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2019-01-02

Alumna Mercedes G. Alonzo Cortes (IR '90) Publishes Book

Alumna Mercedes G. Alonzo Cortes (IR '90) recently published her written and illustrated children's book, “Adventure in Pico Bonito,” now available on Amazon in English, Spanish, and in a bilingual version (English – Spanish). The book is a story about siblings Olguita and Oscarito as they trek through the Honduran rainforest. Along the way they encounter splendid creatures such as the aracari, aguties, coaties, jaguars, kinkajoues, lovely cotingas, motmots, and quetzals. A portion of profits will benefit education and wildlife conservation in Honduras.  

Mercedes, who was born in Honduras, was inspired to write and illustrate Adventure in Pico Bonito after visiting Pico Bonito, a national park in the Honduran rainforest.  She based her oil paintings on photographs by North American biologist James Adams, who spent almost two decades documenting the rainforest wildlife of Honduras. 

Her goal in writing the book was two-fold: First, she wanted to reach out to children in Honduras and encourage them to grow up with an appreciation for the amazing gifts nature has given them in the form of the wonderful wildlife found there. She believes that if this can be accomplished, children will love nature and grow up wanting to protect it. Secondly, she would like to reach out to children throughout the world so that they may learn about a country located in the heart of the Americas  — a country full of beauty, mystery and amazing wildlife to be discovered. 

The book introduces children to 2 dozen animal species including birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and insects, and can be used by teachers as a language and science supplement.  In less than a week, Mercedes' book has already generated positive reviews, including this review from "The Paper Doll" blogger Julie Bestry who wrote:  Mercedes' book launches this week, both in English and in Spanish. I read the English copy, and it's a lovely story with the most gorgeous, vivid illustrations. Follow Oscarito and Olguita (and the grownups) as they take a respectful ecotourism trip through the rainforest of Honduras. The story employs gentle humor, and though there are maybe a few teeeny, tiny scary moments, they are resolved within a few sentences, so if you're reading aloud to a sensitive little one, you can adjust your voice to allay any fears.  Since you know I'm not much of an animal person, those illustrations had to be pretty darn impressive to catch my eye, right? If you've got kids who are interested in nature and/or animals, this would make a fun gift to read together. And if your little one is studying Spanish (or already speaks it), this is a great pick.