Myrtle the Purple Turtle

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Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Myrtle the Purple Turtle is the first, of I hope will be many, children’s books in the Weaverback Press stable. I’ll tell you more about Weaverback soon.

This is a very special story, and is already doing great things. Children all over are absolutely loving it, and it has had only glowing reviews, as well as lots of wonderfully complimentary communications with Cynthia from top educators and librarians. There is so much hatred and cruelty in this world of ours, and sometimes we unintentionally teach our children that any kind of different to what we are is not quite right. It’s not always easy to show our children that we are actually all just the same, and little ones get hurt all the time for being different in all sorts of different ways. Cynthia has made it a lot easier with her little purple love. Apart from the educational power of this story, it is a tale of love and of friendship that all can enjoy for what it is—a wonderful childhood adventure.

I fell in love with Myrtle the very first time I read through the story. My heart broke a little when the mean turtle laughed at her simply because she was purple, and then her fabulous mother and friends healed it right up again for me. Myrtle’s creator, Cynthia Reyes, had sent it over to me with a view to me illustrating it. I really wanted to do it, but as I had never before illustrated a whole book before it was most definitely a leap of faith for both of us. It’s odd being terrified of taking something on at the same time as just knowing that it’s meant to be. As things turned out, Myrtle became real right out of the gates. She must have been hanging around in the ether since she was first dreamed into being by Cynthia many years ago, and become even more real as Cynthia and her lovely family told and retold Myrtle’s tale.

The entire process has been a learning curve for all of us, but Myrtle actually taught me a major lesson. I’m confident with my writing ability—that is definitely my comfort zone, and I can’t think of any part of anything to do with writing that frightens me in any way—I love all of it. I’m also confident with my work with putting books together and getting them published for Indie authors. That stuff all takes me to my happy place, but art was another animal altogether. I’ve always loved it, but have never, ever attended any sort of art class—not even at school level. As a teenager I had it in my head that any “real” artist should be able to paint anything from straight out of their head, and that what they produced should be pretty much photographic quality. I, on the other hand, loved drawing dragons, fairies, and Disney folk and flora, which ornate as they were, didn’t strike me as proper art at all. Then Myrtle arrived and showed me that putting the adventures of gorgeous little purple turtles into images in the pages of real books is most certainly art, and she is very real to me, bless her little purple heart.

I was hoping, as I completed the final image in the book of Myrtle and her friends heading off to the big pond, that that wouldn’t be the last I’d see of her, and I’m very, very pleased to tell you that Cynthia has let me know that not only will there be a French translation very shortly, but also another adventure for Myrtle and friends early in 2018. I can’t wait to see what she gets up to next!

Below is the story of how Myrtle came to be.

Cynthia has two daughters. One day her four year old daughter Lauren came home crying.
She had brought her “Cabbage Patch®” doll, Quentin, to nursery school, but the other children refused to play with Lauren and him because of Quentin’s skin colour.
The children had never seen a dark-skinned doll before, and thought he was dirty.
Lauren, who also has brown skin, felt hurt.
Quentin used to go everywhere with her, and slept on her bed beside her. Now, she would not bring Quentin anywhere with her.
Cynthia, her husband Hamlin, and older daughter Nikisha all tried to comfort Lauren, but she was still hurt. So Cynthia made up a story about a turtle who was purple (purple was Lauren’s favourite colour).
Myrtle the Purple Turtle became a favourite story in the family. With each telling, the family helped improve the story through their questions and suggestions. Myrtle the Purple Turtle served as an effective way for the family to talk about differences in not only skin colour, but several other differences as well.
Weeks before Christmas, Lauren surprised the family by requesting “a black doll” as her gift. Such dolls were so rare back then, that the story of the family’s difficult search and ultimate success was featured in Canada’s largest newspaper, The Toronto Star, and revisited in a follow-up story in 2015.
Cynthia and her family decided to publish the story of Myrtle to give parents, grandparents, and teachers a way to talk to children about difference.

Click on the cover image to buy your copy of Myrtle, and visit Cynthia’s website to find out more about this awesome lady and her fabulous turtle.



51 thoughts on “Myrtle the Purple Turtle

    Stephen Liddell said:
    November 1, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Myrtle the Purple Turtle looks like a wonderful read and a fabulous project for you too Jo. Well done to you and Cynthia 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Thank you Stephen – looking forward to Star Trek!


    Annette Rochelle Aben said:
    November 1, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    What a terrific collaboration here. A beautiful end result and yes, keep on keeping on! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Thank you Annette! You inspire me every day with your fabulous angel messages – I’m keeping on for sure. X

      Liked by 1 person

    Jane Fritz said:
    November 1, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    This is the kind of book our kids need more of. Bravo, Jo. I hope sales go really well. I’m about to place my order.

    Liked by 2 people

      Jane Fritz said:
      November 2, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Jo, when ordering this from (and another book by the same author, it sounded so good), I came to realize that the author is Canadian. Even better! 😉 How did the two of you hook up over such a distance?

      Liked by 1 person

        jorobinson176 responded:
        November 9, 2017 at 6:21 pm

        I reckon it was synchronicity. Cynthia is one awesome – and I’ve lately discovered quite beloved in Canada – lady. I feel strongly on the subject but only found out how important Myrtle was after the fact. Love them both. X

        Liked by 2 people

    The Story Reading Ape said:
    November 1, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Thoughts, a revealed hidden talent and great news, from, Jo Robinson – Author, Editor, eBook Formatter & Children’s Picture Book Illustrator…

    Liked by 3 people

    Annika Perry said:
    November 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Jo, congratulations on these illustrations and no doubt you already know I’m a great fan of the book, loving the drawings and story. Congratulations also for stepping out of your comfort zone…you can’t tell as these are so accomplished and have a huge visual impact! It’s got the stage where I’m now dreaming of Myrtle!! 😀😀 I love the emblem for your publishing stable…and how the name is presented!

    Liked by 4 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you Annika! She is fabulous and will be launching in all her purple glory again soon. X

      Liked by 1 person

    Jack Eason said:
    November 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Love the artwork Jo. 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

    Alethea Kehas said:
    November 1, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    I’m very much looking forward to receiving my copy in the mail soon. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    HESTER said:
    November 1, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    So Very Awesome to hear from you my Dearest Jo,

    Seems like for ever that we have seen & spoken to each other.

    Do keep well & know i am always praying and believing with you for Just the Best,

    Love you Lots, Like Jelly Tots, Keep well & God Bless you always,

    Love you tooo much

    Hester xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:28 pm

      My gorgeous friend – we will most certainly have cake together soon – with lots of jelly tots! Love you and God bless you always. XXXX


    olganm said:
    November 1, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Beautiful and a lovely story, both the story itself and the story behind the book. Congratulations to Cynthia and to you Jo and all the best.

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Cynthia is an amazing teacher of children and her whole family are wonderful. Lauren, who Myrtle was created for, is so gorgeous and successful it’s hard to imagine that unhappy baby girl. A triumph for Cynthia indeed! Looking forward to hearing your news! X


    Jack Eason said:
    November 2, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Check out Jo’s brilliant artwork. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you for sharing Jack- mwah! X

      Liked by 1 person

        Jack Eason said:
        November 9, 2017 at 6:36 pm

        Its my pleasure Jo. How are you. Haven’t heard from you for ages?? 😉 x


          jorobinson176 responded:
          November 9, 2017 at 6:52 pm

          I’ve been in an alternate universe I reckon – had to morph a bit. I’m back now – strong – and still loving you lots! Been catching up today. Niburu latest – ack – ha haa! XXXX

          Liked by 1 person

    apocalypseandbeyond said:
    November 2, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks for following my blog; you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    danniehill said:
    November 2, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Wonderful, Jo!

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Wonderful to meet you – look forward to interesting future chats. 🙂


      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:39 pm

      Bugger! Sorry Dannie – this whole small phone big finger thing is dodgy. Thank you! XXX


    russtowne said:
    November 2, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    My immediate family of five represents cultures and skin tones from three continents. This story certainly resonates with me. Congratulations to Myrtle and all who brought her to life!

    Liked by 2 people

      jorobinson176 responded:
      November 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm

      Thank you Russ. I do follow your blog and your great love for your family always makes me smile and inspires me. X


    Don Massenzio said:
    November 3, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out the book, Myrtle the Purple Turtle, Written by Cynthia Reyes and illustrated by Joe Robinson. and discover how the book came to be in this post from Jo Robinson’s blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    Tina Frisco said:
    November 3, 2017 at 4:12 am

    This is a beautiful post for an outstanding book. Well done, Jo and Cynthia ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

    Carol Balawyder said:
    November 8, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    A beautiful story with stunning illustrations!

    Liked by 2 people

    Equipping said:
    November 9, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for being such a nice person.

    Liked by 2 people

    delphini510 said:
    November 11, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Jo, lovely to see you back and a big thank you for your follow.
    I already loved your work and as I bought the book about Myrtle have had a chance to see it close up.😊
    Your logo for Weaverbeck Press is great!! Congratulations.

    You and Weaverback go on growing strong and good.

    Liked by 2 people

    […] Two bloggers who I have been following enthusiastically ever since I joined this magical world of the blogosphere have addressed this topic of diversity in children’s lit in different ways very recently. Jo Robinson, a blogger who lives in South Africa and has published books more in the science fiction genre, is the professional illustrator of a new children’s book called Myrtle the Purple Turtle. I was delighted to discover this book through Jo’s blog and subsequently find that the author, Cynthia Reyes, is Canadian. I am now the proud owner of a copy of this charming book (along with an excellent “grown-up” book by Cynthia Reyes called A Good Home), and I’m looking forward to reading Myrtle to my young Syrian friends tomorrow afternoon. I highly recommend you taking a look at Jo’s blog introducing Myrtle the Purple Turtle. […]

    Liked by 1 person

    Bette A. Stevens said:
    November 13, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    Congrats on the fabulous illustrations for Myrtle the Purple Turtle, Jo! I downloaded a copy of Cythia’s book last week and highly recommend! ❤ xo

    Liked by 2 people

    […] Edited by Jo Robinson […]

    Liked by 1 person

    The Crazy Crone said:
    December 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Lovely, Jo – extra special as purple is my favourite colour!


    […] Edited by Jo Robinson […]


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