When six-year-old Jonny moves from America to Ecuador he feels lost and friendless. He misses his home and friends in North Carolina. His new classmates make fun of him because he is small for his age, has white skin, red hair, and can't speak Spanish. He is bullied by the only other American kid in the school who is already bilingual. After he is knocked down and injured, Jonny develops a secret hatred for Ecuador and begins to retreat into an imaginary world. But his life changes when he and his mother find a tiny, barely-alive, Siamese kitten in an Ecuadorian market.Jonny and the kitten immediately connect in ways that words can't describe. With the help of a local veterinarian, Jonny nurses the kitten back to health and, through the bond of love that is formed between them, Jonny learns the true meaning of friendship. He discovers that although cats are different than humans, a bond of empathy can exist between them that is more powerful than any of those differences.Then, with the help of Sky, Jonny meets Ismael, an indigenous Ecuadorian boy, who is also an outsider. The two boys and the cat become inseparable. Three years later, when life in Ecuador seems perfect, Jonny and his family must relocate to
America again. Can Jonny adjust to leaving the life in Ecuador he has grown to love? What will happen to the deep bonds of friendship and trust he has formed with Ismael and Sky?
This is a true story, co-authored by Jonny and his mother, Loretta,an award-winning journalist. It combines the voice and feelings of a child with the skill of an experienced author to produce a remarkable account of growing up in two countries. Growing Up In Ecuador emphasizes the importance of love, compassion, kindness, and understanding between children from different cultures and between children and helpless animals.