Central Florida man writes books to spread kindness, awareness

Stories began with tree-planting business

The Neon TIKI Tribe (WKMG)

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – There’s a new tribe taking over children’s books: The Neon TIKI Tribe. A creation from a Titusville resident and U.S. Air Force veteran.

“We say to truly change the world we have to stop spending all of our time trying to change the habits of adults,” said Greg Devlin, co-creator of the Neon TIKI Tribe books. “We have to start with kids, younger age and start planting really good messages with them.”

Devlin is planting messages of hope, good advice, honesty and positive body image among other inspirational stories with a series of 13 children’s books. In every Neon TIKI Tribe book, characters with names such as Greg, a dog named Sniff Sniff, Tia and Zeek, go up against an evil tribe.

“They battle from episode to episode this guy named Sam Selfish and the evil Ku TIKI tribe,” Devlin said. The main character of the books was created back in the early 90′s when Devlin had a tree planting company.

“One day I had this really fat trunk cabbage palm and I thought, just for fun, I’m gonna take a chainsaw and carve a face into this thing,” he said. The face turned out to be a TIKI. Devlin says he then painted it with neon colors and placed big sunglasses on it. At the time, he wasn’t thinking about a children’s book. Eventually, he found its purpose.

"It's been a long journey but it's been very exciting because of what this represents to children, their families," the veteran said.

It took about 12 years to finally create the series of books. Last year Devlin and his business partner released the books on Amazon.com

“What we wanted to do was give kids action and excitement in story lines but when they were done reading the story there’s a valuable lesson, a message for them and their parents to talk about,” Devlin said. “A few of our books in the series can actually save children’s lives. One of them is Stranger Danger, which is actually about not getting in a car with someone you don’t know.”

There’s also a book that talks about internet safety, titled: Gigabytes of Disaster. Devlin said it was suggested by two different librarians.

"They said there are no books out there that tell them not to give out a home address or not to meet a stranger off the internet," he said.

His vision to help kids and families includes giving access to everyone across the globe. Through social media, Devlin created video books that are free on the Neon TIKI Tribe YouTube and Facebook pages. The video books are available in English and Spanish.

Whether it’s about bullying. sportsmanship or keeping the ocean clean, Devlin says at the core of these books is the significance of what TIKI stands for.

“I wanted to make this about children, their families and society as a whole. That’s what I want this to represent. I want this to represent all races and all creeds and all religions,” Devlin said. "The word TIKI means thoughtful, intelligent, kind individual. And our feelings are, if there were more thoughtful intelligent kind individuals in the world, this would be a great place, right? "

The Neon TIKI Tribe books can be purchased on amazon.com for $14.95 each.