A Child’s World Map

by Estifanos (age 6), of California, U.S.A.

When I think about the world, I draw about it. In this picture, which I made out of my imagination, I drew about the climates and the ecosystems, and the weather in each place. Examples: wetlands, jungles, rain forests, deserts, grasslands, mountains, ice caps, cities, polar regions, and the sea.

Seasons in California – First Flowers

by Estifanos (5), of California, U.S.A.

I live with my mom and dad, in the mountains near the coast of California. Where we live, the beginning of February is the time when we see the first flowers blooming in our yard. It is the beginning of our spring.

At this time of year, the weather is sort of cool. Sometimes it’s cold enough to make breath clouds. But there is never snow or ice. There is a lot of wind and rain and mud. Sometimes, but rarely, there is lightening and hail. We get a lot of sunny-rainy days. We call that rainbow weather. This week, I saw a triple rainbow! I was very lucky to see that. Only two of them came out in the photograph my dad took:

In our garden, the blueberry bushes are starting to make fruit:

The lemons are ready for harvest:

The arctostaphylos and ceanothus bushes are in full bloom:

And mom says the native pollinators are silly with joy for the nectar and pollen.

So is the pregnant hummingbird who is about to lay her eggs!


by Estifanos (5), of California, U.S.A.

I am curious about learning Portuguese, because I wanted to go see the animals that live in Brazil, and they speak Portuguese in Brazil.  I asked my pen-pal, Atilio, how to speak Portuguese, and these are the audio files he sent me to learn from:

“Hello, how are you?” and “Goodbye, see you later.”


How to count from one to ten:


And this is me, practicing my Portuguese:


I knew that they speak Portuguese in Portugal, but I didn’t know that they also speak Portuguese in Mozambique, Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe in Africa, and even East Timor and Macau in Asia!

Animals of Brazil

by Estifanos (5), of California, U.S.A.

If I were going to Brazil, I would like to see the animals there, especially the howler monkey, the jaguar, the three-toed sloth, and the anaconda.  I asked my pen-pal, Atilio (a grown-up who lives in Brazil), about these animals.  This is what he told me about them:

All of these animals live near where he lives, in Bahia, Brazil.

The howler monkey can be very loud. Atilio said, “A group of them can make quite a ruckus, and be heard at a distance.”  Its name in Portuguese is “Bugio.” Here is a picture of one:

Howler Monkey photo by Dario Sanches from SÃO PAULO, BRASIL
Howler Monkey (photo by Dario Sanches of Brazil)

The jaguar is called “onça pintada” because of her spotted fur.  The English name, jaguar, is actually a word from a native tribe in Brazil.  In their language, jaguar means beast. Brazilian myths say that the jaguar brings the gift of fire to people.  She is supposed to be  intelligent and cunning.  She lives in the rain forests of Brazil, near rivers, and is a very good swimmer.

Jaguar (photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System)
Jaguar (photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Digital Library System)

The three toed sloth is called “Bicho-preguiça,” which means lazy animal.

Three Toed Sloth (photo by Christian Mehlführer of Germany)
Three Toed Sloth (photo by Christian Mehlführer of Austria)

The Portuguese name for the Anaconda is, “Sucuri,” which means the fast biter.  It can reach nine meters in length, which is almost half the length of my house!

Anaconda (photo by Zachi Evenor of Israel)