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The Magnificent Hippo Llamas

4 Aug

It was such a pleasure spending a week at the Magellan International School with these fifth- and sixth-graders and their inventive minds! The Magnificent Hippo Llamas dove straight into the camp and delighted me with their eagerness, cleverness, and humor every single day.

As reflected in their name, these sixteen writers graders love animals, and they wrote about everything from rhinoceroses to butterflies to sharks. We created “chimera” creatures, animals made up of parts two or more other animals and told stories about their lives, their origins, or their discoveries. We imagined abstract ideas like creativity and anger as though they were animals enclosed in a zoo.

We read and discussed writing by Nicolás Guillén, Franz Kafka, Patricia Smith, and Jacqueline Woodson, and their words inspired our own. To practice surprise and encourage experimentation on the page, we played surrealist games, like three-headed know-it-all and question and answer, and these games gave many of the stories below their initial seed.

I so enjoyed working with The Magnificent Hippo Llamas, and I hope you’ll enjoy their pieces below. Be prepared to laugh, gasp, and smile.

Erin Zwiener
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Putter

When I was about five years old, I won a bug catcher. That day, I caught a beautiful blue-winged butterfly. I live on a country lane in Fieldtown. My dad owns a farm where he grows corn, peas, cows, pigs, and horses. When I got home, I set Jane, my new pet butterfly, on the barn cabinet and decided to take my horse Snowflake for a ride.

I saddled her up and hopped on. We went around the farm and over to the pound. We then galloped to the corn fields, where my dad was picking the corn stalks. Then we headed towards the pig barn, where Grumpy, Snozzy, Lazy, Happy, and the three other pigs (whose names I could never remember) were sleeping and eating. Then I went over to milk Snickers. I grabbed the bucket and stool out of the dusty cabinet and started milking her. I then thought about my teacher and how we had just finished reading a Greek myth.

I then remembered Lazy, my favorite pig and how, when I was a child, she let me ride on her back. And I remembered Jane, my butterfly… What if? No that wasn’t possible.

Later, after a dinner of yummy biscuits, chicken, and creamy milk from Snickers, I took Jane up to my room. And since I had won Lazy from the county fair, she was my responsibility, so she slept with me. I brushed my teeth with my blue Cinderella toothbrush and put on my PJs and got in my bed, and my mom read me a story and tucked me in. Later that night, I woke up to the sound of the window shuddering. I stared up at the picture of my name in all blue letters: Rosie. Then I slowly drifted back to sleep.

In the morning, I awoke to the smell of eggs and pancakes. I noticed that Lazy was not in her normal spot, and Jane was not in her cage. I started to freak out when I saw some small fluttering by the door. I grabbed the bug catcher and trapped Jane inside and went downstairs to eat. Once I had finished, I went upstairs to check on Jane. When I looked in a magnifying glass, I saw that Jane was a little bigger. She even had a pig nose. Then I remembered Lazy.

Wait… I looked closer. “Jane” had pig feet and even Lazy’s old scar. OMG, I thought. I threw Jane (in her cage) into my saddlebag, jumped on Snowflake, and we rode off to the vet. The vet didn’t know what was going on and said to take Jane to the doctor. The doctor said to take Jane to Professor Louis. Professor Louis ran tests and did experiments that involved machines and needles.

Eventually, he concluded that I had invented a new animal! A pig butterfly, a putter. It was pink with pig legs, a pig nose, pig eyes and ears, and a pink butterfly body and blue wings with pink spots. Professor Louis thought Jane and Lazy had been struck by radioactive heatwaves. He said Lazy Jane would eat leaves and plants. When I got home, I decided that I would keep Lazy Jane a secret. Lazy Jane hangs out in the field till I come home from school. Then she eats dinner and sleeps.

Helen Payan

 

Creativity

—after Nicolás Guillén’s “The Hunger” 

It flows out through the bars,
Bright blue eyes, wings like an angel,
Like a horse in a pen!
Free of heart and mind,
But unfree to roam wild.
It is always thinking of new things,
Like the wolf on the hunt
Or the lion as it roars.

If it could be free, free of this cage,
It would soar like an eagle
High above, where no one could stop it.

It beats its wings in the cage.
The girl stops as she passes the cage.
She breathes.
The girl feels the spirit of the animal
Deep within her heart.

She presses the key into the lock.
It falls.

Free at last.

Lanie Sepehri

 

Larry the Swimming Grape

It was 2032. Humans and animals had become more intelligent, but they were not the only ones. So had grapes, and Larry the Grape was going further than any grape had gone before. He was going to the Olympics. He trained hard every day, jumping off the counter and swimming in a bowl with the fan blowing him the opposite direction.

Then it was time for the Olympics. He entered his name, got his gear on, and when he heard his name called with the rest of the swimmers, he got out of his seat and started walking.

His fellow swimmers did not seem to notice him, as they almost stepped on him three times, so he hitched a ride on someone’s shoe. When they called a name, they did it three times. He guessed they were honoring him. When he got to his spot, someone else was there, so Larry tried to get him to move, but he wouldn’t budge.

When the buzzer rang, Larry jumped into the water. When the water hit him, he felt the rush as he swam. He could feel the water helping him, and then he won, but there was no medal and no winner’s music. He guessed he’d have to wait, so he jumped into his grape bag to say hi to his friend Cherry. The next thing he knew, he was being swallowed.

Emily Steer

 

Anger

—after “The Hunger” by Nicolás Guillén

Creeping, pouncing, shredding.
Always on the prowl.
A panther sneaking in the
woods, a lion crouching in the plains.
A shark swimming in the reef.
An eagle ripping into a fish.
This is anger, wanting revenge,
being resentful and mad.
Anger is cruel, it destroys
and deceives.
You cannot escape anger.
Not you and not me.

Michael Gearing

 

Project: Aquatius Monkius

Project: Aquatius Monkius.

Day 1: The lab just started. My lab just moved to a small, tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This project is run by the government. The public will not know about it at all. It is my job to keep a journal tracking the experiment. We are trying to make a part-monkey, part-shark creature. Our plan was revised more than thirty times.

First, we had a shark completely consume a yellow leaf monkey, which are native to this island. The lab then exposed it to radioactive waves for ten minutes. We put it in an enclosed area of water that was touching the shore, and we are going to keep the creature there overnight.

Sketch #1: Shark being exposed to radioactive waves.

Day 2: The project has gone horribly wrong! The experiment was not in its enclosed area this morning, but we still had a chance to see it and do some tests on it. The first time we checked on it, it was amazing. It had the head of a great white shark and the tiny body of a yellow leaf monkey. The monkey’s arms were replaced with shark fins, and it had a large shark fin on its back. The monkey’s legs and tail were normal, but they didn’t have any fur. It is very dangerous, and it will eat anything. Right now, I am on a boat with my team searching for it. Where did the team go? Who got ketchup all over the floor? What is that grunting noise behind me? Why do I see a monkey tail and a shark fin in the water? Oh no.

Ivy Semovitz

 

Animals…

A black and white animal.
It looks stressful and in pain.
Creepiness on the outside,
but anger on the inside.
Heat sliding down the forehead,
thinking quietly about
revenge. I look closely at it,
thinking how much pain and
stress this animal is given.

A yellow and black spotted
animal. So sluggish and lazy.
Drooling everywhere, waiting
patiently to get out. The eyes
are barely open, gaining more
weight by the second.

An orange and black striped animal.
So loud and wild. Roaring
every second. Running rapidly
back and forth. Slipping and
falling. So dirty.

Shreya Gupta

 

The Chronicles of the Goatster

One day, I wake up and do my daily routine. I go into the farm and “borrow” some chicken seed, then I go back to my cave and eat. By the way, I’m a Goatster, head and wings of a rooster and body and legs of a goat. I hear the farmer screaming, “It’s gone again!”

“There is someone breaking into the shed again!” exclaims the farmer’s wife. “That’s 3 days in a row!” They take the whole bag of chicken seed! We need to call the cops about this!”

That. Is. BAD! They can’t call the cops! I’m going to go back to those scientists! And technically that isn’t all true! When I’m done, I make sure not to finish it! I just leave one seed and put it in one of the animal pens. That’s fine, right? RIGHT? My best bet is to stay in my cave. That is the only place to hide anyway. Where I live, it is all flat ground surrounded by mountains. Wondering how I got here? I was running away from those scientists and fell down the cliff. That’s right. I fell down a CLIFF!

The farmers definitely called the police. They’re talking with one of them right now. I go to the back of my cave and try to blend in, although a giant chicken goat does not blend in well. Next thing you know, an officer walks by, he looks in the cave, widens his eyes, then walks back, humming and looking at the sky. What are the odds he saw me?

The next day, I do my routine. I “borrow” the chicken seed and go eat, and then I take a nap. I wake up to the sound of traffic and a large bump. All I can see is myself and a bunch of white. I wait for about an hour and then feel the truck screech to a stop. I hear people talking outside and immediately pretend to sleep. They take me outside, and I immediately make a run for it. As I run through the lab, I get lost. I go past all sorts of animal experiments. I feel so bad, so I let them out, but they run away from me fast. I finally get out. Now I’m a Goatster on the run.

Kiana Thompson

 

Courage

—after Nicolás Guillén’s “The Hunger” 

Never afraid to speak up
Stands out
Like a peacock in a field of cows
Beautiful without knowing
When you least expect it
It will show
It cannot be contained
But will hide with the best
Until, until the day when it breaks free
It will soar high again
Not afraid to express itself
Not afraid to do anything
This is courage at its most

Hannah Van Houten

 

Raining Gorillas

Today I woke up in the morning and turned on the news. They said we were going to have a big rain, so I had to bring my umbrella with me. Should I bring original or lucky shield or super bright yellow umbrella? I wondered. I decided to bring my lucky shield umbrella, just in case if I had bad luck, like someone punching me.

I went to my school after I prepared the lucky shield umbrella. Going to my school was fine. Then I went to the classroom, and I knew something was wrong. My friends and teachers looked like gorillas. I thought, What? Am I unconscious? It was weird.

After school, I crossed a street to go home. It was still raining. Suddenly, the raindrops formed like a huge hairy black monster. I turned on my phone radio, and it said gorillas (which were made by raindrops) were spreading a gorilla virus that makes people turn into gorillas. I protected myself with the lucky shield umbrella. I guess this umbrella is unlucky. Anyway, I think I’m the only one who can survive here. I protected myself with the lucky shield.

But I had a great idea. How about I feed the gorillas and treat kindly? I had this idea when other citizens started freaking out and punching gorillas. So, I started the action. Luckily, I walked in front of gorillas. Then I said, “Listen up gorillas! I will treat you very kindly, so please stop the raining gorillas!”

The gorillas talked together as a team and said very deeply and loudly, “DEAL!” But there was confusion. How would we turn gorilla people into actual humans?

I asked the raindrop gorillas, and they cast a spell on gorilla people, erased their memories of the raindrop gorillas, and turned people into humans again.

Meredith Kim

 

The Pengrhino

Once a year, it’s Pengrhino versus the Mousrat. They fight in New Zealand in a giant stone arena. If you step on one tile that’s a trap, you die. The Pengrhino has a penguin head with a rhinoceros horn, a rhinoceros body, and penguin’s feet. The Pengrhino waddles. It is about six feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. The Mousrat has a mouse face with rat teeth and tail. The Mousrat flies around the arena. It weighs 400 pounds and is five-foot-three. The Pengrhino gets its horn into the Mousrat’s stomach right off the bat. The Mousrat dodges all the attacks after that. The Mousrat jumps up after and sinks its teeth into the Pengrhino’s back. They fall off. The Pengrhino turns around and kicks the Mousrat out of the arena. The Pengrhino wins the animal games. Fireworks!

Price Deering

 

Kangacows

Once on a dark and scary night, a mad and crazy scientist with wacky white hair tried to make a hybrid of a kangaroo and a cow! He added lots and lots of strength potions so the animal would be impossible to defeat. That scientist wanted to rule the world, but something went wrong…

When the hybrid was created, it was given the name Kangacow. It didn’t listen to the scientist and punched him, so he became unconscious. The Kangacow ran out of the lab and hopped to the nearest town, Baltimore. The AFC Championship was going on — the Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots. During the fourth quarter, Kangacow made baby Kangacows from his udders. They grew to full size in five seconds and rampaged the field. The crowd ran for their lives. Someone called the army, which surrounded the stadium with tanks and helicopters. The Kangacows started to multiply, and they hijacked the army and made those army men their slaves.

They did this to the whole USA in a matter of months! The scientist built a Kangaproof bunker and tried to make a formula to turn the Kangacows back into normal animals. The other countries tried to gang up on the Kangacows, but to no avail. The Kangacows destroyed the troops and vehicles.

To help take over the rest of the world, the Kangacows called the Swampmunks and Neagles. The Swampmunks were the Navy, the Neagles were the Air Force, and the Kangacows were the Army. They had a whole military force! They first attacked Russia and China because they knew they were the biggest powers after America. The Neagles guarded the Americans, the Kangacows guarded the Russians, and the Swampmunks guarded the Chinese. Then, something happened…

The Americans revolted and ran into broken tanks when the Neagles weren’t looking. They could shoot the Neagles with a tank’s machine gun and missile launcher, but the tank couldn’t move. Then they had an idea. The army men could distract the Neagles by detaching the machine guns and shooting the Neagles while the civilians could stay in the tank to shoot missiles. They kept the Neagles and strapped them to tanks. Then the Kangacows kept calling, but they didn’t come. The Kangacows sent the Swampmunks, but they were ambushed and kept them hostage. The Kangacows called the Swampmunks, but they didn’t come. They knew a big battle was coming…

Shaurya Pathania

 

Llamstrich on the Loose

Once upon a time, there was a scientist who bred animals in his lab, and one day he made a Llamstrich — half llama, half ostrich. It was hideous! When he looked at it, it had the body of an ostrich and the head of a llama. As soon as he grabbed his dart gun, the beast kicked the door to its cage and sped down the hallway. The scientist alerted the police, but as soon as they arrived, the Llamstrich was gone.

In an old house there lives a family of two, a woman and her son. They were llama farmers, but something was off. One llama looked different. First, it had feathers. Second, it had talons. The boy ran to his mother, but as soon as she came, it was gone. The Llamstrich could not find a safe place to hide! So it ran to the police and found a magic portal.

August McMurphy

 

Llamstrich on the Loose, Continued

It was just time for bed, but I remembered I had to tell Egard something, and I asked, “Do you want to go on a trip?”

Egard nodded yes. “I already packed for us. Eight-thirty, and we’ll be on the road.”

I said, “Heh, heh. Be in the sky, I guess.”

Egard grunted and used his big gecko-gripped tail to hang on the ceiling. The rooster crowed, and Egard and I were awake. I put on my swim shorts and got my matching shirt and hopped on Egard’s large eagle head. He flapped his beautiful angel-looking wings and thrust out the door and into the sky.

An hour later, we stopped at our favorite seafood place. Once we finished that up, we got outside, and I checked Egard’s portal generator. It had full battery. He put his two front eagle-arms out. I looked, and to my surprise, we were over a parking lot, and everybody saw us. They were taking millions of pictures. The portal opened, and Egard flew through with ease. When we were going, I told Egard to do it alone.

Once Egard was through the portal, he was in an arena full of sadistic kittens. At the end of the arena there was the one and only Llamstrich, which was dressed in a combat suit, and then the Egard looked down. He was in a combat suit of his own. The kittens yelled fight!

Jacob Ulmer

 

The Hippsquirrel

Pete goes to the desert to look for a new species of animal. He gets to a huge hole in the ground that looks like it goes more than thirty feet deep. He’s big enough to fit in the hole, so he goes down. He sees some light at the bottom of the cave. He goes down to it. It takes him five minutes to get to the light. It flattens out, and he enters a small room. When he gets closer to the light, he figures out it’s green and slimy. He jumps over it and sees a straight tunnel forward. There’s more green stuff on the walls. He tries to avoid it, but he accidentally touches it. It burns him and dissolves.

He keeps going forward, and he sees a huge lump on the ground. Then it starts moving. He yells and tries to get out, but a wall of sand falls over the entrance. The giant thing has a huge head and a really small body and tail. The gigantic thing moves forward and snuggles on him. It starts licking him too and then starts digging through the wall back toward the light. The giant head thing goes through the hole and into the light. Then Pete has a good look at the creature and sees that its body is a squirrel and its head and teeth are a hippo. He decides he likes it and that he will call it Hippsquirrel. The Hippsquirrel starts going up. He follows.

When they get to the top, Pete picks it up and carries it into his truck. It seems okay with this. It keeps licking him, but that’s fine. Pete drives back to his house. It’s in the forest away from the city, so nobody can mess with him. He does research on the green light and finds out it’s nuclear radiation. That’s why Hippsquirrel is two different animals. After that, Pete tries to find out what it eats. Two hours later, he figures it out. Frogs! After that, Pete lives with the Hippsquirrel and takes care of it.

Alastair Dorsett

 

21 Hours

Hello, my name is Jerry the Rhino, and I live in a zoo. Here is a tale about my everyday life. I wake up at 7:00 and eat breakfast, which lasts until 8:00. I have a rest till 12:00. I’m so tired, but I know I can’t sleep for the whole day. I have to eat! I dreamed about sleep. Then I wake up and have lunch until 1:00. Nap time is the best. I sleep until 6:00, and then I have dinner, which lasts until 7:00. Then I take an amazing night’s sleep until 7:00. I repeat this day to day. I am the tired animal and nobody will ever stop my nap time!

Jonah Strong

 

The Story of Fly Guy, a.k.a. The Prowling Fly

Once upon a time, there was a fly who had a kid. That kid was named Fly Guy. Fly Guy loved to prowl everywhere. Soon he got the nickname The Prowling Fly. He left home when his mom died. He caught a plane to Abilene, Texas. Then he caught a cow trailer to England. Then he went to Spain in a taxi cab. Then he caught a submarine to Australia. That is where he started his hunting spree.

First, he tried eating a human, but he didn’t like it. So he went to the outback and saw a pretty fly named Annie Bell. They got married. They had a kid named Darwin Jeffery Wendell. Prowling Fly soon taught Darwin Jeffery to hunt. Prowling Fly killed a giraffe and loved it. Darwin killed an elephant, not realizing they were endangered, but it tasted good. One time, Prowling Fly killed a rhino. He didn’t like it. One time, he and Darwin Jeffery were trying to kill a lion, but Darwin Jeffery was swatted by the lion’s tail and died. Then Annie Bell left him because she was mad.

Then Prowling Fly was all by himself. Then a fly caught his eye. Her name was Kim Lardashian. Soon they had another boy, and his name was Ronald McDonald Wendell. Ronald loved chicken, so Prowling Fly found the most popular bird and told Ronald it was a chicken. Ronald made chicken nuggets. Everyone loved them. So Ronald left his parents and made a very cheap fast food place. It became famous nationwide.

Prowling Fly wanted a hunting partner, so he called an old friend. His friend was Silkie Spider. His friend was a good hunter. When Silkie got there, Silkie brought his wife, but Silkie had no kids. But the day Silkie’s wife got there, a mouse ate her. Silkie decided to go back home. So, Prowling Fly was on his own. Prowling Fly was hunting an elephant but was spiked by the elephant’s horn. He was never found.

Epilogue: You should never be scared of flies. Nothing was harmed in this story. Don’t think that in real life a spider won’t eat a fly. It will.

Coalter Daywood

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The 16 Musketeers

24 Jul

I’m honored to introduce you to a group of creative and passionate young authors, who call themselves “The Sixteen Musketeers.” Like the musketeers in the famous story, each of these writers represent an essential part of this collective whole—a group that worked hard over the course of a week, encouraging each other, cheering for each other, laughing with each other, learning from each other. But each Musketeer is also an individual, with a distinct writing style and a powerful voice.

During our week together at the Magellan International School, these students wrote stories and scenes of dialogue that starred a talkative fisherman afraid of cats, a mysterious young girl with wings, a bus driver who borrows a time machine, and a host of other fascinating, complex characters. Yet most of the pieces collected here—the writing that these students most desired to share with the world—are poems or nonfiction passages that focus on transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, through the precision and magic of language.

These students are determined to report on life as they see it, and to share their passions—for violins and videogames, for starry nights and storytelling—with their readers. I was inspired this week by the imagination, intelligence, and playfulness of these young writers. I hope you, too, find inspiration in these pages.

Allison Grace Myers
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Ode to my Pencil Case

As I open my pencil case,
Little opportunities sprout legs and escape the dark pouch.
A pencil for making the opportunities
And an eraser for cleaning the messy ones up.

This case isn’t the kind that holds books or scrolls,
But the one that holds the tools to make them.

Inside there is a place for everything to go in.
It is so packed up and works very hard,
But it tries not to complain.
The pencil case says,
“My zipper isn’t stuck, and I’m right in front of you,
So open me up.”

Mannat Ahluwalia

 

Henry the Dragon Slayer

My name is Henry. I am a dragon slayer.

I was found in a river, adopted by one of the King’s ministers. I am now the dragon slayer, and I am one of the best in the profession, but there is yet one dragon that remains. We all call him Scaly. He has eaten all our dragon slayers. He is the fiercest one of them all, so my job was to kill him.

One day, I set out on foot, because no one was willing to come close to the dragon. I would love to say I reached the cave and heard the dragon snoring and chopped off its head, but that’s not what happened. He was torching the cave. I walked into the cave. It was around 100 degrees Celsius. (Talk about turning up the heat!) Yet I was determined to kill him. I charged in and fought the dragon. It was a short fight. I died.

I am dead now, as I tell this story.

Pranav Rao

 

Inspiration

As the sun sets over the mountains
And cast shadows in my room,
Colors spread across the sky—
Red, orange, yellow, pink.

I gaze in awe at the setting sun
As bright as the opossum’s yellow eyes—
The scene that gives all artists inspiration
To draw, to read, to paint, and to write.

 Nadia Tjiptadjaja

 

Spider

Spiders are very ugly and scary, and you can’t really change that, but I’ll try:
Their eyes are an okay color?
Maybe they cannot bite you when they’re in a good mood?
Well, bottom line: They’re TERRIBLE!
With their eight eyes and eight legs, it’s hard not to flip out around them.
You have to admit, when you see a spider, it’s like you’re King Kong.
It’s disgusting when their webs won’t come off your skin.
But I have to make them cute,
So they’re CUTE.

Jase Brown

 

The Pillow

Dear Pillow,

I know I throw you off the bed every night, and my butt lands on your face when I’m doing gymnastics, but you’re a pillow—do you even feel pain?

Okay, you definitely had something to say about that.

Okay, okay, you have feelings too, I get it.

But, I’m sorry, I mean, I bought you so I could have pillow fights, a fort, and something to rest my head on, not really for a friend.

Oh, I do need you a lot.

I guess I owe more to you than I think I do.

Olivia Trail

 

Flickering Stars

Crickets singing
Silence, almost, as
The stars flicker
Like diamonds in sunlight
Further away than the sun
But we’ll reach them
Someday
Sooner or later.

Miette Crawford

 

Ode to My Violin

Seven years ago, my mom bought me a violin. In my free time, I like to practice. I go to camps, clubs, orchestra, and a middle-school competition orchestra called All Region. My violin is brown, except for the neck, pegs, button, and chin-rest, which are black. The body is rough, like half-sanded wood. It is very comfortable. My violin sounds like an oboe if I play properly. If not, it’s like someone snoring. Without you, violin, I would be bored every day.

Akhila Jallepalli

 

A New World

I get inspiration from my imagination. Whatever comes to my mind, I write it down, and instantly I get transported to a world of magic and wonder. I write my thoughts down, and a story comes to life, until soon I am pouring my thoughts onto the paper. I pick a tiny piece of my writing and move it around, only to pick it up again and piece it with another sentence. My thoughts and feelings are my inspiration. I find a thought in my brain, and a new story is born—a new world in which I am engulfed, a new place to go, a new place to see, a new place that will inspire me.

Aanchal Save

 

Flowers

Flowers, flowers,
Full of power supplied by the sun.
They patter in the rain and
Wither when they’re done.
Colored with Beautiful shades
Of red, white, and blue,
Depending on the seasons
They might not catch the flu.
Flowers are for everyone,
Whether you’re sunny or dark.
If you want to be at a golf-course, or when
Batman leaves his bat-cave
Right after he sees his mark.
Flowers are more ancient
Than the human race itself.
They make sure to stay living
Either in the garden or on the shelf.
FLOWER
POWER.

Aditya Gupta

 

Clowns

Clowns haunt you instead of making you laugh.

Their lipstick looks like blood and scars, like a knife digging in every day. Clowns are becoming scary and dark, and they are making horror movies about clowns named It. There are clown gangs attacking people. What is the world coming to? What next — the Joker coming to life?

The world will come to an end, knowing we will all die of clowns. They are as scary as a dark hooded man coming up from your bed, and pulling you under.

Sully Meyers

 

Inspiration

Where I get inspiration is when people complain. I write about what is bothering them, or unfair to them, or to the team, so people can notice their mistakes. And, after that, they need to talk to the person and explain why they were doing this bothersome thing and try to fix it, or tell the person what to do so it will stop. It’s like when you order a hamburger with everything, and they give you nothing on it.

Maggie Wright

 

Baseball

I like baseball, because I’ve played it since I was three. I hit the ball with force. I like the stripes on the baseball. They are red like fire. I like that there are different types of bats. I have four metal ones and one wooden bat. The bat has a vibration when I hit the ball. I like when I step on the plate—it gives me a great feeling. Baseball is a fun sport to play in the fall and the summer. It’s hot in the pants.

Owen Doerle

 

Ode to Tiny (Yorkie Puppy) 

Mommy got me my sweet, tiny Tiny,
My smidgey puppy.
His honey-brown eyes
Are melted Hershey bars.
Every day
He looks for me to play.
When petted,
He nuzzles closer to me.
When hearing the flow of piano,
Tiny naps in my lap
Like a mini bear hibernating for winter.
He lifts me up when I’m down
And turns a frown upside down.
I don’t know where my joy would be
Without my little Tiny.

Samantha Tang

 

Run!

In a videogame shop, there is a game. It is a very special game. When you play with four players, you each pick a character, and then you’re sucked into the video game, and you are trying to get off the island before it sinks into the ocean. But don’t worry—you will go back home.

There are enemies that smell like garbage that will try to kill your character. The jungle on the island has plants and trees that smell moist. Everywhere it smells like a very real island, and everything looks like what it is supposed to in real life. Rated M: It is called “Run!”

Daniel Nikazm

 

The Secrets of the Spider

Spiders are hairy, big and small, black and ugly, but their webs hang majestically from the ceiling. Sparkling dewdrops hang on the web in the mist.

The black widow’s hourglass sits proudly on its back, gleaming with pride in the rain.

Spiders are masters of the shadows. Scuttling quietly in the darkness, they spin their prey into blank paper-white cocoons.

In the end, a female spider has hundreds of tiny spiders, and ideas. A new generation of spiders float in the wind, carried by silver lines, but all in all, only a few survive.

Sophia Li

 

Ode to the Clock

The shiny circle on the
wall, with numbers up
to 12, hands that move
around the circle of
numbers, 1:37 to 12:59,
lots of numbers to tell
the time, my mind and
my eyes say it’s 9:45,
it’s 1:00, ZAP,
Time goes past in a blur,
One red hand goes
second to second, fast,
BOOM, it’s 2:30, BAM,
3:20, Ding Dong Ding
Dong, it’s midnight, Ding
Dong Ding Dong, it’s mid-
day, tick tock goes that
circle with the time,
the clock was red,
like blood.

James Trudo

Ms. Rachel’s Cheesy Writers

21 Jul

Never have I met so many young people so in love with writing. Each day, one of these third- and fourth-graders had a new idea about lost children running into a ton of money, Mexican pit bulls, curses, unlikely friends, vegetables, and more. These Magellan School campers’  enthusiasm for writing and sharing new chapters, plot points, or acrostic poems energized everyone in the room.

Over the week, we explored all kinds of genres and styles. The campers developed character sketches about sushi, a potato, and a man who lives on Mars — to name a few! They wrote stories about characters fighting to attain their desires, make friends, and find new families. We read poems by William Carlos Williams, Pablo Neruda, and contemporary poets. Students practiced making observations for their own poems, and they wrote love letters and apologies to people and things that could use them (chairs, Spanish posters, soccer teams with poor defenders, evil fish in a fish tank).

Parents, thank you for enrolling your children in Badgerdog’s Creative Writing Camp this summer. I think we can all learn a lot from encouraging our young people to explore their empathy and imaginations. These students left camp full of dreams of re-writing the world and getting published as soon as possible. Watch out for these kids. They’re game changers.

Rachel Gray
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Spanish Signs

I’m sorry Spanish signs for only
Some people can understand you
I’m sorry Spanish signs
For people have to learn you
You deserve to be understood
But only some people can

Stephanie Gearing

 

My Voice

I hate my voice. Ugh.
My voice is annoying. Ugh.
I hate my voice. Ugh.
Listen to my scream. Ugh.

Kavya Gupta

 

The Snacks (Spicy Banana Chips)

My father gave me a snack.
It was yummy to my tum.
My nose can smell the smell.
It was spicy like hot peppers.
My stomach gets a burn from the
spices like a sunburn. Yum!
But I still love Spicy Banana Chips.

Eesha Vishnu

 

The Curse of the Ghost

an excerpt

It was a stormy night. Everybody knew about the ghost in the bathroom, but nobody had seen the ghost. It was in one stall in the corner of the boys’ bathroom. Nobody was brave enough to open that stall because it had the curse. The curse of the ghost.

One day, a boy named Nick told his friends that he was going to go into that stall. He opened the stall. It was old and filled with spider webs and other haunted stuff. It looked like it was one thousand years old. Then he saw a chair and an A/C vent. He was scared, but he had to do it.

Then he heard a sound! It was the ghost.

The ghost said, “If you take one more step, you get the curse.”

The boy took one step, then stepped out of the stall.

Avaneesh Nadarajan

 

From Tears to Smiles

– an excerpt

I have a disease called Epiderma. It affects my legs and makes me limp. Every time I go out on the streets, people look at me like I’m a crazy duck. I’m from Korea, and it adds more suspense to my problems because when I say that my limping doesn’t worry me, I guess my accent causes strangers to make a face. The only person I trust is my brother. He gives me comfort when he speaks and tells me to stand tall like a soldier.

One day at school, the principal got on the loudspeaker and congratulated the kids who participated in the scholastic chess tournament the week before. I felt a little jealous. I’ve always wanted to do something people would admire me for. After school, I asked the principal if I could join the girls’ team. He said yes, and I was so gleeful.

But then he added, “Although you have to ask the girls.”

My jaw dropped and pulled down my eye sockets. It was so dramatic. I thought the principal was joking.

I blurted, “What? Why ask the girls? Aren’t you the boss of the school? If you say yes, then it’s yes. It’s all from you!”

Then, the principal raised his voice. “Genja, you don’t understand—”

“Oh, yes, I do,” I quickly replied.

“No,” the principal said. “I didn’t start this chess club. The parents started it. The only thing I did was approve it.”

My face turned red, and I stormed out of the room. I didn’t dare go ask the girls. They, of course, would laugh at me and say I was a coward. The only thing left for me to do was to practice myself.

Kalia Wang

 

The Mexican Pit Bull

Once upon a time, a long time ago in Mexico, a ferocious pit bull that everyone feared was looking for a game at the village.

One of the hunters saw him and shouted, “It’s the Mexican pit bull!” And he came outside with his spear.

But then the pit bull bared his teeth, and the hunter, scared out of his wits, ran into his hut.

The pit bull just smiled darkly and continued walking. He was happy but felt a stab of sadness. Even though he was at the top of the food chain, all he wanted was a friend.

He started walking home. He stopped in his tracks and saw a big old tree. It was shimmering with its frog-green leaves. Scared but anxious, he went inside the tree through a big hollow hole.

Inside, he saw sticks, and to him it looked like parkour. Pit bulls can’t do parkour, but he tried and he did it!

Up in the tree was a clean, young squirrel being chased by a fat bulldog. The pit bull bared his teeth and the chubby bulldog ran away.

The squirrel thanked him, and they became friends.

The bulldog whimpered and asked to be friends. The pit bull said yes, and soon they had lots of friends.

Arnav Maskey

 

The Evil Year

She woke up in the middle of the night. Her dad told her to go back to sleep, but she went downstairs and it was Easter. Then she came back upstairs and it was Halloween. She noticed that she was lost in the year.

(She was cursed, but in a good way.)

She went to her friends’ house. Her friends were in their garage, and it was Christmas. Then there was a shoosh and she heard, “You have a curse.” Then she was gone.

The girl didn’t know that her friends were evil, and she did not know which curse she was in, but then she noticed that her friends were evil. She tried to use the curse and make them uneasy, and they were nice. They changed and killed the father.

Parisha Acharya

 

Once Upon a Curse

an excerpt

Once upon a time, in a tiny town in France, there lived a girl named Cat. She was very poor. She lived in the woods with her mother. Now, her mother did not know that her child was put under a curse. But one day, her mother was told that her child had a curse: if Cat went to go ask for money and tried to kill the king, she would die the most painful death of all. So her mother told Cat very nice things.

So, Cat went for money in the town. The king said, “No, no.” Cat tried to kill him, and the king said, “You foolish child. You had a curse on you when you were born.” So, he locked her up. She sat there for the rest of her life, and she died the most painful death.

But years later, there was a girl named Kitty, and that Kitty was haunted. Kitty had a best friend. Her name was C, just C, so she was teased. Even sometimes Kitty teased her. So C did not want to be friends with Kitty.

So Kitty had an enemy. C was just like her long-lost dead mother, Cat, who had a child, C. C did not know her mother, but C was evil.

That night Kitty was pulled to the underworld. There, Cat, the evil one, lay. Her bones were there, but her spirit wasn’t. Kitty was locked in a tower that was haunted. C was power hungry, so she brought Kitty back and got an axe and cut down Kitty’s back and a demon came out. That demon was Kitty.

C was very proud of herself, but the town was very scared. So they built a wall, and if you touch it, you will be sorry.

Zoey Latson

 

Lucky Day

Rose was a poor child from a poor family. She was ten, and she didn’t have enough money to go to school. She wasn’t smart because she didn’t go to school. She was homeschooled. Her mom, Abu, was teaching her. Abu didn’t go to school either, so she was teaching Rose the wrong things.

One day, Rose had a delivery sent to her door. She saw that it was just in an envelope. Rose opened the envelope and saw fifty dollars. She called, “Mom, Mom, we have fifty more dollars!” Rose and Abu quickly walked to the store. They went to the lottery station, and Rose bought the fifty-dollar lottery ticket. When they got home, they turned on their cheap TV and watched the lottery channel. The reporter said, “Today’s code is 1562354789.”

Rose said, “We have 9,999,999,999 more dollars!”

Rose asked Abu if she could go to school, and Abu said yes.

Rose went to school and became the most knowledgeable student in her fifth-grade class. Everyone loved her. She became famous for her knowledge when she was twenty-two. Abu was so happy for her.

Leah Bao

 

Ninja Wolves

Once there were two wolves. Their dad told them to be ninjas. Five years later, their dad told them to wake up at five o’clock.

They asked why.

He said, “You will see when you wake up.”

The next day, they were training… to be ninjas! It was fun. The rest of their lives. Kapow! Dun dun dun!!

Arhann Jafri

 

The Living Cupcake

Once, there was a girl. She ate a cupcake, and the rest of the cupcakes came alive because the girl kept eating the army. There was only the King of Cupcakes left, and then he would fight the girl. The cupcake won because it tasted bad.

Ruby Chalupka

 

Fat/Skinny School

John was fat. In the fat/skinny school, all the fat kids were treated unfairly. John was also treated unfairly, but the fat kids were smart. The skinny kids were dumb. So, John and his fat friends were hatching a plan.

John thought about eating all the food there. John was very mean, so he was always trying to kill the teachers. John also liked to eat. That’s why he was fat.

John’s friends said they wanted to execute the teachers. They needed to borrow things for that, so they needed to be nice. John and his friends didn’t like being nice. None of the fat kids liked being nice. So they practiced over and over again.

Finally, they borrowed a chainsaw from Potato.

The chainsaw wasn’t able to cut through the teachers because they were too fat.

This time, they tried to be nice to the teachers. They tried this and found that the teachers still didn’t like them.

The fat friends had to be smart. They made these costumes and tricked the skinny kids into wearing fat kid costumes. The teachers were confused and took the skinniest kids, which were John and his friends, and showed them the biggest chainsaw ever that could kill all the fat kids.

John and his fat friends took the chainsaw and killed the fat teachers. Then they realized they liked being nice. They still thought that the teachers deserved to be killed because they were so mean. There were no teachers left, so the skinny kids and the fat kids partied!

Anirudh Rao

 

The Write Stars

18 Jul

The second-, third-, and fourth-graders at the Magellan School this summer are dreamers and thinkers. They wish for dogs, cats, and even colorful frogs! They dream of cats in a Candy Cane Hotel. They pretend that they are dogs who go crazy when the doorbell rings. Have you ever imagined that you were sucked into a mirror? Have you ever dreamt that you were a fire alarm or a great white shark? Well, they have. Have you ever tried to console a pig with no tail or stop an angry cow from saying moo? Well, they’ve done that, too! We all know someone who refuses to clean their room, but have you ever seen the piles stretch across the United States? Although we had our share of laughter, these students also wrote serious pieces about war and losing beloved pets. In one short week, these thoughtful children explored their imaginations and shared heartfelt stories.

I am so proud of the time and attention they’ve given to their craft. I see a bright future when I observe these students playing piano in the mornings, revising pieces with their peers, or reading books until their hearts are content. It is a future filled with dreams, wishes, and the words it takes to explain them all.

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

The Cat Problem

cats

One day I told my mom I wanted a cat.
My mom said, “I will think about it and I will tell you
after we go to San Francisco.”
So, we went to San Francisco and saw my cousins,
Jonah and Kegen.
Then, we went on a road trip to Disneyland
and stayed at the Candy Cane Hotel.
Then we went back home.
Then I asked if I could get a cat and she said
she would think about it.

Eileen Do

 

I’m a Dog

dog

I am a dog.
I like to be petted, and I am white and brown.
I go to the park and play fetch.
I’m well-trained.
I see people, wet grass, and other dogs.
I chase the tennis ball.
I could dream about my owners petting me all day.
I am scared of coyotes.
I don’t like it when my owners leave me,
but I like it when they come home and pet me.
If someone rings the doorbell, I go crazy.

Sajan Gupta

 

Dream Puppy

puppypaws

My name is Anjali, and I want a puppy like this:
It will have fur, but I won’t be allergic to it.
The puppy will be small and adorable.
It will live forever, and I will name it Kenzie.
Kenzie will be my girl best friend.
She will be as soft as a blanket.
Kenzie will be playful and won’t like cats or kittens.
When dry, she will smell like lavender.
When wet, she will smell like chocolate.
Kenzie will eat and drink everything, even chocolate, and won’t die.
She will bark as cute as a puppy can.
When she comes running into my arms, it will sound like little raindrops.

Anjali Mahajan

 

Through My Mirror

mirror

Last night, I went through my mirror.
It was quite a sight to see my hand go through the mirror.
It was a delight when it was morning.
I screamed, wiggled, and shouted.
It seems I could not get out.

Sydney Nelson

 

Fire Alarm

firealarm

I am a small, red fire alarm.
I live in schools, classrooms, homes, and buildings.
I smell smoke.
When there is a fire, I make a really loud ring, ring sound that kids hate.
I say, “Fire! Fire!” on the outside.
I am as big as an ant, but as small as a book.
Through the day, I sense fire to keep people safe.
I smell smoke and I hear people.
I feel safe and I see rooms.
I feel the wall.
I taste fire and smoke.
I am afraid I might drop and shatter.
I dream of saving people’s lives.
I like seeing kids learning.
I hate smoke detectors.
I do not like it when kids cry or take me off the wall.
I have had a great life.

Sophia Nikazm

 

I Wish I Was Anything

glitter

I wish I was a bird that was blue
and I could fly so high.
I wish I was a dog that was a boxer
so my owner would follow
my command.
I wish I was a great white shark that
could eat lots
of prey.
I wish I was a queen,
so everyone could
follow my command.
I wish I was
everything.

Prajna Parajuli

 

An Army

sword

An army shields yellow like the sunrise
Armor shining like the stars
Feet stomp the ground like drums
Swords gleam like diamonds
An army in the Persian Gulf of Alexander
Against the army of Persians

Nathaniel Rostvold

 

Calysta Would Not Clean Her Room

garbage

-after Shel Silverstein’s “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”

My sister Calysta would not clean her room. She played games, did puzzles, danced, sang, and did everything but clean her room. So trash, dirty clothes, and toys filled her room. You couldn’t even sleep or open the windows, and you couldn’t even walk in the door!

Nobody even talked to her or played with her, but they did say, “Clean your room!”

But she did not listen. The pile got even bigger. The pile filled the whole United States. Nobody could move or anything.

Then she realized that it was bad not to clean her room, so she cleaned her room. Now she always cleans her room every five days.

Miralei Storer

 

The Frogs in the Rainforest

frog

Once upon a time, there lived a rough frog. He was red and green. One day, he met a red and blue frog, and she was soft. They both liked each other.

One day, the red and green frog named Phillip took the red and blue frog named Sophie to the beach.

Sophie met her father there. She never knew she had a father.

Sophie asked, “Who are you?”

He said, “Sophie, I am your father.”

Then, Sophie and her father went to go to a party.

Phillip was all alone. He said, “Sophie, congratulations on finding your father.”

Sophie said, “Come with us to the party.”

Phillip said okay. And they all lived happily ever after.

Simone Strong

 

Begging My Dad for a Dog

dachshund

I am eight years old. I begged my dad to get me a dog, but he said no.

I’ve been begging for a dog since I was at least five years old. When I was seven, I got a trial. If I could take care of a puppy, then I could keep it. But I failed.

Then, my dad promised me I could get a dog when I turned eighteen. I complained to my dad that this was too long to wait, that I wanted a puppy now.

Right now, I still beg my parents to get me a puppy. I did research on a dog that I want. It is called a dachshund. It’s a long dog, and it can be flexible. I still think that I can get another type of dog besides a dachshund if I beg my dad hard enough, but I try not to push it. I still really want a puppy.

Amanda Tang

 

The Bad Day

cow

I was angry, as mad as a bull,
and also sad as the color blue
because they dared me
to stop a mad cow saying moo.

I was as blue as a water bottle,
I was red as an angry face
and then I just saw the mad cow gaze.

I was disappointed as a cat,
I felt heartless as a person would be.
I am angry now,
that you can see!

Elise Josephine Tjiptadjaja

 

Norman

guineapig

One Sunday after church, when we got home, I started to clean up the living room. My dad went outside to feed Norman, our guinea pig.

But when he went outside, guess what he saw? He saw that Norman was dead!

After that, he came in to tell us. My mom and I started crying. That night, my dad was so sad that he did not even eat dinner.

Also, when he found Norman, my sister, Iman, was asleep. The next day, Iman asked, “Where is Norman?”

I said to her sadly, “Norman, he… he died.”

Then she asked in a really surprised voice, “What?”

Norman was a nice guinea pig. He was white, brown, and dark brown. We loved him a lot.

Ian Xu

 

No Tail Pig

pigtail

I am a pig. I have a great life.

One day, a male pig in my pen said, “I have no tail!”

When everybody realized this, they all went away.

He said, “When people pick me up, I feel like they are going to eat me. I don’t feel good having no tail. It feels very weird. I look like a hot air balloon without a tail. I tried to make a tail out of hay, but I do not have hands. When I roll in the mud pit, I get a little happier. When I wash off, I see my back, and all my happiness goes away. I am a pink pig with a little bit of hair on my back. My nose gets bigger every day. I see green grass. I feel rough hay. I smell fresh air. I taste tasty garbage. My hope is not to get eaten. My dream is to have a tail. My fear is becoming bacon. I dislike having no tail.”

Iman Xu

The Champions

11 Jul

I am always surprised by student work, particularly when it comes from young children. But what struck me most about this group of lower-elementary writers at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church? From the first day, they demonstrated an inherent curiosity in one another and a sincere interest in each other’s opinions, writing, and ideas. The grace my students exhibited when listening to each other helped to propel each student’s confidence and voice so that the work they produced garnered a new importance and creative authority.

At sharing time, after each student read a poem—or perhaps a story she hadn’t finished (so that part of the story was spoken from memory, in front of all of us, eyes wide with anticipation and the wonder that comes from performance)—hands shot up from the inquisitive audience, and their responses to each other’s work (which ranged from quoting the funniest line of dialogue to appreciating the story’s tension and mystery) were thought-provoking and remarkable in themselves.

When I first started writing creatively, I wasn’t much older than the girls in my class, but I did not have a community like this one to encourage me to write and to think about what I was writing. I believe this community they so easily and automatically fostered will help not only their writing but other experiences as they grow and enter the world, making them better prepared to embark on their own potential realities and yet-unwritten futures.

Rachel Gray
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Buttercup’s Family

I went downstairs and opened the door. No one was there.

Then I heard a meow.

I looked down and there was my kitty, Buttercup! She had something in her mouth. I took it. It was a… Before I could tell what it was, she took it right back. Then she meowed again. Then a whole alley of cats appeared.

I dropped my mouth open and looked down to see Buttercup, but she was with her family.

Story Rogers

 

The Writer

Every day, I see a lady sitting on a bench with a piece of paper and a pencil, writing day and night. I wonder:  what is she writing?

The next day, I notice one piece of paper lying on a bench. I read it. It doesn’t seem like it’s finished yet.

I look up. On all the other benches, a single piece of paper sits on each. I soon read all of them and it makes one big story.

Emily Piper

 

The Other Side of Oz

So, you’ve met Dorothy, but have you met her twin sister? I don’t think so. She’s from California, but she is the bad twin.

Oh, no! Another tornado is coming toward us!

Are we back over the rainbow?

Yes! But we need to go back.

No! I never want to go back. I want to see that wizard. So, which way to the Wizard?

Well, you have to follow the Yellow Brick Road.

Fine, I will do that.

So, they did. Until the road became two different roads. There was a red road and a yellow road.

Oh, yeah. I don’t care about the Wizard now. I want to see where that road goes.

So, they went.

Then they saw a sign. The sign said they had reached the Haunted Forest.

I don’t want to go in there, said Dorothy.

Well, I do, said the sister. This will be so cool. Come on.

So, they went.

Then they saw a wolf! It was growling and barking.

It’s trying to bite us.

It’s trying to bite you, not me. I’m going to pet it.

No. Don’t do that.

Why not? It’s not going to bite if you do it right.

Catalina Elizondo

 

I’m Sorry

I’m sorry I had lunch with
you and I didn’t offer you any.
I’m sorry that I tried to pop
you. You just make such a satisfying sound,
and I’m sorry that you are dragged
around every day just to be forgotten.
I’m sorry that I let you go. I
just love the way you gracefully float
up to the ceiling.
Please forgive me, balloon.

Vivian Moore

 

Horses

One day, Eva and Story were riding horses. Story’s horse was Cozy. Eva’s horse was Crystal. There were racing over jumps, like Cross Rails, Oxers, and Verticals. They were in a big field full of emerald green grass and trees with perfect green leaves and chocolate-colored trunks. They jumped for hours after dinner and lunch. They rode forever.

One day, a fox arrived. Eva’s horse Crystal got spooked and ran. Eva fell off, but luckily she landed on a soft patch of grass. Her horse Crystal slipped and fell. She twisted her ankle.

Story had a ranch. Story offered her one of her horses from her ranch. Eva was riding Good Night.

The next day Crystal, was all better. Eva rode Crystal. Story rode Cozy.

They were all BFFs. Best Friends Forever.

Eva Texcucano

 

Little Pink Riding Hood

Of course you’ve heard of Little Red Riding Hood, but have you heard of Little Pink Riding Hood? No, no you haven’t? Well, here’s the story.

Once upon—okay, let me back up. If I don’t tell you this, you’ll be totally confused. Okay, Little Pink is Little Red’s twin sister. Back to the story.

Once upon a time, Little Red and Little Pink were playing Rocket outside. Their mom came out and had a long present and a basket of candy. It was their grandpa’s birthday. “Little Pink, can you get these two presents to Grandpa, please?” said Mom.

“Okay,” Little Pink said with a cheesy smile.

“Why can’t I?” asked Little Red.

“Because,” said Mom. “Last time Grandma almost died when you delivered the gift! I’m still so mad at you. Plus, I want to give Little Pink a turn.”

Little Red wasn’t sure of this, so when Mom went back inside and Little Pink went in the woods, Little Red Riding Hood followed her with her Mom’s phone so she could videotape it.

Before long, Little Pink went off the path into the woods.

“Oh, oh!” said Little Red, and she followed her sister while videotaping.

Little Pink went into a cottage. Little Red followed and quickly hid where she could videotape when she got in the cottage. There were The Seven Dwarfs and Snow White.

Okay, of course you didn’t think Snow White would be in this story, but she is. So, yeah. Anyway.

“Dwarfs, why do you have this cane? It’s a piece of junk,” said Little Pink.

“We have a sticker to put on his car!” said one of the Dwarfs.

“Silly! He ain’t have a car!” said Little Pink.

“Good. We made it into a saddle. It extends,” said Stinky. “That will hurt his butt!”

“You guys are useless,” said Little Pink and left.

No one saw Little Red go. Wow, she’s awesome at this, Little Red thought.

Anyway, Little Pink went to Grandpa’s house, and do you know what she said? She said this: “OMG, Mom and Little Red are terrible. Grandpa will only like my present.” Little Red did not know Little Pink was sassy, but apparently she was. Back to the story.

Little Red took a shortcut so she could get to Grandpa’s first. Little Red said this to Grandpa: “Happy Birthday. Me and Little Pink’s present will come in a minute, but Little Pink is a bit slow.” Grandpa laughed.

When Little Pink got there, Little Pink was confused. She said Happy Birthday strangely.

P.S. Little Red stopped the video after Little Pink said happy birthday.

Grandpa opened his presents. He liked both of them.

When they headed back, Little Red took a shortcut, so she got there more quickly. She immediately showed her mom the video. Mom was mad. Little Pink got home. Mom showed her the video, and Little Pink got in trouble.

“Little Pink,” said Mom. “As long as you live with me, Red does the delivering.”

To Pink, that wasn’t much of a punishment, but it still was.

Okay, so I’m only telling you this now so you don’t think I’m lying. Little Pink’s the mischievous and bad twin.

Well, to be continued… because it’s not the end of their lives. Or is it?!

No, to be continued.

Leela Menon

The Dank Hollows

7 Jul

Three friends rob a bank and battle the military. A museum night guard evades ghostly possession and death. A cat trips off Coca-Cola and cruises its neighborhood via out-of-body experience. These are just a few plots of the story excerpts and poems you are about to read, tidbits and musings from the minds of thirteen dynamic and imaginative upper-elementary kids who attended our one-week Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church. The breadth of their writing reveals diverse perspectives on various topics, such as home and family, duty and heroism, solitude and self-reflection, and reality and dreams. Over the course of our week together, they thought about the world differently and discovered news sources of inspiration, each student utilizing his or her own writing style to create works that resonated with the entire class. These young writers were greatly in tune with each other’s creative work; they listened intently, provided constructive feedback, and asked loads of questions. By the end, they were developing characters and entire stories as a group. This proves that writing doesn’t have to be an individualized, private process restricted to the confines of one’s study or bedroom. Writing can bring people together and establish commonality and solidarity. I think, because of this, there is an odd cohesiveness to the pieces below. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe you can. Hope you enjoy!

Patricia Marquez
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Escaping the Lighthouse

“You better come back here this instant, young lady!” cried Lilyth’s stepmother, Ruby. You see, Lilyth was escaping from the lighthouse she lived in with her unloving father and evil stepmother. Lilith had been miserable since her mother died. When her mother was still alive, Lilyth was perfectly happy. True, she had known her father didn’t care for her or her mother, but she didn’t care as long as her mother was there.

But then Lilyth’s greatest fear came true. Her mother died. She drowned swimming in the ocean. The waves looked like a smooth surface of a lake that day, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that her mother was too beautiful. So beautiful that a shark spotted her and swallowed her whole. But, to make it worse, her father didn’t care one bit. He actually seemed rather happy. One month later, he had a new wife. So, Lilyth was escaping this once beautiful, sparkly, lighthouse home, not a dreary, dim, miserable house.

She set sail almost immediately. One week later, she saw a storm in the distance. It was blowing towards her quickly. She tried to turn the boat around, but before she knew it, the storm was upon her. The waves turned from five feet tall, to ten feet, to fifteen, until eventually they were forty feet tall. Then she saw it. A hurricane. A few miles from her. She could already feel the boat being pulled towards it. Even though she knew she was nowhere near land, she shouted into the distance, “HELP!” No response, except the thunder. “HELP!” She looked at the hurricane. It was a few feet from her. Now she was in the hurricane, heading towards the eye.

Rosemary Grace Poe

 

Museum

My name is John Baker. I’m a museum night guard. Well, not anymore. In fact, I’m never going to be a museum night guard again. Do you want to know why? I’ll take that as a yes.

It was in 2000, seventeen years ago. My partner, Rick, was working in the World War II exhibit. I was in the dinosaur exhibit. It was 11:16 p.m. The only lights on were the ones in our office. Lately, stuff had been strange around there, like reported whispering, and stuff falling off walls. I was walking by the pterodactyl statue when I heard Rick scream. I ran to his exhibit. It was quiet. I thought I heard voices. I whispered, “Rick… ?” No answer. I began to freak out. However, I stayed calm and looked for Rick.

I was about to turn a corner when a picture of a group of miserable soldiers fell off the wall. This picture was quite creepy. Well, more creepy than the others. Hands shaking, I hung it back up. It suddenly fell out of my hands. A sharp stabbing pain in the back of my neck had me falling to the cold floor. I couldn’t move. Familiar-faced, ghost-like soldiers stepped over me. I blacked out.

To this day, they don’t know what happened to Rick. That museum closed two years ago because of a ghost named Rick.

Link Pruner

 

The Bank Heist

“Hurry! Get the money now! We have two hundred grand on our hands, so get it done!” said Trevor, holding a huge case. We had fourteen minutes left. I went to the safe and put a sticky bomb on it. The sticky bomb exploded in front of the safe, and I took the money.

“Hey, Trevor, I got the money. Let’s go!”

He responded, “Okay, we have twelve minutes.”

I ran to the exit of the bank with my friend, Brandon. When we got there, the door was locked. “We’re trapped!” I said.

“There’s no sticky bombs?” Brandon asked.

“No. Hey, Trevor, you have sticky bombs?”

“Why do you always ask for my stuff?!” yelled Trevor, shooting the cops that were charging into the bank.

“Hold on. I might have some picklocks,” said Brandon. He took out the picklocks and tried to open the door. Trevor killed all the police and rushed to us. “Can ya hurry up?! We got three minutes left until the alarm starts and even more police start coming!”

Brandon opened the door with the picklock and gasped. “Oh no, oh no!” said Brandon. We were too late. The whole Merriwether Military was there. Tanks, helicopters, and thousands of police cars.

“It’s all right. Don’t say a word,” whispered Trevor. “You wanna know why I’ve been holding this case the whole time? It’s because of this.”

John- Paul Fernandez

 

Trump and the Chimpanzee

Donald J. Trump and Bill-Bob the chimpanzee were talking. Donald Trump said, “We need to build a huge wall from Mexico to China.” The chimpanzee could not reply because he could not talk over Donald Trump saying, “I like young women, especially when I can bribe them with huge amounts of money.” Right then, Donald Trump left to go to the White House and make ties.

Lincoln Evans

 

The End of the World

Where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this? The paper reads: The world will end on June 24, 2017. Oh no! That’s tomorrow! Wait, there’s another paper. It reads there are seven things that will happen until the end of the world. First, the floor will start shaking… Do you feel that? That’s the first stage. The second stage is no lights. The lights started flickering. That’s the second stage. The third stage is no water. Speaking of water, let me go to get some… Oh, no! No water — that’s the third stage. The fourth stage is the food going bad. Let me get some. I’m hungry. Wait, that’s the fourth stage. It has already gone bad. Wait, what time is it? It’s going very fast. It’s 12:00 p.m., and it says the world will end at 2:00 p.m. We only have two more hours. The fifth stage, lots of tornadoes. Wait, do you hear the sirens? That’s the fifth stage. The sixth stage, lots of people dying. Whoa, there goes the ambulance. That’s the sixth stage. What time is it? Oh, no. We only have fifteen minutes. We need to get these people on a rocket. It won’t take that long — it’s a small town. Okay, everyone’s on. Let’s go to Venus. Oh, no. Hurry! Let’s go now! The world is breaking in half! Okay, everyone is safe. Wow, what a dream. Wait, where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this?

Sarah Elizondo

 

Coke

I came bounding home over the tree log and right onto the front porch. I scratched and mewed at the door as my boy, Eric, answered. As soon as the door opened, I scrambled in to find my water bowl. It was right next to the food bowl, but something was different. The liquid was fizzy. I didn’t care. I was way too thirsty. As I drank the liquid, it stung my tongue and throat.

Eric said, “How’s that Coke?” That must be what it is. In my thoughts I noticed that I was not on the ground anymore. I was floating up and up and up. I tried to scramble down, but I kept on going and — oh, no! The skylights were open, and I went up out into the open air. I saw a tree. It was a pine. I frantically tried to get to the tree, but I couldn’t do it. Then, all of a sudden, an unpleasant warm breeze that ruffled my fur brought me over to the tree. I clung on for all my life, and way down below I heard Eric calling my name. “Coke, Coke.” So that’s why he fed me Coke. When I made this realization, I let go of the tree. Luckily, there was another pine, so I reached and grabbed one and I stayed on, so close that I thought the sharp scent of pine would kill me. I started climbing down the tree and touched the ground. Whoops! As soon as I let go of the tree, I flew up. I thought with melancholy that I wouldn’t even touch the ground, at least for awhile. But at least I was safe for now.

I finally got there. And I started to run faster than the wind, straight home to Eric.

Anna Schneeman

 

The Timeturner

The last thing I knew I was home, tired and hungry. I ate a small sandwich and went straight to getting ready for bed. Then it was pitch black, and I was lying in my bed peacefully…

Wham!

I got up with a jolt of anxiety in my bones. One minute I was sleeping peacefully within the darkness of my room, and what felt like a second later, the rays of the sun hit me. Normally, I would go back to sleep, the light never waking me in the first place. But this place made me feel like I never needed to sleep again. That’s when my senses hit me. I had no idea where I was.

“Where am I?” I said in awe. This had to be a dream, in a plain room with light streaming in. That’s when I saw it — the rays pointing at the golden object. A necklace… a Timeturner!

I hit myself in the face, and it didn’t hurt. I was dreaming. I went up to the table and took the Timeturner. It was cold, despite the fact that it had been in the sun.

As soon as I put it on, I woke up. My room was not dark, for it was morning. I got up and went to brush my teeth. Then I saw the gold glistening on my neck. How is that possible? Somehow I seemed to get ready in two seconds because, before I knew it, I was inside a museum. It looked empty. In fact, the world was silencing the humans. I could only hear a small breeze.

Uma Menon

 

Battling the Oslarbs

I shot my arrow at the Oslarb, piercing his eye, causing him to scream, and blinding him. He stumbled around, then I heard something behind me. I whipped around, and then silently cursed under my breath. They had tricked me!

I unsheathed my sword, slashing the blade at the creatures. They were fast, but not fast enough to block my blows. Three lay motionless on the ground, but the other two were Elite Oslarbs. They were bigger, faster, and very agile. I cringed in fear just looking at them. I knew I couldn’t take on both at once. I saw a tree with a slanted trunk, so I dashed towards it, running up to shoot them from afar. The Oslarbs couldn’t climb, so they took their axes and started chopping the tree. I aimed at the Oslarb’s lungs so the poison would stop him from breathing.

The tree started to drop, so I jumped towards a second tree hanging on by a finger. He pulled himself up, using all his strength. The Oslarb grabbed his throat. At the last second, he threw a knife at me and hit my right side, and I yelled in severe pain before he fell to the ground.

Asena Gursel

 

Voyage of the Freseke 1

“We are just importing some cargo to Barbados.”

“It’s still a long ways away,” Johanna said. “My first mate.”

“Thanks, honey. I love you,” I answered.

As I walked onto the giant tanker, I peered back to see Johanna. She was waving at me. It was a soft, gentle wave, a wave a man can never forget.

I entered the ship to see the Captain. He had a proud look on his face. He had on an all white uniform with a little gold sprinkled in places. On the captain’s head was a fancy Captain’s hat. “Welcome aboard, first mate!” yelled the Captain with excitement.

I walked through the halls of the ship, which were covered in rivets and screws. The halls all looked the same.

Alex Edmondson

 

The World’s Secret

Drip! Drip! Where am I? Why am I not in bed? Why is it dark? Questions fill my head. “Wake up.” I hear a man’s voice. His voice is gritty, yet pleasant.

“Who’s there?” I say shakily.

“Look in front of you,” says the man. The light turns on. When I look in front of me, I see a black stone table. On it there’s a folded piece of paper with the words TOP SECRET on it.

“What does it say inside?” I ask.

“The date that our beautiful home, Earth, will end,” the man says.

“Can I open it?” I ask.

“If you please. But just remember, if you do, you will have the most important piece of information the world will ever have. Are you ready for that responsibility?”

“Yes,” I say without hesitation. I rip the piece of paper in half.

I’m falling.

I black out.

I knew this day would come.

Lucas Jesser

 

My Name

My name is Sydney Piper
I really don’t like vipers
My favorite color is green
I think it’s really keen
I really like to cook
Even if it involves a book
I like much more than this
But I’ll stop, though
I have a longer list.

Sydney Piper

 

Summer

Sweet ripe melons sitting on the hay.
Big cruise ships sailing on the bay.
Sun shining down on the ocean blue,
Cows in green pastures saying mooo.
Flowers blooming up high on cliffs,
Smelling fresh baked pies in sweet strong sniffs.
Wheat stalks swaying in the gentle wind.
This is summer, my sweet friend.

Grace Rogers

 

Poem About Me

I am me
And me am I
When I was young
My eyes looked like the sky

Me am I
And I am me
I’m happy with my family
As happy as can be

Elliot Brown

Badgerdog Book Crush: Me and Marvin Gardens

16 Jun

Inspired by the novel Me and Marvin Gardens, this year’s Book Crushers wrote letters to Governor Greg Abbott urging greater environmental protections from lawmakers.

In this year’s wonderful Book Crush novel, Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King, eleven-year-old protagonist Obe Devlin tells a surprising and multi-layered story about the Pennsylvania acres that were once his great-grandfather’s farmland, one hundred years ago.

During one jam-packed and exciting week of reading, writing, discussing, and art-making, we explored the book’s characters and themes through many different lenses. We read:

  • as detectives, searching for the secrets everyone keeps in the story and the unsolved mysteries beneath the surface
  • as actors, acting out dramatic scenes from the book, improvising new ones, and writing our own
  • as architects, examining how the design and form of the novel connect with its themes
  • as historians, imagining the history of the land our houses were built on and asking parents and grandparents what our own great-grandparents were up to one hundred years ago
  • as scientists, making our own observations of the natural world and imagining what innovations the future could bring
  • and as citizens, putting the book’s messages into action by writing letters to Texas Governor Greg Abbott about the environmental topics that mattered most to each of us.

The nine amazing Book Crushers also tried out one of Obe’s favorite pastimes—picking up trash. Over the course of three days, they collected a large trash-bag’s worth of litter from the grounds of the Carver Museum, and then turned it into their very own Garbage Gallery: a series of sculptures and collages made from found objects. They attached “found poetry” collected and clipped from Me and Marvin Gardens to their art pieces as well, and the result was a powerful exhibit of artwork about pollution. As you’ll see, it really captures the spirit of both the book and the Book Crushers—passionate, a little wild, and full of hope.

Noah Weisz
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

One Hundred Years Ago

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather started to protest.  Migrant workers were upset because they didn’t have enough money for food.  Migrant workers were poor, so their children had to do hard work in the fields.  They mostly came from Mexico and were treated very poorly.  When one worker demanded more pay, the boss ignored him.  But all the migrant workers formed a union.

That’s where my great-grandfather came in.  He gave money to the union and helped protest.  Sadly the boss called the police and the police sided with the rich boss.  The police stopped the union by beating people up.  That didn’t stop the migrant workers, though.  It took them years and years and great-grandfather Ellis continued to always be a strong supporter of the union.  I learned from great-grandfather Ellis to never give up and to fight for what’s right.

Lena Colton Boas

 

Devlin Creek

Lena Colton Boas and Mayla Montgomery

 

Infinite Smiles

Zachary May

 

Bottle Full of Trash

A reminder that if we continue down this same path, if we do nothing, if we fail to act, then our world will look much like this bottle full of trash (but probably less bright and colorful!).

Zachary May and Jordan Saleh

 

My Great-Grandfather’s Voyage

Every day I thought of it, my eyes welled up with tears. Should I have left my family or not?

I tried to distract myself with other thoughts. A few hours later, we arrived at the next port. I pushed myself through the crowd and walked to the next boat. When I got there, the person standing in front of the boat shook his head no. He started to say something I didn’t understand. I was pulled back onto the boat I was on first. I was angry. The sea sparkled in a way that made me feel that it was laughing at me.

After many nights staying on that boat, we finally were allowed to board the next boat. During these next few nights, I had made a decision to go to Mexico instead of Poland. I was watching the sea’s waves pounding against the boat when someone spoke to me in my language.

“Are you coming here from Poland?” said a young man about my age who was standing next to me.

“Yes, are you?” I replied. He nodded yes. Suddenly he shouted as he looked over my head. I turned to see what he was looking at, and my eyes started to water. We had made it to Mexico after so many months.

Sunny Greenblum

 

Tree

… And from an unwanted soda can, a paper tree sprouted from the earth into the air, reaching out its long, thin, airy limbs and offering a single golden flower.

Sunny Greenblum and Gillian Lucente

 

100 Years Ago on My Mom’s Side of the Family

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, named George Murray Hulbert, was born in the New York area. He loved to study olden-day ships on the salty water, and the breeze that was salty enough that it hurt your eyes if you kept them open for three minutes. He loved political things too, like president things. Well, when he was walking around the salty-smelling docks for a job, he asked if he could take the jobs near the docks. Some men tested him to see if he could do anything with the docks. He impressed the men so much that he got the job of being in charge of the docks.

Six or seven years later, he got the job to be mayor of New York City. His wife was so happy that she gave him a hug. Six years after that, he got a letter from the president saying, “George M. Hulbert, since you have done so well and proven to everyone that you’re a nice, smart, and clever man, you should be president!”

After two years, he got a letter from his wife saying that she had a girl child and named it Regina Elizabeth Hulbert. He smiled and thought to himself while looking out the window, Wow… I hope she is going to grow into that name. He smiled because he knew that Regina meant queen.

Gillian Lucente

 

My House

Ruby Airhart

 

Volcano

Imagine a small but powerful (and colorful and creative) volcano made not from rock and lava, but from recycled materials. Don’t worry, you don’t have to! Ruby created just such a volcano for us.

Ruby Airhart

 

One Hundred Years Ago

I am Mary Sophia Borlase. I was born on March 11, 1904. I grew up in rural Philadelphia. I was the third of four children. I was also the only girl. Two of my brothers were older than me, and one was younger.

Even though I was only five-foot-two, I played girls’ basketball in high school. After graduating from high school, I went to secretarial school since my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. I learned how to type and how to organize things like folders, documents, and flyers. After that, I managed to get a job as a secretary at the Sears headquarters. This was amazing, because most women didn’t have a career. Heck, we didn’t even get the right to vote till August 18, 1920!

I took that job seriously, and I kept getting promoted. Soon I became the private secretary to the chairman of the board of Sears. My boss was the rich Mr. Rosenwald. His family founded the Museum of Science and Industry. Mr. R also collected fine art.

Soon after getting promoted, I met my future husband. He didn’t want me to work, so I quit at age thirty-two. I still came to Mr. Rosenwald’s estate, though. I organized his traveling art exhibits. Then I’d ship them to loan to museums all over the country! I learned that it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or girl, old or young, black or white. \ Just reach for the stars.

M. M. Montgomery

 

The Day Obe Moved Seats

Tommy went to his seat. The bus driver greeted me saying, “Can you sit next to Tommy because he and Mike haven’t been making the best choices next to each other?”

“Sure,” I sighed. Then I walked slowly to get to Tommy. I didn’t see Mike, but I was sure he wouldn’t listen to the bus driver.

“What are you doing here?” Tommy asked.

“The bus driver told me to move next to you,” I said.

“Who listens to the bus driver these days? It’s a free country. Go sit somewhere else,” Tommy said.

“I’m not moving seats,” I said.

The bus driver dropped us off.

“Where were you, Obe?” Annie asked.

“The bus driver told me to move next to Tommy,” I said.

“Are you okay?” asked Annie.

“I’m fine,” I said.

“Well, tell the bus driver if he bullies you,” Annie said.

“Okay, I’ll tell her after school.”

Jordan Saleh

 

100 Years From Now

One hundred years from now, when you are rushing to your son’s best friend’s birthday party in your fancy car, you look at the dashboard and see three lights. One is green, one is yellow, and one is red. You see that the only light on is the red one.  So when you get to the next intersection, you stop and wait like we normally do. Then the light on your dashboard turns green and you go. When you get to the next intersection, red lights start flashing.  That means you only have five more miles before you run out of electricity and you are stuck in the middle of the road. So then you go to the nearest electric station and fill up for 100 more miles. Then you pay your fee of five dollars. Then you speed off toward your son’s best friend’s birthday party. And three hours later you drive back home and cook dinner on your electric stove.

Deven Sharma 

 

Recycling Symbol

What if a recycling symbol were made out of recycled materials?! (And sentences from a book about a monster who only eats plastic?)

Deven Sharma

 

Older Marvin, Tommy, and Obe

It was one hundred years later.  Tommy and Obe were watching Marvin splashing in the water.

Tommy said, “I miss those days, when Boardwalk was with the babies. Now the babies are gone with their own families, and Boardwalk is at home.”

“Yes,” said Obe. “I remember that.”

Rohan Sharma

 

The Golden Garden

What will gardens look like in 100 years? Will they be lush, verdant, and filled with flowers, birds, and insects? Or will they look more like this… blossoms of soda cans and discarded trash? The answer is up to us!

Rohan Sharma