Realizing Your Childhood Dreams, Meet Teacher Turned Author, Ryke Leigh Douglas
Ryke Leigh Douglas' interview with Jo Painter on "The People Chronicles"
Ryke Leigh Douglas taught first through sixth grades in several different school districts for nearly 20 years. She realized a childhood dream when she became a teacher but she never let go of another dream she had. She talks about her childhood, the dreams she had and how she realized them. One day she looked in the mirror wondering about her harbored dream. Ryke Leigh Douglass says the mirror spoke to her. It said, “If you don’t do it now, you’re not ever gonna do it!”
Ryke took the leap, retired from teaching and became an author. She has written 6 children’s books and each one has a special message for children. Her latest book, ‘Tumeleng’ tells the tale of the plight of elephants in Africa! She most welcomes the opportunity to go into classrooms and read her books to the children.
Ryke says that, “Every child needs to know in order to succeed in this world you have to know how to read”. For some children it is a difficult process. It was those children she especially liked to teach. She can be contacted to come to your classroom at
Learn more about What's the Story? with Jo Painter.
The Tale of Tumeleng
The Tale of Tumeleng tells the story of a young elephant named Tumeleng growing up in Africa. While elephants are commonly depicted creatures in children’s literature, such famous characters as Babar and Elmer are characters first and elephants second. By contrast, Douglas manages to make Tumeleng immensely appealing while preserving her animal nature, recounting a realistic sequence of events in the young elephant’s life.
The book begins with Jabari, a male elephant, defending the herd from hyenas. When Jabari’s daughter Tumuleng is born, the young calf tries to keep up with the herd as they move to a new waterhole. Tumeleng’s mother, Ayanna, guides her, and Douglas captures Tumeleng’s place in the herd perfectly: She is cared for, but she must also learn quickly and work hard so that she doesn’t slow the herd. After some exciting encounters, the book ends happily as Tumeleng and her family take in Rafiki, an orphan whose parents were killed by poachers.
Douglas’s prose is gentle and evocative, giving readers an impression of the real dangers and problems elephants might face without ever ringing a false note. By the time a few pages pass and Douglas begins using quotation marks to show what the elephants are saying, readers have gotten to know the elephants and it seems natural to know their thoughts intimately.
The illustrations are excellent, with realistic-looking elephants easily discernible from one
another, and the visuals carry a sense of excitement throughout Tumeleng’s adventures.
- Review from BlueInk
Ryke Leigh Douglas
Writer. Author. Thinker. Storyteller.
Ryke Leigh Douglas is a retired elementary school teacher with a reading specialist degree turned children's book author who has made it her mission to create stories that not only entertain and stimulate children's imaginations, but also promote positive attitudes, good character traits and thinking "outside the box".