Litte Gray

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The creation of this book has made, and will continue to make, a difference in many people’s lives. Visit to learn more about how you can do the same.

Dedicated to my family and to the people of the Watumu community. - Robert Dedicated in memory of my grandma, Janet Thornton, who inspired my love of children’s books and lived a life of altruistic service and sacrifice. - Ashley Dedicated to Rori, Malachi, Zeke, and all the kids in my life - past, present and future. I truly am honored to be your auntie! Thank you for teaching me a child-like faith that Jesus talks about (in the Gospel of Matthew). - Kelsey

Copyright © 2021 by Moi Moi Market LLC. All Rights Reserved Illustrations copyright by Moi Moi Market LLC. Acrylic Art by Robert Onyango Manufactured by

ISBN: 978-1-7336505-7-1

John Abdalls - Pastor/Leader in Watamu, Kenya

Ed Schwartz - Director of Loving Shepherd Ministries Daniel Williams - Forms One, LLC Patrick and Justin - I’ll Push You

Dani McAfee - Dearest friend, supporter and prayer warrior Bob and Leesa Waliszewski - Cheerleaders and editors Emily Wineman - Photographer

Joyce Teo - Designer |

Tim and Traci Estenson - Their generosity made this book possible The Wolcott Family - Who supported this work in so many ways

Humpback whales are altruistic. As a boat captain on the Big Island of Hawaii, I came across this fact while researching these magnificent mammals of the sea.* Story after story of selfless acts performed by humpback whales resonated with something deep in my heart. In 2019, I started to dream about creating a children’s book that might inspire others. The dream started to become a reality when I met Ashley through our mutual friend Dani at a Moi Moi Market event. As I shared about the humpback whales and the message of altruism, Ashley knew this was the inspiration for what would become her first children’s book. But where would we find an illustrator? When the pandemic hit in 2020, the economic lockdowns affecting people around the world weighed heavily on my mind. I received word that a Kenyan artist Robert, from whom I purchased a painting in 2019 was unable to pay his rent due to the shutdown of tourism. He was literally homeless with barely enough food. Could perhaps this endeavor of creating a children’s book also serve to help a human being halfway across the world regain a sustainable living? I reached out to him with the help of John Abdalla, a Kenyan pastor and friend. Robert was ready to take on the challenge. In June of 2021, I was off to Africa to help facilitate the illustrations that would ultimately bring the characters of this story to life. Robert, although living near the ocean most of his life, had never seen any species of whale, whale shark or turtle. Nor had he ever owned a book. In spite of these and other obstacles, Robert rose to the challenge and we were able to complete the project in the nine days we had allocated. Ashley, Robert and I hope that the readers of this book will be reminded that our lives are not meant to be our own. There’s so much purpose when we find ways to set aside our own needs and wants to help other people. None of us could have anticipated the shared experience of joy, as we have stepped outside our

comfort zones and have made personal sacrifices along this journey. Altruism is not only the theme of this book, but it was the reality we encountered through the contributions of so many people who believed in our vision. Thank you for participating in altruism by purchasing, reading, and sharing this book with others. At least ten percent of the profit from this book is pledged to be given back to suffering individuals in Kenya through the For Children To Flourish Foundation. Additionally, Moi Moi Market’s influential work to support fair trade opportunities will expand around the world.

Robert illustrating his first pages of Little Gray

May a sense of purpose and beautiful joy be yours when helping others. I am so thankful you walk this planet. Thank you for being you!

IShe reveled in the beauty of the turquoise depths and the colorful coral reefs. n the warm, blue ocean, swam a little gray whale alongside her mother.

“Momma,” Little Gray exclaimed, “I just love to swim in the water! I feel so free!” “Me too, Little Gray,” Momma replied, “the ocean is a beautiful place to be. But it’s about time to make our journey North away from the warm waters and palm trees. Soon I’ll begin to teach you how to feed yourself. It’s important you stay close to me. As lovely as the ocean can be, it can also be a dangerous place.” Little Gray didn’t understand everything Momma was saying, but she did know her mother cared about her and could be trusted.

Little Gray was annoyed. Why did her mother invite a strange new animal to join them? Momma nudged Little Gray toward Little Spot as the three of them continued to swim together, but Little Gray tried her best to ignore their guest. After a few days of this behavior, Momma whispered to Little Gray, “Why don’t you go talk to Little Spot? She seems very lonely.” Little Gray quickly blurted out an excuse, “I need another breath Momma!” as she dashed up to the surface.

As she created a plan in her mind to help, she happened to glance below and saw her mother talking to Little Spot. Little Gray was instantly jealous. Forgetting about Little Flipper’s problem, she became more focused on her own. What if Momma started liking Little Spot better than her? “Well, hope you find someone to help, Little Flipper. I got to go!” “Wait! Wait…” Little Flipper started to plea, but Little Gray was already gone.

A cold shiver went across her body as she quickly scanned the waters. She saw shadows in the distance circling her. It was definitely not Momma. Now she wished she had listened and obeyed. Within seconds, orcas surrounded her, blocking any route of escape. “Momma, HELP!” yelled Little Gray in panic. She felt scared and alone.

The humpback launched into a HUGE breach, landing on one of the orca whales. Another orca latched onto the humpback’s tail with its sharp teeth. Wincing in pain, the humpback continued to maneuver its powerful body to protect Little Gray from any harm.

Off in the distance, Little Gray could hear her name being called. “Little Gray, where are you?’ “Momma?” Little Gray was so relieved to see Momma and Little Spot. She rushed over and snuggled next to Momma while the battle continued. It was awful and intense, but the orcas were no match for the humpback. It didn’t take long before they gave up the fight and swam off. For a moment, everything was still.

All at once, Little Gray knew that was true. She looked back at their guest she’d been trying so hard to ignore. Humbly, Little Gray swam to Little Spot. “I’m sorry for not being very nice to you, especially when you needed our help. You can stay with us as long as you need until you find your Momma. Can we be friends?” “Thanks, Little Gray. I’d like that,” smiled Little Spot.

As she swam through the cool, blue waters with her mother and Little Spot, Little Gray was thankful for the sacrifice that the humpback whale had made for her. She was inspired and determined to be on the lookout for something caring she could do for another. Like Momma said, she would keep her eyes open and her heart ready.

Although this story is fiction, Little Gray’s Altruistic Adventure is based on real events in nature. According to a National Geographic 1 article, we know of more than 115 documented cases of humpback whales acting altruistic towards humans and other ocean species! Examples of altruism in nature are fascinating and inspiring. But what exactly is altruism? Altruism is an act of selflessness, a behavior in which one must think and act in another’s best interest even at their own personal expense and well-being. It goes beyond just doing something nice and being kind. It requires sacrifice, sometimes personal risk, and will likely be uncomfortable and hard. Take time to reflect on Little Gray’s Altruistic Adventure by answering these questions: 1. What kind of relationship did Little Gray have with Momma? 2. What did we learn about Little Gray through her encounters with Little Flipper and Little Spot? 3. How did the orcas view Little Gray? 4. What did the encounter between the humpback and the orcas reveal about the humpback’s character? 5. How did the humpback’s action change Little Gray? 6. How did the humpback display altruism in this story? There’s one altruistic event in recorded history that surpasses the most altruistic actions of man or animal. When Jesus Christ gave his life, it was the ultimate sacrifice in order for us to know the ultimate forgiveness of, and restoration with, our Creator God. The creators of this book hope you are not only inspired to act altruistically, but also to discover the greatest altruistic act that ever occurred… on your behalf!

Bittel, Jason. Why Humpback Whales Protect Other Animals From Killer Whales, 2016,


education materials on humpback whales

altruism and the Christian faith

some of the world’s best whale-watching trips

how you can make an impact today

ASHLEY KUMFER is a wife to Kody and mother to Jazlynn, Ryder, and Bryant and lives in Indiana. Her love for children’s books and how they can create special moments and conversations, has been her “why” in authoring this story. Her hope is that this tale will help inspire families to have conversations about how one is never too young or old to start making a difference in the world!

ROBERT ONYANGO is a gifted artist who lives in Watamu, Kenya. He has made his living selling paintings depicting African culture, but when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, selling his paintings became very difficult. When asked to use his talents to help tell the story of Little Gray, he gladly obliged. Over a few months of preparation and then nine intensive days of collaborative work, he handpainted every picture used in this book, giving him a new title of Children’s Book Illustrator.

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