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This month, there have been several events in Brazil to launch the Portuguese version of ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub.
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Here’s the report from Kitty Harvill, the illustrator, who is a half-time resident of Brazil:
The launching of ABAYOMI, um Encontro Feliz in Campinas, in the São Paulo state (Campinas – SP), Brazil and its environs was a great success. Beginning with a program in Vinhedo-SP, sponsored by the mayor’s office, with more than 400 teachers in attendance and including a slideshow presentation and reading of the book.

The following day we held an art workshop at the Casa da Criança Paraítica de Campinas, a school for handicapped children. I began with a large canvas and quickly painted an outline of ABAYOMI, inviting the children to create a “Floresta Feliz” or happy forest for him. There was much excitement in the crowd, both with the activity of painting and with the story of ABAYOMI, having been read by the Communications Director of FMC, our sponsor of the book here in Brazil as a project of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture.

We held our second workshop on Wednesday, with equally wonderful results, involving all the students at the private school, Escola Ativa. Many thanks to all who helped in the organization of these events, but most especially to my husband, Christoph Hrdina, who is not only the administrator of the project through the Ministry, but more than an assistant in our workshops, involving the children and serving as occasional translator for me, when my Portuguese wasn’t quite up to the task. Darcy and I have collaborated on a project that is not only timely but critical to the environmental issues that are pressing on these urban areas at this time on our planet.

For more, see this article in the Brazilian press; or read the same article as a Google Translated document.

A special thanks to Márcia Rodrigues, Ph.D. and Sergio Ferreira, the puma scientists who are responsible for taking care of Abayomi and bringing his story to their community.

Watch Kids Paint a Puma

This is what children’s books can do: bring together a community around kids.

If you can’t see this video, click here.

Photos from the Brazilian Launch of Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma

Click on the photo to see if full size.

The last month, I’ve seen several teachers asking about lesson plans for opinion essays or persuasive essays. We have three books that can help.

Persuasive Essays: Conservation v. Development

2015 National Science Teacher's Association - Outstanding Science Trade Book
2015 National Science Teacher’s Association – Outstanding Science Trade Book
ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA, a 2015 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book, is the story of a puma cub who is orphaned and how the scientists try to reintroduce him to the wild. It takes place in Brazil, where the pumas are coming up against the problems of increasing urbanization. The sugar cane fields, needed to make ethanol for automobile fuel, are taking over. This is a classic story of conservation v. development.

However, sometime in the last couple years, the environmental questions that today’s students must answer have changed. Before, we asked, “How can we preserve habitats?” While that question is still relevant, it has changed into a new question. We are now an urban world; that is, over 50% of the world’s lands are now urbanized. While we should set aside lands still for wildlife, we also need to address how we can make space in an urban world for wildlife. The new question is this: “In an urban world, how can we peacefully co-exist with wild creatures?”

Scientists are responding by trying to create conservation corridors (See ConservatonCorridors.org). These are areas of wild or undeveloped strips of land, usually along a river so the animals have water. These corridors allow wildlife to travel from one wild place to another, keeping the population’s gene pool viable. Here’s information on the Brazilian puma corridor.

In Brazil, the government is trying to work with property owners to set aside land for corridors. Abayomi’s story could actually be an argument for either side of the argument. Pro-development could set aside a portion of the land for corridors and call it done. Pro-conservation could point out that corridors should be mandatory; and they should be larger and more functional for the wildlife; and they should be created in conjunction with habitat preservation.

The sugar cane companies in Brazil actually paid for this book to be published in Portuguese for Brazilian schools. They understand that they can’t just develop lands without doing something about the loss of habitat.

Note: If your students have read ABAYOMI, the BRAZILIAN PUMA and have questions, I am available for a free 15-minute Skype to answer questions.

THE FLORIDA PANTHER: The issues raised for Abayomi in Brazil echo those of the Florida Panther. Here’s information on the Florida Wildlife Corridor.

I Want a Dog or Cat Opinion Essays

Another option for studying opinion or persuasive essay is our titles, I WANT A DOG and I WANT A CAT.
Dennis and Mellie, cousins, try to decide on the perfect pet for their respective families. Dennis explores different breeds of dogs using ten criteria for making a decision, while Mellie uses a similar ten criteria for deciding on a cat breed. Both end up writing an essay about their decisions. The books include suggestions for using the stories in your classrooms.
I want a dog: ebook for kids


I want a cat: children's ebook

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma by Darcy Pattison, illustrated by Kitty Harvill
March, 2014
With the publication of ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub, the UNICA (Union of the Sugar Cane Industry) has published a nice article about the book. The article is in Portuguese. To read in English, go to google.com/translate and input this URL: http://www.unica.com.br/noticia/21209732920334398749/resgate-de-filhote-de-onca-no-brasil-vira-livro-nos-eua/

Illustrator Kitty Harvill lives half the year in Brazil and half the year in the US. She is involved in the environmental conservation movements in Brazil and was pleased to work on a book about her adopted country.

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