The Purple Nation of Superheroes Named Nicky

Every camp session, before we dive into the wacky world of poetry, I ask my students, quite simply, “What is poetry?” I’ve gotten answers you’d expect—nods to the sometimes-rhyming nature of poems, distinctions based on length or line breaks, etc. But more and more, I’ve been met with answers such as “poetry is a bone in the throat” and “a poem is like a gust of wind.” And after chatting it out in class, we almost always come upon the conclusion that poetry (and story-telling, for that matter) can be whatever we want, whatever might leak out of our excited hearts / brains.

This group of third- and fourth-graders took that proclamation like a banner, and we ran through the days of summer camp. I became a repeating reel, issuing something like Lyn Hejinian’s motto: “But language is restless.” This selection from early in camp proves that assertion and demonstrates how vigorously these students have danced into the writing life. Parents and friends, I hope you’ll continue to push these talented young’uns to express themselves and share their creative attempts with the world. The work you are sure to lose yourself in here, whether happy or sad, whether real or made-up, was created with the spark of joy that can only come from the creation of the written word. I’ll step back now and allow you to enjoy their awesome stories and poems…

Tyler Gobble
Badgerdog Teaching Artist



I remember when I ate a glop of wasabi at Ichiban on my birthday. It was very, very spicy. I remember my friends and I daring each other to eat glop after glop of it. Hannah, Emma, Stella, and I all made crazy faces when we ate it. The wasabi was green and mushy, and so spicy it burned my nose! I do not like wasabi. Surprisingly, wasabi weighs nothing. In my opinion, I don’t like wasabi on anything!

Willa Walker

My Love to Wacky Monkeys

I love you as deep
As the water in the
Toilet bowl
My heart is as stale
As a sea monkey that
Ate super glue

The fire
In my body is
As hot
The sun

I will sail the seven seas like
The wind
Just to find food

Oh, you two

And when I find
My happiness will be
Like a monkey
That pooped a

Cove Kralich


I Remember How I Went to First Grade on Tuesdays

When I was in the first grade, my mom worked at UT. She taught Asian American Studies, and she had to teach at 8:00 a.m. My school also started at 8:00 a.m., so we had to get ready early.

When I wake up, I see my chest of drawers with my clock and my fairy statue on it, my pink walls, and my leaf curtains. I also see my nightstand and my lamp, too.

My mom would wake me up, and I would get dressed and go to the restroom. After I finished, I would go downstairs and eat breakfast in the kitchen. The kitchen table is round. It is also brown and has four legs.

I went to school in a white Lexus. We (me and my brother) went to school care. That’s is where you go if you are early and you play games. When it was time for school, we would go to school.

Sophie Leung-Lieu

Let Me Tell You What Is in My Heart

– after Zoe Ryder White

Inside my heart
One smart best friend
Two lovely pairs of high heels
Three goofy family members
Four dancing cats
Five gorgeous dresses
Six salad-filled pools
Seven singing mermaids
And a beautiful golden egg-laying swan

Aanika Nair


Inside My Heart

– after Zoe Ryder White

Inside my heart is one funny, silly mom.
And a best friend named Iris.
Inside my heart is a laughing family.
Inside my heart are loving animals that are funny and nice.
Inside my heart is one school that is interesting and cool and nice.
Inside my heart is a fun and cool treehouse.
Inside my heart is having playdates with best friends and just friends.
Inside my heart is a dancing, funny dad and sister.

Charlotte Cross

My Cat

My cat is like a gray pillow
lying in the sun,
still lying until it wakes up.
Stalking its prey. A mouse!
Looking for someone to love.
Sleep again. Oh, no!
I hate you, some
people say. But she
is my lovable cat.

Anais Moreno-John


My Crazy Cats

One of my cats has a hat and wears it
every day—Monday, Tuesday, etc. …

One of them plays my old guitar
One of my cats wishes on stars

My cats are here
My cats are there
My cats are everywhere

So finally I bought a dog
Now they all listen to me

Sai Potluri

Inside My World

– after Zoe Ryder White 

Inside my world is
One loving, loyal, caring mom
Two crazy cats named Ivy and Angel
Three brave, hilarious, and kind best friends
Four gigantic swimming pools of intense chocolate ice cream
Five adorable playing puppies
Six soft, fluffy, prancing kittens
Seven swirling, rushing water slides
Eight cotton candy-colored gorillas
Nine pixies painting portraits of themselves
Ten huge bags of candy
Eleven oceans of chocolate milk
Twelve cute beanie boos
Thirteen beautiful scented and bright candles
Fourteen lovely, calm, shiny horses
Fifteen descriptive books

Emily Menke


First Dog Makes a Dot

I remember when my mom brought home a miniature greyhound because her co-worker didn’t want him anymore. He was riding in the front seat, and his legs were really stiff. You would not believe how scared and stiff he was. He was so skinny, even skinnier than me. When my mom pulled in the driveway, she pulled up slowly. Ian, my brother, went out the door to meet her and the dog. We named him Dodger. He was two years old.

Now he is six years old, and he is still our dog. He looks like a Whippet. Dodger has one blue eye and one brown eye, and he has a cut below his eye.

One night, like two or three years ago, we were grilling pork chops, but we hadn’t eaten them. Dodger ate a pork chop. He left one on the counter and hid one. When we went to bed, Ian felt something cold under his thigh. He looked under his leg, and he found a pork chop. Dodger had hid one pork chop in Ian’s bed!

Eric Wetherold

I Remember When We Flew from Dallas to India

My family planned to go to India. First, we packed all our stuff in fourteen suitcases. Then, from Austin, we drove three hours to the Dallas airport. From there, we did our security check and went through immigration. After that, checked six suitcases, and the rest were carry-on. Then we waited for our flight to come.

After it came, we waited inside for thirty minutes. Then there was a taxi. It was an international flight, so we could watch movies or shows. The flight was sixteen hours. At first, I was scared when the plane took off, but then I was okay. When the plane was in the air, I got to watch movies. I watched a movie, then slept. When I woke, I had to eat. After I ate, I watched shows the rest of the time, but my parents and brother were sleeping.

When the flight was landing, everyone woke up. We looked at the camera to see how it was landing. When it landed, everyone got off. We were not in India. It took another four-hour flight to reach India. You had to do the same thing all over again.

Aryav Sanjeev



I love you like a dad should be loved.
You serve our country.
You help our state.
I love you as a friend.
You help with the chickens.
You help in general.
You help as much as you can.
I love you like an awesome dad.
You clean with me.
You help with my homework.
You laugh with me.
And that is why I love you, Dad.

Elyna Brackin

Captain Cat

I thought this would be a good story to tell you. It is about a cat who is a captain. You know a captain is the one who leads a ship. Well, yes, but this captain is a captain cat.

The captain’s mates follow and respect the captain. The captain isn’t strict or mean, but nice. Well, that is one good clue about the captain. Let’s find some more nice clues about the captain.

The captain has a red coat and a blue hat with an anchor. He has three five-level mates and six ten-level mates that wear white polo shirts and black hats with anchors. He has two captain pet seahorses that are pink.

The ship sails across the seven seas until they crash. But then one of the mates fixes the ship.

Maggie Wright



Something drips down her face.
It is a tear.
She is crying.
Where is she?
She is in the woods.
How do I know?!
Her eyes.
They glisten.
They reflect
She is alone.
And she is sad.

Maya Starkloff

Inside My Heart

 – after Zoe Ryder White

Inside my heart is
One kind, loving mom
Two houses made of candy
Three glowing, sparkling, shining stars
Four books about ballet
Five dreams about volcanoes
Six cute and furry cats
Seven caring family members
Eight origami cranes that fly
Nine magic tricks and
A sea full of shimmering shells

Hyein Choi


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