Brentwood Elementary’s 5th Grade: Ms. Beck’s Class


It came as no surprise to me to discover that several students in Ms. Beck’s class had parents who were published authors. Ms. Beck’s passion for writing became evident from day one and I witnessed that enthusiasm pouring from her fifth graders’ works. She joined in when I gave the prompts and produced a magical poem about a cat and her students jumped right into the exercises, as well. They delivered creative nonfiction with letters to objects around the house and developed unique descriptions for their fictional best friends. Ms. Beck’s writers also welcomed the opportunity to privately record their emotions in hand-made journals. I am immensely proud of the published results you see before you. Congrats to all the Brentwood writers!

Terri Schexnayder
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Why Gaming Is Good for You 

My 1st reason is you get to play over 2,000 games also I know over 100 games not that much to 2,000. People think gaming is bad for you, but it really isn’t bad for you.

Let’s say you finished your homework (your boring homework) you can turn on an amazing xbox that has over 200-100 games. You can get for free or buy for money and every now and then they have a discount that let you save money on games that cost money.

It is the same for PS4 and a PS. A PC is way better than a Xbox and PS4 because a pc has stuff like a graphic card and a very good memory card, like on a pc you could get a lot more games than a Xbox and a lot of game companies release some games on PC and don’t release the same game on Xbox and Playstation because they don’t want to do the extra work to do the same for console.

Gaming isn’t bad for you. It is good in some ways and bad in some ways, you should play for only up to four hours at max. You shouldn’t be playing ten hours per day, because that is when gaming is bad. People say that videos are always, bad but it isn’t at all (Most of them are Karens that say it is bad). Matter of fact, not all games are a shooter games. Some games are building like for example Fornite is a shooter game and Minecraft isn’t. 

 Thanks for reading why gaming is good for you. I hope you learned a lot about gaming.


Running Majestically in the Field

Running majestically in the field
While everyone else takes a kneel
Their beautiful colors shine bright in the sun
As they walk on the leaves and drink from the pond…
I am who I am from what I can see
And some people call me the horse of many mysteries…

Ashtyn Gunning

Letter to Fence Gate

March 31, 2021

Dear Fence Gate,

Why do you hurt me? Do you not like me? I mean I didn’t slam you that many times. Just a few moments when I was in a rush but it wasn’t like thaaaaaaaat hard. Why did you slash me on my side so hard? I’m still in pain from when you were so cruel. Don’t you understand the conditions you have put me in? I am considering suing you for all you have … I mean you don’t really have anything but that’s off topic. You aren’t very nice you know, you almost made me *sniff sniff* cry *sniff sniff*.  WAAHHHHH!!!!!

Bye*sniff* for now, 

Avan *sniff*

Avan Bollich

My New Friend

We fell into the portal to fiery depths of hell. Then I met my new friend in the fire depths of hell. His name is Hacker. He always carries a laptop around so he can make things fly off his laptop. He is 15 and does not know what college he is going to. He loves computer science and he thinks he will get into M.I.T.

Me being a strong person with Thor’s hammer. They are both good physically  but I have a mental disability and A.D.H.D. so it is harder to learn. I am 14. We are 12 days apart. In 2 days it is going to be 15. But they make a great team together. But they have a motion to get the top of the rock wall. Will they get to the top? Yes or no? Next time.

But they have a motion to get the top of the rock wall.Will they get to the top? Yes or no? Next time.

The challenge is a mental and physical challenge. It is hard to choose what hand and foot to hold. It is blue, yellow, green, white, and purple. I got yellow and blue. The hacker did white and green. they try to do it over and over. but then the hacker got on top and he showed me how to get on top too. WE GOT ON TO!!!!!! We will see you next time on the wonderful journey.

We found the next journey in the fiery depths of hell to the gold mines. When I got to the gold mines there were monsters on the way to get to the gold mines. There were too many goblins hacker threw knives at one guy and I sumined linting on the other to see we do make a great team. we will see you on the next adventure.

We have entered the place and it is creepy. But they still marched on their way then they encountered 5 ghosts. How can they know how to kill them? They can do anything because ghosts when you throw at them it goes right through them. so then you have to come up with a solution to the problem. The hacker said that we can… make a copy of the thing and do your own way to kill the ghosts have fun. If you don’t know how to just search up a video because  I can’t put one on the GoogleDoc. Bye.

Eli Braman-Ray

Cunning Is the Red Fox

Cunning is like me, my paws are air making not a sound
On the leafy crunchy grassy ground
With every move I make
So fast you barely see me in that flash,
I slither up the hill.
I am the cunning red fox.
My skill, I pounce with every ounce
But still as silent as a mouse.
I sit in the grass, my ears up high
I close my eyes, ears to the sky!
And so then I hear a muffled noise,
Then I’m flying and touching the clouds!!
The bunny is in my mouth.
I am the cunning red fox.

Elowyn Pate

Remote, Where Have You Gone?

Oh where have you gone this time, Remote? I try and try to keep you in the same place, but every time I place you down, you always disappear. I really want to watch TV but every time I have the time you always play games with me. It’s like you’re running off to the circus. Instead of watching TV I have to go around and find you, and it’s getting tiring.

Is this because we dropped you under the couch and forgot about you and used the other remote to watch TV instead of using you? Please stop being a jealous remote. I am tired of you always playing hide and go seek like mister power cord. Here we are still not in speaking terms.(P.S. Can you tell him I am sorry?)

Anyway is there any way I can make it up to you? Like make you a special name tag that says the “Amazing Remote”?Maybe a throne? Maybe a trip to the salon? A trip to the zoo maybe? Just please call me if there is anything I can to to make you feel like you are needed cause you are.


Ps. Maybe if you don’t stop I will just always use the other remote instead.

Finley McGrath

Dearest Mrs. Carpet,   

I am writing to send my apologies, you see I’ve done you wrong. I blame all problems on you, throwing pillows, and punching the surface of your fluffy blue body.  I let ickle Milliekins (you know that dog who sheds ALL the time) leave her black hair on every inch of your face. Ahh, you see, I’ve seen the errors of my ways, I now see the suffering I put you through—the crums of crackers, dirty clothes, tissues from when I’m sad.

Please just pour out the memories of seven days ago, when I rang you outside to get the water I spilled off of you on a bone and give it to the dog. (I’m so, so sorry, I know that must have hurt!) But I’ve come to the nasty conclusion that your physical body isn’t the only thing I hurt. Please forgive me for thinking I might throw you away, you know how cramped my room is, but all the same, I regret it as much as you.

In the end I know I have treated you wrong, so once and for all…… I’m so sorry!

Your apologetic owner,

Grace Nichols

Me and Chad Broski

Chad Broski = he has his own coffee go check him out
Me =  the stupid kid 
Chad Broski = lives in his office 
Me = live in his mom’s basement with his dolls
Chad Broski = he looks like a office man with small feet
Me = I look like a wired kid that sits in his room because he has no friend  
Chad Broski = has a hat and its just a hat
Me = my mom has not fed me in 5 Days help me please 
Chad Broski = has a stream go check him out 
Me = I am still the stupid kid

Harrison R-B


Dear Bike,

Thank you for entertaining me ever since I got you. You have gotten me to friends’ houses, and just letting me ride you. Thank you for helping me when I was bored. Especially in quarantine. I have been bored out of my freaking mind.

Jude Castillo

The Rebel Business

Once upon a time in a sparkly rose gold castle lived a princess named Amber. Well not really a princess. You see Amber wasn’t like any other princess. She didn’t want to sit down and have tea, or go to balls. She wanted to ride four wheelers and play tag. 

One day the princess was at her prep school when Rhonda walked in. Rhonda was the meanest of princesses. But luckily she was Amber’s friend.

“Hey Amber what’s the 411?” Rhonda said excitedly.

”Ok lets see,” Amber said, ”Jamie told Karen who told Lucille who told Kathy who told Chris that Girdy wore jeans.”

“Oh my tiaras!” Rhonda exclaimed.

Since they were princess they were only two were where fancy dresses, and occasionally skirts. It was against dress code to where anything else.

”Well does Queen Flora know about this?” Rhonda asked.

”Probably not, she doesn’t really communicate with us that much. She only talks to me because I’m her daughter, and most of the time I break the rules.“ Amber said annoyed.

”Well try not to break the rules then.”

“Oh yeah because I enjoy getting in trouble.” Amber said furiously.

“Alright right girls it’s time for special edition,” the announcer said.


“Everyone split into your groups.”

“See ya later,” said Rhonda.

”Bye Rhonda.”

Even though Amber didn’t act like a princess she still managed to get into advanced etiquette. She thinks it has something to do with her mom being the queen of Rosemary Country.

“Alright girls today we are going to be learning how to curtsy in front of the king.” The announcer explains.

Amber raises her hand.

“Yes Amber?”

“Why would I need to curtsy to the king if he’s my dad?” 

Kyeri Hickman

Mr. Snail

Mr. Snail stars on his back with letters too 
has been through so much and is doing well 
back and forth he flies very high and he’s light as a feather 
and slow as ever 


Dear Squirrel Who Was In the Nest,

Why are you such a pest!

Those eggs, happy as can be.
But you ate them in your tree!

They were going to grow,
So I hope you know.

That now they’re gone.
And mother is sad,

Why are you
So bad?

Your angry neighbor,

Lily Tello


Oh Dear Socks, I miss you so much. Can I find a sister:

Oh Dear Long School Socks, just because I stomped in a mud puddle that’s fine right?

Oh Dear No-show Socks, I just have one of you. I’m still looking for you if you hear this Bill, Bob, Bobina, Brianna, Brooke, I miss you. Bailey thinks that you five are playing hide in seek.

Oh Dear Wool Socks, listen just because.. hmm I think you are in the trash. Hmm I still can’t find you. Are you in the trash? If so, I’m not sorry.

Oh Dear White Socks, why did you have to get brown of the bottom? I just step out in the rain and then step in a landfill. I think I found a mouse in there, but I don’t know at this point. I think I might step on some mud just for you if you brother died. So sad just because I put him in the water it means nothing. Ohhhhhhhhhh my god, I found out why he passed. I thought y’all get washed, but I need it y’all to soak in a tub. If you read this, say hey.


Makenna Vasquez-Stegant

Two Sides

Silence is the sound
Of nature

Crash is the sound of the
The water so deep

Nature is
At peace

Ocean is anger
Waiting for release

Ruby Meadows

Trever & Joey

Trever – not the smartest, thinks a lot about himself, lives with his parents and likes Takis.

Joey boy – likes to surf and talks funny lives, is humble, lives in his own house and likes salads.


Dear Cords, 

You’re always not where I expect, even when you’re in a drawer you’re always all tangled up. I can’t untangle you in time before my iPad runs out, you’re always not long enough to reach where I sit. Please oh please stay in the same spot and maybe be a tad longer.

Why does it take so long for you to charge my iPad? I mean why does it take 2 – 3 hours. Maybe next time only 30 minutes because it gets so boring. Also the only thing that helps me is the long extension cord. If there were no extension cords I would probably give up on you. Why oh why do you have to be so short and always leave my sight? Please come back to me so I can charge my iPad to play.



The Lover Brothers

There were two brothers that were name Frederick and Trevon. Trevon loves candy and Frederick is the one that loved cotton candy. They live in LA. Trevon and Frederick are brothers.

Trevon is 15 and Frederick is 10. Trevon and Frederick live together. Trevon is the one that doesn’t like school and Frederick loves school. They both love to go to the park. One just loves to fight and one just loves to drum one. Trevon is in the 9 grade and he doesn’t know what 2 x 100. Frederick don’t know what is 2×2, but it’s ok.

They both love to match clothes and there favorite snack is Sour Patch Kids. Their favorite drink is root beer. When one fell behind on homework, they help each other. And if someone tried to make fun of them, they would stand up and say to leave him alone. They fight sometimes, but they still love each other and that’s why there are the lover brothers.


Contradiction is the Cat

Purring, kneading, cuddling-in
Glaring at the disrupter

Angel softly sleeping by my side
Rocket ship blasting through the house

Rolling into a sun beam
Attacking like a monster on its prey

Scritch scratch happy cat
Cry whine starving baby

Sweetly rubbing head against my hand
Brutal claws digging in for the kill

Lifting chin for more love. More!
Giving love?  Never!  OK, maybe sometimes.  But you’ll never know when.

Ms. Laura Beck

Brentwood Elementary’s 5th Grade: Ms. Merritt’s Class


People often ask me who my favorite writers are, and my answer has always been my students. The fifth graders in Ms. Merritt’s class are among some of the finest writers I have ever read. Painting vivid pictures in the mind’s eye, and using figurative language to shape stories that fly off the page. On the following pages, you will experience teleportation caused by a wish, and travel with a spy through Russia. These students have shared their views on life with candor and striking sensitivity. Experience Beck’s “Mount Everest-sized disappointment” when losing his Xbox controller again, Jordan’s description of a messy life, Webb’s car trip to his grandparents, and Leah’s comparison of life to a bouncing ball. Gus eloquently frames life during COVID-19: “Where the twilight buzzes with emptiness and fear.” They wrote insightful epistolary poems to: watercolors and a paintbrush, guacamole, and a door. Ariana begged Zoom that it, “Please stop lagging;” Isaac tried to locate a hamburger named “James the 5th” and Harper wrote an endearing letter from a child to a cardboard box. Ms. Merritt’s students expressed what they think about friendship. Milo wrote about “Best brothers,” Claire shared her opinion about true friendship and Lahna about a horse and a girl who are best friends. Drake personified the feelings of a pencil; Chet listed alphabetical alliteration and Paloma offered a stunning poem about fruit. This is writing that will move you. Move you to laugh or weep or even fly like Anahi’s raven that will, “Dance like a ballerina across the bright night sky.” 

Jena Kirkpatrick 
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Man Who Wished

There was a man that wished for superpowers and one day he woke up and he wanted coffee. Then he got the coffee, and he got dressed. His car broke down and he teleported to work. This is when he realized he had superpowers he was shocked! Then his boss turned on the news and he saw a story about a man who tried to steal and since he knew how to control his powers. He teleported to the palace. The man caught him and turned him into the police. He became a superhero.



Powerful is what that raven is
That raven is powerful
I am the raven
You would never expect it
It comes out through the gloom
But the brightness that comes from the soul 
Will make you love it forever
With the warmth from its self
The black metallic color on you beams off the bright sun.
As you dance like a ballerina across the bright night sky the world glows to the point that the galaxy sees you
We see you Raven
We hear you Raven
We love you Raven



There are so many birds!
The purple ravens are the least favorite birds.
Red Robins are the one of the most popular birds.
I actually have seen a Red Robin once.
Birds can be…rude, kind, in between etc.
I love birds a lot!
They are my favorite animals!
Just imagine the nice or mean birds on your window.
Not calm or calm birds, they are amazing.
So many types of birds, color, texture.
The colorful birds are Amazing!


The Totally Unexpected Vanishing of the Xbox Controller 

Oh no…this can’t be happening? Every time I get the time to play on this beautiful pitch black box, you disappear. It’s honestly like you’ve been Thanos snapped out of reality. This is a Mountain Everest sized disappointment, it truly is. Just come out and show yourself to the world my beautiful Xbox controller! I beg you, please don’t make me suffer to the point where I will have to wait a couple of years so I can order a PlayStation 5 off a bunch of scalpers! I just want to play my game. I don’t have much time left, seven entire hours is an incredibly short time to play my game!

Oh wait, you were literally right in front of me on the couch the entire time I was screaming all the oxygen out of my lungs like a complete idiot. Eh, I don’t feel like playing on my Xbox now. I’ll just go take a nap during the time that I’m able to play my game. 

Beck Hicks

Dear Door,

Oh how I love you, door. I open you and close you so many times everyday. You squeak and turn yet it still annoys me. You keep the warm air inside my room all day long. You’re hard to close but you still hold a special place in my heart. No matter how many times you make me mad, I will always love you but not all the time though. I sometimes want to kick you; I’m not gonna lie. Still you’re great and it would feel really weird without you because there would just always be a giant open hole in my room. Stay strong, don’t give up, like literally stay strong. I don’t want you to fall. 🙂


The Spy of Russia

One day a man and his dog arrived at the border of Russia, he was on a mission to make sure the Russians weren’t up to something terrible. Once he got to the border checkpoint he needed to show his papers. But he had a fake set of papers so he could get by, he made it past with his dog and he was transported to a small town. Where he would begin his mission.

The first day he was there he saw some soldiers that looked like they were transporting something very important, so he and his dog followed them. The soldiers went to a secret bunker on the side of a mountain and what the man and his dog saw was horrifying. It was a nuclear testing facility and they were preparing to set off a nuke. Then he saw it, it was a huge mushroom cloud about seven times the height of Mount Everest and he was shocked to see how every scientist and soldier was calm. Then came the shockwave which was so loud that one of his ears started to bleed, he and his dog started to get out of there when a group of Russian soldiers spotted him. They yelled at him to stop but he could not understand them, then bullets started to wiz at him and he just kept running. At one point the russian soldiers stopped shooting, but the man did not realize that his dog was shot in the leg and was bleeding out. Once he saw the wound he ripped off a piece of his shirt and wrapped it up on his dog’s leg, he rushed his dog to the nearest town and found a vet. They put the dog under anesthesia and spoke with the man. The man could not understand them well, but luckily there was one veterinarian that spoke English. They said they had to amputate the leg and he was fine with it as long his dog was okay.

He found a place to stay for the night but he could not sleep, it was because his dog meant everything to him and he did not want to lose him. The next morning he went to the vet and his dog was very tired but he looked okay. He left with his dog and went to an airport where he could get back to America and warned everyone about what he saw. He told the military about what he saw and then a high rank in the military warned the president. They made sure their security was strong everywhere.

They never had to go to a full on war with Russia but they still made sure that no country was threatening another country.


Alliterative Sentences A – Z

Ann ate amazing apples
Bobby baked brownies
Calvin collects carnivorous cicadas
Debbie downer dated dinosaurs
Emily enchanted extraordinary elephants
Filip finds fun facts
George gives great gifts
Harry hates hot jalapeños
Italy is impressive
Jesters jabber jubilantly 
Kelly kills Kangaroos
Lily La Lion loved lamps
Manny makes messy mops
Nattale needs numbers
Oliver’s otter offends other otters
Pepper paints portraits
Quill hates alliteration
Rosa really relates
Samantha says “Sup.”
Terry’s tupperware tells the truth
Uranus uses underwear
Vanesa vetoes valiantly
Wade wants water
Xavier X-rays xylophones 
Yale yodels 
Zebras zig-zag


Dear Guacamole, 

You always run out too fast. We eat you with enchiladas, chips, tacos, quesadillas and potatoes. If you are always running out, how will we enjoy you? If this is about queso, then you are better! We can’t eat queso with beans. But if you have a problem with tacos or enchiladas, then we’ll go out to eat, but please please stop running out so quickly. I need you for chips and sandwiches. Oh! Speaking of sandwiches, do you like egg salad or is this what that running out is all about? Fine I’ll just put you on chips (and maybe a potato or two) or quesadillas (I love quesadillas) and you should too with all the Oaxaca cheese it’s soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. End of discussion. Period. You will not run out ever!

Sincerely and hungry,


It all starts with an unsharpened pencil, but soon this unsharpened stick can become something greater. But do not worry, it will have a delicate mark of letters. If you like sharpening your pencil then maybe you will enjoy this, but if not then maybe you shouldn’t try this. A twist and then a turn and voila you have your sharpened pencil but then a horrid snap. If the pencil breaks then maybe you have more. But it takes some chance to find one that is just right for you.


—a golden shovel poem

striking word: how can I stay strong in a world where fear and sickness wait outside my door 

we’ve put on these masks but I still don’t know how
this place is ever gonna feel the same. how can 
it when there’s a pandemic? no one I
love being able to talk to no interaction or friends to stay
with after school, no sleepovers, no strong
adults throwing me into a swimming pool this summer, no waterballoons in
the bucket this summer, nope not this summer try again next year, it’s a
different place in Austin, a different planet. a world
where everyone wears masks of all colors, where
the twilight air buzzes with emptiness and fear,
where nobody knows when this will stop and
I hate how this stupid sickness
and how it makes school be all online and stuff. can’t wait
for it to end and I can walk outside
again without  worrying  about having a mask. my
life like everyone else’s is corona outside my door.


Life of a Cardboard Box

Cardboard Box
Global Material Recycling
8079 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78753

Dear Cardboard Box,

I know you haven’t arrived there yet but when you do I want you to have a token of my gratitude. Rough, tan, Cardboard Box, you came from a tree (I don’t know what type). But I don’t think you knew what you were going to be used for. I am assuming that you assumed that your only purpose was to get a shipping label slapped on at a company like Amazon and distribute or hold things like computers and stuffed animals but you mean much more than that to me.

When I was littler you were a simple play car, or a fort, or a box to ship your little sister to your grandparents in. Once I got older though you turned into one of my best craft projects, a dog box. I had seen a bunch of pictures online of them but I didn’t know how hard they were to make. It took me a week and so sorry for the pokes and jabs of a green pipe cleaner when I was spelling out my dog’s name in big fuzzy letters. And for the sticky glue I got all over you. Also for the dusty dirty dog blankets lining your bottom but, and I think you will agree, it was worth it for the creative, fun, box tradition, whatever they may use it for, to be passed on to a new generation, my dogs (both of them because even though I made it for one of them I think the other got jealous so they took it over.) You held up strong for the first few months until you collapsed and tore from exhaustion at the end of your life, but all generations will always love you, a simple shipping box. My dogs and I thank you for your dedication and selflessness.


Hamburger Letter

Dear Hamburger James the 5th,

Look man I need to gobble you up ok, it’s nothing personal. You’re just so good, it’s not like it’s my fault you smell like fresh meat with gravy!!! I ordered you with all meat and no vegetables, I need my money’s worth. Is it that your brother Jeff Mayos is here also, is it that you don’t want to see him get eaten?  I will eat you both at the same time, or are you just terrified? Last time you jumped over me and zoomed away! Can you at least tell your 83 fries that are all named Max to stay so I can dip them in Catsup?


P.S. Please stop hiding! I have looked everywhere, the trashcan, the restaurant, and my car. Please just come out.


Life Is a Mess!

My room was so messy it looked like an asteroid just hit the room. So I just slept on the couch that felt like a fluffy pillow. Then a couple days later I started thinking about how nice it would look if me and my brother redecorated the whole room, so I went to his room and asked him if he would like to help me redecorate my room and he yelled “NO!” at me. My heart dropped and tears came down my face as I walked away in sadness.

The next day as I was walking to school I heard somebody sneaking up behind me so I looked and saw my brother.

“Why are you following me?‘’ He asked

’’You just yelled at me like you were a lion.” I said.

“I just wanna say I’m sorry I was just having a bad day.”

“It’s ok just don’t be like a lion next time.”

“I won’t’’ my brother said as we both laughed.

’’Now that that’s over, still wanna redecorate your room after school?’’my brother asked.

My cheeks lit up as I shouted, “YES! Oops I mean yes.‘’ I whispered.

A couple hours later I heard the bell signaling the end of the school day. DING! I stood up and zoomed out the door and went straight to my dad’s car. Ten seconds later I saw my brother walking to the car and as soon as he got in I gave him a huge hug and said, “Thank you.”

“No problem. But I’m not doing it.”


The Best Best Friends

Emily and her best friend Tosty are going to move to the big big city. But she doesn’t know! When her mom tells her she is so sad. She packs her bags and puts Tosty her horse in the horse carrier. The horse carrier is pink. It is Tosty’s favorite color.

They go on a 17 hour drive. When they get there, Tosty gets stolen. Emily goes on every website she can looking for Tosty. She spent hours trying to find him. Finally she finds him going on bid for half a million! She asked her mom.

“I do not have that much money.”

“Can I ask dad?” 

“You can try, he’ll probably say no.”

“He said YES!”


“I am getting Tosty back! I can not wait to feel his shiny toast color fur. He said he’ll be here in 5 days! What should I do? I can’t wait!”

“Go make some friends.”

“What no! Not until I get Tosty back.”

“Don’t you ever yell at me young lady!”

“Sorry. Alright what are we going to do while we wait?”

“How about the shopping?”

“Or we could go get ice cream?”


“Sounds good, let’s do it.”

Five days later, Tosty arrives.

“Oh my gosh! Hi, Tosty! Tosty looked like he was hurt! It looks like Spurs had dug into the side of him. Someone hit him with a whip. Mom, do you think Tosty will be okay?”

“Yes I think tosty will be just fine okay sweetheart.”



Life Is A Bouncing Ball

Be loud like a singing nightingale
Live Life like it’s not so small and frail
When You touch we will shatter
But we bounce back and get put back together
The waves tower and swallow us whole
The trees give shade to a weak baby foal
The sands blow and tuck us in tight
But through it all the world gives us light 
We run we hide but problems sneak up
Yet good can follow and bring us some luck
We send in our courage to get nothing back
Yet we do in return we get pride on a plaque

Leah Drory

A Letter to Water Colors

Dear Water Colors,

Hey how have you been? Yea I know I have not used you in a while but I can explain.

When I bought you I was so excited! You see your colors are so vibrant and shining But it takes a while for them to dry.

Maybe you could try to speed up the process?

Also don’t tell Watercolor Paper but he is all used up, 

Don’t worry I will try to get more.

And I would not want to put you and copy paper together.

If I’m correct you two have a bad history.

And I know that Watercolor Paper is your one best friend.

You to were made for eachother, literally.

Anyway could you also try to stop staining my brushes?

I know its fun to leave a mark, but on the paper ok.

And for my end of the deal I’ll use you more. Don’t worry, I did not forget about you. 

Thanks a lot, Water Colors.

Leola Considine

The Best Bros

There were two brothers Miguel and Jack. They are best friends, but before they were like heaven and hell.It all started when Jack wanted to join the soccer team but also did Miguel, the thing is they did not want to see each other at their games.

Miguel was walking home from school, then before you knew it a car was coming for Miguel, but Jake heard his scream and came running to save him! He went to save Miguel just in time but he did not have time to save himself.

Once they got to the hospital the doctor said that Jack had shattered his knee. Miguel was so thankful that Jack had pushed him to the sidewalk.One week later Miguel had helped Jack so much that Miguel started doing everything with Jack and would help him around the house.Then the next month goes by and Jack teaches a lot of skills in soccer then the big day comes, when Miguel goes to him first game of the season!



Fruit is the candy of nature
That hangs down from the trees
And perches in the bushes that sway in the evening breeze
And when you take that first bite your heart begins to plead
For more of that delicious fruit that hangs down from the trees


The Drive to McKinney 

My brothers and I were in the car heading to my grandparents house,
It was a long drive.
I saw fields of grass, trees, cows, and  planes when I looked up,
my younger brothers were a little bit crazy in the car because we got to play video games and ate candy, 
(Lots of yelling),
Chick-fil-a nuggets with ketchup please and a rootbeer,
Stopped at a gas station, 
restroom break,
snack time again.
Back in the car again with my yelling brothers. 
It was like music to my ears.

Webb L.

Brentwood Elementary’s 5th Grade: Ms. Brown’s Class


Writing, at its best, is a conversation. It could be between the writer and the reader, or maybe just the writer having a chit-chat with themselves. Occasionally (as is the case with some of the pieces below), it’s a highly emotional exchange between the writer and an inanimate object. Not only can writing bea conversation, but it can also spark entirely new ones to happen away from the page.

That is exactly what happened in these workshops. We had all manner of conversations, inspired by the work we read and shared together. These ranged from discussions of poetry and the value of fictional friendships to reasons we might steal batteries from our TV remote control and the horribleness of litterboxes. This group of writers have created valuable, interesting, uniquely creative conversations in their works, and I’m so grateful to have chatted along with them in our time together.

Marissa Macy
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

My Ghost Story

Hi, my name is Keith, and I have a friend who’s a ghost. I know it’s weird, but hear me out. I will tell you how it all started.

I woke up, feeling drained and tired. ”Wake up, Sleepyhead” mom said as she went to get the cleaning supplies. I swear, every time we clean (she is always such a cleaning freak), she gets mad when there’s like one sock on the floor.

”Ok,” I said as I got up.

”Clean your room after school, it’s digesting.”

Well, she might be right about my room. It has Dirty clothes everywhere and dishes and unknown stuff. I grabbed my backpack and took it to the kitchen. My mom was cooking some bacon and eggs, and my big brother was playing Duty Calls or something like that.

”Breakfast is ready!” Mom said as she got the plates.

When we sat at the table, my brother said, “I dare you to go inside that creepy house across the street.”

And everyone who knows me knows I can never pass a dare. *Insert dun dun dunnnn!*  


I walked up to the house. I had a second thought, but I ignored that and went inside.

It was so old and broken and creaky,and it smelled like fart farted everywhere, There are books everywhere, chairs that look like it might fall to dust if you touch it for even a split second, dolls that look like they’re haunted. Just a lot of creepy stuff in general.

”Wow,” I said to myself as I noticed there was a stair on the side of the house. So I went up on there *creeeeeeeek*

I opened the door and that’s when I met the ghost. ”Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

My heart was full of fear as I saw the ghost yelling, “Well I’m a ghost, if you didn’t know.”


Eli And Robby                                                                                                                         

There was once two little boys that met in kindergarten. One was named Robby and the other Eli. They were really good friends, but Robby was kind of a misbehaved kid. He stole candy and got in trouble in both school and home. And then Eli was a was a well-behaved kid. He never got in trouble and was almost perfect.

And even though it seemed like they had nothing in common, they were best friends, because they both loved the same foods and the same type of books (which were joke books). If they ever started a conversation, it was almost impossible to stop them from talking,

As they got older Robby began to get in bigger trouble like sometimes he wanted a new phone but he didn’t want to pay for it so one time he tried to steal a phone. But he got caught, and he had to pay for it anyways. Eli began to be very successful in life and became rich. But when Eli had became rich, Robby became a small time thief.

As time passed  they hadn’t talked in a long time, so Eli decided to text Robby to see what he was up to. But Eli saw that Robby didn’t respond for one week. Eli decided to do a little research and found out that Robby was arrested for stealing another phone. Eli decided to pay the police station, so that Robby could be free and he could talk with him and catch up with him. Eli and Robby talked for hours, and they felt like they were kids again. They hung out all day and then they both went home, because it was late. Robby realized how good Eli’s life was and decided to change his ways. He didn’t brake any laws, worked hard, and soon he was living a life almost the same as Eli’s.


Dear Computer,

Your pixels are as smooth as a baby’s butt. I’m sorry we couldn’t update you. That was tragic. I know I overwork you. I’m sorry but  I only do it because you’re so entertaining. I wish we could be together more. You’re my everything. And for that, I dedicate this poem to you.

You shine brighter than a star. Keep shining, my love.

Your love,


Dear Air Conditioner,

Why do you make it so hot in our house like a boiling pot? I’m always having a fan on because of you.



Derrick & Neil

Once upon a time there was this one boy named Derrick. He came from a family of five brothers and three sisters. There were so many siblings in their house that their parents had to take turns doing day and night shifts each two jobs each. So he only really saw one parent at a time. He started to feel really lonely because none of his siblings shared any of his interests, and he didn’t really see his parents a lot.

Where his dad works there was an incident… his father worked as an Uber driver, and he got into a terrible accident where a truck crushed him. And sadly his dad did not make it. Derrick was so sad when his mom told him after that he wouldn’t leave his room. He didn’t even want to eat. All until at night he heard a big boom.

He gasped and looked out the window. He saw a big round circle that had rings. He then realized that it was a UFO. He couldn’t believe his eyes since all of his family was asleep. He quickly grabbed a coat and ran outside.

When he approached the UFO, he noticed movement in the UFO. He got scared, so he picked up a stick from the floor and approached the UFO. When he got close, he saw an alien and it was hurt.

So he said, “Hey are you ok?”

And surprisingly the alien knew English. He said, “Yeah, I’m ok. I think I crashed.”

After that, he snuck the hurt alien inside his house. He soon realized since he didn’t have friends, the alien could be his friend. So he asked the alien.

And the alien said, “I guess you saved my life and sure why not.”

Derrick was so happy. After that Derrick decided to name the alien. Derrick thought it would be funny if he named the alien Neil Alexander. because the initials for Neil Alexander are Neil A. and Neil A. back wards spells A.lien.

So Derrick told Neil his new name and Neil actually liked that name. After that, Derrick took Neil around the city because he wanted to get Neil used to earth. They were so happy until…. his parents sent the coordinations on the UFO to earth because they were in the middle of war. They started tracking the UFO’s crash site and they went to earth to retrieve Neil.

Whenever they got there, Neil was so happy to see them. But when they said they were taking Neil back, Derrick wasn’t happy to see them. But he knew that those are Neil’s parents and they love Neil. So when Neil got in the car, Derrick gave Neil his little brother’s old tablet, so they could still keep in contact with each other and even FaceTime. After that, Derrick didn’t have Neil but still did at the same time.


The Crystal

One day, Daisy and her best friend Diana were taking a walk like they always did. On their walk, they saw a shining ball on a hill so they ran over and Diana touched the ball. When she touched the ball it turned blue and when she let it go it turned white. Daisy touched it for five minutes and it pulled them into a cave with crystals everywhere and every color.

While they were looking around, a man startled them and told them, “I’m Mr. Ferryman. I see you have found my cave. Come with me”. They followed him and he showed them a crystal that had a missing piece to it. “This piece of this crystal has been stolen by a man named Levi Hook. Levi stole this about 25 years ago and I’ve never seen it again…”.

This scared the girls… they were worried that Levi would take something important from them! “Uhm… d-does he still live around here?” Diana asked nervously.

“Nobody knows. He could be right above us right now!”. This just scared the girls even more. They knew they were going to find Levi and take that piece from him.

The next day, they searched everywhere. They were about to give up until they remembered one more place… a small cave. They went in it and someone was in it. It was no one other than Levi Hook! They quietly looked around and saw the green, shining piece of that crystal, but there was one problem: Levi was right there! They had to think of ways to be sneaky. They got a stick and knocked off the crystal from the stand it was on and escaped quickly and Levi didn’t notice!

They brought the piece back to Mr. Ferryman and said, “Mr. Ferryman!!! We got the piece!!!” he smiled and put it on the perfect green glowing crystal.

“Wow… we’ve been missing this for over 24 years and you got it back in a day?! I’m impressed.”

The news got spread around and the girls got $100,000!

Frances Roma Ramirez

I’m Sorry for You, Broom

I’m sorry for you, broom. It must be horrible to have to pick up other people’s mess, just like I do. I feel bad that I stuck you into the trash can to retrieve my very special plate, and our valiant efforts to get my sister’s dirty Frozen 2 diapers from under the old black couch (they were very stinky). We shouldn’t have to do these things, but the world will never be fair to inanimate objects and eleven-year-old boys.

Gustavo Maloney

Dear Chandelier Over the Table,

I wish you weren’t so low. It is impossible to not hit my head. I got a bump on my head one time. Also I wish you would not be so bright. You are constantly shining in my face. Please keep in mind you can be replaced! Also let’s talk about the fact that you never ever hit Maisie on the head just Mom, Dad, and me! I repeat I can replace you with a high tech chandelier! I could even get your brother, and I know how much you hate him! I will put you in a landfill and you can rot there for the rest of your life! Oh and one more thing: You have got to dust yourself. You are giving me allergies! 

 Thank you and I hope to see changes 

Your amazing owner,

P.S Could you please stop hitting my guest in the head it is scaring them off?


The Brave Dr. Pepper

One day in a small refrigerator, there was someone named Pepper and Pepper was a soda. One day the refrigerator that all the sodas lived in was getting thrown away and everybody was so scared. One person couldn’t see his world collapse, and so Pepper and his friends opened the fridge door. Five Sprites went to the owner so they could be drank (and so they could get his mind off the fridge).

Dr. Pepper got out as well and went to the big fridge to ask for help. They said yes. So then they waited for the dumb human to throw the fridge away.

There he was the human named Kane. *tan tan taaaan* Now all the people from the big fridge got out to fight and all the people from the small fridge got out fight. And there Kane was picking up the fridge when Pepper shouted, “This is war!!!!!!”

So they fought Kane. They punched him and kicked him (and one even punched him in a bad part). Kane was now on the ground, scared. So Pepper said, “You will not throw the fridge away.“

Kane said,”Ok, ok, ok.“

And all the sodas were saved because of Dr. Pepper.


Dear Overflowing Trash Can,

Do you think this is a joke? I’ve been waiting for a week, and you still haven’t cleaned yourself. I mean, do you think I’m gonna do it for you? Because it’s not my fault you fill up so quickly! And don’t get me started on the fact that you can’t even close properly because of all the stuff that’s in you. I mean what kinda trash can are you?

Oh and you might be wondering why I’m sending a letter. I know it’s a little old fashioned but it feels cool and don’t you dare not respond to this and give me the lame excuse that you don’t have arms. You are just as capable as anyone! Even the Trash Bag responds when I complain to him. His handwriting is really bad though. I mean who can blame him? He doesn’t have fingers. Anyway, I hope you respond soon or I’ll turn you into Simon’s litter box.

Lots of resentment,


Dearest Argos (my dogo),

I do not know how you get into the trash and cabinets that are twenty feet high? How did you do it? Do you have telekinesis? Can you fly? Are you a master of parkour?

And how do you fit so much in that belly of yours?(Especially when you eat a whole loaf of bread!) It’s almost bottomless! And you don’t even throw up?!?!?!?!? The more you eat, the more immortal you get, and the more your farts stink! Another question, does Paloma (our other dogo) help you on your evil schemes to steal our food? OK and what could possibly be in Lilly’s backpack that you think is so important you have to go through it every day the messiest way possible!??!?!?!?!

Any way to wrap it up, when you eat a whole loaf of bread while we are out, please think of our terrored faces when we finally arrive home to trash everywhere and little pee stains on our carpet.


P.S. Please stop drinking out of the toilet, there is plenty of fresh water in your bowl.

Leon Barfield

Summertime in The Very, Very Far North

Duane was hot! So hot that he woke up early, maybe too early. He never hated his shaggy cot more in his life. He groped around for his snipers (the small metal cutters). When he found them, he jumped out of bed and ran to the edge his cave and down the stone steps (which he made last year) and puffed to the shipwreck.

He had little beads of water on his face. He ran to the big hole on the side of the ship and burst into C.C.’s room. She was frantically flying around the room.

“Hello, Duane!” She chirped in her high pitched voice.

“Hello C.C I need help.”

It took a second for C.C. to answer “What do you need?” she asked.

“This morning i woke up super hot.”


“I think we have left winter” Duane cut her off.

“What!!!! Duane winter will come back, but for now we welcome summer”.

“What’s summer?” Duane asked

“Well, it is the opposite of winter. So you know how winter is cold?”


“Well summer is hot”

“You mean the way I felt this morning?”

“Yes,” she said sadly.


What Would Happen If Anxiety Took Over Your Mind?
—a poetic version

Snap, Skit, Hide, the world is out to get you,
Stay on the ground blend in don’t move at all,
Change your colors don’t show anything,
Never trust anyone,
Let the thoughts that keep you safe encase you with their tentacles
wrapping around your mind until you have to give up and bow to their wrath,
You’re trapped,
You try to escape but the thoughts come,
More and more each time taking over what you once were and what you will be,
Until you become someone else something else that no one can save anymore.


How We Bested the Mafia

Hi, I’m Jim Mcgee. I’m 87. Have you ever heard of the story of my best friend and I? No? I thought so. It’s about us when we were twelve and…

Once there was this kid named Dave and he was the son of the president. You know the president because he’s “the boss” and “the boss” was busy as heck. He had a lot of conferences over new laws with some other people (I forgot their name) to see if they should veto it or appoint it.

Anyway, Dave was the president’s son and booooyyyyyy did he like to prank those important people. Sometimes I helped him (if you’re reading this, Dave, no offense), and I thought my ideas were better, like that time we brought a crazy mule into his dad’s office (yes, he was mad).

One day we went to Chicago for a vacation and we heard that, and get this, the Mafia was planning to kill his dad! Boy was he shocked, so we faked that we got sick, and we went back to the White House where we yelled “Psych!” to his mom and he got grounded.

When he (barely) survived his grounding we told the White House guards and they believed us. Except no! They didn’t believe us, I mean, who would believe the biggest pranksters the White House knew? Hold on let me ask you a question, do you think maybe you would’ve believed us? After we told everyone, and no one believed us, we decided that we were gonna have to come up with a plan ourselves. We started working on ways to trap the Mafia, and let me tell you something, nobody missed us. I mean, if you were an extremely important serious guy, would you miss two crazy pranksters?

Once we finished, we knew we were missing something, and it only took us two seconds to figure out what we were missing. The answer is when were they coming? Luckily, we saw on TV that a famous gang, that looked exactly like the gang we saw, was coming to Washington D.C., where we lived. They said that tomorrow they were going to do something that was important business. Bingo!

The next day, we set all the traps in their places after everybody was asleep. We waited and waited until we saw a sinister looking group pull up in a limo and that was our thumbs up for bringing the traps to life. When they started digging holes in the ground to get in, they found real jewels! I’m talking diamonds, gold, rubies and more. They decided that they would get way more money from this than killing the president. So they went back to their big car. When they were in the car, the ground gave way and set off a very loud alarm! They were trapped. It only took a few minutes for the White House guards and the police to find them. Then we came running out of the building telling the guards what happened. They couldn’t believe it. But they saw all the jewels the criminals had so they arrested them for stealing sacred Whitehouse treasures.

During the trial, the jury found out that these thugs were responsible for several cases of homicide plus plotting to kill the president, so they were sentenced to jail for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile at the White House, everything returned back to normal including the pranks.

One day, Dave and I pulled one of our greatest pranks ever. We set Whoopie cushions on every chair, except for his dad’s. We also switched out “the boss’s” speech with a fake Gettysburg Address written by us. You should’ve heard him when he read it because it was awesome! Of course Dave got in trouble, but it was totally worth it. We are the greatest pranksters the White House has ever seen.

Max Donahoe

Dear Sleepy Bunny,

Thank you so  much for comforting me every night when you sit on my dresser. I feel as though when you are near me you keep away my bad dreams and when you’re gone the bad dreams come for me. I hope that you enjoy it when I bring you on family vacations although I’m super sorry that the duffel bag is squishy and it makes you claustrophobic. I will attempt to upgrade to a bigger bag so that you will have room for some space and some air.

Another thing is that eventually I will make your own bed next to my desk so you have a place to relax. Again, thank you for all you do for me and all of my other stuffed animals agree with me that you make them happy as well and you are great company.


Dear Very Bright Lamp,

I’d like to start out with why do you have to be so bright?! Ok now that I have gotten that out of my system, let’s move on.

What I’ve really wanted to share my feelings about is: why do you have to provide the perfect amount of light to every except me? When I turn you on, could you just maybe be five notches dimmer? I would also like it if you only provide light for me and no one else, I know you are just trying to be nice, but your being just a little too nice. I hope you take this seriously.

Love your owner,

P.S. Can you tell the ceiling fan to quiet down a little bit? Thanks.


The Emotion Storm

Happiness is a big and strong T.Rex.
Every once in a while, an emotion storm comes.
It starts simple with small raindrops of madness.
The madness is fun in small amounts, but storms full of them can lead to insanity.
Next comes the fierce bolts of anger.
If your T.Rex is hit, then you will burst out in spurts of rage.
Next, if you are unlucky, a big, strong tornado of depression comes.
Your T.Rex could be in there for months, maybe even years if swooped up by the tornado.
And even after the storm, the T.Rex will still be there, maybe a little roughed up, but he will still be as happy and delightful as ever.


This Is Me

As swift as a fox, yet as clumsy as a panda
As quiet as a mouse, yet as loud as an elephant
As intelligent as a dolphin, yet as stubborn as a mule
As colorful as a peacock, yet as drab as a newborn penguin
As slow as a sloth, yet faster than a cheetah
As brave as a tiger, yet as fearful as a hamster
As intrigued as a dog, yet as annoyed as a cat 
I am unstoppable 


The Boy Who Was Running Like the Wind

The boy was running like the wind. He had stolen the store’s bread.

’’Get back here you little thief!’’ said the shopkeeper.

The boy went back to his house, which was under a bridge. His house had two wood pillars and a metal roof and walls. His bed was a rag and his pillow was a… well, he was lucky enough to find a pillow. He had no one with him. He was starting to think that he would never get a family when he heard something outside. A stray dog was outside. When he saw the boy, he jumped up and ran right toward him.

’’Its ok,’’ said the boy with a smile. ’’You’re safe now.’’


Lee Elementary’s 5th graders: A Light in a World of Darkness


It is apparent in the content of the following pages that Ms. Joshi’s students have been paying rapt attention to current events. They are well-informed, empathetic advocates for change, and they are calling for action. Their global concerns are evident in the powerful writing they’ve shared. Equally, you can witness their strong characters and personal convictions concerning the world in which they live. Xander encapsulates this sentiment perfectly in his poem, “Curious in Living Form.” “Curious is faced by a tremendous threat, but instead of using fire against fire –Curious uses investigation and interest to spark others into helping others.” At such a young age, he is aware of the most powerful force: community. Together, we can make changes for the better. Hana would like you to consider the plight of the African elephant in her poem, “The Decline.” Margaret asks us to remember the tragedy the citizens of the island of St. Vincent faced after the volcanic eruption of La Soufriere. “Covid was still there like your dark, lurking shadow you just can’t get away from.” These students incorporated powerful metaphors to express themselves succinctly. Hyun-Jin wrote, “Disappointment is a viscous snake. It is a chameleon that blends into your feelings.” Anais shared, “The horse’s mane was a flowing golden river of forgotten dreams.” We are called to open our eyes and truly see from the wise perspective of these authors. Molly invites you to “Cherry Blossom Days” in Wuhan, China where, “Doctors are attending the festivities, so this time they really won.” These students are also quite hilarious and optimistic. Reading their writing is an eye-opening adventure that offers hope in a time we need it most. Pepper eloquently reminds us, “There is a Warrior –Hidden beneath the Delicate lace of your wings. If you want to Fly –give up everything that has ever weighed you down. Fly.”

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Dear Car,

We have a problem. What is with the weird noise you make whenever you’re carrying me? I know it’s hard to go all that distance, but you don’t have to groan about it! And not to mention that you are always thirsty every time we go on a trip! You better shape up your act or the next stop will be the scrapyard.

Adam Kerrigan

The Golden Stallion

The horse’s mane was a flowing golden river of forgotten dreams. It was like a sign of well being, a light in a world of darkness. As the glistening steed galloped along the endless fields of flowers, the rainbow array of blossoms was a plea of hope, slowly fading as the glowing stallion grew farther and farther away.


The Fear of Being Alone

I’m always really scared of falling asleep with nobody in my house. I’m afraid of it because I’m scared that a stranger might come into my house. When I think about it, I always think about something happy and that a robber isn’t going to come into my house. One time I heard my fridge make really loud noises, and I thought it was a robber. When I’m alone I sometimes watch TV, because it distracts me from what’s happening. I always know that robbers are not going to come into my house. I have a really safe neighborhood, but there’s still a chance. Robbers are like bunnies you don’t see them often but there’s a chance of you seeing them anywhere.

Asa Grogan

Beautiful Creature

A creature that  roars loud like a siren in the distance will roar no more. 
A beautiful creature, part of earth’s history. 
What used to roam can roam no more for he has fallen for he is gone. 
The beautiful creature that used to be we can never see.


Business Dogs

Their fur done and ties ready,
they have fun and get sweaty,
they are cute when they sew,
and have little bows,
and visit their friend Freddy.


To The Displeased Tennis Ball

Dear Tennis Ball,

I’ve been meaning to check on you. My sincerest apologies about last Thursday. I did not intend for you to splash into that muddy puddle. Anyways, it has come to my attention that you do not appreciate the way I treat you. Tennis racket informed me that you are angered when I bounce you against the wall. Filled with pain when I slam you against a racket. Anguished when I throw you in frustration because you did not soar over the net.

I would like to address these complaints. For starters, I apologize for mistreating you. Surely you understand that I don’t purposely harm you. I was just simply playing a game, the game you were made for playing. Therefore I have a solution. If I let you rest for about a week or two, would you be satisfied? I would also consider not hitting the ball as hard or throwing it when not necessary. Please understand your complaints are giving me a bad reputation with the other equipment. Do let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Kind regards,


Bye, Bye, Boone!

Wolves. Wolves. Howling at the moon.
Wolves. Wolves. Howls in July, August and June.
Wolves. Wolves. They are so cute.
Wolves. Wolves. We’re so doomed.
Wolves. Wolves. They eat lots of tablespoons, of a guy, named Boone.

Harry Sloan

Disappointment is the Vicious Snake

Disappointment is a vicious snake.
It is a chameleon that blends into your feelings
hiding as quietly as a mouse.
It is an owl that silently follows you
wherever you go.

Disappointment is a spy that is always watching you.
Nobody will ever notice it—
the bright green snake in the bright green grass,
the camouflaging chameleon somewhere in the bushes,
the skulking owl in the dark, thick trees.

And when you least expect it
It will strike
The venom from a single bite
enough to poison your hopes and dreams.
And then the snake will slither away, never to be noticed
until it strikes again.


T-rex in Feet with Feet

If there were 7.billon dangerous Tyrannosaurus Rexes on the earth, that’s a lot of feet. But if they did not have any they would just scoot along on the dry plain ground, and that’s just sad. But if they had one foot that would be okay, I guess, but they would hop around like rabbits but with huge teeth. Thankfully they have two so they can walk around. However, if they had too small feet that’s just too much.

Isaac Rocha

My Couch

The cracks in middle of the cushions are like black holes
You cannot eat what ever you what.
It is comfortable to sit and lay on.
It’s black like a T.V.
It’s comfortable like my bed.


Earth’s Big Yelp

Climate change is taking over. If we don’t help, we’ll be gone by October. There is no planet b, and if there were where would it be? It’s the world against us, and unfortunately we are winning. The earth is is our home, our safe place, our panic room. The earth is in the panic room. It feels like everyone in the world is banging on the walls. The world is shriveling and the plants are dying. Too many animals are not surviving, and no one is helping. Yes there is Mars, but thats so far away. It hasn’t been proven, and I bet you the world it won’t be today. The world needs help. It needs to survive, and I think you want it too, or else you could die. We just need awareness, we just need help. Even the little things can prevent earths big yelp. Just recycle. Just compost. That is all we ask. Imagine you were being buried in a dumpster unable to get out, because that is how it feels and it’s not going to stop. Airplanes would crash into your chest. How clean you would be if no one dug down to crest. We are so sorry, and we hope you accept. We’re almost at your core, and I don’t know why we don’t help.

Kate Pallante

The Lurkers

What lurks in the dark? The invisible there at night, but not in the morning.

The fear of the unknown. What could jump out whenever not be noticed until the night?

When it lurks in the shadows lurks in the unknown.

Hiding till it disappears at dawn in the scorching burning sunlight that awakens me in the morning when the lurkers disappear, hiding under the bed and in the closet to jump for you at night when only the children can see them

Lila K. Linden

My Beloved Pencil

Dear Pencil,

Thank you for all you have done, you help me with homework and for fun. You help with making a list so I remember what to buy, but you are a little dangerous because you can poke someone in the eye. I get to have fun when I am with you, I get to draw, write stories and make lists. I don’t know what I would do without you, you are the best mechanical pencil and you being a mechanical pencil is so much easier for me, and it doesn’t hurt you when I sharpen you, because I don’t have to, I just have to press your head and led comes out of your feet and that doesn’t hurt you (hopefully) and gotta be honest you have super cool hair that you can erase with. When I have any mistakes, you fix it like its nothing. You are as colorful as a parrot. I love your colors like you fell in a rainbow, We are happy when we draw or work with each other. you will always find a way to entertain me, you write like no other.


Luisfer Bilbao

A Wild Beast of a Volcano

Everything was almost normal that day on April 9 on the island of Saint Vincent. 

                                Cheerful people chattering.
Lively music playing.


La Soufriere erupted. A monstrous, fiery cloud of ash and dust rose like a fluffy loaf of bread in the oven. The cloud went 32,000 feet into the sky as the volcano ruthlessly spit out more pieces of rock.

The Prime Minister ordered an evacuation for everyone as destruction made its way across the island. COVID was still there, like your dark, lurking shadow you just can’t get away from.

Signs of activity had been hinted at in December, but who would’ve known such a thing would happen? The volcano hadn’t been active for decades. 

Panicked citizens fled to other islands nearby, while some went to half-clean shelters that were only recently set up.

Margaret D.

The Royal Lion 

While hunting the lion is quiet. Creeping up behind the prey in the tree like grass. The lion jumps out of the grass and the prey escapes. The lion is a race car, he is catching up to the prey. It is a cat and dog fight. The lion won the fight and the gazelle’s body is a flowing red river. After the lion and his pack were done with the poor gazelle there was no trace that the gazelle even existed. The gazelle was an ancient story. What can I say? That is the circle of life. 

The lion colors are black, beige and white. The lion’s tail is black, their nose is too and some parts of its mane are black too. Beige is the main color of the lion, its body is beige and the parts of its mane. The lion has white around its mouth. 

Its teeth are two knives. Cutting through anything they get their mouth on. Their mouths are very destructive.

Their eyes are small but they fit their face. Their eyes might be small but they have excellent vision eight times better than humans. 

Their claws are swords splitting everything in their way. 

The lion’s mane is a majestic mythical furry creature.  

The mighty king of the savanna is the lion. 

The lion is empowered and the queen of England is too. 

The sound of a lion’s roar is a raging thunder storm.



Now we can be proud of our country again
We don’t have to be embarrassed 
That we have an American flag in the yard
Now we can tell people we live in the U.S.
Without embarrassment
We can let immigrants in
With open arms
Now we can walk down the street
Without being too scared
America will heal this year
So will the world and its citizens

Meredith T.

A Forest Wolf

A wolf stands in the forest. Big, bright, eyes of sunstone, staring, ready to pounce on his prey. Snow, cold, wet, white snow, falling onto the grey-brown fur, covering it with a shivering weighted blanket. Trees, surrounding the creature on all sides, like water to an island. The wolf, with his tall, mountain ears, listens to any noises, rustling of leaves, snapping of twigs, for any prey in the nearby flood of nature. The small, black nose, looking through the tall trees, smells lunch and aims for it. The wolf is outranked by a number of bears, and surrenders back toward his hiding place, waiting for a safer meal to suffice his hunger. 


Dear Sand

Oh sand how do you with my toes on your lush surface? Are you happy when you stick in my toes or when you find trash on your beach? I don’t think that would be nice. how is your relationship with the water as it covers you like a blanket. Are you the person that hides the shells for the children to find? What about the wind? Does it feel like you are shedding your old self to make room for a new one? Does it hurt as you slowly get washed away? How I love the lapping of your friend the water as you play patty cake.

Owen H.

Open Your Eyes Humans

Gray wolves, gray wolves, howling in the night. Unaware of their future fright. They try with all their might, but unfortunately their population goes almost out of sight. Forced to the midwest, their numbers could fit in a nest (not really). Finally after the Endangered Species Act, gray wolves’ population slowly grows back.

The panda cup was a great blue ocean. Every day was a stormy one. He was being brought to a new habitat every other week. The same construction workers were destroying countless habitats to keep up with the demand for resources.

The only highlight of each day was being able to enjoy the minimum amount of bamboo needed to survive. The rest were used for more useless goods humans wanted to possess.

The panda Cub was heartbroken, ready to pack his very few bags and head out to his new containment. But this time, he was shocked. His jaw could have touched the ground from a hundred feet up.

He had an actual habitat! Other pandas to play with! A bigger diet (well just more bamboo)! Finally he was loved!

Ozzie Gerring

Bed, Thanks, But No Thanks

Dear Bed,

You are so high, you are a giant. You are so uncomfortable that I hate getting out of you. I love when you wrap your arms around me. Dear bed, I wish you were cotton candy. Hey bed, I wish you could just cooperate when I put the sheets on you instead of you fighting me. Dear bed, if you do not start cooperating with me then you are going to go to the landfill. 




There is a Warrior—hidden beneath the delicate lace of your wings.
A good omen of prosperity flies through the river of hope. It’s reflection shows light in powerful ways.
It brings a dream into reality—the message and wisdom and enlightenment from other realms.
You are a blessing of joy, wisdom, and maturity from up above.
If you want to fly—give up everything that has ever weighed you down. Fly. 
You’re the pilot of your own story—you control where it goes, and how it flies.
Eyes of sapphire—heart of gold—glistening on the free, cherished, delight of life…

Pepper Baker

Sorry For Everything I Did to You

Hello Hermet, my lovely eraser,

I got you at the beginning of the year, smelling as fresh as my mom’s new air freshener, and I snatched you straight out of the package ready to replace my old dirty tissue. I love how you keep my desk clean when I’m scribbling math problems and notes on it. You have a dark royal blue shell with a black furry bottom. I’m sorry about the time I scribbled on you but the teacher made us put my initials on you. because you are very dirty and grimy, you might need to take a shower at some point, you reek. Are you ignoring me because I accidentally jammed a pencil into your foam? And now there’s just a little black dark mark that is urging into a plumpy purple bruise (We might actually need to go check that out). Please talk to me because my desk is getting dusty and grimy and filled with black flakes of dirt. Why don’t I give you a little break once a month, would you like that? Please respond. 

Sincerely, Your favorite person in the world (and the only one you know, I guess),

P.S if you don’t take a shower in the next week I might have to get you replaced.

Reese Clinchard

Be Gone Sadness

Dear Sadness,

Hope you’re having fun at Disneyland. Don’t come back. We are not missing you. By the way, Happiness has taken over. Don’t worry your blue spiky dodgeball, Owie has not been touched. Oh and since renovations, we had to move your corner somewhere else. We don’t know where but the construction crew said then moved it somewhere where we will never see it again yay. If your wondering what we put in your corner, it is a pool table. Again hope we never see you again.

Samuel Meadows

The U.S. Has Hit the Big One

We all have been through some tough times during this pandemic, it has not been quick. It’s felt like five years, we had some tears. Some of us have lost family, all in all this year has been very very uncanny. From death to riots, from COVID to quarantine. During those awful times our beloved scientists were in the lab doing their calculations and figuring out how to make that amazing life saving vaccine. Earlier in 2020 they finally started delivering the vaccines to hospitals everywhere.

Since everyone wants this amazingly bad pandemic to end,they decided to get that vaccine shot, so as of April, 18, 2021. 180 million adults have chosen to have their first dose of the covid vaccine.

This great big Milestone is important to us Americans, because that is almost half of our country.


From Me To You, Gaming Mouse

Dear Gaming Mouse,

I apologize for grabbing you without asking first. You are my favorite. You are lighter than a feather, smaller than a mouse. Your LEDs shine better than any light…maybe. Your scroll wheel is satisfying to scroll. You jitter click like no other. I lov—wait hold on I just remembered that you’re an inanimate object. Then again, your optical censo—no, stop, I have to snap out of this!!! That stri—no, don’t say it!!! That stri—STOP!!! That fabric covered string tho—NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Beloved Gamer

P.S. where is your P.O. box. (;   


Curious In Living Form                               

Curious is shy yet bold
scared yet excited
hunted yet cared

Curious has fur the color of 
caramel mixed with strawberries
the same color of the rage burning
through the forest it lives in 

Curious is never fearless,
Curious just knows how to 
explore and have a fun time 

Curious has paws the color of night
when the stars and moon have ran away

Curious is faced by a tremendous threat but instead of using
fire against fire Curious uses investigation and interest
to spark others into helping all living things

Curious has a face streaked with white
like bleach whiting a stain

Curious an attitude that will put a smile on
the cruelest of human invaders not because
it’s perfect but because it’s thoughtful and 

Curious has a belly of a fish but instead of white
it is black like Curious fell in an ink bucket

Curious has taken the hearts of many and 
persuaded them to help it’s cause, but when 
something is loved unconditionally there will 
always be a force to combat it 

Curious has a tail which on it has rings that
go round and round the rings the color of sand

In the flesh Curious is the Red Panda they have 
always supported humans even though they destroy
their homes and poach them but Red Pandas always 
support and keep on exploring

I hope you do too


Lee Elementary’s 5th graders on Creativity, Imagined Creatures, and Hope


Dear reader, it has been a long year. Some students have been in the classroom and others have been dialing in from home. Everyone misses seeing their friends and we are all looking forward to a little more normalcy this summer. On the following pages, you will see for yourself what is on Ms. Joshi’s students’ minds.

Charlotte has beautifully expressed her feelings in “Solitude in Spring” and you can almost hear the exhale as you read her line, “Finally, the silence is broken.” Yes, we are ready to run free, have sleepovers, giggle and eat an ice cream cone while the melted parts drip down our arm. We’ve been patient and tolerant. We’ve had ample opportunity to explore our imaginations and be creative. As Eliza shared, “Creativity is always there with bright wisps of rainbow colors, it inspires you –an extravagant voice in the back of your mind.” Oh, please do listen, reader. You may hear the sounds of Daniel’s Giflermulf, ”In my imagination it’s an animal that you can see every time you walk into the dreams of my dreams –that are now your dreams.”

These students have shown great perseverance; they’ve grown and expanded their horizons. They’ve even written letters to inanimate objects. Jaiman penned a clever letter to the concept of time: “Dear clocks, I would especially like to learn quickly—how to become a better writer, summarizer, and quick main idea finder.”

These incredible students wrote about their favorite animals, breakfast, cookies (possibly for breakfast), football, love, happiness and progress. They wrote about clones, what should have been and baseball. Yes, dear reader, they even wrote about the bubbliest creature of all. Please scroll these pages to find out more. I just know that you will be inspired to follow your dreams and explore your own creative voice.

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Wolf

The wolf has yellow eyes and black and white fur. His eyes glowing in the dark and his fur giving a faint glow of white. He is looking for food for his cubs.

If he does not find food, he and his cubs would starve and die. He has to be fast and strong to catch his food. His cubs are waiting for him.

He catches two snow rabbits and when he gets home, he and his cubs will have a feast.

Aldin Wildes

Dear Shoes,

Why are you so double minded? I put you on with socks and you are so warm and comfortable.  When I put you in without socks, you are so uncomfortable. Do you have an attitude problem? It seems like when I wear you without socks then you revolt.  Sometimes you even stink. I’m not talking about just a stinky attitude. You actually stink.  Please cut this nonsense out!




progress, progress has been made
with millions being attended 
but millions still lie in wait
standing patiently for their turn

how much longer do we have
to be isolated from the world
in our own personal space station
even fresh air seems too far to grasp

the world has been flooded with despair
and we have only just started to dry it out
with towels and sponges
that can only do so much

progress, progress has been made
but is progress enough?
for whatever we do,
however hard we try,
progress isn’t perfect


Solitude in Spring

Solitude in spring,
New beginnings before November,
It’ll be okay by August.

Strike up conversation,
No, you go first
Finally the silence is broken.

It’ll be here soon enough,
River of leaves, now bare trees,
Gone as soon as it had appeared.

Blissful laughter, mindless banter,
we could be inseparable, I’ll be here forever,
Or I guess just for a while,

Even then, it’s enough.


Swooping Down

We were going so fast! It was like I was riding on the back of a hawk at 1000 MPH!
It was as if I was a cheetah sprinting through time
Or a falcon swooping down!
If only it was as real as that bunny it was swooping for—oh wait!
If it’s swooping for it is real—yay!

Connall McCain

The Giflermulf

My animal is not a real animal, but in my imagination it’s an animal that you can see every time you walk into the dreams of my dreams that are now your dreams but they are also my dreams. Never mind, never mind.

The animal is called Giflermulf, it’s pronounced giflermulf. It’s a kind animal with a good heart, a sweet tooth, and a taste for good watches—yes, watches.

He’s/she’s bubbly, kind, silly and is satisfied with one hug. He/she gets grouchy when you wake them up very early. It has a black coat, a tail, a long snout, and is sluggish sometimes. But over all he’s/she makes a fantastic pet.

Daniel Delehant Busch Armendariz

The Busy Rock Dog

The dog has a big tail,
a great big rock.
His big paws stomp on the trail.
He heads home to his dock.

Now the Rock Dog is fine!
He’s set up the sign.
Now not worrying at all.
But after that, soon,
Somewhere near noon,
his phone has a call.

He forgot to go shopping!
He’s worrying, hoping!
He doesn’t have any cash.
The bank is closed.
His money, in withhold.
He, bedaffled, only having ash.

He is now blue.
He ain’t got no clue
how he was wrong,
but now he’s good.
He’s still got food.
He was right all along.



Creativity is always there 
with bright wisps of rainbow colors, it inspires you.
An extravagant voice in the back of your mind 
taking over your thoughts.

Lost feathers glide through the wind,
ideas forgotten.
Words come back out of its gray beak,
giving you more things to think about. 

Sometimes, it can be loud and annoying,
repetitive at sometimes, too.
But the voice really makes you think on things
and it’s not leaving, at least not any time soon.

Eliza Gold

Walking of the Wolves

The wolves are being hunted
like the bucket being punted
soon they’ll be a myth,
or until there is a fifth.
The sound of a gun
that won’t be fun.
What a terrible sight,
nothing is alright.
The ground soaked with blood,
it will turn into a flood.
The endangered species act,
it’s bad that’s a fact.
The wolves are dying
and nobody is crying.

Evan Kim

Hi Mr. Football,

How come you don’t always let me catch you? Is it because I always kick you? Well, that is part of the life of a football!

Wait, is this about the time I kicked you over the school fence? Sorry I didn’t intend to do it. What?! You don’t ever want to pay again? Why? I didn’t do anything else!

You mean I did something to your friend? Oh, you mean the time I punted him the roof of a school during a chess tournament? Ok, how about I never try doing that again?

Oh you are scared you will suffer the same fate? Ok, I will never punt you near a roof.

Still not convinced huh? Wait you are worried someone will throw you over the fence while trying to throw you into the basketball hoop? And you don’t like being treated like a different ball? Well, that does make scene. Wait, if I tell them to stop and you will play?

Yay! Consider it done.

Gavin Dawson

The Wolf

The Wolf waits in silence 
The Wolf stalks its prey 
When the time comes 
The Wolf strikes  

The Wolf is a powerful tsunami 
The Wolf is a mighty mountain
The Wolf is a brave hero 

The Wolf is an angry crab 
The Wolf is an empowered bear 
The Wolf is an energized Peregrine Falcon

The Wolf is powerful

Hank Redmon

Getting My Bat

Crack, Bounce, Catch, Throw, Run, Slide, TagHe’s OUT!
At the plate I get my bat 
Throws the ball I make a crack
It’s like roaring thunder in the sky
Through the wind it makes me cry
Rumbling, tumbling, down the lane
Running the bases, I feel no pain
Nothing but happiness
Nothing but cheer
The big white disk is coming near
I slide, he tags
down low, up high
I’m jumping like a kangaroo
Lightly tapping the base
I fall on my face
Silence… He’s safe!

Henry Roselle

If I Were an Object

If I were an object
I would be a stuffed elephant stuffed animal
with big brown eyes,
soft gray fur,
long trunk,
long tail with soft hair at the end
and I would belong to a little girl.



Cats and dogs, equal
Girls and boys, equal
Blacks and whites, equal
Predators and prey, equal
Lions and tigers, equal
Wolves, and foxes, equal
Animals and plants, equal
Everyone is equal


The Lion and the Savannah

The Lion stalks his prey like an owl, waiting patiently. 
His stomach rumbles, yelling for the taste of meat. 
When the moment comes, he pounces, happily devouring its prey. 

With a full stomach, the beast happily walks home with the rest of his pack. 
His eyes whisper with sleepiness, telling him to rest for a while, with the waves of
calmness falling over his old bones. 
Slowly they close, and drift into a wave of calmness. 

In the morning, he wakes, eager as a child in front of candy. 
His children arise, wrestling each other for a bone. 
The troop moves, letting their appetites and their stomachs lead them to food and
dominance of the savanna. 

The Savannah eventually became a giant civilization. 
Soon, a new animal species takes over. 
They are the Elephants, as intelligent as a robot.

Leo Presti-Long

Letter to My Grey Laptop

Why do you always hop off my desk? Why do you try to escape? Is it because I put that grey leash on you? For the last time, that’s the plug! Why are you always taking naps when I need you to work! Please stop sleeping on the job!

I don’t want to replace you, but your sleeping problem has become too bad! I know I accidentally set you on the black couch and my dog sat on you, but you need to get over that! I am giving you one last chance. I really need you to help me out, okay?




Does it annoy you that kids climb you as they poke and twist your branches? Does it make you mad as they climb you and fall only to climb back up and do it over and over? Does it hurt when you watch as they chop you down only to leave you as a stump and use you as firewood, but only to wake again as smoke floating out the chimney?

But after all that do, you still love them. Or do you watch green with envy at how they move? And you don’t (or do) you respect them for how brave they are? Do you know as much as or do you know less then the wind? Do you ever visit your stump?



Lift your spirits high as you can, listen to what hope is,
when you bring a life of wonders
hidden in the dark all the small voices can sing,
so soft, so quiet, so beautiful.

I can see a life of music in the air
as it brings kindness to your heart,
to your life as a human,
as a unique, one-of-a-kind person.
No one is the same, and no one is better than everyone
or of one thing or single person 

Feeling the beat, as I see,
oh a life of someone’s smile
through the road of worry and doubt,
through happiness and success



They say you will make history,
but what are you if not a copy of another creature?

What are you if not fake life?

Why do you deserve all this fame,
when so many animals die everyday?

Why are they so happy you were created,
when so many had to perish to get you here?

Why do so many people hate you for no reason?

Why do some people think you are the future?

You may look like another creature,
but you are not.

You have your own personality,
which is unique in every way.

For something so beautiful,
can never be recreated.

Maylinn Woiwode


I love pandas.
They are cute,
chubby, bubbly animals.
What’s not to love?

Their black and white fur,
their shining dark eyes
and cute faces
are the most adorable features of an animal.



The T-Rex is the biggest dinosaur. 
And I want to learn more.

You lived 70 million years ago.
You’re no longer here , I know.

You can’t be hunted down, because you were at the top.
All of the other animals had to stop.

You were as tall as a tree. 
2.5 billion of you roamed free.

Your big sharp teeth scare me.
I wish I could think of something funny.

I’m glad you’re not here.
If you were, I would have a tear.

Miles Bloom

Love is a Thing with Puppy Breath

Love is a thing with puppy breath; 
filled with fur 
love is a thing with puppy breath; 
never once being a burr.

It waits for you when you get home; 
then it’s a lion that sees a gazelle, 
about to go on the hunt. 
Covering you with slobber and drool; 
never once trying to be cruel. 

They are devoted and kind; 
only with protection and loyalty in mind, 
like a loyal soldier ready to go to an impossible war; 
not thinking of it once as a chore. 

They never wind down; 
even when bound 
to a chair. 

Love is a thing with puppy breath, 
with you until your last sigh. 
Love is a thing with puppy breath, 
always right next to your left thigh. 
Love is a thing with puppy breath. 
Not ready, yet, for you to die. 

Love is a thing with puppy breath.



Your eyes are a sea of moonshine, soft and singing,
made of ghosts and stars.
Your eyes are full of sadness and pain,
memories of death and blood still flash in your pupils.

Your life, your rarity 
is as precious as time,
your time, your time here.

Your pawsteps stir the snow, 
lifting seeds and grass to the pale winter sky
rise up, your eyes say.

You take one last look at this earth,
this terrible, poisoned, dying earth,

with your blue-gray-white ghostly eyes,
those sunshine-filled, moonlight-spun eyes
then you turn away

and run away
far, far away
away from all that will hurt you.
These people
do not understand.
You are life, you are love, you are our test.

Maybe someday, somehow,
we can live together, in harmony.
For now,

See you later, Star Wolf.

Olive Fountain

Dear Happiness,

It has been a little over a year since your departure and since then boredom and tiredness have moved in your old place in my mind. I guess you probably left after the pandemic hit, but the number of cases have decreased greatly and doctors have almost perfected a vaccine for ages 12 and up, so I hope you will move back in soon.

In case you didn’t hear me the first couple of times, I’ve missed you so much, but you probably know that since I’ve written 2,672 letters while you were out. I think it might’ve been because my dear friend and great protector facemask moved in. Or maybe these letters aren’t getting there, but if you get this, please write me back to let me know you are okay. 



What It Should Have Been

The elephant calf roamed the savanna with three of the original forty-seven elephants in her herd. Her herd had once been populous, moving confidently from one watering hole to another, sometimes skirting the lush, emerald and chocolate-colored forests. There used to be so much joy, as though nothing could go wrong. But now, it was a hard search for water in some places. The forests that they had once skirted had been almost completely cut down. Where there had once been beautiful oceans of leaves and trunks and branches, there were now only countless graves for thousands of trees and animals. Monkeys and birds, lizards, snakes, all buried in what had once been called home. She knew that there were other places that were still lush and full of life, but not here. 

Somewhere else, there would be huge watering holes swarming with flamingos and zebras and wildebeests. There would be lions, prowling the undergrowth, pouncing at a large gazelle that had wandered away from the herd. Then, the lion would drag it home to feed the pride. There would be a plump leopard sitting in a tree in a grove and vultures would scavenge what it could not finish of its meal. And there would be enormous forests, softly vibrating with the chitters of monkeys, the sweet chirps and warbles of birds, the small squeaks of lizards, and the rhythmic hiss of the snakes. 

But not here. Oh, no. Not here. Here, you will see dried up watering holes. You will see no flamingos splashing in the fantasy of the deep blue water. You would see unnaturally small herds of zebras and wildebeests, their bony legs stumbling over rocks, bleached by the merciless sun beating down on them. A starved lion would weakly drag itself through the dry and dead savannah grass, trying desperately to find anything for its nearly diminished pride of fellow lions. A skeletal leopard would cling to the bark of a burnt tree, a small island in an ocean of stumps. A lone vulture would fly in circles, very near the possibility of plummeting out of the sky as it waited for any carcass to scavenge. 

Here, you can no longer see the grand forests that once stood. You could no longer hear the chitters of monkeys, the sweet chirps and warbles of birds, the small squeaks of lizards, and the rhythmic hiss of the snakes. You could only hear echoes of their shrieks of terror as their homes crashed to the ground.

Back there, in the perfect world, huge herds of elephants would travel, their lovely lives continuing. But here, in this terrestrial wasteland, the elephants are barely hanging on. They had lost twenty-nine herd members to poachers and thirteen more to heat, lack of water, starvation, and disease. They had only lost one to old age. Everything around them was losing life. And there were two worlds for them. What it was… and what it should have been.

Pilar Dettmer

The Bubbliest Creature of All

Warm and fuzzy, sweet and 
soft, guinea pigs are all these things
and even, even more.

Their squeaks are little 
gummies you enjoy with 
every bite

Their chubby selves might as 
well be the reason I

Guinea pigs deserve more love.
They live like lower class
to rodent such as hamsters. 

Guinea pigs are delicious chocolates
you find at the candy store,
but if you don’t like chocolate,

Guinea pigs are the 
grandest of all
I hope you think so too!!!

Ridley Jackson

The Last Cookie

Mike and Mary heard my mom say from downstairs, “We have one more cookie.”

They ran so fast that I wondered if people could become cars. But then Mike and Mary stopped fighting and running and ran faster to Mary’s bedroom because the cookie was oatmeal and raisin. Mary and Mike don’t like oatmeal and raisin cookies, because they don’t like oatmeal or raisin at all. And they only like snickerdoodles. My mom usually makes snickerdoodles, but today she made oatmeal and raisins.

Mom walked to Mary’s bedroom to talk about why they only eat snickerdoodles. They said, “We love the sweet taste of the cinnamon in our mouth.”

Mom understood and will not make more oatmeal and raisins. Mom said, “I will teach you to make snickerdoodles.” Then Mike and Mary ran to the kitchen to make snickerdoodles.


Summer Time

What I’m gonna do for summer vacation is that I will go to summer camp, and I’m gonna have playdates with my friends. I will play outside with my friends, and I will have pool parties at one of the volunteer’s house. And when I go outside, I will play football.


Inside the Strange Folder

This writing folder is a little strange,
Since you need to write in a different range,
You need to write a different story,
To keep up your writing glory,
They can be long or maybe short,
And you might need a bit of support,
But remember, when you are feeling down,
And looking around,
There is something to start a story.



Wolf breaks the silence,
sprinting through the forest faster and faster,
jumping over fallen logs,
seeing through the fog,
suddenly spotting dinner,
he crouches,
he squints,
hazel eyes,
white fur,


Badgerdog Spring Break Workshops: Online Discovery & Invention

Each year during Spring Break, we invite young writers to join us and work with our inspiring teaching artists, to discover the experience of creating poetry and fiction. This year, we were delighted to meet so many eager, talented, and innovative young people, and we’re very happy to share with you some of the work they created during their time with us.

The South America on the Top

The power of the wind pushes the water that has erupted from a volcano

It is spreading on land that should be on top with more islands in it

From the water connecting its self to North America below as more islands form

The wind pushed the water against the land with erupting volcanoes that destroy the earth my earth will get to polluted with trash and gas,

Everytime you pollute on me, I get angrier and angrier everyday

Gabriel Mijares (he / him /  his)
Spring Break Workshop: 4th & 5th grade with Ms. Virginia

A Lyrics Notebook

A rose-pink cover
With flecks of gold color
The secrets inside
Are to be described
So behold
Lyrics be told
Filled with passion
In a fervor-like fashion
Distress, anguish, melancholy
Resentment, displeasure, bitterness
Contentment, ecstasy, delight
The pages alight
With melodious tunes alike
Dancing all around
Making you spellbound
By a spirit of sound
Getting lost into oblivion and
Ethereal singing
Enveloping you
Comforting you
Relieving you
Encouraging you
Promising you…
You are never alone

Jennie (she / her / hers)
Spring Break Workshop: 6th & 7th grade with Ms. Marissa

Flower Power

—an excerpt from a work-in-progress

I had a homemade superhero costume! Nobody knew about it, though, and I decided to keep it that way. I put on this cloak over the costume, snuck out of the house, and started running along the streets. We lived in a busy town; and I knew we needed some superheroes. Of course, I didn’t have a power, but I didn’t know that’d soon change, did I?

I eventually led myself to a park, which led out to the country. I pretended I could speak to plants, and there were a lot of exotic ones growing here that I rarely ever saw. There was this one beautiful flower, it was purple and pink, and I picked it from its stem. Gooey purple stuff started flowing out of it.

I panicked. What had I done to the poor plant? I thought. I tried to glue the flower back onto the stem with the goo, but it just started oozing more and more the more I did. I set the flower down, and by this point the stem was absolutely flooded. I had to do something. I picked the stem up, and immediately my hand was drenched in the ooze. I silently screamed while I shook my hand vigorously. Because my mouth was open, a tiny bit of the purple stuff was swallowed. Wait, I thought.

That actually tastes good! I silently scooped up more of the purpleness and gulped it down. Not bad. I stuck the purple and pink flower (now completely clean somehow) behind my ear and in my hair. I pulled down the hood of the cloak. This was fun, but humiliating.

I ran back to my house, trying to be quiet but at the same time rain pattering down on my head. I had never seen it rain this hard in this city. The little countryside “next door” where I had lived before, sure, but not here. I knew this was irregular. I can’t return home just yet, I thought.

Turning around, I wondered what this rain was coming from. Was it, possibly, Rainstorm, the villain I despised the most but couldn’t do anything about because I’m just your typical 14-year-old girl? Or was it Thunderstorm, Rainstorm’s father, an even more powerful villain? Or perhaps it was just global warming and the sky decided it wants to rain. No, this was definitely irregular, I reminded myself.

So I looked up. Rainstorm. He was standing on top of his cloud, taunting me with nasty faces. I growled. But what could I do? I could pick up the flower from my hair and shoot blasts of purple goo at him. What? That’s the first thing I thought of, okay? And who knows if it would work. I tried. OH MY GOSH IT WORKED. The purple goo seemed to stick more to Rainstorm than to me. His black hair was absolutely crowded with goo, so much that the color seemed to change to dark purple.

I snorted. I had never seen Rainstorm struggling this much, it was funny. Then I sighted a helicopter in the sky. Reporters, I thought. Wait, I have to put my hood on. #1 Superhero rule – don’t reveal your secret identity! My stomach panged with nervousness and excitement, I was a real superhero. I-I mean, uh, I guess. It’s not validated or anything.

I then started to run. I could hear the helicopter following me, and I knew my parents were watching the news, so I had to keep a low profile. Eventually I hid behind a bush. I could hear the reporter’s distinct voice going, “Where’d he go?” I snickered. Apparently he thought I was a guy. I don’t know why I found this funny, and i really couldn’t afford to be making much noise right now, so I shut myself up by shoving my fist inside of my mouth.

Little did I know I had more goo on my hand, so I licked it off. Then I really felt it. The gooey-like purple stuff spreading throughout my body, the sort of sensation when you chew mint gum (honestly I hate it) and then drink water. My feet lifted off of the ground. I tried to control the gravity like I had controlled the plant; no luck. But I did get some ferns to grow around me. This was slightly painful, and I didn’t know why. Then it hit me. Literally. I felt like I got hit in the back with a hammer. Falling over, I was too weak to stop myself, I realized the ferns had stopped me from getting hurt more. They seemed to be fighting an invisible battle with a tooth fairy-sized something. I backed away. My cloak had fallen off. That’s okay, it’s dark anyways, I thought, because I didn’t want to put it back on. I then darted away from the catastrophe I had caused and wondered what this would do to the city. 

Lavendercloud Rainwing (she / her / hers)
Spring Break Workshop: 4th & 5th grade with Ms. Virginia

A Walk In The Woods

The day was breezy and cold
And the sky was pure blue
The rays from the sun were light gold
It was a very good view
I glanced at my right shoe
It was very old
My left one was too
All covered in mold
And my clothes were all ripped and rolled
But I just stood there as the wind blew
And I walked through the woods very bold
I walked miles okay, just two
When I found the road
It smelled like Mountain Dew
And the street lights glowed
I could smell stew
Cooking inside an abode
So there I walked into
I thought of where I wanted to be
…a home

Sumedh Malshe (he / him / his)
Spring Break Workshop: 4th & 5th grade with Ms. Jena

The Marquess’s Son & The Milkmaid

Once upon a time, there was a poor farmer.He had a very pretty daughter called Autumn who was a milkmaid. And every day, she would milk the cows, feed the animals and do other work around the farm. She always tried this so she could help her family get more money.

Until one day, when she was running some errands, she met a handsome young man. The young man was the son of a very famous marquess.When they saw each other, they both fell in love with each other. But Autumn said “How can I marry you? You are the son of a famous marquess. I am just a poor milkmaid.” The marquess’s son was very sad by these words. Both walked away in misery

Meanwhile, there was another girl who the marquess’s son had been planning on marrying and when she heard that he had fallen in love with Autumn the milkmaid, she got enraged. She had never really loved him at all. In fact, the only reason she wanted to marry him was so she could become the next marchioness. She went to a woman who she was living with. This woman was actually a witch. She had once made the girl poison the marquess’s son with a potion into loving her very much. Now she told the witch about Autumn and the witch told her to poison the marquess’s son with a potion that would turn him into Autumn’s greatest fear and spread hatred throughout the kingdom. So she invited him for dinner that night and put the potion in the food. She knew that only a true love’s kiss could break the spell but nobody would want to do that after what would happen to him and it would only work until twenty-four hours after him consuming the potion had past.

The next day,the marquess’s son had turned into Autumn’s greatest fear, a wolf. So he ran out of the kingdom and into the forest. Autumn was sent to get some roots and berries from that same forest. When she came to one patch, she heard a young man’s voice say, ”Hello!”

She turned and was alarmed to see a wolf sitting there.She was just about to run when the wolf said, “Wait,I am the marquess’s son!”

She looked at the wolf and said “A talking wolf?”

”Yes, I am the marquess’s son, Autumn, remember me?” he said.

Autumn asked him how he had become a wolf and the marquess’s son told her about how the other girl had turned him into a wolf. They both knew that they needed to find the marquess’s son’s true love but who truly loved a wolf?

And as they pondered all afternoon, the witch and the girl were trying to find them to keep him from his true love before sundown. They took the forms of a boy and a young and attractive woman. They walked to the place where Autumn and the marquess’s son were. When they saw him as a wolf, they pretended to be frightened but Autumn explained to them what had happened and they looked surprised and the boy who was actually the witch said, “My sister could be his true love, and it’s dusk now, we’d better do it quickly”

The marquess’s son kissed her but suddenly the young woman transformed into the ugly girl who had poisoned him into becoming a wolf.

”You’re too late now” she laughed as the boy turned into the witch.

But the marquess’s son immediately yelled to Autumn “You are the one!”

”What! But-” Autumn started.

”You are my true love.” And just as the sun dipped below the horizon, they kissed.

”NO!” the witch and the ugly girl yelled as they transformed into their worst fears and ran away. Then, the marquess’s son took Autumn home where they married each other. And they all lived happily ever after.

Sumedh Malshe (he / him / his)
Spring Break Workshop: 4th & 5th grade with Ms. Jena

The Greedy Bird

One day a greedy bird was in its nest laying eggs. Meanwhile, a sharing mouse was sharing its diner with its family.

A few days later… The two met. The bird said, “Do you have any food?”

“Oh yes I have lots of food!” replied the sharing mouse, giving a peach.

One day the bird was flying… and became dinner.

Olivia Kim (she / her / hers)
Spring Break Workshop: 2nd & 3rd grade with Ms. Robin

Color Poem

Pink is as bright as pink fireworks
Pink smells like like the sweet sent of rose
Pink looks like the pretty sun setting
Pink sounds like the peacefulness of relaxing music.
Pink feels like being happy
Pink tastes as sweet as pink cotton candy.
Pink is my favorite color.

Olivia Kim (she / her / hers)
Spring Break Workshop: 2nd & 3rd grade with Ms. Robin

The Family & the Evil Zombie Robots

Once upon a time there once lived a family. Now this Family was special. They had magical powers. The brother could disappear and appear. The sister could teleport any place she wanted. The mom could sing so loud that everything will break. The dad is the strongest. He can split the earth in two if he wanted to. And every day the family trained on the magical moves. The dad had bricks and smashed them into powder. The mom had a room where she held glasses in front of her face and screamed. Olivia went up to New York and went around. I can fly. It’s like a plane inside me. Until one day this changed. Zombie robots attacked the land and this was getting worse. Mom screams but the robot’s steel was too thick. I try to hit him right on the head but it hurts and has no effect. My dad hit him in the chest—Wam!!! The punch made a little dent but not much.

Because of that, the zombie robots were coming and destroying. Because of that, the world would be wrecked. And because of that, they would have to change a new planet. 

Until finally mom screams so loud that the planet is shocked. You should have been there, it was like an earthquake shaking. The earthquakes damaged parts of the robot. The evil scientist will be soon arriving to send more robots. My sister teleports to the evil scientist lab. There were weird evil inventions.  Most were big. The evil scientist was in view and it was my sister. She gave a strong knuckle sandwich. The evil scientist punched but missed her completely. She gave an uppercut and a muscle jab. She did a karate twist kick. The evil scientist was defeated but the problem was. her magical powers didn work!!!! How could she go back home? The family needs help with the zombie robots!! She looked at the scientist. She saw a disk. And it was her power disk. The scientist must have gotten the disk when she was attacking. She put the disk inside her body and returned home. When she was at home the family defeated the zombie robots and had a feast.

William Kim  (he / him / his)
Spring Break Workshop: 4th & 5th grade with Ms. Jena

Picking Up a Turtle

I had the power to pick up the turtle with my magical hands. I was going to pick up the stinky turtle.  It smelled like old boots. Tasted like rotten milk and eggs. The smell of old horror books.

Afedfefffwefdff! I had to run away. I Might die of stink with this turtle. Why is that picking up a turtle so hard?

The next day, I went to the turtle. I could smell it miles away. Ffffff! Wow that’s a big fart for a turtle!

A year later I invented a suit. A big suit with stink free. “Finally, I could have a tur—” Fffdefef! Aw, the turtle just farted again.    

William Kim (he / him / his)
Spring Break Workshop: 4th & 5th grade with Ms. Jena

The Blizzard

—a poem on the occasion of the 2021 Winter Storm

The lights are on                                                     
what a wonderful sight
charge everything before it’s too late
we can all agree it’s not too great
turn on the fire
before the snow gets any higher
rush to the store 
before the snow is piled on our door
stock up on food
don’t be in a mood
spring will come back sooner or later
but I’m not a rater
there’s fun to be had
so let’s be glad
so let’s go up the hill to go sledding
before the white weather wedding
let’s build a snowman
before we are a no man

Reyansh (he / him / his)
Spring Break Workshop: 2nd & 3rd grade with Ms. Terri

Rutik & the Sea of Danger

—dedicated to my cute little brother Sparsh and for his 7th birthday

Click on the link below to download and view the full story in PDF format.

Neel Akerkar (he / him / his)
Spring Break Workshop: 2nd & 3rd grade with Ms. Robin

2020 Rise and Emerge eBooks

“Often, when you hear people talk about young authors, they are referred to as the thinkers, the artists, the voices of tomorrow. I don’t see it that way. I see these writers – the Badgerdogs featured in this remarkable anthology – as the voices of today. They came together this summer – this odd, troubling, and remarkable summer – to create in spite of it all. They did what young people always do – they shone light into every nook and cranny of real and fantastical worlds, they picked up threads and wove them together in previously unimagined ways, they spoke truth to power and answered questions with hope and possibility. 

These voices – these young voices – have done the work that writers have been doing for centuries – the work of figuring out themselves and the world through their words. But they have also reminded all us that the way to meet struggle and confusion and despair is with an expressive and open-hearted bravery. With clarity and humor and imagination and ingenuity, and an expressive and open-hearted bravery. When we humans do that on the page, it allows us to do that in our lives. So, I am here to welcome these young authors but also and more importantly, to thank them. May the world live up to your example, Badgerdogs. Thank you.”

– excerpt from the introduction by Liz Garton Scanlon

Click download to see the full ebooks.

Badgerdog Summer Camp: Black Magic Spaceship Workshop


Black Magic Spaceship is a small class, but what they lack in numbers, they make up for in the breadth and depth of their imaginations. Over the weeks of summer camp, these students have turned our Zoom conference into a haunted mine on a faraway planet, a truck-bed workshop for producing wicked fairies, a mysteriously disappearing watchtower, a warehouse for malfunctioning robots, and a host of other places that you too will visit when you read their work. Sami’s wild, experimental stories will sweep you away with the power of his voice and his eye for sinister, disturbing details, while Stewart’s richly imagined science fiction epic will tantalize you with mystery and leave you on the edge of your seat. These two have put many hours and thousands and thousands of words into getting their worlds down on paper. I know that there are many more stories in their future, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Celia Bell
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

I Am a Good [Robot] Bird Boy

I had an incredible nice good idea.  I am going to go run to a wonderful nice place. 

Nicer than here. 

Did you know thhat theer aree mre than 1,000 species of birds worldwide? 

I think that I am 1 of them. 

And I am will fly like them. 

I will become a new living being full of nice thoughts. 

There are some bad things horrible not nice things. 

That I am leaving. 

I am leaving the not nice things. 

I got the idea when they showed me the movie Pinocio as a reference for something in an assembly thing. They told us that we were not good enough right now and we wi,ll be better someday like when we become real boys. Like Pincohio. I got the idea when they got transformed to donkeys in the film but I don’t like donkeys and birds are ccolorful. Everything here is black and dull and grey but colorful is better.

When I was there I told people I was a bird. 

They told me that that wasn’t supposed to happen. You cannot bbe a bird because all of our research and training would go to waste. 

And then that person slapped me.  

I was sad and not good enough. 

They told me all about people like me and they said that no one but eleven elder people helping me.  

They said that my parents wern’t up to code. And then they plugged out the wires from my parents backs and they stood there lifeless liek they do when they are recharging. 

I asked my mom where me video game was because I wanted to play a video gmme. 

I didn’t care if she was dead because video gmmms are important… 

They kept me company the other time my parents where malfunctioning and they wehr hitting things and saying “yes dear sweetie yes dear sweetie” over and over again. Once I saw their head roll under the bathroom stall i was hiding in. but I played video games and I didn’t have to think abot anything and how I was not a good person.  

They tell me to look at myself and they show me how green I am. They give me mirrors and show me the eyes like binnocculars. And a straigt form alwas uprit. on my back aned I fcan never lif t a singel finger because my muscle mass is little. And they said they can see the beeps and boops of my spine. And my hands have little curves that ar fingars. 

I am grey just like a pigeon and I have the same sort of fingers like brds usse to perch on thngs. I am a bird no one can say otherwise. 

I am going to better land and better people will be there. 

I also won’t starve. 

I picked up my water bottle before here. 

And snakes like cheetos and corn puffs. 

This will be my journal. Because I am useed to writi g t down my thoughts for reserch.  

Right. I can see a man in a red hoodie and that is attached to a red robe. It has patterns of black flowers and things. He has blue skin. He is beckonig me. With his fingr. In his other hand he holds a staff. With something like a spherre dangling from the top. He has green eyes and I don’t know why but I NEED TO GO SOMEWHERE. 






Sami Azfar

The Ghost of Karu Minor: Part 1

3 years ago

The first hover bus of the day came rambling up the road, spraying dust in every direction, and jerked to a stop with a rusty squeal. A small toot from the horn on the front gave the five minutes to departure warning. Men rushed out of their cabins to secure the seat on the first bus, that being important if you want to meet your daily quota. Failure to do so may result in nonstop labor for multiple days. One of the miners, Johan Schino, was always on the first bus. His pal and roommate, Michon Langsworth, was also on the first bus. Langsworth was a plant for the mining guild, meant to see if everything was going according to plan, sometimes trying to get other people to break the rules to get them in trouble and get a paycheck bonus. Schino, like Langsworth, was a plant—not for the mining company but for the galactic federation government. Neither knew each other’s identities, and so they got along well enough. 

Work in the mines was grueling, to say the least. When taking a sanitation bath at the end of the day, the water would be stained brown before even washing your hair. The first bus departed right on time, leaving room for the second bus to come in about five to ten minutes. Schino was tasked with delivering food to two men who had fallen far behind on quota and were stuck in the mines for a week each. The journey to the mines was about thirty minutes each trip, leaving less time for the actual mining. At long last, the bus rumbled to a stop and the miners chose their work equipment.

There were three kinds of mining equipment at this certain mine. The driller, a massive drill on a steam rollers body, the hauler, a forklift body with a scoop in the front and a massive container in the back for the minerals, and the megamax, the all-in-one mining machine. These vehicles were different from the average hover car or spaceship because they had wheels. If a hovercraft broke down in the mine, it was impossible to get off the ground and out, but if one of these broke down, you just replaced the part and kept on going.

The downside of getting the megamax was that you had to do 1.5 times the work, because the machine was bigger and did more work. If you got a driller, you paired up with someone who had a hauler and then you made a team and did two times the work with two people. The driller was most sought after, for it just drove straight forward and scanned for minerals. When there were some, you would call three or four people, and then you would dig with shovels and picks. If you failed to find minerals for more than a week, you were taken to the mines of Guarnatchia and put to work in the factories sorting the minerals into their groups: light, dark, and metrinocular. 

Metrinocular minerals are minerals that can change through water. First, they start out through the process of formation by heat, and then they are dissolved in water to make a very interesting medicine.  There is a catch. For them to dissolve, they have to be in a climate where there is no humidity whatsoever, which presents a problem when putting them in water. So yet another transformation occurs. Making the water into dry water is a long process, including rearranging the atoms to make new molecules, which in turn creates a gas, called dry water. It performs the same functions as water, such as hydration, but is not saturated. 

The newly-created mineral can be sold on the black market for large sums of money, giving the company funds to make a small navy. Selling illegal “minerals” on the black market wasn’t their biggest problem. The sales would be traced to a small phoney address on a backwater planet. Their biggest problem was where does the income come from? The galactic federation kept a close handle on anything and everything that went on in their dusty and unkempt offices on the home planet near the center of the galaxy, so anything that went through there or anywhere else was closely scrutinized. The officers were trained to check in on any exchange of more than ⊭10,000. The monitored exchanges kept the galactic federation in power and gave them a good system of dictatorship. 

Schino, the fed representative, was uninterested in the light and dark minerals, but was more interested in the metrinocular minerals, for they were why he was here. His full goal was to try to slack off enough to get placed in the sorting and distribution plant. Though right now he was far from it.

Schino was in the mines, scurrying around and trying to keep up with the enormous amount of excess minerals lying scattered around the hard rock floor. One such cavern held something that Schino found quite interesting: a small bit of metal that appeared to have been long hidden and had weathered over several decades. 

The obvious thing to do would’ve been to take it to the man in charge of the whole operation, but Schino wasn’t into stuff that obvious. Turning quickly on his heels, he hurried to the entrance of the cave. There was one slight problem with the exit, it was right next to Langsworth’s workplace. Peering around the corner, Schino saw Langsworth on his lunch break, eating his usual ration pack in the corner, leaving plenty of room to pass through into broad daylight. Yet there was something odd about the way his shoulders were hunched and the way that his legs were folded. It looked unhuman, like someone had been beaten and left to die in the corner. This particular cave was very dangerous for there was, some said, a ghost living in its walls, causing unnatural cave-ins and equipment malfunctions. But never this.

Schino approached the broken Langsworth carefully, making sure to not have the same horrible fate. The stories varied from a bird’s ghost to the vengeful spirit of a dead miner, forgotten by the guild for years. No one knew the truth and when a team had come to look into it, the guild forcibly refused to let them into the mine, fearing that the truth about their conditions and hours might be revealed. The chaos was never-ending though, and someone had to do something about that. 

Schino hurried away from the scene and out into the open, right into the circle of mining guards that had come to deal with him. Armed and tough, the guards were not to be messed with. Relying partially on the malnutrition of the miners, the guards had formed an alliance with the mining guild to do the dirty work and got paid heftily to do so.

The circle tightened around Schino and started inching their way closer and closer. A panicked Schino aptly tried to run in the weakest direction of the circle, ducking in between two guards and landing right in one of the hover buses that went between the main camp and the mines. Also in the bus were fellow miners Meci and Abrogado. A slight head turn to the right revealed an even more surprising sight: Langsworth, bound and gagged, sitting unconscious on the seat. The door to the bus slammed, and it slowly started to clunk its way down the roadway. 

The bunkhouse was on the opposite side of the town from the housing district, which was right near the compound gates. The whole colony was around ten acres, and it was not really a pleasant place on that side. The trash dump and the guards’ quarters were there, making the area have a rotting odor. The spaceport was also on that side of town, which only added to the stench, and the heat was also made worse by the incinerator right next to the bunkhouse. Inside of the bunkhouse was a hall that led to four small holding cells, each containing a small dusty cot, a metal chair, and a small toilet. There was little to no light, the little coming from the cracks and seams in the solid metal walls. 

The guards made a sport of bad handoffs, spilling the prisoners’ food all over the cold metal floor. The sweat made the bed unbearably damp, and so the men would often find themselves sleeping on the floor. 

After four long days and three insufferable nights, three guards came into Schino’s holding cell, picked him up, and dragged him out. Once in the hall, Schino recognized the bruised face of Langsworth staring at him. Outside, he heard the shouts of the guards and the deep growl of ships descending to the landing pad. 

Upon opening the door to the outside world, Schino and Langsworth peered out. Looking up, they saw two gunboats. A few carriers ferried minerals to and from the command ship that was hovering in the atmosphere. Cries of pain rang out in the air as men trampled each other to ensure themselves a seat on the one of the departing ships. A warning broadcasted on the compound’s central alert system told that the federation was coming and that there was no chance of survival.

Yelling filled the air as incoming federation ships sailed through the sky. Guns started firing from the mining guilds’ ships, and the federation fighters stumbled into attack position.

Hurrying towards the landing pad, Johan Schino and Michon Langsworth looked up at battle above. The federation star fighters swooped down for another strafing run. Seeing the fighters bearing down on them, the men turned and ran the other way, noticing the markings of the squad leader on the side. They had fifty meters between them and the fighters. Forty meters. Thirty meters. Twenty. Ten. Five. None. Beams of light and plasma shot towards them. Five good shots and it was over.

The fighters pulled up hard and did synchronized barrel rolls, which put them right in the place for direct hits. A barrage of laser fire from the four federation starfighters left holes in one of the gunboats and set one of the carriers aflame.

The starfighters looked like a drag race car with small wings on each side. Streaking through the sky at an amazing speed, they looked like massive bullets, painted red and strafing the ground. Machines and buildings exploded into towering infernos. Miners ran for cover as the guards and other officials put up cannons and fought off the attackers, but to no avail. Smoke spiraled upwards, making the fighters hard to hit and rendering the untrained gunners of the mining guild a useless waste of resources. 

The fighter squad leader, Anton Schino, flew straight toward the terrified gunboat commander, firing in a spiral formation, knocking out the transperaplex cockpit window. The other three pilots circled about and hit another carrier point blank. Shooting in and out of the battle at a dizzying speed, the federation pilots placed bets on who could shoot the most down.

A direct hit at point blank caused another carrier to go down and ruptured a pipe in the other gunboat. With two of their four carriers rendered useless, the mining guild decided it was time to go home.

Fleeing with the remaining gunboat and their two carriers, the mining guild command ship went to space and got the heck out.

Stewart Haas

The Kingdom of Fantasia


The Kingdom of Fantasia is a tale that lives up to its name, wildly fierce, with characters that are unique to its writers. It was awe-inspiring to see everyone work on this project, and I’m still laughing over how secretive the “villains” group and the “good and neutral” townspeople wanted to be about their plans. It felt like each student took on the role of their characters so well, which is what makes the tale itself so unpredictable and well, fantastic

Click here to experience The Kingdom of Fantasia!

Loan Tran
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Mystica: The Town of Magic


Mystica: The Town of Magic is full of heart and humor, full of each of your personalities, as well as your imagined characters’. It was truly awe-inspiring to see each student work on this project and take so much responsibility for it. I’m so grateful to have shared summer camp with this group of students, and it goes without saying that I am very proud of them all.

Click here to experience Mystica: The Town of Magic!

Loan Tran
Badgerdog Teaching Artist