Friday, January 9, 2015

A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp

by Helen C. Hipp
A Different Kind of Safari LLC
32 pages
ages 5 - 10

What do you need to feel happy about being different? Based loosely on real life experiences, this heartwarming and powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling “different and lonely” Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions. You will never guess what happens next!


A safari? Sure! Especially when it's one taken on the back of a pink hippo. Although this book takes the readers on a short safari down an African river, it isn't about the least, not in the normal sense. Things are not always as they appear, especially when one tries to judge a person (or in this case) animal by its looks or reputation.

Through loving illustrations and a little bit of fun, a boy who isn't satisfied with who he is, learns that it's not the outside that counts but what's under the skin. The writing is a little heavy for the youngest of readers, so I tend to recommend this to 3+ or as a self-read for the 1st or 2nd grade. (I realize this is recommended up to even a 10 year old, but found that a little much for my own kids.)This is a book which will make kids think, so parents might want to be prepared for a little discussion time afterwards. Although the story takes a few cute turns, and has a lovely story which (I assume) originates from an African myth, there is a constant, serious tone in these pages. In other words, this is a safari but not so much about animals as about discovering what's inside.

Inspired by real-life adventure, the story behind the story unfolded when I went on an African safari back in 2001. The trip was led by my father whose dream was to share the safari experience with his family. Little did I know that this trip was going to incite me to write a children’s adventure book but it did.
The storyline made it appearance when my family spotted a pod of hippos and one was pink! My son Ray fourteen at the time immediately named her “Rosie”. Curious and wanting to learn more about this hippo we asked the guide many questions about hippos and hippo behavior. Specifically I wanted to know why the pink hippo stood so far outside of her pod. The familiarity of the guides answer took me by surprise, he explained that “Rosie” was tolerated but not necessarily accepted by the herd because of her differences. As a parent of a child with special needs I immediately felt a strong affiliation with Rosie’s situation as did my son Ray who has experienced his own challenges with acceptance. Inspired, I decided to share the story with the world by weaving them into a children’s adventure book that celebrates differences. The book is entitled “A Different Kind of Safari”. Find out what you can learn from Rosie the pink hippo, and how you can share those lessons with the children in your life.
All About the Author. . .
Helen Hipp’s experience raising a special needs child led her to an M.A. in clinical psychology and certification as a life coach. She began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers for their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families. Helen uses her 13+ years of counseling experience and 20+ years’ experience as a successful advocate for individuals with special needs by helping them reveal their innate ability to solve difficult situations. Her debut book ” A Different Kind of Safari” puts into words the essence of Helen’s teachings addressing the many questions life asks by offering up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities.
For more information, visit the books official website and to see a picture of the real Rosie the real life pink hippo that inspired this story, go to

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