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’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?
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Long before that book, however, Yvonne wrote two others.
“One crisp autumn morning after exiting the train, I walked briskly up University Avenue (in Toronto) to my office. I noticed a tiny park next door to a large courthouse, and a gang of squirrels were frolicking and having a good time there. The crab apple trees in the park had lost all their leaves.
“It was a beauty to see the slender branches covered with thousands of little ripe crab apples. Some were strewn on the ground and the squirrels were feasting on them. Suddenly, an idea came to me; write a children’s book about squirrels living in a city!”
But she couldn’t find a publisher. Last fall, she “dusted off the manuscripts, edited them”, found an illustrator and published the books herself.
TwoNosey Charlie books – for children 3 to 8 — were published earlier this year on Amazon’s platform, Createspace.
How is writing for children different than writing for adults? I asked.
“The big differences are―because it’s a children’s picture book―pictures show the readers a part of the story, therefore, there is no need to spell out everything in prose; you use fewer words. Each book has less than fifteen hundred words.
“You also have to be a bit more careful with the words you use. Although you never ‘talk down’ to children, at the same time you do not use too many big words, and you do not write long, complex sentences.”
As Yvonne enjoys the summer in her house and garden, there is still more news on the way.
A third Nosey Charlie book will be published in September .
Yvonne says: “I’ll keep writing the stories as long as I remain inspired and the readers continue to love Charlie.”