I’m writing a “light bilingual" adventure/suspense series for young readers. Kindly indulge me in some feedback---your own and/or that of your children whether they read it themselves or are read aloud to. Muchas gracias.
Quincho is an adorable and mischievous little boy who lives in Costa Rica with his family. The year is 1974 and Quincho is eight years old. He is one of four siblings; the third oldest. Yet although he’s number three in birth order, he’s treated as the eldest son because Carlitos, his older brother, was born with Down Syndrome and he isn’t as active as a normal, healthy child. So oftentimes, Quincho must protect and watch over him.
But that’s okay because Quincho is brave and always looks out for Carlitos. All around town you can see Quincho strutting proudly, his tanned skinny arm outstretched and dangling nonchalantly over Carlitos’ curved shoulder.
And secretly, Quincho likes the challenges he faces although he’ll never admit it: the schoolyard bully, the neighborhood jerk who pokes fun at the way Carlitos stutters, or when Quincho has to confront an aggressive animal at the family’s finca. Somehow, he’s always given the chance to prove his strength and bravery and stand up for…well, something.
And even if Quincho isn’t the tallest or biggest boy in class, one thing he’s got is heart. He never backs down. Not ever. And always turns out okay.
It’s a good thing because over the course of his childhood, Quincho’s curious nature gets him into a series of dilemmas, or let’s say “situations” from which he must free himself. And for some strange reason, even when he goes somewhere with his friends or family, he ends up alone---going that extra mile that lands him in trouble. Or pain.
And here’s another secret about Quincho: he’s very, very handsome. In fact, so much so that many times people overlook the qualities he’s most proud of. So he feels he’s got to prove time and again that he’s way more than a sweet face with brown, shiny almond-shaped eyes, a devilish grin and dimples.
Like when he wakes up, he intentionally ignores his mom’s request to pass a comb through his disheveled, caramel-colored hair. He doesn’t want to look too groomed. And he even goes as far as mismatching his clothes, each morning sneaking out of the house with a different shirt snugly pulled on under the one his mom chose for him. Because he’s got to show the world he’s much more than the pampered son of one of the country’s most brilliant surgeons, a medical legend in his own time.
The truth is that if he could go incognito and move to a remote pueblo by the river or deep in the rainforest, he would. He loves anything and everything about nature. And unfortunately—for his teachers at least---his secret ambitions to dominate the natural world he sees on the other side of the pane take his mind out of the classroom and into a parallel reality---one where he trolls the river banks donning his black leather boots and discovering hidden treasures. Or a life of wandering in and out of the stables and pens and chicken coops at the finca.
Indeed Quincho’s imagination is rich; his world is an endless playground. After all, Quincho knows a lot about a lot of stuff and can survive in many situations. Two things about him: he doesn’t sense danger and he always lands on his feet.
And what’s funny is that those closest to young Quincho know him the least. Sure, they know what he likes for lunch and what his favorite shoes are. And of course, they know he’s picky about his tennis racket and the scent of his shampoo and that he has a mad crush on his tall blond English teacher. But do they really know him? Nope. Not at all.
They have no clue just how much he loves to toss tiny pebbles into the pond and watch the different-sized ripples form. Or that he wants to be a real cowboy when he grows up and train horses. And they certainly don’t realize just how much he loves to play tennis because if they did, they’d go to all his matches and cheer him on. But that’s okay. Quincho likes to keep things to himself.
“Si, Mama. Lo que usted dice,” he tells her obediently after everything she says.
And she believes him. In fact, she believes it all and thinks there isn’t much more to him than what she sees. And so does his dad, although with his fame and all, he’s simply too busy to notice much around the house anyway.
Quincho does well in school, is a respectful boy, helps out around the house and goes to church on Sundays. And he doesn’t cause his parents much trouble compared to some of the other kids he knows around the neighborhood.
But the truth is that Quincho is so much more than what meets the eye…and it’s gonna take many, many years to get to know him and uncover all his hidden talents.