am thrilled to have her here. Welcome to BookWorthy Sonia.



Sonia- Thank you so much. Hi, Valerie, so good to be here. I’m excited to join you on BookWorthy. I think this is wonderful that you are offering this space for families, for parents. I think it is so valuable because as a parent, I feel that I’m always looking to see what books you share. So I’m honored to be a part of this, thank you.

 

Valerie- You are welcome. I’m so happy to have you here. I love the book. I love Bax and His Bubbles and now with Nora’s story, When Love Flows, that we’re going to talk about today. I am so thankful for the efforts that you’ve gone into to communicate the importance of social-emotional learning. But before we get into those fun things, today is Valentine’s Day, so Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

Valentines's Day

Sonia- Happy Valentine’s Day

 

Valerie- Thank you. What has been your most memorable Valentine’s Day event or celebration?

 

Sonia- So, I have to say, I wasn’t probably a huge Valentine’s Day individual before kids, but since kids, we do have a tradition. From February 1st on, I basically cut out hearts, and on the hearts, I write some encouraging words about each of them and I’ll put them either on their doors or in the kitchen so they can see it all day long. I love getting to do that. They love getting to see the new hearts that pop up each day. So, that’s what I enjoy doing with my kids.

 


Hearts on door

Valerie- That’s fun. I do something similar in our home too. That’s neat that we have a similar tradition in each of our homes. You must be a ‘words of encouragement’ person.

Sonia- I very much am, which we’ll talk about, but yes, this is like a very personal story.

Valerie- Ah, well, we are similar in that way for sure. Now in your book When Love Flows, you give a recipe for brownies. Now, will you be cooking Nora’s brownies tonight for Valentine’s Day?


Sonia- I’m pretty sure we are. We usually bake brownies not only for ourselves. My kids are always asking for them. But we also back them for, we have a fire station right nearby, we have the police station also. So we’ll drop off brownies for them as well.

 

Valerie- So fun. Tell us a little bit about the main character, Nora, and what her main struggle is in this book.

 

Sonia- With Nora, she struggles, which I think some of us can relate to, with having just the perfect way or words to be able to express herself. Sometimes it’s gratitude, sometimes it's just that feeling of love, right? And so, as I said earlier, it’s a very personal story because I sometimes think, gosh, I just want, you know, it to be the perfect gesture. And what we realize and what my hope is that as kids read the story is that it doesn’t have to be something grand. It doesn’t have to be something costly. It can be something as simple as a written note, which I believe is just a lost art these days. And so it can just be thinking of you. It can be a thank you. And then for kids that are much younger who aren’t able to write full sentences or really letters or notes at this point, I encourage children to draw a picture. Just drawing a picture and giving that as a gift or I was thinking of you. So, you know, I drew this rainbow or I drew this heart or whatever it is and gave it, because I remember my son giving that to me even as a preschool and just filling my heart. He would write me very simple notes and leave them on my nightstand. He couldn’t write sentences at all, but he could write some of his letters. So he knew how to write the letter I. He had a funny way of writing a heart and he knew how to write the letter U. And he would leave I love you notes for me on my door next to my bed. And, that just fills our hearts, right? And so even as chill, as young as they are, they can impact and encourage others, even adults.



Valerie- Oh, so sweet, day his wife will get the benefit of that love. He’s set up well to be a sweet husband. No, I love that you think about pictures and that it doesn’t have to be grand and big or expensive, but sometimes it’s just a simple smile, or hug. You mentioned drawing pictures. When my youngest was I think three or four at the time, he took a picture he colored to our pediatrician and gave it to her. And to this day five or six years later she still talks about this picture that he gave her. It’s just so sweet. It’s fun to see that kids naturally want to encourage and to do things. They will find a way to do it in their way, right?”



2 Corinthians 3:2-3 Verse

Sonia- Yes, and I think that’s what God has called us to do, right? I think he’s called us to one, love him. Love God and Love Others (Matthew 22:37-40). And that’s also just part of the inspiration for this book. It’s many scriptures, but the main one is from 2 Corinthians 3:2-3. It talks about how our lives are a letter to those around us. Written with ink but written by the Spirit of God. And so that’s how people will see the love of Jesus. That’s how they will perceive Christians and how they see Christ is the way we love. And so it’s not with ink, it’s with the Spirit of the Living God. And so that’s the Holy Spirit that is flowing in and through us. And so that’s also why in the book, you see that I use water imagery. That’s the Holy Spirit that’s moving to share that love.

 

Valerie- I love the water imagery that you use. And my kids enjoyed it too. She was at the pool, or she was at a water park. They kept wondering where Nora was going to be on the next page. They looked forward to finding out how water was going to play into the next page. And I think our words flow from the overflow of our heart, that wellspring of life within us. It reminded me a lot of that Proverbs 4:23 verse. Also, that reminder that what we intake is what we give out. And so that was fun to explore throughout your book. Now what turns the tide in Nora’s struggle?

 

Sonia- So, there is a point in the story where she sees her elderly neighbor, just having a difficult time sitting on her porch. And it just hits her that ‘hey, I can, I can go and write a simple note. She also had some leftover brownies that she decided to give as well. And that scene is a scene that is something we have done or do for our neighbor. We had a next-door neighbor, she has since moved to a nursing home, but at one time we still try to just share the love of Jesus with her. So taking that kind of experience that I and my kids have had and then putting that not the book and realizing it, because even my children have seen the difference a little note or some brownies can bring joy to someone’s heart and a smile to their face. And who doesn’t like chocolate?

 


brownies

Valerie- I’ve met a few and they confuse me greatly. I love that Nora really struggles with the desire to do things perfectly and then when she truly sees her neighbor struggling, her kindness comes so naturally. The spirit moves in her and she’s not hindered in any way to step out and offer those brownies, which she probably wanted to eat herself. I love that it was automatic. Nothing she thought about, just natural for her to step into those roles to encourage her neighbor. And I love that it comes from an actual personal experience for your family too. That’s a fun nugget about the book. Now both this book When Love Flows and your first book Bax and His Bubbles, deal with social-emotional learning. Why do you feel these concepts are so important in children’s literature?

 

Sonia- I think this a huge, in that when we were young, I don’t think these things were talked about. I don’t think we were just aware of how important social-emotional learning was and it impacted our day-to-day life. So I think now at least we are bringing more light to it between mental health awareness and just how emotions and our thoughts and all those different things that play into how we live life—one as an individual, as children being able to grasp those large concepts. So being able to put it into a picture book form makes it so that they can, and not even realize they’re learning. They don’t even realize that they’re able to take it and apply the concepts themselves whether it is in Bax and his Bubbles,

Bax and His Bubbles Cover

where they’re stopping to think of their thoughts as bubbles, right? Or even this where they can say, see, you know what I’m not too young to make a difference. I’m not too young to make a positive impact on those around me. So going back to social-emotional learning is something that I think we all can learn from, whether it’s a child or adult, but being able to put it into a picture book form and giving it space to have conversations with their children. That’s why I include in both books discussion questions, because I think it’s so important that we don’t just read the book. But in some of these books, such as my books there is a learning point, right? I mean I love silly books and I love to sit and laugh with my kids, but we need those books as well. In my books, I make sure to include discussion questions because I want to help parents, teachers, and therapists to have at least some questions to start with. Every child and every person is gonna take it and run with it in how they can apply it to their situation.

 

Valerie- I love that with those discussion questions, you also give some ideas of writing notes on Post-it notes and putting them around and you give some word prompts. Cause sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Sure I want to write a note to my teacher who has encouraged me and made science fun, but what do I say? So it’s neat that you’ve kind of given them a starting point to ask questions of, how did you feel about this? How did they make you feel? Then how can we encourage them with your feelings? I love that you’re putting the focus on the emotions as well as a focus on communicating and understanding emotions. Whether it’s our culture, whether it’s screens, or 2,800 million things, understanding emotions is important. Even like you said, growing up, it wasn’t something we talked about. We were told to stuff our emotions a lot, and we’ve seen the negativity that comes from that and we’re not wanting that for our kids. We want to equip them to understand their emotions healthily, process their emotions, and move forward so they don’t get stuck or stuffed.

 


family reading

Sonia- Yes, I think that is so true. And I think for helping them understand how it impacts them and impacts those around them, whether when we have a bad attitude, it’s not just us, it’s those around us that are going to feel it as well.

 

Valerie- At our house, we often say you are the barometer for the room. So wherever your emotions are, it’s going to affect everyone else in the room too. And so it’s like, ‘Do you need to go fix your barometer in your room? Cause it’s a little chilly in here. So that’s a need that you’re equipping not just kids but parents and caregivers and teachers and therapists with a tool to use to help with those conversations. And to empower young kids to know that they can do positive things. They can help their world. They can be a light in the craziness that’s around them for sure. Now tell us a little bit about your Sonia. When did your writing journey begin?

 

Sonia- So, I would say not till after I had kids. I never would have imagined myself as a writer, even growing up, even as a young adult, because I struggled with writing. It didn’t come easy to me. It still doesn’t. It's just God that’s working in me. And it’s his words, I believe. And thank God. In this book, I had a wonderful editor, a believer, same with my illustrator. I have to give props to both of them, just wonderful people that I feel prayed with me, through every one and every picture. It was just amazing. But the writing journey itself, was after I had my kids and I thought, you know what, I want to write for them initially. And that’s all it was. And I thought, you know they can keep this for themselves and their kids and so forth. Then one day God just put it on my heart to share it with the world. And so that’s when I ended up pursuing publishing Bax and His Bubbles. That was three years ago, so not long ago.

 

Valerie- That’s so fun, not that long, but you’ve come so far and created such great products and resources for kids too, which just shows where we are weak, God is strong and can push us to do His will, even if it’s not something that comes naturally to us. I love that part of your story, that you’re not a full-time author. You have another little gig that you do on the side, right? Tell us a little bit about that.

 

Pharmacist and elderly gentleman

Sonia- Yes, so I’m a pharmacist as well. I am blessed I get to work from home and do telehealth. So I get to call patients and I do what’s called medication therapy management. Most of my patients are elderly, and I love getting to talk to them and getting to be the liaison between them and their physicians. A lot of times doctors don’t have the time to spend and talk through each of their medicines and help their patients. And so I enjoy doing that as well. I specialize more in diabetes and hypertension, it’s something I love. I love being able to help in that aspect. I feel like I’m encouraging them in their health. And so in different ways, I know God is using me.

 

Valerie- I love that God has spurred you to be a resource and help both with your books and in your career as well. I love that you’re seeing him, how he has created you, and been willing to move into that and be obedient in how he wants to use you uniquely. Now, Sonia, what is the most impactful book in your life other than the Bible?

 

Sonia- Other than the Bible… I don’t know if I would be answering that truthfully because when I think of it, I vividly go back to myself sitting and reading that scripture that came off the page and that’s how I wrote this book. Same with my last book. I vividly remember studying Philippians and it came off the page and then daily just how when I’m struggling, when I’m having a hard time, I go back to scripture. What has impacted me and continues to impact me, is the Bible because yeah, I need it.

 

Valerie- I know what you mean. The Bible talks about giving us this day our daily bread, and I’m like I need to have God’s word on my plate, on my table every morning just to make sure my heart is in the right place and that I am willing to work with him. So I know the Bible is the most impactful book for most Christians, even in Christian authors’ lives. But if there was a second book that you would say I wish I could have only two books in my world, it would be the Bible and…

 

Dr. Sonia E. Amin Quote

Sonia- Oh gosh. Oh wow. Oh, there’s too many. There are too many. I feel like it depends on my mood. I’m like oh, there are really good parenting books, right? And there are really good marriage books and really good Bible studies…So I would say I remember, I mean, all of them are great, but Priscilla Shrier, who has so many different Bible studies that I love, but I think Discerning the Voice of God. I feel like that one was just, yeah, I feel like if I can sit in His presence and hear Him, then I can, I can, that helps me in every area of my life.

 


Discerning God's Voice Cover

Valerie- That was a very powerful study for sure. I remember that one and I love Priscilla Shrier. She always just gets to the heart of the matter, right? There’s no fluff. It’s God who says this. We always need that person in our life. It’s going to be like, no, this is not the way this is going to go. I’m like, oh, okay. Well, what can we expect next from you, Sonia?

 




Sonia- So I would like to continue to add to the social-emotional learning series. I do have so many other dreams and kings that God has placed in my heart, but I want to make sure that I’m staying sensitive to his guidance. So I’m praying about what he’s gonna have me do next specifically, but the goal is to add to the series. There are so many things I want to do. I would love to write a devotional. But there are many things I’m praying about right now.

 

Valerie- A good place to be, making sure you’re aligned with what God’s will is. And it’s an exciting place to be also. To have so many ideas and to be waiting for His perfect timing. That is exciting. Where can people find out more about you and your books, Sonia?

 

Sonia- So, they can go to my website www.soniaeamin.com they can also find me on Facebook and Instagram at Dr. Sonia E. Amin.

 

Valerie- So fun, I hope some of these listeners will seek you out. You always have some fun things to share with your audience and always great information and resources. I always appreciate that. Thank you so much for being here with us Sonia.

 

Sonia- Thank you for having me. I had such a great time. I appreciate it.

 

Valerie- And thank you for joining Sonia and me on this episode of the BookWorthy Podcast. Check out the recording either where you listen to podcasts or over on YouTube.

 

Happy Reading



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