I am so excited to share two of my favorite places in this month’s edition of Cricket Magazine–Kenya and the Pacific Northwest!
Jambo, Kasuku! Hello, Parrot! Yes, there are a few fabulous Swahili words in this story….
Asha (Swahili for ‘hope’) was modeled after my friend, Kara Robinson’s, African Grey. That kasuku–named Ituri–was terribly smart and mischievous. He could imitate a variety of voices so well that once when a friend stopped by the Robinson’s empty house, Ituri called out in Kara’s Dad’s voice so perfectly that the friend wandered around and finally left, spooked and mystified.
In the story, Seth is struggling to adjust to a new home and family. He befriends his new neighbor, Mrs. Kadima, and her precocious parrot, Asha. Asha misses her home in Kenya so much that she’s started to pull out her feathers. She trusts no one. But maybe she and Seth share a connection. . . .
I love the illustrations by Marta Antelo, an award-winning, internationally-recognized illustrator based in Italy. Her clients have included The New York Times and National Geographic, among others. Her work is stunning–have a good browse! I love her attention to detail, like the pattern of Mrs. Kadima’s dress.
This is my first story in Cricket Magazine, which has won numerous awards including an Educational Press Association of America Golden Lamp Award. And I’m tickled that the May/June publication contains Part One of “Asha, Bird of Hope.” So stay tuned! Next month I’ll include more pictures and a photo of Ituri, the “original” Asha, and a very special African Grey parrot.