Meet Myron, the Mynah Bird
Myron’s First Book
Future Myron Titles
By Myron the Mynah Bird
By Myron the Mynah Bird
As told to Ed Graham Illustrated by Zan Barnett
As told to Ed Graham Illustrated by Zan Barnett
“I Found My Sister!” We have included a biography of Myron, The Mynah Bird (to follow). It was not written for our young readers. It was written to help us keep Myron real. For example: Myron has a sister, Niki, the beauty of the family. When she was sold from Jonaps Talking Bird Store, Myron had no idea where she went. However, Myron’s new best friend, Michael Goodwin is a whiz with computers, and he found a sales receipt for Niki by using the internet. Michael and Myron track Niki to an assisted living home in Palm Bay Florida. There, Niki flies from room to room cheering up old people, and they are delighted by her presence. However, there is one resident of “Forever Young” who is not delighted by Niki’s presence. That resident is a large, elderly cat named “Winston”. Winston was the darling of the home before Niki moved in, and he does not like her stealing the limelight. Do we sense a dangerous conflict here?
“Michael’s Very Special Class” We have not had access to the medical records of Michael Goodwin, or his classmates. However, we are aware that many children with a form of autism called “Asperger’s Syndrome” make unusually strong bonds with animals. We don’t believe it is a coincidence that each of the students in “Michael’s Very Special Class” has an animal friend that brings them warmth and comfort. It is the same warmth and comfort they find lacking in human relationships. The animal friends who have bonded with Michael’s classmates return the love these special children give them and even protect them from bullies. One of the boys in the class needs no protecting. His name is Henry Hof. He is the tallest, strongest boy in the class. Bullies steer clear of Henry. What is unusual about Henry’s friend is that Henry only sees him once a year. His friend is a dolphin named Phil. They met when Henry’s parents took him to Florida on spring break, and the family visited a resort called “Dolphins Galore!” For $50, Henry was allowed to swim with Phil in the guest tank, and the two bonded immediately. Henry told Phil that he would come to see him every year until he was grown up. Then Henry would buy Phil and set him free. Phil bobbed his head up and down. He seemed to understand. Myron asks Michael Goodwin to use his computer skills and track down Phil’s origins. They discover that Phil was captured in shallow water, just off Oahu, Hawaii. That was three years ago, and Phil was described as “a young dolphin”. The problem in this story is how to get the money to buy Phil from “Dolphins Galore” and return him to his natural home. Myron’s visit to meet the president at the White House made him famous. He has since appeared on talk shows and was given one million dollars to have his picture on box of cereal called “Flakies”. Myron announces that he is happy with his life and has no particular use for money. Then he decides to do something generous. He buys “Dolphins Galore”, then sets all the dophins free in Hawaii and arranges for Henry and his family to visit Phil whenever they wish. Thank goodness Myron flies high enough to spot a tsunami coming and saves many lives, including those of Henry and Phil.
MYRON’S BIOGRAPHY MYRON is a Ceylon Hill Mynah Bird. These rare Mynahs are found in the high hills of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). Myron’s nest was robbed by three poachers who threw a large net over his nest. His mother and father saw the poachers coming and flew off before the net was cast. However, Myron, his brother, Brij and his sister Niki were captured and shipped to a store in San Diego. The pet store was called “Jonap’s Talking Birds”. On the internet it was listed as “Jonapbirds.com”. The owners of “Jonap’s Talking Birds” were Lowell and Sarita Jonap. They sold parakeets, gray parrots, green parrots, Macaws and Mynah birds. The Ceylon Hill mynah birds were by far the best talkers. They were also the most expensive. Each sold for over $1000. At night, when the store was closed, the Jonaps’ left a digital recorder playing discs from a program called “Speak Good English Today!” One of the gray parrots learned to say, “May I help you please?” but that caused confusion when customers were in the store. Customers would think Mr. Jonap had spoken to them, and they would respond, “No, thanks. I’m just looking.” Then the gray parrot would repeat, “May I help you please?” again and again. The green parrot would shout “Hello!” very loudly and nothing else. By contrast, Myron learned to speak fluently, as did his brother and sister. Together, they found the parrots annoying and a little depressing. “I wish someone would buy those two parrots so we could have some peace and quiet around here”, Myron’s sister said one night. Instead, the very next day, a dealer from New York bought Brij, who was larger than Myron and also Niki, who was prettier. By nightfall Myron was left all alone, wondering if his brother and sister were alright and hoping they had been sold to someone nice. Sixteen days later a tall man came into the store and bought Myron. The man was Dr. Gary Goodwin, a podiatrist from Brandon, South Dakota. He had found Jonapbirds.com on the internet and then drove all the way to San Diego to see ( and hear) for himself. Dr. Goodwin was ready to make this expensive purchase because he felt it might help his son, Michael.
“What’s your name?” he asked Myron. “My name is Myron”, the bird answered. “Do you like children?” Dr. Goodwin asked. “It depends on the child,” Myron replied.
Dr. Goodwin paused a moment. Then he said, “Would you like to come with me to Brandon, South Dakota, and meet my son, Michael?” Myron thought it couldn’t be any worse than living in Jonap’s Talking Bird store. “Yes, I be pleased to go,” he said. Dr. Goodwin smiled and turned to Mrs. Jonap. “I’ll take him,” he said. “Also, please give me some food Mynah birds like. We have a long ride ahead of us.”
THE GOODWIN FAMILY DR. GOODWIN is the dad. He is 43 years old and works as a podiatrist. His office is in Brandon, South Dakota. Some of his patients live in Brandon (pop. 8,100), but most of them travel 11 miles from Sioux Falls (pop. 23,000). His office is attached to a two-story gray house. His nurse, Linda Colorado, also works in his office. CLAIRE GOODWIN, 44, is the mom. She was a music major at McGill University and has talent. However, she has been so busy with her family that she hasn’t had time to use that talent in the last few years. KATIE GOODWIN is the eldest child. She is almost 14. breezy and popular. She goes to public school and rides the school bus every day. MICHAEL GOODWIN is 12 years old. He does not ride the school bus. Unlike his sibling, he is driven to a private school and is enrolled in a “special class” . Michael excels with computers. He seems to have Asperger’s Syndrome, a less severe form of autism. We never mention that, because we respect Michael’s privacy. While many autistic children do not speak, children with Asperger’s can speak if they wish, but frequently choose not to. They are almost always highly intelligent and often prefer to communicate by using I-pads or by texting with smart phones. Sometimes they will do this with a child sitting next to them. These children tend to form strong bonds with an animal.
The most common animal bonds are those with horses and dogs, but some children with Asperger’s Syndrome bond with goats, cats, fish and even birds. Michael Goodwin’s “best friend” is a medium sized Mynah Bird named Myron. Myron has a yellow and red beak, long yellow legs and speaks fluently. Michael does well in a class where most of the children are his equal in intelligence. The teacher, Mrs. Wetzel, is an expert in teaching autistic children. She presides over an annual BRING A FRIEND TO CLASS DAY. It is not a surprise to her that, on that day, all of her students bring animal friends. With Mrs. Wetzel’s guidance all six of her students are computer-friendly. However, Michael is by far the best. He seems to love his mother, father and older sister. However, he does not express that emotion easily. He talks with them in brief sentences and rarely makes eye contact. With his new best friend, Myron, the Mynah bird, things are very different in the happiest of ways.
DR. GARY GOODWIN
DR. GARY GOODWIN, 43, was born in Canada, and while living in the United States for the last 15 years, still retains his Canadian citizenship. He grew up in Toronto, attended McGill University in Montreal as a pre-med student, then got his degree at Ottawa Podiatry College. He married an American girl, Claire Howard, whom he had met at McGill. Having saved up some money, he “bought” the practice of a retiring podiatrist in Brandon, South Dakota. The agreement was to pay $4000 up front, then $3000 a year for three years. There are no other podiatrists in Brandon and many patients come from nearby Sioux Falls. As a result, Dr. Goodwin does well with his practice. Gary is a likable, but serious man, who is good to his patients, his nurse and his family. He has added to his house near Brandon Pond, creating an office with a separate entrance. His nurse is an attractive young woman named Linda Colorado. Ms. Colorado graduated with honors from the Hotel Dieu School of nursing in El Paso, Texas. Most of Dr. Goodwin’s patients adore Linda Colorado. A few years ago, one of his patients, George Rainbolt, married her. Besides his wife, Dr. Goodwin, has two children, Katie and Michael. Katie is popular and sails effortlessly through school. Michael is a lovable child with less than average coordination and some social problems that his mother, father and special education teacher are working hard to correct. Enter a loquacious Mynah bird named Myron.
MORE NOTES ABOUT ASPERGER’S SYNDROME Asperger’s Syndrome is a form of autism. It affects boys more frequently than girls. It shows up early and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 2-4. Smiles are rarely returned. Therapy animals can be a highly beneficial addition to treatment programs. The playful nature of some animals seems to draw these children out of their shells. Asperger’s children are hardly ever picked early in schoolyard games. Physical coordination is not as good as it is with most other children. Still, their coordination can be improved with work by a skilled therapist.
OUR TARGET AUDIENCE, CONSULTATION WITH EDUCATORS DEMO E-BOOK. SAMPLE AVAILABLE The target age group for our “MYRON, THE MYNAH BIRD” series is 7-12. Grade levels are 2-5. Teachers have told us it would not be difficult to lower the target age group. To aim at children 5-9 we would shorten our stories, delete “big” words and add more pictures. In either case, we think an E-BOOK would be a plus. Bearing in mind that there are now inexpensive tablets made specially for young children, we have prepared a sample using chapter 3 of “My New Best Friend”. We would be happy to send it to you on a DVD at your request.
We also feel Myron and his warm messages might lend themselves to a Childrenâ€™s Television Series. If Myron, the Mynah Bird proved successful on tv, that might lead to a Full-Length Animated Feature Film. One of the teachers we have consulted with has experience as a public school teacher from K through grade level 5. She has had experience teaching autistic children, some of whom talk and some of whom remain silent or make unintelligible noises. Children in the latter category rarely make it past the first grade. Aspergerâ€™s children resist participating in class discussions. However, those who bond with a friend and get special attention often move forward. Michael Goodwin and his new best friend, MYRON, THE MYNAH BIRD, would seem to be a good bet in this latter category.
Ed Graham and Zan Barnett.