Myrtle the Purple Turtle

My first childhood memory of school was being bullied by my peers for having a black doll. I was 4 years old and my black cabbage patch doll Quentin, was in my opinion, the bees knees.. until some kids in my class called him dirty and said they wouldn’t play with me if I had Quentin with me. This hurt – a lot.

My 4-year-old self believed Quentin was a character in his own right and his skin colour resembled so many people in my family. But wanting to fit in and make friends, I started leaving Quentin at home and eventually my parents caught on. I don’t remember much from that time but I do remember feeling like I didn’t belong, that I was different and there was something wrong with me that made me different. You can read more about the story here, but what the story doesn’t mention is Myrtle.

My mum, Cynthia Reyes, me and Quentin. This photo was featured in the Toronto Star story, circa 1990, about my parent’s search for a black doll.

In an attempt to make me feel less alone, my mum (Cynthia Reyes,Β author extraordinaire) wrote a bedtime story for me about a purple turtle named Myrtle. Being purple, Myrtle was quite different from the other turtles at the pond. Myrtle tries to change her appearance to fit in and her loved ones comfort her, letting Myrtle know that what makes her different makes her special. She is awesome. And looking different from others is A-OK.

I loved this story. It resonated with me, gave me comfort, confidence, and hello – she’s purple (purple was 4-year-old Lauren’s favourite colour). This story was my jam and it inspired me to embrace what made me different from my peers. I carried Quentin with pride and asked Santa for another black doll that Christmas.

Nearly 28 years later, Myrtle is about to be shared with the world. Myrtle the Purple Turtle will be hitting bookshelves on October 9, 2017 and to say I’m excited would be an understatement.

Myrtle the Purple Turtle Cover
Cover of “Myrtle the Purple Turtle”. Children’s story written by Cynthia Reyes with illustrations by Jo Robinson.

Acceptance and self-love never go out of style and it’s never too early to start instilling the importance of both in children. I think now, with everything negative (and at times, terrifying) happening in the world, the message of Myrtle the Purple Turtle is very much needed.

To get your copy of Myrtle the Purple Turtle, visit It’s also available onΒ Kindle.

lauren reyes grange




34 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Cynthia Reyes – Author and commented:
    I’m moved by what my daughter Lauren – who inspired Myrtle’s story — has to say on her blog this week.

    1. Beautifully said. What an extraordinary family, all of you.

      1. Thanks very much for that lovely and kind comment.

  2. Your mother is a special lady! I enjoy her blog very much.

    1. Couldn’t agree more πŸ™‚ thanks for stopping by, Jo Nell!

  3. Your Mom had mentioned your story to me as the inspiration of her forthcoming children’s book, and I very much look forward to it. Myrtle’s story sure is needed now – more than ever, I agree – Current times are becoming more regressive and frightening on a daily basis. Hopefully, Myrtle can change some minds. Jeanne

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. I’m hopeful that it will. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  4. Who could not love purple and all the colors? Lovely – inspiration, books, and mom

    1. Agreed and thank you! πŸ™‚

  5. I think kids of all colors (and ages) are going to love it!

    1. I think so, too πŸ™‚ Thanks for the support!

  6. Gallivanta says:

    I am so happy to welcome Myrtle to the wider world. My daughter was/is different (as we all are, really). Only last night, she was telling me how and when she lost her self-love. Maybe at 33, even she’s not to old to read Myrtle.

    1. I’m really sorry to hear your daughter lost her self-love. It’s never too late to gain it back. Sending love to both of you. ❀

      1. Gallivanta says:

        Thank you, Lauren. I do agree with you.

  7. pix & kardz says:

    got here via your mom’s blog – she has a certain way with words, and i am sure this book will be wonderful – beautiful, as well as filled with a timeless message that very obviously needs to be retold again and again.
    thanks for sharing this poignant back story. may the book find its way into the hearts of many, many kids and kids-at-heart!

    1. Thanks so much for supporting my mum and her work. We are all looking forward to Myrtle! πŸ™‚

  8. It’s lovely to meet you Lauren, after being blogging friends with your mother. It was great to read about the background to Myrtle and I’m glad this story helped you to be proud of who you are.

    1. Thanks so much, Andrea. It’s so wonderful to see how much love there is between my mum and her blogging friends. You guys are quite the special community ❀

  9. What a beautiful story and, as you say, one that never goes out of date. We’re all different in one way or another. As a side note, I do so enjoy your Mom’s blog! πŸ™‚

    1. We sure are πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by, Linda!

  10. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Meet Cynthia’s daughter, Lauren – and learn the reason why Myrtle the Purple Turtle was created.
    The book (illustrated beautifully by my lovely friend and Author, Jo Robinson) is now available for Pre-Order.

    1. Thanks for the support! πŸ™‚

      1. My pleasure, Lauren πŸ‘πŸ˜ƒ

  11. Lyn Horner says:

    Lovely story of a mother’s love for her daughter! Being different is never easy, especially for children. I was (am) different due to a physical disability and was terribly self-conscious as an adolescent and teen. More than once, other kids poked fun at me for walking “funny.” It hurt. Thank God my father, from whom I got my hereditary disability, instilled in me a strong resilience that carried me through those tough times.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Lyn and thank God for parents who love their kids so much that their kids learn to love themselves, too ❀

  12. Awesome! Sharing… πŸ™‚ xo

  13. What a great story!! #loveyourshell xo

  14. equipsblog says:

    Myrtle the Purple Turtle sails over the hurtles. Go Myrtle! Great blog post.

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