The Beauty in All of Us

I returned to South Africa at the beginning of this year after an absence of more than five years. I had left to work overseas 12 years before and returned a few times for vacation only.

I am staying with my parents in a beautiful seaside town called ‘Jeffreys Bay’.

As children we would spend at least one vacation every year in Jeffreys Bay and one of our favorite activities was combing the beach for seashells.

Years later I still look for seashells to collect when I am on the beach. Recently I have become aware of the fact that we always seek out the best and most perfect seashells for our collections discarding any which have the slightest damage as being ‘imperfect’ or ‘not good enough’.


While I also only used to pick up seashells which fit my definition of perfection as far as seashells go, I found myself keeping shells which were less than perfect. My primary reason for doing so was that they still looked nice in some ways but they also offered experiential and educational value for our daughters who could see the inside of seashells by looking at the broken shells.

The thought subsequently crossed my mind of how we either choose to pursue a friendship or relationship or discard people and their potential based on one meeting with them.

Many factors go into our decision aside from race, culture and religion. We may be attracted or interested in people because they are beautiful or handsome, fat or thin, have a disability or not, wear glasses or not, are male or female, have or can give us something we want, or, perhaps least of all, because we like them for who they are despite our first impressions and their outward appearances.


Even worse, we judge some cultures, races and religions based on hearsay and articles we read and see in the media despite never having met anyone from that specific culture, religion or race. When we do subsequently meet someone whom we have judged based on what we have read and heard, our first reaction is then to apply the judgment we already hold to them as opposed to being open to change our minds.

Diversity between us is a fact of life. We need to accept it. We need to accept that it does not in fact only exist between people of different races, cultures, religions or any other category we may establish.

Diversity is a fact affecting each and every one of us. We may be of same race or nationality but not one person in any system of classification we establish, is the same. You are different from your spouse or partner. Your children are different from you and each other. We are all individuals.

Why then are we prepared to tolerate our own flesh and blood but not others who differ from us in their views and values? Are we willing to overlook our differences as family because of the genetic bond between us? Can we forgive our own family because they are our family and we do not wish to accept that we can be wrong?

We look upon our children and partners habits and characteristics fondly, lovingly and proudly, eager to tell others about the unique traits that make them successful and unique in our eyes. We do so even if their behavior goes against what we have tried to teach them and would normally condone.

But if it is someone else’s child or partner, we will become judgmental of them and often distance ourselves from them. This will grow into a dislike to the extent that we will not agree with anything which they do and may subsequently extend to their family.

This attitude creates limits us and our lives. If we were to recognize each and every person as an individual and accept them for who they are we would have much larger circles of friends and be more accommodating and respectful to our fellow human beings. We would stop considering ourselves as separate from others and work together easier and more willingly to achieve common goals for with everyone’s interest at heart.

We could then truly accept each other by seeing the soul within everyone as opposed to identifying with the verbal and visual definition of each other. After all, this is how we live our own lives. We identify with our external appearance, our material wealth, our careers, and more. This is not who we are though, and nor is it who anyone else is. People are not their race, their jobs or their car.

But while the world is changing, borders are disappearing and acceptance of others improving, there is still much work for us as the older generations on our planet to do. But despite the work we have to do with ourselves and each other, we can ensure that our children do not make the same mistakes by teaching them to accept and respect others despite any diversity. The way we would have liked to have been taught.

We have the potential to take a “giant leap for mankind” of a different sort from one generation to the next if we were teach our children differently from as early an age as possible. It is simply a choice we need to make to create the change we would like to see.

And while we may argue that it takes many people to create the momentum by deciding to teach their children differently, it all starts with your decision now. And that of the next person and the next as they are influenced by articles such as this and life experiences which are shared, talked about and taught to our children.

As our children go forth to their schools daily, they will live their lives as the models we create and so the acceptance of differences and diversity will increase until the diversity in all of us becomes the accepted norm and the views which separate us into judgmental, fearful communities and groups become the new diversity we seek to live without.

Some of the children’s books which are relevant to the topic of diversity in some way or another are:

The Singing Mermaid by Julia Donaldson.


This is the story of a mermaid blessed with the ability to sing beautifully. She is found by a circus master and lured into joining the circus by his false promises which take advantage of her naiveté.

This delightful book is an excellent example of our need to own and have the things we like regardless of the cost of our selfishness to others. It demonstrates how, so often, mankind exploits and takes advantage of those who less educated or aware as a result of the need for personal gain. Exploitation of others can be between individuals or nations and often diversity has a role to play.

Two Dumb Ducks by Maxwell Eaton.


Our eldest daughter loved this book so much she memorized every word before she could read. This book is a classic when it comes to teaching children about diversity and bullying which can occur as a result of it. The write up from Amazon where the book can be bought online sums it up perfectly as follows:

“Steve and Carl are ducks. Steve likes cans. Carl likes socks. But Steve and Carl don’t like being called dumb by seagulls. Steve and Carl don’t get mad. Steve and Carl don’t get angry. Steve and Carl get even, though not in the way they originally intended.

Maxwell Eaton, creator of the Max and Pinky books, introduces us to two lovable and quirky ducks who kids are sure to cheer for in this clever anti-bullying book.”

Tiger Loses His Stripes by Francois Keyser (Me). Illustrated by Zantya Andrian


Tiger Loses His Stripes and all other books in “The Junglies” series have unity in diversity as a central theme. The characters are all represented by different animals and their friend, a game warden. Despite all being different they are friends and work together to overcome their challenges and have fun.

The series thus deals with the theme of unity in diversity on a neutral basis using animals as opposed to any specific race, religion or culture. In addition, the relationship of the game warden with the animals is a further representation of unity in diversity between mankind and nature.

Tiger Loses His Stripes and all other books in “The Junglies” series have unity in diversity as a central theme. The characters are all represented by different animals and their friend, a game warden. Despite all being different they are friends and work together to overcome their challenges and have fun.

The series thus deals with the theme of unity in diversity on a neutral basis using animals as opposed to any specific race, religion or culture. In addition, the relationship of the game warden with the animals is a further representation of unity in diversity between mankind and nature.

Author interview on Beach Bound Books

I am so grateful to Stacie Theis of for the interview she has published about me and “The Junglies”.

Please go to to read the interview. I hope you will share it with your friends and family!

Have a great day!

Get your “Authorgraphed” copy of “The Junglies” book of your choice!

Hi everyone.

Now you can get your “authorgraphed” version of the “Junglies” book of your choice!

What is an “authorgraph” you ask? Quite simply it’s like an e-autograph. It lets you get your book autographed by the author (provided they are registered on authorgraph), so you don’t need to write letters or stalk them online!

Go to to, register and put in the name of your favorite “Junglies” Book and request your authorgraph. It as simple as that! And it’s free!

Once I receive your request, I will do the authorgraph and it will be sent to you via e-mail. You can then print it out and frame or laminate it or keep it inside your printed book!

I am currently asking if I can autograph my books as one of the characters in my books – Aga, Elle, Abbit, Raff or Kiki which will make it even better for children who like “The Junglies” books!

Thanks for visiting and reading and for your interest.

Have a great day!

Review for “Tiger Loses His Stripes”

Here is a review I have received for “Tiger Loses His Stripes”. I have received much of the same feedback verbally but this is the first I have received via e-mail:

“”…I read your book, and I thought it was awesome!. I also read the book to my friends kids between 4-9 and the younger two loved it so much they wanted me to read it to them again!” – Orla

I will publish more reviews as I receive them. Please feel free to send me your feedback as well.

Have a great day!

New Book in “The Junglies” series

Hi Everyone!

I have completed the manuscript for a sixth book in “The Junglies” series and am developing the idea for a seventh book. It will be a while before they are ready as they still need to be illustrated and formatted, but “The Junglies” are alive and well and continue to have more adventures.

If you are not aware yet, I have launched a crowdfunding campaign to print the first five books of the series which are already completed. Please go to to view the crowdfunding campaign. Please spread the word and help to make the campaign a success!

Is There a Book in You?

Hi again and welcome back!

In this article I want to ask, “Is there a Story in You waiting to be told?” I have found in my process of contacting people with regard to finding venues to promote my books that there are many people who have a desire to write a book or have already started to write a book but have not moved it forward for whatever reason.

Personally, I believe that there are more people than we can imagine who have books of some sort in mind which they want to write and publish some day.

They keep putting it off though or quite simply, procrastinate about it because of a variety of fears such as:

– I do not have the time. My job and family occupy too much of my time.

– I do not know how to write a book and get it published

– Someone has already written about what I want to write about so it’s pointless me writing about what I wanted to write about

– Who would be interested to read what I write? There are already so many famous authors out there.

– I do not have the money to publish a book.

There are many more reasons for procrastinating about writing the book in you but I am here to help. I did  not know everything about publishing books when I started but I am making it my business to learn as I progress in the publishing journey. I have been fortunate to have the wonderful support of a literary consultant, Sharon Ong, in Singapore, I have learned more and faster about self publishing than I would have if I had been going it alone and I am most grateful for her support.

Writing a book is maybe the easiest part of the whole process of writing a book and becoming a published author. Unless you have a deal with a publishing company you will need to write your book, source for an editor or edit it yourself, find illustrators if your book needs illustrations, market and promote it, publish it as an e-book and in printed format if you want.

Each of these steps can be difficult in their own especially if you have to figure them out for yourself. They can also be truly costly if you do not have the right guidance. I spent thousands of dollars on publishing my first book and had nothing to show for it except a very large credit card bill that needed to be paid.

Since I have started working with a literary consultant I have made more progress in less time at a much lower cost than I did spending thousands with a company to do the publishing and marketing.

From my experience I now know how daunting the task of publishing a book can be and have no doubt that there are others who face the same challenges and do not know where to start.

I started my career as an author writing “The Junglies”. I never imagined that I would write children’s books and I do not intend to only write children’s books.

Nevertheless, having started with children’s books I have learned a lot, some of which I can apply to other books I plan to write.

I was lucky enough to find a literary consultant who has agreed to work with me. Not everyone may be lucky enough to find a literary consultant or to afford one if there is a cost attached.

When I talk about a literary consultant I am not referring to companies on the internet offering the whole range of publishing services including marketing. Before going down the road of paying for services, I personally recommend:

– Joining groups on LinkedIn. Some good groups which I am on are “Author U”, “Books and Writers” and “Book Marketing”. I have found a number of interesting articles here and following the posts are quite educational as well. You can join any conversation if you have a question and the members will be more than happy to help you out with answers. If you do not have a LinkedIn account I recommend that you sign up and join the groups.

– Visit publishing sites such as Kindle, Lulu, Smashwords, Kobo and others and download their publishing guides. They all tend to have different requirements but don’t be put off by this. A good starting point is Smashwords. If you publish your book on their site they upload it to a host of other sites which saves you a lot of time and effort. Obviously you will need a Smashwords account but it is free so go ahead and sign up.

– Once you have reviewed the publishing sites requirements make sure that you have your book, or will have your book, in the correct format to upload to the site. If you do not, find out how to convert it. You may have to find someone who will do it for you for a small fee and then you may have to “clean it up” again in the new format.

– The alternative is that you can send your manuscript to publishing companies and see if they will accept it. This normally requires considerable research regarding the submission format but it is not impossible. Do not expect that you will be lucky enough to have a publishing house accept your manuscript immediately. You may need to submit it to many publishing houses before and if it gets accepted.

– Once you have uploaded your book to the publishing site the second phase of your work really begins which is the marketing. I will speak about marketing more in my next post.

I hope that you will find this post informative. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me and I will help as far as possible although I am still a “newbie” in publishing terms.

Have a great day and weekend!