A Good Home, Bowmanville, Local credit union DUCA, Small towns

Storytime in Small-Town Ontario

If anyone wants to know why Bowmanville, a historic town east of Toronto, is becoming so popular with young families, retirees and those in-between — many moving from big centres — the pictures below are one reason:

Blog Photo - Father and Children at DUCA Storytime

Would you believe we’re in a bank?

Yes, and it’s Storytime!

Author Viki McDonald (“Coach Tate and Team Triple 8”) and I were invited to read our stories at Bowmanville’s DUCA credit union.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Vikki reading at DUCA

Blog Photo - Children and Storytime at DUCA1

Children and their parents sat comfortably on the blankets and comforters that the DUCA staff had spread on the floor.

Blog Photo - Girl listens at DUCA storytime

Blog Photo - Parents listens at DUCA storytime

Vikki and I sat in chairs made even more comfy with quilts that were made by the mother of DUCA manager Karen.

Are you feeling the small-town spirit yet?

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads book at DUCA storytime

We’d stop at times and ask the children questions about the storylines and they’d shout back answers, sometimes making everybody laugh.

Cupcakes and cookies were served.

The idea for a storytime came from staffer Meeghan, and was quickly accepted by Karen and the other staff. They approached me shortly after Myrtle the Purple Turtle was published. I was surprised, but also delighted.

Blog Photo - Cynthia and Timea at DUCA
Young Bowmanville resident Timea Williams with Cynthia Reyes

And now I’m going to embarrass myself a little.  When I first moved to this region a few years ago, I dropped into the DUCA branch. Taken aback by their kindness, I blurted out: “Are people here always THIS friendly?”

As you may know, I struggle with issues from a car accident, and one of them is that my brain doesn’t always co-operate with tasks that were once ridiculously easy. I also sometimes stutter and can’t get the words out clearly.  But the DUCA staff took it all in stride, and when my book “An Honest House” (which describes my efforts to learn to live with those issues) was published, I went in to share the news.

Their reaction was such that you would have thought I was family.

Blog Photo - Cynthia reads to children at DUCA

So as I think about it, perhaps Storytime in a bank — authors reading their stories and young families seated happily on the floor, listening — makes perfect sense.

And we all loved it. 

Thank you, DUCA staff! You’re wonderful.

Photos by Hamlin Grange.


A Good Home, Book Honours, Book Readers, Books, Must-read books of the year

Myrtle Makes “The List”

The news today is that Myrtle has made “The List” — CQI Magazine’s list of must-read books. This is thrilling news indeed and we are very grateful.

At the end of the year, I also want to warmly acknowledge:

  • Reviewers and journalists who’ve shone a spotlight on Myrtle the Purple Turtle and helped make it a bestseller
  • Book-buyers who purchased a copy for their family, friends, local schools, libraries and charities — and some who sent me such delightful photos
  • Teachers who are using Myrtle to instil in their students the value of compassion, respect, self-acceptance and friendship 
  • Librarians who have bought copies of the book for their members
  • All of you who have supported my family and illustrator Jo Robinson along our unusual journey to publishing the story of Myrtle. That includes you — my blogging, Facebook and Twitter friends, who have cheered us on.


I wish you a healthy and rewarding new year.

A Good Home, Children's Books, Illustrated Books, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, New Children's Books

Purple Toenails and … Myrtle Becomes French?


I’m moving at the speed of turtles this week (to quote Oscar at Hermit’s Door), but it’s been a turtally wonderful time for Myrtle (to quote Gallivanta).


First: Is this not the sweetest face?  

Blog Photo - Myrtle book held by Aggeliki - 6 yrs old - mother Theano takes photo

Meet Aggiliki, 6, whose photo was taken by mom Theano, of Whitby, Ontario. Thank you, Theano and Aggiliki, for this delightful photo, and for loving Myrtle the Purple Turtle! 


Second: Myrtle has been translated into French, thanks to Jean Long and Jessica Charnock.

When they first read Myrtle the Purple Turtle, Jessica noticed that Jean was translating the words into French as he read.  They quickly offered to do a written translation for publication, and of course I said, “Yes, thank you very much!”

Blog Photo - Jean and Jessica

You may remember Jean and Jessica. A French-Canadian couple, he’s a former teacher and vice-principal, and she’s a former high fashion model, secretary and wine importer. Both are extremely creative (see my blog posts about their remarkable creations). 

Myrtle will also get a French name! More on that later.


Blog Photo - St Thomas' Church Ext New and Old

Third: At my family church, St. Thomas’ Anglican in the village of Brooklin (northeast of Toronto),  7 year old Makayla marched up to me this morning.  She clearly and politely requested her very own copy of Myrtle, paid for it, and waited as I signed it.

Blog Photo - Myrtle fan at St Thomas church

It was part of a successful fundraising book-sale at St. Thomas’ today. Money raised will benefit the parish’s good works. 


Fellow author Paul Mason also kindly contributed books to the sale. We both feel privileged to do this.  Our families have both experienced the loving kindness for which this church is known.

Blog Photo - St Thomas' Church LOVE stained glass
Above 4 photos by Hamlin Grange

Fourth, Myrtle has been blessed with more positive reviews.  I’m over the moon with gratitude to these terrific bloggers who took the time to read Myrtle the Purple Turtle recently and review it. This is a magnificent gift and I thank you all:

Sally Cronin

Wendy Macdonald


Sheryl Normandeau

Oscar Larson


And finally, an elegant, well-known friend of mine, who — to protect the guilty — shall only be identified as Rita D, decided to one-up my friend Mandy and me after we painted our fingernails purple. Yes, she had her toenails painted purple.

Blog Photo - Myrtle and Rita Purple Nails

Having recently recovered from injuring her leg, Rita decided to celebrate by  getting a pedicure, and she chose purple to honour Myrtle.

Mandy and I are pleased to be one-upped by you, Rita. Thank you!

So there we go. A series of events that have a certain purple turtle — and tons of loving kindness — in common.

Be well, my friends! Thanks always for being there.




A Good Home, Children's Books, Myrtle The Purple Turtle, New Books, Self Accetpance



Blog Photo - Myrtle Love your shell

From my first day in front of the cameras at CBC TV (Canada’s public broadcaster) to now as an author, I have often squirmed at pictures of myself.

Blog Photo - Cynthia
Photo by Arna Sloan

So, of course, I agonised about posting a new profile photo on Facebook recently. What could I choose that represents who I am? 

Unlike my  more sophisticated author photo, the photo below is me without the fixin’s — unvarnished, no makeup.

“Look at my weird eyebrows!” I wailed to myself. “And my eyes look so tired and wrinkly!”

Then my inner “Myrtle” took over. 

I overcame my fears about looking not quite good enough — and published  the photo because it felt like me.

Photo - Cynthia without makeup
Photo by Hamlin Grange

My friends loved it. Even my hairdresser Lorna replied — for the first time ever — to my Facebook page.

My daughter Lauren says it’s a reminder to “Love Your Shell”.  Love what makes you different; love what makes you you!

Meanwhile, Myrtle the Purple Turtle will be published on October 9 — that’s just days away. The responses from previewers and blogger friends have been wonderful. I’ve never had this happen before a book was published.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle Cover

The print version of Myrtle will be officially on sale on October 9. Here’s the preorder link for the Kindle listing.

As we get closer to the big day, Lauren and I had this thought:

We invite you to share a photo or story about what makes you YOU, using the hashtag #loveyourshell. Whether it’s you in the garden in your sweatpants, in the kitchen, hanging out with family, curled up reading a book, walking the dog – if it’s you being you, please share it! I believe when you #loveyourshell you give others the courage to love themselves, too. We can all use a little self-love. 

Thank you and — Love your shell!