Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You Talk Funny #OurAuthorGang

The bilingual story of Pico, the Pesky Parrot

Sarah, Emma’s mom, promised to bird-sit Pico for two weeks but soon regrets her decision because the noisy parrot keeps screeching and squawking all day, annoying her family and the neighbors. When Pico makes a mess of Emma’s room, Emma gets very angry, but her friends help her. Charlotte notices that Pico seems sad, and Pedro finds out why Pico is shrieking so loudly all the time. The parrot is frustrated because nobody pays attention to him, and nobody understands what he wants.

A little background to this story

Working as a nurse in the US the past twenty-eight years, having an accent always helped braking the ice with young children who were afraid and nervous when brought to the hospital. "You talk funny. I like it," they would say distracted by my accent and paying less attention to the needle in my hand.

But the first few months, after we moved to the US, were difficult. I had a hard time communicating with people and had to use the dictionary to look up even basic words. Most of my neighbors and coworkers were patient and most helpful. But sadly, I experienced isolation, discrimination, as well as ridicule from some people. It felt like as if my 158 IQ and my good communication skills were reduced to being a "retard" and I learned the words, "*** foreigner" in the first few days on the job working in a restaurant as a dishwasher.

Thanks to my bulldog nature not to let go and keep going, and to my ability to adopt and learn fast, within two months I spoke English at a conversational level, and I advanced my language skills to the level of publishing my first book in 2013.

Young children are open, compassionate and don't judge others by origin, color, or appearance, they either like the person, or not. They learn to judge others later by listening to adults and watching them the way talk about and treat others. They also learn the value of friendship and family from stories.

The purpose of this English and Spanish bilingual book is to show children the beauty of another language and that learning a new language is not easy, but with a little compassion and help from others, it could be fun.

The story also delivers a message that when we don’t take the time to listen to each other, we tend to judge others quickly before we get to know them.

he book in this magazine style presentation

Click HERE

After all the frustration and misunderstanding, the story has a happy ending:


A week later the children saw Molly arriving in a taxi. They went to meet her in the plaza by her favorite bench under the big old tree.
As soon as Pico spotted the old lady he started screeching, “Helllo Mollyy! Wellcomzz homzz!”
Molly looked at her bird astonished and asked the children, “Did he just say my name and welcome home? Did you teach my bird to talk?”
Pedro giggled. “He was speaking all along, but he could only speak Spanish. Now he can speak a little English too.”
“Oh, my!” Molly cried out. “The poor bird was trying to talk to me.”
“The truth is,” Emma confessed, “that I was very angry at Pico for all the noise he made until Charlotte figured it out that he wanted something and Pedro understood what he was saying. We didn’t know that he’s such a smart bird.”
“Yes, I didn’t know either,” Molly sighed. “Sometimes we don’t listen to each other and quickly judge others without getting to know them. We should take the time.” She sat down on the bench turning to Pedro. “Could you teach me Spanish?”
“Yes, of course, it will be fun,” Pedro replied.


Una semana más tarde los niños vieron a Molly llegar en un taxi. Fueron a su encuentro para reunirse con ella en la plaza, junto a su banco favorito y bajo el viejo, gran árbol.
En cuanto Pico vió a la abuelita, empezó a parlotear:
—¡Helllo Mollyy! Wellcomzz homzz!
Molly miró a su pájaro atónita y les pregunto a los niños:
—¿Ha dicho mi nombre y bienvenida a casa? ¿Habéis enseñado a hablar a mi loro?
—Él ha estado hablando todo el tiempo —Pedro rió—, pero sólo sabía hablar español. Ahora también puede hablar un poco de inglés.
—¡Madre mía! —Molly exclamó— El pobre pájaro intentaba hablar conmigo.
—Lo cierto es que yo estaba muy enfadada con Pico por todo el ruido que hacía hasta que Charlotte se imaginó que él quería algo, y Pedro entendió lo que decía. No sabíamos que era un pájaro tan listo —Emma confesó.
Molly les miró detenidamente.
—Si, yo tampoco lo sabía. A veces no nos escuchamos los unos a los otros y juzgamos rápidamente sin tomarnos la molestia de conocernos. Deberíamos tomarnos nuestro tiempo —Se sentó en el banco y girándose hacia Pedro le preguntó:
—¿Podrías enseñarme español?
—Por supuesto, será divertido —contestó Pedro.

This fun bilingual story is available in eBook and print

The teachers said

"As a former ESL teacher, I was impressed by author Erika’s bilingual story about a pesky parrot and wondered why books like this one (written in both English and Spanish at many reading levels and interest ranges) were not available when I was teaching." ~Bette A. Stevens

"Pico the Pesky Parrot is an adorable story that teaches a strong message of compassion, community, and communication." ~Janet Balletta

About the translator of this story

Carmen G. Monterde was born in Barcelona and works as an English teacher and group leader with students of all ages.” That was not easy in Spain for my generation when it came to learning a second language, what´s more, we didn´t have the tools our children have nowadays. And yet, I still think there are two key points that can lead us to bilingualism: motivation and reading. But you have to start when they are young, teaching them  that English is not only a subject to pass at "school", but  a form of communication that opens many doors, including millions of stories we find in books, movies, songs, and so on. The day will come that we have to sit down and talk with them about the professional world and those things that the youngest ones, encourage them so little”

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