“Dylan Damien (8) and Charlie (6)… talked about ‘friends’ and that ‘it’s OK to be different.’
“I have told many friends about how much I like this book. However, these are the best critics as the story is for them. I bet this becomes a go-to, cuddle-up book on those long Winter nights.”
Stefan Steen took the photo above of his wife Stephanie, their 3 children and Paula.
Paula and Stefan go way back to his childhood, when he and her son Damien were close friends. Sadly, Damien died young, but Stefan remained close to Paula and her husband Bert.
Stefan and Stephanie named their first child for Damien. Damien was known for giving the greatest hugs, and Paula says she is delighted that the kids have learned to give her “Damien hugs” too.
They are the grandchildren of her heart, she says.
Today, Paula and Bert are close to all three children, who call them “Oma”, and “Opa” (Dutch for “grandma” and “grandpa”).
A retired librarian and cultural connoisseur, Paula has an eye for great stories. She was the first person outside our family to read the draft of Myrtle, and therefore was its first reviewer.
“Children will love, relate and respond favourably to the humour and that light, underlying silliness that is their everyday language. I was smiling as I read some of the lines, descriptions and Myrtle’s thoughts.
“There are many teaching moments and issues in this book and you present them in such a warm and lovable way. It is simple but not simplistic, ethical, tackling issues that we so need to tackle today but without being pedantic.”
I respect Paula a lot, so you can imagine how much her critique encouraged not just me, but our whole family. And now, we’re glad to know that she has read it to her ‘grandchildren’ too.
Thank you, Paula, Stefan and Stephanie — and special thanks to our young critics!