A Good Home, Children's Books, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, New Books, Translation, Vertu la tortue violette

Myrtle On The Move

The little purple turtle returns!

Myrtle — who lived in our family’s hearts for 28 years, captured the imagination of S. African illustrator Jo Robinson, then, in the last year, charmed thousands of children and adults around the world — is on the move.

First, she returns this autumn as “Vertu”, in French.  The text was translated by Myrtle-lovers Jean Long and Jessica Charnock, that creative duo whom you’ve met on this blog.

Here’s Jo’s draft of the cover:

Myrtle Vertu Cover French

Then Jessica emailed: Would Jo and I permit her to make a wall hanging of Myrtle? 

Jo and I were giddy with excitement, of course, and Jessica proceeded to hook the Myrtle the Purple Turtle rug.

And what-do-you-know?  Her wall hanging won “honourable mention” at the huge show and conference of the Ontario Hooking Craft Guild last May in our nation’s capital! Congrats, Jessica!

blog-photo-myrtle-hooked-rug-magazine-cover.jpg

In the just-released Autumn issue of the Guild’s magazine, Myrtle’s story and wall hanging merit a whole page of their own.

Blog Photo - Myrtle Hooked rug magazine inside story

Jo’s joyful response:

“I was blown away the first time I saw that fabulously-made Myrtle wall hanging. It is awesome that the Purple Turtle part of Cynthia Reyes’ lovely and loving family is honoured in such a way and by such a talented artist – Myrtle is a great and brave little purple soul and deserves it. Huge thank-you to Jessica and congratulations on placing in the competition! It will always be first with me!”

blog-photo-myrtle-hooked-rug-jessica-and-myrtle-and-me-in-magazine.jpg

There’s a Myrtle sequel already written. Daughter Lauren joined me this time to write it, and Jo, despite a challenging year, is doing her part  again — she’s well on her way with the illustrations and we expect the book to be published within weeks.

It appears that when Myrtle seizes the heart, inspiration strikes. Jessica, Jean, and our entire family are cheering Jo on as she approaches the finish-line with her part of the story.

Will keep you updated!

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Myrtle Goes to Ottawa

That Myrtle!

Our favourite purple turtle is set for another excellent adventure.

Blog Photo - Myrtle1

Myrtle the Purple Turtle will be on display this Spring at the Annual Conference of the OHCG (Ontario Hooking Craft Guild) in our nation’s capital.

That’s both Myrtle-the-book and Myrtle-the-star of a wonderful hooked rug. 

Myrtle Book Cover

Blog Photo - Myrtle Rug 2

The creator of the rug is Jessica Charnock. If her name sounds familiar, that’s because she and Jean Long are the couple who are translating Myrtle into French. (Coming this spring.)

“There will be a show of rugs from all over the province and our group, as usual, will be represented,” says Jessica.  “And that’s where Myrtle will be, together with the book.  Our Area Representative loved the idea.”

Blog Photo - Jessica making rug

Jessica started hooking rugs in 1996. Myrtle is # 69 in a journey of beautiful creations. 

“I fell in love with an old Grenfell rug that belonged to a friend and which she later gave to me.  I knew then that I had to learn this craft.  I found out about a group of hookers in Cobourg and they were happy to introduce me to the craft which I picked up right away and learned very quickly. 

Lac Baker

“Of course, the fact that my home is a century + old log house, I chose to hook my rugs in a more primitive style. 

“At first, of course, I was hooking them for ourselves, then when I realized that friends and family liked them, I made some for family and friends. Some were also given as wedding presents and some were made on commission.” 

Blog Photo - Jessica Charnock Hooked Rug -Portage

The piece below captures part of family history:

Blog Photo - Jessica Phillip Long Homestead

“My husband’s ancestor Philip Long — a Scottish soldier, a King’s mail courrier — built this establishment at the mouth of Madawaska river on Temiscouata-sur-le-Lac in Cabano, Quebec. This was an inn where travellers would stop overnight on their long trip from Quebec  to Fredericton, New Brunswick.”

Every rug has a story.

“I hooked this rug (below) from a photograph which was taken when we first purchased our canoe in 1969 from Chief Dan Sarrazin of the Golden Lake Reserve, the builder of canoes.  It is an authentic Algonquin birch bark canoe which is still in our possession. 

Blog Photo - Jessica Man and Boy in Canoe

“About three years ago, we became curious and decided to go back to Golden Lake Reserve with the photograph and see if we could locate the little boy, the Chief’s son, who was about 10 at the time.  We did meet with a few people and it finally was the librarian who identified the boy.  We were lucky to meet with him and as soon as we showed him the photograph he recognized himself and we had a lovely visit with him.  He was then 45 years old.” 

As you can imagine, Myrtle’s illustrator Jo Robinson and I are doubly-honoured with both Jessica’s rendition of Myrtle and its inclusion in the OHCG’s annual conference.

 

Blog Photo - Myrtle Rug 2

Jo’s reaction:

“Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! That is the most brilliant thing! A bit over-excited here, but that really is the most amazing feeling that someone did that.”

Ditto!

Myrtle and other gorgeous hooked rugs from across Ontario will be displayed at the Ottawa Conference & Event Centre, May 4 to 6.    

Huge thanks to my dear friend Jessica and the OHCG.

~~

Photos by Jessica Charnock

(Loghouse photo by Hamlin Grange)

 

A Good Home, Courtice North Public School, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, Myrtle The Purple Turtle in the Schools, Young readers

A Great Morning with Young Readers

I spent a recent morning with dozens of young people at Courtice North Public School in Ontario.

Their teachers had included Myrtle the Purple Turtle in their recent studies. Principal Peter Bischoff invited me to visit.

Blog Photo - School Cynthia holds book and talks to students

I was nervous!

Writing for your readers is one thing. Hearing them talk about your book — and answering their questions — is quite another.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle

And though I’d won awards and acclaim for my children’s TV programs in earlier years, it’s been a long time since I visited a classroom.

The first thing I noticed was that Mrs. Murphy, the teacher who introduced me, treated the students with great respect, addressing them as “Ladies and gentlemen”.

When you are nine or ten years old and are addressed as “Ladies and gentlemen”, what do you do? You live up to it, of course.

Blog Photo - School students 1

Wow. What a smart, polite and thoughtful group. Their observations about the book’s key messages about difference, the role of friends, and accepting oneself and others, were sharp and eloquent.

We talked together about why “the mean turtle” behaved so badly toward Myrtle and whether that turtle might have herself been bullied and considered it normal to be mean.

That led us to talk about a sequel.

Myrtle Picture - Thud

“We followed Myrtle through her day and saw what happened before she met the other turtle,” one astute young woman noted.

“But we didn’t follow the other turtle before she and Myrtle met. Maybe the sequel could tell us more about what happened before to make her so mean.”

“But the story is about Myrtle the Purple Turtle, so if you (focus on) the other turtle, you’d have to change the title of that book to ‘The Mean Green Turtle'”, a young man observed. 

Blog Photo - School student writes

As you can imagine, the discussion was intensive and fabulous. Mrs. Murphy had asked me to talk a bit about the writing process. Discussing the characters and story development for the sequel was one practical way of doing so.

Blog Photo - School Cynthia holds book and talks to students

My great thanks to each and all of the students.

To principal Peter Bischoff, and the teachers of Grades 4, 5 and 6  — Mrs. Fedewicz, Mrs. Posteraro, Mrs. Durst and Mrs. Murphy: 

Thank you for using my book as a learning tool and thanks for your warm welcome.  You made my week!

Thanks to Jennifer Pym-Murphy for the photos. 

Book lovers, Book Readers, Canadian life, Children, Myrtle The Purple Turtle

Siblings Reading

There’s something about watching a child read a book you wrote.

It warms the heart.

That intense concentration, that look that says the rest of the world doesn’t exist right now.

Reading was like that for me as a child — I got entirely lost in the worlds of the books I read. 

Myrtle - Boys reading

Meet Jian Noa, 10, and younger brother Taj, 7. The brothers attend a French school in Toronto. Taj has been teaching himself to read in English and was proud to be able to read Myrtle.

They and their loving grandmother brought the book for me to autograph, and Taj read the book to me, and we all had a great visit.

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and child

Earlier, at a Christmas party hosted by friends in the countryside northwest of Toronto, I had the pleasure of meeting two other readers. In the middle of a room filled with adults — talking, drinking, eating appetizers, moving around — I noticed two children sitting on a sofa reading Myrtle.

Siblings Claire, 6 and Josh, 8, were totally absorbed in the book.

They read every page to each other as if they were the only people in the room.

When I asked what they thought of the book, they both responded with “I loved it.” When I asked why, Claire said: “I love the pictures and all the colours.”

Josh’s response nearly took my breath away: “I loved it because it teaches kids that it’s not how you look, it’s how nice you are that matters”.

Wow. Isn’t that wonderful?

 #loveyourshell 💜