Childhood, Mixed-Race Hair, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, Self-Esteem

Myrtle the Purple Turtle: Book Review

Blogger Friends: 

I was moved by this post by Erin Taylor on Facebook and wanted you to read it. I asked her permission to share it here. Erin and her family live in Southern Ontario. 


I’m so honoured to have had the chance to review the book, “Myrtle the Purple Turtle”, by Cynthia Reyes.  As an educator, and mother of young children, I really appreciate when I find a book that speaks to important social issues that our children should be aware of and taught about appropriately.

Having children of mixed race, I want to ensure that they embrace their unique qualities and are proud of who they are and who their parents are.

Blog Photo - Layla reading Myrtle

My daughter Layla has spent many mornings shedding tears over the fact that her hair is dark and curly. She wants straight, blond hair like most of her friends. We try to explain to her that her hair is what makes her unique!

A few months ago a lady came up to me and asked about Layla’s hair. She made comments about how she feels bad for her, for having hair like “that” and how much she must hate her curly hair. I was in complete shock! Not only were her comments inappropriate, but she also said them in front of Layla. These comments were very hurtful to a young child’s developing self esteem.

“Myrtle the Purple Turtle” is a wonderful story about a turtle who is ashamed of her colour. Myrtle was being made fun of for being a purple turtle, not a green turtle. The story takes you on a journey of the feelings Myrtle goes through after being ridiculed. In the end, she has friends that help her come to the realization that she is a beautiful, unique turtle, and should not be ashamed of who she is.

Blog Photo - Layla holding Myrtle

Thank you very much, Erin.

Note to Layla from Cynthia:

Layla, my dear, you are beautiful and unique, as is your gorgeous hair. When I was your age, my hair was big and bushy and not easy to comb. When I got older, my friends envied my thick, shiny hair!  It was beautiful all along, but I didn’t know it when I was little. #loveyourshell.


28 thoughts on “Myrtle the Purple Turtle: Book Review”

  1. Such a lovely review. And, dear Layla of the lovely hair, I am so pleased to see you speak Cat, and love Myrtle the Purple Turtle as much as I do. I think it might be fun to speak Turtle, too.

  2. …and I always wished I had curls. (My hair is stick straight.) I grew up on the prairie and wished for Mountains. Each place is beautiful as each person is beautiful. Thank you for this book and the conversations that are taking place.

  3. What a sad woman it is who would make such a comment — let alone make it in front of the child. Makes me angry but I have to keep telling myself she is to be pitied (although hopefully someone will kindly set her straight some day). Layla is such a beautiful girl and your book is wonderful and timely.

  4. A lovely post about the important message of us all being different and unique. And a beautiful child with beautiful hair.

  5. Layla has gorgeous hair. I spent my childhood dreaming about dark, shiny curls, mine was dead straight, limp and slightly ginger and I was called Pink Mouse. I am thrilled that reading about Myrtle has helped Layla to be happy in her own shell.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I am amazed at the number of people who are so self-UNaware and so easily say insensitive things. I just took issue with a “friend” who said something very negative about someone else who had been kind and neighborly. When I brought it to her attention, she said, “Calm down, I was only joking.” I didn’t let her get away with that and said that I could not overlook when barbs about people are cast about. What she was saying was not funny but very unkind. She got the point and apologized. So let’s not allow people to get away with this drek. Let’s correct them and teach them to do better, speak better and be positive. Again, thank you.

  7. How very nice of Erin to share Layla’s experience (and adorable photos.) Each one of us carries some trait or other which is unique, and which can be appreciated as a special part of what makes us “us” or … can be the target of someone who sees us as different from them, and worthy of their criticism. This kind of criticism, and bullying, at its core comes from fear. The more we accept each other’s uniqueness, the more we rise above. Go Myrtle!

  8. What a thoughtless and shocking thing to say about Layla to Erin! I am often amazed at the crassness of some peoples’ remarks. I am so pleased Erin chose to share her review of your lovely book, Cynthia!

  9. When I was a child, I wished I had curly locks like Layla’s beautiful head of hair. What a wonderful gift your book is to all the children of the world, dear Cynthia. It’s a gift to us big kids too. 🙂
    Blessings ~ Wendy

  10. Wow, it’s incredible how rude and insensitive people can be. Layla is beautiful! When I was a kid my mom inadverdently made me feel self-conscious about my straight, thin hair. So I always wanted curly hair! People need to learn to be satisfied with others as well as themselves. Where can I get a copy of this book?

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