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.’’


Young Authors Reading & Anthology Launch 2019

344_youngauthors19_brendaladdphoto.jpgMore than 300 guests—Badgerdog campers, their supportive families, and proud teaching artists—attended this year’s Young Authors Reading & Anthology Launch at the Central Library on October 5.

“The Young Authors Reading and Anthology Launch is hands-down my favorite event of the year!” said Programs Coordinator Katelin Kelly. “When I see a camper pick up their anthology for the first time and flip through the pages to find their name and their writing inside, it’s a moment of pure magic. To find yourself in the pages of a book is deeply empowering.”


Nancy Hoover, art director at the Girls’ School of Austin, revealed the two pieces selected for the 2019 Rise and Emerge anthologies: fourth-grader Luella Fincher-McConnell’s pastel, Summer Peaches, and recent GSA grad and current New School artist Anabelle Abel, with her piece, I Never Learned to Fly.

Nearly 40 campers from the summer program were honored with the Literary Citizenship Award for their commitment to supporting fellow writers in the classroom and beyond, and 13 selected campers shared their work onstage. Austin native, writing advocate, and friend of The Library Foundation Forrest Preece awarded prizes to eight winning writers from the 2018 and 2019 Rise and Emerge anthologies.

Badgerdog alumna and novelist Lorena Lore attended the reading and met both former teaching artists and fellow writers. “Badgerdog was such an affirmative experience in my passion for writing,” said Lore in her recap of the event, “and I’m always happy to see other students benefit from it.”

YA Reading Typewriter Station FamiliesTeaching artist and Typewriter Rodeo cowboy Sean Petrie typed an on-the-spot poem inspired by an audience suggestion—summer—and captured the longing for that time when imaginations run wild at Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp. As the program concluded, children and families visited creativity stations that inspired storytelling with typewriters, Scrabble tiles, magic cards, and even Nancy Drew mystery novels.

The event was not only a chance for families to create with their children, but also to see these young writers receive their copies of Rise and Emerge. Students autographed the pages, proud to see their work in print.

“I often hear educators talk about the importance of children seeing themselves in the characters they read in books,” said Kelly. “How rare and amazing is it for a child to see themselves (literally!) in a book that they helped write? I want Badgerdog to give all children the gift of being seen, feeling affirmed, and knowing that their story is worth sharing with the world. This is why Badgerdog exists. This is why I do this work.”

Check out more photos of the 2019 Young Authors Reading here!

The Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing program allows writers of all ages and skill levels to examine the techniques of literary artists and experiment with language to communicate experience and meaning. Our goal is to empower Austinites to develop the skills necessary to communicate effectively and beautifully, to amplify individual voices, and to share in a love of reading and writing. Learn more about the Badgerdog program!

My Dreams Are Hopes

You’ll absolutely love the poems and stories authored by the fourth-graders in Ms. Maag’s class at Boone Elementary School!

Stuck on You

I am a piece of tape.
I don’t feel important because
I don’t have many jobs.
One of my jobs is to stick
things back together.
How boring—all year long I stay
in the same place holding a poster.
I hear students arguing about friendships.
I wish I could stick them back together!

Donna Pierce

If the Earth Was a Moon

If the Earth were a moon, what would we do?
We’d float in the sky—oh, how high we’ll go!
We would go so high in the sky, we’d see aliens.
Oh, how we’d go, we’d go really high, but maybe it’s best to stay down low.
Low, low, low. Oh, how we’d go.
Yes, maybe it’s best to stay down low.

Lillian Vasquez

Little Monster

I sneak through your walls
And have little claws
No, I’m not a dog
But tiny as a frog
And smelly as a log
I have a tail
I make noises: wale, wale
I’m in your trash
I move in a flash
I’m hairy and furry
I have little ears
Yes, I’m a fear
What can I be?

Ihsan Suarez

Clean Environment

Clean up the ocean.
Clean up pollution.
Buy products that are less harmful to the environment.
Clean up trash.

Edison Sadler

Earth Day

I can pick up trash
Leave a bowl of water outside for the animals
So they can have water
And leave a berry outside so they can eat food
I love animals and I love when I see them
They are so cute
I would love to take care of a bunny, a guinea pig, a dog
I have a hamster
My mom has a dog
We have a cat
Animals are the best

Bella G. Hernandez

The Life of a Jacket

I am a jacket. I am grey with a blue zipper and blue pockets. My life is quite the racket. On a cold winter day, I feel a cold rush of air. My person’s hair falls in my face. We step inside the door of a place called school. It’s actually quite cool. My normal day starts here. We walk to the cafeteria, a loud BEEEEEP rings out and something is placed on my shoulder. It felt like a boulder. ZZZiiiiippp! We go outside, she takes me off, and I’m left alone again.

The years pass and it’s spring, summer, fall, then winter and spring again. But wait, I am being lifted up into the air! I’m being carried to a box with the words “Lost and Found” on it. I wait in the darkness again. A light peeks out of the roof of this prison. A hand reaches in and grabs me. It’s her! My human! But wait, she looks different. She’s taller, older.

A child walks up behind her and asks, “Is that my new jacket, bwig swissy?”

She answers, “Yes, Marigold. Yes it is.” The child jumps up and grabs me, unzips me, and puts me on. We walk out and it’s hotter. Oh, no! It’s summer, that’s a bummer. I’ll never be worn! I might be torn by Moren, their dog.

Willow Fischer

What am I?

Hi, I’m Ranira. I love swamps, lily pads, and flies and mosquitoes too. They’re so delicious and nutritious for me. I love the rain and humid and rainy nights. My friend and I joined a choir, and we sing our hearts out. I get lots of exercise hopping where I please and, as I said, my name is… RANIRA! By any chance, do you know who I am? If you want, I’ll give you more clues. I’m green and want to jump to the moon! During the day, I drink, eat, and hop! Oh, did I mention I love flies?!

Grace Phipps


Hello, I am white with red
I die every day or just get whapped in the face
I get hit once, but that’s not enough
My friend is a bat
But not a cap
I wish I were used every day
Or possibly for a game
I have bigger dreams than to be left in a yard to die
What am I?
It’s obvious
(A baseball)

Chris Mota

I Am a Leader

I am a leader
I am a civil-rights giver
People judge me by my skin
I am treated badly
I can’t eat at many restaurants
What am I?

Bella Brewer

Life as a Christmas Tree

I’m a Christmas tree
I stand tall out of my box
Oh, yes, I’m here
Year by year
I go in, I come out
Oh yes, you’ll see ornaments and presents
Oh yes, they are good
I bring people joy
Oh yes, I do
Every year, I smell those good, tasty cookies and milk
Oh yes, these kids are happy and joyful
I hope and dream to come again
Oh, yes, another joyful day will come again

Bella Bocanegra


I am something that hops away
Sometimes I like to play
I like to be in my mod
Or is it a pod?

I can hop higher than anything
Do I really have to rhyme with a thing?
I do not like my fears
They really hurt my ears

I have milk in my pouch
What are you doing? Ouch!
I like my prey
But not my predators

I love my boots
But I could be in de ja vu
Could you please tell me
What am I?

I gave you all my clues
Even though I like my shoes
Do you want me to tell more?
Oh my, oh Lord

I will tell you I jump high
Just high in the sky
And one more clue
What am I?
Thank you

Tilley Wooten

Life as Snow

I am white and cold.
I am solid, but liquid.
I am designed and small,
and when I have friends I am powder.
I can even make an angel.
I like wars with small, white balls.
I can be made into a man with a carrot for a nose.
Also, don’t taste me when I am yellow.
I come in the winter.
I go in the spring.
What am I?

Richard Hudson

What Am I?

I am a tiny
TINY thing
That makes that stuff
That humans inhale to survive

Some weirdoes think I don’t exist
Because they can’t see me
Well, the truth is
I’m not tiny
I’m microscopic
Can you guess what I am?

Ryan James Hamer


If I were a frog, I would be a green frog so I could walk up to Shrek and pretend to be his swamp. If he notices me, I will scream in his ear and then run off to a puddle. I see a duck, oh, I’ll jump on his eye. Oh, he was a pretty nice guy. Oh, what is this? I seem to be stuck. I must have been the duck. But I thought I was the frog. Look again, it was the log. I see something huge. Oh, what could it be? Is it you or is it me? Well, let’s see. I’ve finally found a stick. The stick is very thick. As I walk to the pond, I carry my wand and cast some magical spells. I turn around and hear a familiar sound. Oh boy, that sounds like me. I look in the lake. Oh, this was a mistake. What shall I do? Is that Shrek? No, it can’t be. He just got shreked, but I thought he made that up. I go back home on my big stone and I wonder what’s on TV? Well, I don’t have a TV, so it doesn’t matter. I’ll just go grab my ladder and climb up to my bed hoping this is all in my head. I dreamed about a bird, or is that kind of weird? Nope, not for me. I woke up in a cup, yep, a cup, and then I woke up in a tree. How could this be? I soon woke up in my real home. Excited to be back in my own place. I really needed the space. Is that a rat? Nope, that’s a cat. Looks like I have to go. See ya, Shrek. Oh wait, that was a donkey. Oof!

Lilian Mamaril

I’m Gael, I am Blank

I am fuzzy and furry
Probably have holes
My day is great
I’m warm and snuggly on my owner’s head
I see what they see, smell, touch, and taste
Wear when it’s cold, please, or I am a waste
My dreams are hopes
My hopes are dreams
I just wish to be worn on the head
My fears are frightening and also very scary
My fears are summertime
The worst time of all
Nobody wears me, but one… me!

Gael Rawlings


I am soft and I go everywhere
I get slept with and I feel warm every day
I sit on a bed every day and sometimes on the floor
In the morning, my owner wakes up, goes downstairs, and leaves me behind
I am scared of the dog and the cat because they could chew or rip me
I hate being on the floor
I hope to get buddies or more friends and not get chewed by the cat or dog
I hope to not get stuck in the car on the floor

Davian Jack Frost

Maybe You Can Spin the World

Check out the amazing poems and stories written by Ms. Maag’s fourth-grade students at Boone Elementary School.

Flying No More

I was flying,
Out there in the jungle, I sang
Forever Free,
That was what I thought then,
I thought I was free,
I thought I was happy.
There he was,
Sweaty as an ocean,
Copper bullets,
Ready to kill,
I already saw the lives he took,
Too slow to run from the lead-filled terminators,
I flew away,
Farther and farther,
Thinking I was safe,
I heard a BANG.
The bullets pierced my wing,
Pierced my soul.

I fell,
Lower and lower,
I woke up,
Clutching my wing like it was gold,
I couldn’t run,
I couldn’t breathe.
Why me?
I was never free,
What I thought was home,
Was just a hiding place from evil,
Life is just a big game of hide and seek,
But the seeker has to find you sometimes.

For me,
It was now.
My body was lying there,
I am at rest,
I will be,
Flying no more.

Atlas Castro

The Egg That Never Flew

Close your eyes and imagine this: A man was walking. He saw an eagle’s egg. He looked at it for two seconds, put it in a chicken’s nest, and walked off. A few months later, it hatched and acted just like a chicken.

One day, the eagle looked up and saw another eagle. He asked, “What is that?” The chicken answered, “Oh, it’s an eagle, but you’re never going to be like him.” So, he died a chicken when he was meant to fly.

Nobody is in charge of you. You are you, and you have to shape your life. Nobody else can. It’s just you, because you are meant to fly!

Jasmine Aung

Death Desert

As I walk along the steaming hot,
crystal clear sand,
I get blisters on my feet.

I watched the day turn to night.
I found a cave for shelter.
As the moon rose, it got colder.
I was finally able to sleep.

I suddenly woke up with a start.
I jumped!
But it was only the screeching of a bats’
cry of hunger.

Morning came and the day grew hotter
and hotter, but I was still in the cave.
Then I heard something,
something big coming for me.
I got up and ran.
I could hear it coming faster and faster.

Its feet were like thunder pounding the ground.
I look back, and it’s just a big, giant fox!
I run as fast as I can.
Only then I didn’t know
that nothing survives here.

Then everything went blank.
I could hear nothing.
I saw nothing.

And in a second,
I was gone from the world.

Sophie Owensby

Ocean Dying

Once was beauty
Now so black
Once was living
Now so dead
Once was new and blue
Now so polluted and grey
I give you waves, I give you paradise
But all you give me is trash and ice
I give you fun
You give me hate
But you turned that all around
You did not make me frown
With all your help, we could make me new and cool
Just pick up your trash and try not to pollute

Jazzlyn Hepburn

All About Clown Fish

I want to be a fish.
I want to be a fish because
they can breathe underwater
for a very long time.
I would want to be a clown fish
because they look cool and
I like their colors.
They’re orange and white.

Nathan Jackson


I went to sleep and dreamt about the new Fortnite.
Then I heard  knock at my window.
I looked out, and this time the bunny yoga class
was learning the floss.
In the morning, a bee was in my room playing,
swarming around my Baby Alives.
I climbed down from my bunk bed and watched
the toy heroes, but then I heard a crunch.
I looked out the window.
There was the Flex Seal Man dancing.

Clarey Warstler

The Water

I think people should get in boats
and pull out all of the trash they see out of the ocean.
They should make a law about not polluting the ocean.
I also think it should be illegal to hunt for fish
in the seas, rivers, oceans, and lakes.
I also wish that fish would have more babies,
so there would be more fish in the ocean.

Xavier Aleto

I Guess

never felt the feel of her
like the rest and rest do see
never met who gave life
even though it was to me
never knew why they made
what they knew they couldn’t keep
why oh why did they save me just to plunge
me down in the deep
I guess that I must look like her
so maybe she looks like me
or maybe she looked ‘cause time will tell
but for now a guess is all I can be

Asa Wilson

The Real World

Imagine one day
You woke up
To see the small world in front of you
With no idea about what troubles
You might experience next
Maybe you can spin the world
Travel to a country filled with amazing wonders
Make your own city
Make relationships
Start a war
Trouble your land
Defend it
Try to fix it
Oh no…
You’re drifting into the real world
You’ve woken up
You want to go back
To fix your mess
But it was just a dream

Jake Napolillo

Did You Know?

(Truth or Not?)
Aliens, oooh,
were found on Mars.
I bought the new dirt in Fortnite from Target.
Baptise is a color.
I am a person.
Ali-A is not click bait.
Yellow is actually green.
Gnomes live!
This guy lives.
Guardians of the Galaxy is real.
Wow Guy is actually Freddie Mercury.
Queen = Beatles (just to anger Asa).
Teletubbies is my favorite show.
Roblox won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Times-Up Guy is an astronaut.

Tommy O’Leary

The Beginning

A squirrel runs along a pine branch in a lush, green forest.
An acorn falls to the ground.
After days of rain and shine, a small sapling shoots up.
Its tiny leaves reach for the sun.

Liam Thomas

He is the High

God is my shield
God is my rock
God is the roof that keeps me on top
I am brave
I am bold
I will love Him ‘til I’m old
Love you, God
R.I.P. Jesus

Anthony Joseph Basden Jr.

It’s the Hard Shark Life for Us

Sharks, like me, are very endangered.
Hunters catch us and make us feel sun-hot anger.

We live our lives in peace and fun.
But when they take us away, it’s like we’re in
a Sharpie-black room looking for a key to freedom.

It sucks, it’s sad, it’s the tip of the marker.
There’s nowhere to go as the light gets darker.

The light fades away like a blowing dust.
So it’s time for God to take me, it’s upsetting,
but He must.

This is it. It’s time to say goodbye
to all our friends and family,
but why, just why?

Gabriel Chavez

Pizza Party

I scored 85 million points in football.
I got to the champion league.
My team won.
We went to Pizza Hut and I ate 85 pizzas.
I was so fat.
My team was fat too.
So when other teams tried to stop us,
we ran over them and won.

Marlon Quinn Hardeman Jr. M2


A coral reef lives long.
I am one hundred years old.

In my life, I have watched baby fish
and their mothers get caught and suffocate.

I watch people illegally kill whales of all kinds.
I watch them suffer and slowly float to the bottom of the reef.

A tiger shark got killed going up to a boat out of curiosity.
I watch sea turtles get ripped from the sea with other fish
and the fishermen just take it all!

And now because of the consumer,
I went away too.

Sadie Schaeffer

True or False

I play Pub-G
I have H 1Z1
I have Minecraft on PS4
I have Star Wars battlefield
I won Fortnite twice
I watch Teletubbies on cable
I have been gnomed
I have eaten cheesecake
I have real throwing stars

Lucas Hardy

The Pickle

Once I was eating a pickle, and out of nowhere it came to life.
I screamed and dropped the pickle and it summoned more pickles.
They turned me into a pickle.
Now I am a pickle brother for life!

Jack Beck

Is My Brain Rotting Yet?

My parents say I have to have
a limited amount of screen time.
But I don’t care if my brain rots!
It’s fun, and parents always say:
just try to have fun.

Mae Rooni

The Squirrels Nuke

Today… is a great day for a dog!
Look outside!
The big oak tree!!
I’m pretty sure there are 100 squirrels.
Let’s go get some squirrels!
What is this?
An invisible wall?
Well, I guess I’ll just watch cartoons.
*Nuke launches.*

Finnley Bridges

Excelling in Amusement

Meet the incredibly talented, knock-your-socks off writers in Ms. Barrett’s class at Boone Elementary School!

I’m From

I am from my couch with End Game on
I am from a hospital with hugs
I am from Hawaii
I am from Game Stop
I am from church
I am from loving dogs
I am from going to Dallas
I am from Tanya and Angel Flores
I am from video games
I am from P Terry’s
I am from two worlds: my grandma’s and my mom’s

Jaiden Flores


It was a day as dark as a bottomless pit, but the day didn’t start like this. Let’s start from the beginning. It was a day like any other. Sadie is drawing, Birb’s as good as good can be, Archer and Arlo are goofing around, Juan’s sleeping and the teachers are as smart as can be. They are talking about learning and teaching on the chalkboard, but there is a scary, green flash at the window! ALIENS!!

Everyone is scattering around the classroom and screaming. They are running around like a bunch of ants! Here comes the army. Get ready for World War III. Here comes the general and he’s about to give a command. “Throw the cheese!!!”

Ten minutes later, here comes Mrs. Barrett. “Back to work everyone.” Oh well, I guess I gotta get back to work, but the school is destroyed. Here comes the principal, “Everyone back… to… school? Well, now that the school is destroyed, I might as well retire. So, I am no longer principal, which means this is no longer my mess. Good day and, Archer, you’re in charge. Oh, I can already tell this is going to be a treat.”

Jacob Guzman

Life of an Arlo

I am from a loving family and very dangerous battles.
I am from a happy, healthy mind and the morbid sense of humor belonging to a dark soul.
I am from the heat of Texas in July on fire.
I am from very nice friends in the sun.
I am from the Stockstill name and related to whoever made the National Anthem.
I am from a yippy yippy yi yippy yippy yay – who’s wishing you a happy birthday, yeehaw!
I am from Lynns and Russells.
I am from high technology on the screen or computer.
I am from Tex-Mex and Louisiana.
I am from two worlds: Chuy’s and planet Earth.

Arlo Stockstill


Save the pigs like the pigs save your hunger!
Be sweet like the honey bees make!
Raise your voice to save the animals—like wolves, howl!
You can be as bright as a parrot, believe!
Hunt for bad people like they hunt for their dinner!
Be groovy like the sea turtle Ms. Jena saw in South Padre!
Raise the roof like a giraffe would do if he enters the room!
Be comforting like panda faces!
Go with the flow like snakes crawling up your warm pants!
Be great like the Great Apes!
Fly away when you get angry like birds fly away when someone steals their food!
Let people use your things like trees let you use their paper!
Mark your territory like my dog does to my shoe!
Don’t be dull like panda colors!

Naomi Ross

This is Where I am From

I am from an old Christmas light waiting to shine and a cat scratching my face.
I am from a new blanket and raindrops falling on my hand.
I am from the hospital in the month of June.
I am from the Apple store waiting for me to come back and buy something.
I am from my warm house.
I am addicted to my phone and friendship.
I am from a Christmas cookie getting pulled out of the oven.
I am from Ashley, Peter, Adam, Delilah, Serenity, Avery, Lisa, other Ashley, Amber, John, Erica, Liliana, Emma, Kayla, Izri, Alyssa, Lili, and Heaven.
I am from my jokes that aren’t even funny.
I am from any Tex-Mex food ever.
I am from two worlds: the moon and stars to Jupiter through Mars.

Cylah Riffle

Rhinos are the Best

Rhino’s horns are hard as a tree.
Rhinos are mean as sharks.
Rhino’s horns are sharp as a shark’s tooth.
Rhinos are grey like the elephant.

Juan Gloria

Silly Sally

There was a girl named Sally. She was driving on a silly street. The street was slick, slippery, and slimy. Sally was on her way to a silly slumber party. She wore a sweet sweater and some shiny shoes with some swirly pants. Her hair was silky, swirly, and smelled like sweets. When Sally got there, she really wanted to go swimming in the sun. So she put on her shiny bathing suit. She was also super hungry, so she ate some silly and sweet cookies. When she was done swimming, she put on her soft and silly PJs and went to sleep.

Amari Martinez

Did You Mean…

Andelin is above average amiableness
Altogether her accomplishments are aimless, but almost always awesome
Absurd excelling in amusement advances actual accomplishment
Ambitious accommodation to accomplish all accomplishing accomplishments
Acorns actual acknowledgement makes Andelin wonder how ambitious acorns accomplish lists and excel with amazing acorn cheek marks
Approximately 800% of arithmetic is assertive and arrogant, but is good at paying attention on the right attire to wear while attacking attractive avocados

Andelin Foxhoven

Car Crash

BOOM! “AAhhhh! My leg! Ahh!”

“Dude, it’s just a game,” his brother said.

“I know it is. I just want it to be realistic. You’re being too realistic.”

“Okay, well, go to sleep. It’s nine o’clock and you have school tomorrow.”

The next day…

“Get your backpack, eat your breakfast, and let’s go!”

In the car driving…

“Stop texting and driving,” the little brother said.

“You’re going to do it at some point,” the big brother said.

“Well, that is bad. That’s what I learned at school.”

“Wait, what is that… ? AAhhhh! Mom, look out!” BOOM!!!!

Erick Campos


I am from pools and dogs in my room.
I am from TVs in my house and phones in my hand.
I am from Mississippi, and Texas is where I was born.
I am from my Xbox, where I hang out most.
I am from my home that my mom and dad enjoy.
I am from Minecraft and penguins and hedgehogs.
I am from Easter and Halloween parties.
I am from Laura and Charlie.
I am from video games that are really complicated.
I am from watermelon and ramen noodles.
I am from Mississippi, on my grandma’s dock, thinking.

Fenex Boyd


I see the Cheerios
I see the Cheerios
I smell the Cheerios
I smell the Cheerios
I save the Cheerios
I save the Cheerios
I consume the Cheerios
I consume the Cheerios
The Cheerios is yum
The Cheerios is yum
3-D Cheerios
2-D Cheerios
4-D Cheerios
doot doot doot doot
*weird scream*
Enlarger to show detail

Sadie Dedeaux

A New World

I am from me (Lala), black hair, seventy-two years old (I mean twenty-seven years) and my trees and a garden that never grows.
I am from my big, blue, king-size bed and my sweet nunchucks.
I was born at St. Davis Hospital in Miami, Florida.
I love hanging out at the bike park.
I am from me and my old, brown house.
I am our secret reputation as kids.
I am from skipping middle school, high school, and college.
I am from the twins—Lauren, Lorence—the other twins, Andre, Andrea, Lala, and Lolo.
I am from iPhones.
I am from chicken wings, hot dogs, and Pizza Hut.
I am from two worlds: the kid and cool world with my elementary friends and senior citizens with other people taking care of me.

Lauren Smith

The Claw Machine

One day, there was a rainbow. Then it got eaten by a dog that was blue named Jeffrey. Every day, Jeffrey spent $20 worth of quarters on a claw machine. He was trying to get this dog bone for weeks, but he couldn’t get it. Then one day, a pigeon came out of nowhere and broke the machine. Then he got his dog bone. He figured out that it was a squeaky toy, but it was just as good.

Jeffrey commentary read in a British accent: Well, blimey, mate. We got a cheeky buggar here, we do, we do. Well, pip pop cheerio. God save the queen!

Noah Rodriguez


Aardvark eats an atom on an apple about to abort an acorn while on a bridge
While an acrobat eats an aquatic fish with an ace of spades
Aardvark has an account on an active obsession with access to an accessory
An aardvark on an acute angle is about to adapt an address
Aardvark is about to admit his accident with an advanced adjective
Aardvark has an addiction to being an acrobat
Aardvark likes to fish while on an acorn
This has to adjust to an activity, aardvark

Archer McCombs

I Finally Know!

I am from the great-grandfather clock in my living room and the old, dusty piano sitting in my garage.
I am from my phone sitting on my bed and the computer I got for my birthday.
I am from the St. David’s South Hospital and the old, rigid mountains where the town of Orden resides.
I am from the tree that hangs down on and over my house.
I am from Boone Elementary School, where I write you this poem.
I am from all the inside jokes me and my friends make.
I am from my mom, Lori, my dad, Matt, and my brother, Zachary.
I am from the Internet, where you can do whatever.
I am from the cheesy sensation of pizza and the yummy goodness of Blondies.
I am from two worlds: the soothing comfort of my grandma’s house and the learning environment of school.

Kayla Van Orden

Lone Wolf

When a wolf hunts, he’s as quiet as a mouse
He’s calm like the air
Waiting for the perfect time to strike…
He strikes like a snapping turtle
He’s as terrifying as a lion
He’s as fast as a cheetah
And when he strikes…
It’s the end (read softly)

Nicholas Frayre

Rain Forest Animals

We are all here wasting away,
Getting hunted down like a cat and its prey.
There are many of us and I’ll list a few:
Ocelots, tree frogs, and leopards too.
We are turning into dust like some trees do.
Our habitat is destroyed.
Waah!!! Boo hoo!!!
Our homes are dead as a rocks.
There is nothing we can block.
Think about it next time you go to the store.
Before you get the latest hardwood floor.
Where did the wood come from before?

Samantha Ramos

I Have a Dream That Is to Be Read

Welcome to incredible poems and stories created by the fourth-grade writers in Ms. Barrett’s class at Boone Elementary!

The Pizza Rolls

I am pepperoni pizza rolls.
When I bake, all the cheesy stuff gets in the pan.
I hope to get eaten.
I love the sauce and bread on top of me and I like it next to me.
My archenemy is pizza.

Tristan Buford

The Soccer Game

I am a soccer ball.
I am white and black.
It is fun to get kicked around.
It is fun because you go high in the sky.
As I go in the sky, I can see the crowd cheering loudly.
They want to see if I’m going to make the goal.
I make it.

Nathan Anderson

What Protects Me

My grandma protects me
As you can see
She passed away a long time ago
I try to go through it alone
But I can’t and I break down in tears
It sounds clear, but it’s not
And now my fear is to die
But die in my sleep like my grandma did
So, yeah, that’s my fear and what protects me
Now you know how I feel when I’m crying
And you know why I’m crying

Victoria Berron

Oatmeal Tale

I am oatmeal.
I am steamy, hot, and moist.
I am sitting in a pot.
I am apple and cinnamon flavor.
You put me in a bowl and eat me with a spoon.
I don’t want to get eaten by people.
I have a bully in my pot.
His name is organic oatmeal.
He has a nasty little taste.
Soon I will fall in the trashcan.

David Aguilar

Fun Time Freddy

I’m Fun Time Freddy.
I’m white and pink, and I have a bonnie hand.
My face is in fourths.
I have a bunch of teeth.
I trick people and scare people.
I am scared of the puppet master.

Daniel Perez

Save Our Turtles

Save the turtles every day and night.
Save the turtles and be sweet and nice.
Save the turtles so they can lay their eggs at night.
Save the turtles so they can be alive.
They live on the beach.
Then you will see sea turtles in the breeze.
Give them shade.
So they can go to the waves.

Amira Castilleja

Black Cat

I’m a cat and I’m a black cat.
I give bad luck and I like cat food.
I’m not nice and I love my day.
I don’t get a lot of owners, but I scare people.
I hope that I get a lot of owners and get more food.
I like and dislike dogs, bad people, and pet school.

C.J. Barberena

Lonely Dumb Daisy

I am a lonely, dumb daisy
In a dungeon of King Weed
No escape with no friends and family
If only I could reach the golden key
If only I could feel refreshed by rain
Even if I could, it is still not enough for me
I am the lonely, dumb daisy
I only hear other prisoners clinging the prison bars
If only I had a car
I am the lonely, dumb daisy
Please hope for me to escape

Carcyn Reever

What I’m Scared Of

I feel like my family is going to pass away quickly.
My family and my dog protect me.
My dad is going to teach me self-defense.
My family is not always going to be there.
Poisonous stuff scares me.
Do not eat it or drink it.
I’m scared of being taken away from my family.
I know my family will be there to protect me.

Joshua Taylor

Hi, I’m a Candy Cane

I’m like a coral reef
Sometimes red and sweet
As a honey bee and little insects fly on me
Because of the sweetness
I’m so straight with a hook on my top like an elephant’s trunk
I’m so colorful like a colorful flower
Before someone gets me
I have a plastic wrap around me like a toy wrap

Delilah Granados


I am a book
I can open and close
I can be read
I can be any color
I have a title
I am square shaped

I see people
I smell other books
I hear people talking about me
I taste people’s hands when they touch me

I have a dream that is to be read
I have a hope to not be thrown away

I have a dislike, which is to not be thrown around
I have a like that is to be taken somewhere

Caitlyn Marie Barberena

I am a Lemur

I am a lemur
I jump from tree to tree
To and fro
Back and forth
I am fuzzy and grey
But I’m also white, orange, and black
I taste fruit and feel the tree branches on my feet
I want to eat all the fruit ever
I am a lemur

William Elliott

I Have No Fear or Talisman

Nothing to fear
No way for protection
I have no real fear
Some things are creepy
But that’s just it
There’s nothing I can feel
Some things may make me feel warm inside
And that’s not really protection
But that’s just it
There’s nothing I can feel
There’s nothing more
Nothing less
I have no fear or talisman

Sadie Higgins

Math and Mass

Today is Earth Day.
Our theme is saving animals.
I picked the giraffe because he knows a lot of math.
He doesn’t like reading, but he likes eating.
He loves eating leaves that have a lot of mass and are green as grass.
He hates eating red meat.
When he eats meat, his feet stink.
He’s really happy when he doesn’t have stinky feet.
He does math and knows about mass.

Alfonso Rodriguez


Giraffes, their necks are long as a pole.
Their population is like a big hole.
Their colors are so bright and delightful.
They’re almost as bright as a light cool.
The yellow and brown pleases the eye.
Why are they going extinct, just why?

Jordan Freeman

Baby Shark

In the water you can see my leathery fin coming towards you
Sharp teeth chewing fiercely like a cheetah
You decide to swim away, but I am faster
I swim to the surface of the water that is bright as blueberries
I am just a baby hammerhead shark
You feel relieved that I am a baby shark
So you feel my warm fin and say
You’re not as cold-hearted as I thought

Savannah Haenning

The Life of a Bee

I’m nothing much, just a honey bee
I work as hard as a factory worker
My honey is sweet like sugar
I feel as happy as a bunny playing in the forest
When I go back into the hive, the queen is proud of me
I hear all the bees working like construction workers building a skyscraper
I dream of becoming the next queen
I’ll bee the best bee queen this hive has ever seen!

Isabella Marie Fagan

My Little Blossom Tree

The little blossoms are as pink as bubble gum
The trunk is as strong as Hulk
The leaves are free in the wind like a bird flying high
It soaks up all the water in its roots
Then the snow falls
As cold as the Arctic Ocean
And my little blossom tree’s blossoms fall to the ground
My little blossom tree’s blossoms are grey like my grandpa’s hair
But my little blossom tree will be back in the spring

Annika McCloskey

Badgerdog Book Crush: Hello, Universe

Hello, Universe

In this year’s delightful Book Crush novel, Hello, Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly, the point of view alternates between four young protagonists (Virgil, Valencia, Kaori, and Chet) to tell a sometimes funny, sometimes poignant story of harrowing adventure involving astrology, bullying, a snake bite, a lost (and found) guinea pig, a boy trapped in a well, and a triumphant coming-together of three kids whose friendship is “meant to be.”

Our twelve Badgerdog Book Crushers were keen to share their observations and ideas about Kelly’s novel. Throughout our week of reading, discussing, writing, and art-making, we explored the book through several lenses. We read:


  • as detectives, following the characters’ movements through their neighborhoods, then making maps of those journeys
  • as artist-poets, using scissors and glue or markers to create art and poetry from the author’s words
  • as illustrator-designers, examining how the book cover advertised the themes of the novel and intrigued readers without giving too much away, then designing our own
  • as astrologers, assigning character names as new “signs” with a list of their characteristics and even creating new constellations
  • as writers, penning the next chapter of the book, text messages between characters, or persona pieces from a pet’s perspective
  • as teacher-students, creating study aids in the guise of fun guessing games that reiterate the relationships between characters, their traits, and actions
  • as observers of our own lives, taking charge of our destinies by noting how “It doesn’t take many words to turn your life around”
  • and we read for fun, with our eyes closed, just listening, on the floor or under a table, just because we could

All in all, it has been an inspired week of creativity, crafting, self-direction, and exploration that transformed reading from what is a traditionally solitary and passive activity into one that was social, creative, and dynamic—a lesson that should stay with the members of this group for years to come. These projects reflect that feeling—that a book can be more than words on paper, that, in its pages, we can find lessons and friendship and our own way through the world.

Tracey Lander-Garrett
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


Daniel’s Matching Game


Daniel Alpatov


Universe Entry # 3879

Protection Against Chet

When approaching a feral Chet, you want to make sure to bring a big dog. Big dogs scare Chet—tiny dogs will not suffice! Chet fears big, slobbery, beastly dogs. If you do not own a dog, a snake might work. After a bad encounter with snakes, we suspect that he fears them.

Ideal Locations

A great location to find Chet is his house. You may spy him shooting hoops in his driveway. He mainly stays on Elm Street, his habitat. He roams the street sometimes, and if you are really, really quiet, you can hear his dribbling. If you hear dribbling behind you, it’s probably Chet “The Bull” Bullens. He might be force to leave his territory and venture to purloin freely at the… supermarket! If found at the Super Saver, he might be in the chip aisle scouring for his father’s favorite chips, Doritos.

Weapons Against Chet

If Chet approaches in a fowl mood, your best weapons are your words. You could shame him about his irrational fear of dogs or that he never made a sports team. This will either anger him or make him go away.

Sylvestre Molina


Choose Your Own Character Adventure

Nancy Lu


When They Are at Virgil’s House
—an erasure poem

A spy-going

Knock on
the door.

Giggles behind her hand,

“I’m serious
he’s one of us—

Adele LeFlore


Study Guide for Hello, Universe

Lincoln Evans


Symbol Search & Erasure Poem


Katherine Cui


Falling Down the Well & Other Adventures

Cynthia Cui

Cynthia Cui


Mapping the Story


James Zeng


Valencia’s iPhone Messages


Zachary May


Going Underground
—an illuminated text


Linda Liu


The Hello, Universe Board Game


Marcelo Molina


Hello, Characters!


Laura Xue


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