Badgerdog Spring Break Camp: Terri’s Upper Elementary School Class

The Yummy, Crunchy Bread

When we created ideas for our team’s name, several students suggested mascots, one of them Bread! Hmmm, I thought, before the votes landed on the final choice, “The Yummy, Crunchy Bread.” Well, bread is a metaphor for how writing nourishes our souls, provides food to fuel our thoughts, dreams and limitless imaginations. The ideas for poetry, fiction and rap rose like the yeasty dough, baking in our minds and coming out perfectly formed on the paper. The Yummy, Crunchy Bread writers gave their all when creating a delicious meal of words for you to enjoy!

Terri Schexnayder

Teaching Artist

Terri Schexnayder found her passion for writing when she was a young girl creating neighborhood plays and short stories. Her work, featured in Austin Woman, Texas Highways and other regional magazines, highlights travel and personal stories. All around the state, and on Zoom from her tiny home in the Highland Lakes, Terri inspires young and “young at heart” writers to share their poetry and life stories. She is a graduate of St. Edward’s University, English Literature, Austin, and is currently writing her second book about life in the iconic 1970s Austin.

I am From

I am from scorching summer days 

I am from rainbow ice cream with Grandpa

I am from cold winters and scorching summers

I am from hours splashing in a frigid pool

I am from scraped knees that burn like fire

I am from a bed covered in stuffed animals

I am from squeaking guinea pigs every day

I am from endless weeks with friends in the summer

I am from chickens 24/7

I am from boring days at a wooden desk

I am from boudin and gumbo

I am from Grandma’s favorite stories 

I am from scrapes and bruises

I am from crawfish boils with friends

I am from silently watching Dad late at night

I am from endless car trips

I am from waking up at six am

I am from sprinting a track with sore legs

I am from jet skiing on a lake

I am from swimming at long meets

I am from family gatherings at the lake

I am from fireworks on the 4th of July

I am from late nights and early mornings

I am from jumping from house to house in the same city

I am from smoothies and fruit

I am from books and stories

I am from stories of dragons

I am from friends, family, and traditions

Evie Addison

Life’s Powerful Presence

As the tree frazzled 

My body dazzled 

I knew the night was over

So, I slept through October and November

I rattled like a snake

Waiting for Christmas Break

The glorious ocean arose

So, I stood in a pose

My face was in shock

As I skipped a rock

I knew my time was over

Yet, what I had in my hand was a clover

Luck turned its face

I guess there just wasn’t enough space 

The crashing wave vanished me

That was my last time on shore

But my life was the least of a bore.

Parker Blake

My Name is William Kim

My name is from my generation. It  is from a place full of stars and 1,000 moons. It comes from gods and kings. The name William is like gold, gems and minerals. It is a fine morning in California where trees and wildlife grow like nothing else. It is rare. Rarer than a ninety-nine-dollar bill. It is special, unique and beautiful. 

My Grandpa was the first to give me a name. It was unique, not used that often, a very good one. It was like a boring Sunday. The weeds were all gone from the rich soil and the sun setting low over the houses not shining. It would’ve been my name if my mom wasn’t there.

My mom named me William because it was the name of Prince William who was rich and royal like kings. It is those who had gold palaces and rich beds made from silk and light weight material. 

Everybody thought that my name was good. Soon everybody thought I should be William. It was well written and organized. It thrived well and was quite easy to memorize. It contained seven letters: an exceptionally suitable number in every way.

Out of the infinite names, words, syllables, I would pick this name. I would care for it. 

Take it on a ride on my bike with it and sleep with it. William is not a normal name. It is a legendary name.

William Kim

I Am Poseidon

I am Poseidon

I wonder if my children are doing well

I hear the water clashing against my legs as I walk 

I see the sun glinting in the blue ocean 

I want peace between all the gods

I pretend to be strong sometimes

I feel powerful like a lion who just caught its prey

I touch the freezing waters of the Elf Ocean around me

I worry all the gods are going to get into a fight 

I cry when me and my brothers get into a fight with our powers

I am Poseidon

I understand that I can’t see my children 

I say the ocean is awesome

I dream my children will not die quickly

I try to be a good god, helping others with my powers

I hope we win all the wars between the giants Gea and the monsters 

I am Poseidon

Mila Liu

I Am Me

I am the from soft concha sitting on the shelf.

I am from houses of many—white, red, brighter than the sun.

I am from chili bowls steaming hot.

I am from the January goal save I made from the tips of my fingers.

I am from the shy, shimmering Sunny, the wonder dog.

I am from the music I play on my viola like a twinkling star.

I am from my dad fiddling on his guitar.

I am from my mother’s freshly baked shortbread crumbly and buttery.

I am from the creamy flavorful dark chocolate bar.

I am from Austin, Texas.

I am Sofia Pedregon Harrington.

Sofia Pedregon Harrington

The Monster

All monsters lived during the Texas Chainsaw Massacre days when chaos ruled the state. And like dinosaurs, they lived for a few thousand years. The only way for humans to survive is the C.I.A. in charge of bringing peace to the Earth. That is where I come in. My name is Jack, C.I.A. agent and it is my job to protect Austin from the Monster. 

Currently, I am in an abandoned warehouse, stalking some of the most dangerous and hideous creatures around. One that lives in here, just waits for a human to come along so it can ambush with a ferocious attack. The crude creature has scales, a mix of metallic purple and violet, with gigantic fangs are as large as a person. It is easy to locate because its stench fills the air.

As I crept through the dark halls of the warehouse, I suddenly heard a noise and sensed a presence behind me! I whirled around and there it was—looming over me. But I was too quick for its slow-moving bulk, and jumped behind a large crate, praying it would not get to me first.

“Whew!” I silently muttered as I cocked my hunting rifle.

Its roar came closer and shook the room. I stepped out from behind my place of safety, aimed, and screamed, “Go down, you big freak!” I shot like a mad man and one of my bullets hit his forehead. He fell with a loud thud.

Mission accomplished—well, one monster at least.

Mazin Nasser

My Name is Andy Song

Hi, my name is Andy Song. 

My name is from Andrea. because I believe god. 

My baptismal name is Andrea.

Andrea > Andre > Andy.

(Some people write “nd”)


I am from Korea at night.

I am from Apple with a fork.

I am from YouTube and Alan Becker.

I am from Korean history.

I am from E-class and zoom.

I am from airplane traveling to Texas.

I am from Korea and kimchi.

I am from Mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I am from under the desk in my pencil.
Andy Song

Badgerdog Spring Break Camp: Jena’s Lower Elementary School Class

Hera

Hi, my name is Hera and I like peanut butter sandwiches. I wonder if Zeus goes to hard on everyone? He’s always going to hard on everyone and when I mean everyone, I mean everyone. When someone is doing something right he yells at them. I don’t know what is wrong and I don’t like it. Hey, look! He is talking to his brothers Hades and Poseidon. Look! Zeus is getting really mad at his brothers. I wonder what’s wrong? Let’s get closer to them. Hey, Zeus is yelling at them because they did something wrong. Poseidon created a tsunami and crashed it on the villagers and hurt some people. Hades made fire to hurt our people. That is mean. Let’s go see them. Wait! Zeus’ brothers are leaving to go somewhere. Let’s follow them. Look! They’re going to Iris the goddess of rainbows. Look! They stopped. Iris is coming out. She’s walking to Poseidon. Wait, look! Everyone is running away. I wonder why?

Allie Guillot

Jeremy’s Cleaning Problem

After Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out

Jeremy never did his chores

His home was like a place for boars

Piles of clothes stacked in his home

He even had his own cloth dome

Pots and pans piled to the top

After a day, they started to drop

Jeremy sat down in his cloth dome

He said, “I shall clean my home!”

He grabbed a broom

And started with his room

He grabbed the hose

Then, he cleaned his clothes

He took a pan

Then, looked at his hands

Then, put it back

Onto the rack

Jeremy had finished his chores

But the problem was he couldn’t open the door

Jeremy threw the garbage away from the door

Then, he said, “Let’s explore!”

Benjamin Vikalo

Apollo

I am Apollo

I wonder what the world was like when Helios was god of the sun?

I hear the sound of my own music

I see the blinding light of the sun

I want to have someone who loves me

I pretend I’m normal

I feel happy by the sound of my music

I touch the fletching of my arrows

I worry I’m not good enough

I cry for my lovers

I am Apollo

I understand I’m not the best

I say I love my sister

I dream one day someone will love me

I try my best

I hope to be myself

I am Apollo

Emmett Arthur

Jamie Never Cleaned the House

(After “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”)

Little Jamie would not clean the house

He would not clean anything, even a bit of louse

Old books, dark roasted hams

A million papers, baked lamb

The house reeked of dirty socks

Of orange leaves and muddy rocks

Pencils and notebooks littered the floor

Bookmarks and Legos jammed the door

X-Box cartridges, PlayStation games

Flew into the fire pit and made a large flame

Board games, consoles, paint galore

Swept outside onto the grassy floor

Eventually, the pile was so great

It reached from China to Washington State

Little Jamie STILL refused

He laid on the couch and sang some blues

Meanwhile, the pile of junk reached space

It fell down and hit people in the face

Giant globs of blackened trash

Swept out of the country, out of the world

It curled, whirled and swirled

It washed out and hit Jamie on the couch

That’s what you get for being a grouch

So, children, don’t be a lazy mouse

And always, ALWAYS clean the house!!

Ethan Liu

I Will Not Clean

(After “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”)

I really do not like to clean

My name is proudly, Gretta Dean

There’s something evil about the broom

I absolutely won’t clean my room

I will not dust

I’ll let plates rust

Laundry can stink

Stained with ink

Though my parents will shout

And my sister will pout

I will not clean

Even when I stink like a rotten bean

Even when my teeth are lean

I will not clean

The garbage stacked high

The burnt custard pie

My room looks like a tornado

I smell like a bad potato

Fine, I’ll clean, said Gretta Dean

But by then all people left her alone

No one called her on the phone

For Gretta wouldn’t do her chores

And so she smelled like rotting cores

She changed her mind and said

With her big head

I, a Dean

WILL NOT CLEAN

Call me a stubborn girl

Call me a broken pearl

Call me a silly curl

I will not do my hair

I will not wash my underwear

And I DON’T CARE!

Gretta Dean

stars 

shining bright spots of fire

they rise in night higher

many tales of them to tell

of beauty like a spell

of violence by the wishing well

the mystery

of century

the center of our world

white and pearled

billions of years, old yet young

to speak, but not have a tongue

gems of light

shine by night

shapes of story

battles of glory

Gretta Dean

Dear Hogwarts,

You should accept me into Hogwarts because I invented two spells. The first one is “Bublio” and the use is to conjure bubbles. The second spell is “Cardium Shieldo” and the use is to turn a card into a shield. I also created an enchantment called “Wind-Mail” and it enchants wind, so it mails things. Another reason is because I’ve spent my whole life trying to get in to Hogwarts. I am a great candidate because I can win the tri-wizard tournament and bring glory to the school. I would like to teach and eventually become head master. Please let me in! I promise I will excel in all subjects and behave well. 

Very Sincerely,

Julian Joseph

My Brother’s Sink

(After “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”)

If I never cleaned my brother’s sink

They would shoot me, I think

With mounds and mounds of toothpaste spit

And tons and tons of little lint

The little legs of big lice and nits

The tiny threads from when I knit

Some strings of hair

Maybe even a grizzly bear!

Oh, how terrible the bathroom would smell

With rotten meat and seashells!

So, that is why I clean my brother’s sink

But I’ll stop soon, I think

Laurel Olmstead

Little Silly South Wouldn’t Dust the House

(After “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”)

Poor little Silly South

Wouldn’t dust an inch of the house

She’d rake the yard

She’d sweep real hard

But she still wouldn’t dust the house

And then, one day, she found a mouse

All covered in dust from its head to its mouth

She asked around the whole neighborhood

But she never would

Try to find it out

Then, her mom found a clue

And then, she found it all out

The mouse was covered with soot and dust

Because Little Silly South

Wouldn’t ever dust

The dust started to pile so very high

It eventually touched the sky

And in the time being

The dust broke the ceilings

It stopped the fans

And broke the pans

And the dust covered Little Silly South

Now, I guess

This is the end

I’ll see you ‘round the bend!

Lincoln Mark

Oliver and the Leaf

I’m thinking of Oliver

I’m not thinking of that one lonely leaf

I’m thinking of posting a video of Oliver

I’m not thinking of that one lonely leaf on a tree’s limb

I’m thinking of posting a video of me petting Oliver

I’m not thinking of one lonely leaf on a tree’s limb

Turning yellowish-brown because of autumn’s changing weather

I’m thinking of posting a video of me petting Oliver

And him jumping up and down on me

Lincoln Mark

I am From Texas

I am from the black and white piano close to my living room wall

From colors and paper

I am from the big clock above the sink

The soft rug in the living room

I am from the delicate petals of a red rose

The three shrubs whose limbs I remember as if they were my own

I’m from laughter and love

From mom and dad

I’m from sleeping late and mom waking me up

And from hugging family before night

I’m from I love you and you’re so sweet

And the months of the year

I’m from movies every Friday

I’m from Austin and Korea

Macaroni & cheese and spaghetti

From a chemist for a dad 

I am from a family with black hair

From photos of my brother and me as babies

All the love of them in my heart

I am from Texas

Olivia Kim

What if I Didn’t Clean My Room?

I absolutely will not clean;

my parents are so mean.

Books and papers litter the floor

until the books block the door.

Dust and trash and ash rise and fall

covering all.

Leaves and twigs hide the house

falling bricks, tiles, plus one mouse.

Molding wood and more and more

nothing is from the store.

Such a horror.

Olivia Kim

The Story of Boaty Lakoot

(After “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”)

Boaty Lakoot Barout McDrath

Never, ever took a bath

And when she really wanted to play

Everyone said, “No, not today”

But her hair was so curly and long

It looked and felt so, so wrong

And that is the story of Boaty Lakoot

And how she had to wear 27 pairs of boots

Shifu Qian

Tawny Mawny Does Not Like to do the Laundry

(After “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”)

“Do the laundry” Tawny Mawny’s parents said

He said, “No” and went to bed

His parents dragged him back out

And smacked him until he made a shout

“Do the laundry!” they said

Screaming as he ran back to bed

He ran out of energy and then he said, “I will never do the laundry”

He could not go to sleep

Because he smelled like an old sheep

His bin was flooding his room

It smelled like an old tomb

Then, “BOOM!”

His wall burst open to find his mother doing the laundry

And she said, “Get back in your room! 

The one that smells like an old tomb

Where it doesn’t shine

Oh, your in it…never mind

Zane Nasser

Session E: Mythology (4th-6th grade)

Rachel Gray

Teaching Artist

The Box

A traveler was on a quest to find a box. The traveler had no idea what the box looked like so he picked up every box that he found. Boxes of Pokemon cards, boxes of popcorn, amazon boxes, the list goes on almost infinitely. Then he found a strange yet beautiful box. He was told that inside the box there would be the very thing he’d come all this way for. So he looked for a way to access it. The traveler then found that if he pried the corner of the box apart it would open. He’d got it! The traveler then emerged from in between the couch cushions with his prize. The forever loved but abused, T.V. remote. He could finally change the channel to 18.4 and watch Sesame Street for the rest of his approximately 13 days where he would have to re enter the couch cushions.

Harrison Ciaverelli

Mal, Lara, and Ti

Once there was a girl named Mal. She was wearing a yellow shirt and black shorts. Mal had parents that owned a global resort company. One day, Mal went to the park for a little stroll. She saw that her friend, Ti, was also at the park. Ti was wearing a blue dress. “Hey Ti!” Mal said with a smile. “Hi Mal”, Tiana laughed. “Do you want to go get Ice cream?” They walked over to the ice cream store and Ti ordered chocolate ice cream with gummy bears. Mal ordered mint chocolate chip ice cream with sprinkles. They then walked together around the park and ran into their other friend, Lara. 

Lara was wearing a green dress. She also had ice cream. She said that she had been looking for them and she knocked on their doors but their parents said that they had both gone to the park. Then Mal said that they should probably go to the garden to eat their ice cream. There were lots of bees and there was one person other than them in the garden. He was playing the guitar and singing softly. Suddenly Mal, Lara, and Ti felt very sleepy. The song was lulling them to sleep.

When they woke up, they realized that their money was all gone. They woke up and started running all around the park to find the singer. They found him playing outside of a building. This time, they fought the music and managed to get everything back. He said that he was only doing this because he wanted to get a room in a resort of Mal’s parents and only needed a few dollars. Mal gave the man the money and he left. Mal, Ti, and Lara did their secret handshake. 

The End

Eliza Fenton

Agnes + Brett

There was once a beautiful maiden named Agnes. She was a girl that never learned to love. She was a part of a really rich family so she did not have to work a day of her life. She was spoiled and did not have any responsibility so she could not make a mistake. She never went to school because she thought it was beneath her. She had maids to do everything for her. 

One day she went out in public and one guy asked her out on a date. She thought, People think I do not like anyone but myself, so what if I say yes just so I can prove them otherwise. So she said “yes.” The next day was their first date and she hired photographers. She made him stand in different positions but she obviously made herself the star of the show. When he said I want to break up she said why I am so beautiful every man who has ever seen me has fallen in love. He said you hired photographers and then in the last few photos you made me feed you strawberries and told me that’s not how to feed someone and then you shoved a strawberry down my throat. Let’s be honest your personality could not get any worse, you treat everyone around you like they are nothing, and you whine like a five-year-old. She then said well let’s be honest then, I am beautiful and you are not. 

Then he taught her that what’s on the inside matters and not on the outside by saying,” I would rather be a half-decent person than a pretty person like you who is spoiled and rude.” Then he ran away. Agnes wondered for that moment if she would ever be loved or feel love ever in her life. She quickly discovered if she does not change her wretched personality she might never be a good or half-decent human. 

So she got a diploma, asked her maids how they take care of her, and got her doctor’s degree in computer science. Then she noticed the guy she had dated for one day could actually stand up for himself and was not blinded by her appearance. She discovered a crush. But she never got his name. Yes, she never asked for his name but she always wondered if she could ever meet him again.

Two years after she gets her doctor’s degree she has a job and she meets the guy she met guess what his name was Brett. They fell in love again this time both of them were in love and had two kids Andie or Andrew was the boy, and Andie or Andria was the girl. They lived happily ever after. 

The end

Mary Hardesty

Discovery.

Pure Guard, Splendorius  

Penelope was studying in the school library. She suddenly spied something moving from the shadows. She jumped up. Curious of what the figure was she ran towards it. The figure jumped out of the window and disappeared. What was that a burglar? A thief? she thought. 

Then she remembered she was in a library. What could that figure be doing in a library?

She looked at her watch. She gasped. It’s already 5:00pm. I really need to find out what that thing was. I am certainly not going to find anything here, so she walked out of the library. She headed for the front doors once she got there she walked outside. Then she went behind the school. She suddenly saw the figure. She ducked behind a tree log. She listened in hoping to find out more about the figure. She heard him talking about a secret base. She stepped back suddenly she heard a twig crack noise. The figure stood up. No! she thought, it’s too soon!

Then the figure disappeared. I was so close!

Mishika Lakkur

Overcoming Fears

Opal ran and ran, trying to escape…a coconut monster? She came into a clearing with a lake and dove into it, “Glurg,” “Gasp!” She woke up just as three bananas, two dates, and a pineapple joined the chase. “Bam! Bam!” She could hear her heart beating its way out of her chest. “Bam-Bam…Bam-Bam…!” Later, she was terrified of her breakfast banana! (And her snack of dates, and her dried pineapple pieces.) So she had oatmeal and crackers instead. And then…they went. SWIMMING! That was when she just yelled, “Worst birthday everrrr!” Everyone jumped. After some time, she sighed. “Sorry, I should just—” and then everybody left except her family and confetti fell. “No—best birthday ever!” 

Alice Neitzke

Badgerdog Session C: Journalism (3rd-5th grade)

Once upon a time, my generation depended on a handful of media outlets to know what was happening in the world—Walter Cronkite on TV, the favorite rock ‘n roll radio station or the local newspaper. Now, we are bombarded with “news” from a variety of sources; oftentimes, reported by, literally, “the guy on the street.” So, how do we know what is factual and what is fake? “Journalism: Sleuthing for the Truth” allows students to delve into the world of interviews, research and writing to discover how to create news stories for print, podcasts, or play! For our final assignment, that is exactly what we did—had fun!  Two teams of journalistic detectives wrote and recorded their “fake” stories, adding sound effects and excited voices to share the breaking news with listeners. Enjoy these scripts and audio recordings.

Terri Schexnayder
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Pizza Town Strikes Gold!

Yuni, Anchor: Breaking News!!! The town has gone crazy! This is Yuni of the JUNGLE Explorers, reporting from Station Adventure. Today we found gold, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds in our Pizza Town! To share the background of this landmark day, meet my friends, a Parrot named Owen eats Pizza …

Owen: CAW! CAW! We found it! We found it!

Yuni: … and Hu-Die Peachy, an explorer in Pizza Town. Let’s go down into the cave.

Owen: BOOM! CRASH! RUMBLE!

Yuni: Hu-Die, tell us what happened today. How did this all come about? 

Hu-Die: Following up on the rumor about a mysterious cave, my team investigated it. Once we entered the cave, as far as we could see there were obstacles like quicksand and booby traps. By the time we finally made it through, it was almost midnight. The jewels glowed with an eerie light.

Yuni: We will share these riches with the whole community by putting it on a giant water fountain. See you later!

Owen Aslot

Yuni Lee

Hu-Die Patel

Raining Dogs (But no Cats)

Stella, Anchor: Hello, my name is Stella here on the streets of Austin, Texas. It started to rain dogs that came in all colors and sizes, both cute and mean! Let’s go to my weather woman Abby for more details.

Abby: On a sunny day, no clouds gathered but suddenly, it started raining dogs. (Woof! Woof!) But not one (Meow). Every time the lightning struck the ground, it turned into dog treats.

Stella: Now Alena, sports woman, will tell you about the recent games.

Alena: Hello, Alena here. Wow, what an amusing story! I also have some crazy news for you. True crazy news. Hey, did anyone watch the basketball game between the Longhorns vs. the Raptors last week? The Longhorns beat the Raptors by … get this … 163 to 24! Crazy, right? Honestly, I think the Longhorns are just purely super-human! Anyway, switching to football. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Miami Dolphins by 128 to 68. Seahawks, I have one question for you—what is the meaning of this? (Laugh) I mean, that was a huge beatdown you gave those flapping little Dolphins. I’m convinced that sports teams are now becoming superhuman! What do you guys at home think? Alena, sports news, singing out. Back to you, Stella. 

Stella: Well, thanks, Alena. The government has informed us that any animals stuck in trees will be brought down. (Woof!) That’s a signal to stop.

All:  Stella. Abby. Alena. The Magical World.

Stella Aguilar

Abby Guo

Alena Maryam Jaweed

Badgerdog Session B: Joy Seekers (4th-6th grade)

Joy! That’s what this group of five clever writers were seeking! Through memories, collaboration, connection, and of course, creative writing, I’d say we succeeded at finding an abundance of joy. In the last year and a half, where many of us adults found ourselves rediscovering simple delights amidst the difficulty, it seems these students were already connected with the pleasures so often taken for granted. The brilliance of mothers, the comfort of a restaurant where everyone knows you, the magnificence of nature—there was so much to praise this week! These students were striking writers and fierce in their joy! 

nicole v basta
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Eggs in the Nest

CRASH! BANG! CLASH! Those were the very first sounds of my large action thunderstorm happening in California. It was actually expected to happen because many wildfires were taking place in California, due to climate change. Large strikes of blinding yellow appeared repeatedly, almost making me jump. I ran as fast as I could to my parents room to see more of the exciting moment (I LOVE thunderstorms for some reason). I found my dad, wide awake, but laying in bed, turning away from the window. Thunder roared and made me jump up to look at the action again, but once in a while I had to blink and turn my head away from the blinding light to keep my eyes healthy. I saw that my sister and brother came too, they huddled in the corner of my dad’s room while I jumped off the bed and danced during the stormy event. My sister wanted to go downstairs to find my mom, so she eventually was able to drag me down the stairs. We hurried downstairs quickly to find my mom sleeping on the couch, we jumped onto her and my sister huddled under the blanket. I stayed awake to look at the really exciting event. Though, we weren’t the only people huddling together. 

 A mother robin was sitting in the bird feeder which was attached to the large window next to the sofa. I could barely make out a small nest with milky white objects with cracks under the mother robin, so I guessed that the father was looking for more shelter. I observed the birds, trying to ignore the strikes of lightning going on, so I could focus on the birds (even though I love thunderstorms and I wanted to dance, I think I like birds better). Eventually, the morning came and the storm was over. I could still see the mother sitting on the nest of pearly white eggs as I woke up from my 3 hour sleep after the thunderstorm, the window shutters were still blowing around like it did during the thunderstorm, it was still pretty windy outside. Now, it was over, and I had the baby eggs to observe for the weekend. The sun was slowly rising above the horizon as the colors of the sky turned from dark blue, to pink, yellow and orange, to a light blue. I knew the baby birds that came out of the eggs would be so fun to watch. 

Madisen Kang

The One Thunderstorm

Thunder

Volcano sounding thunder

Lightning

Shocking crackling lightning

Rain

Heavy rain

Super duper crazy humongous ton of heavy rain

Power outage

Power outage tons of times

Scary

Fear

Anxiousness

The thunderstorm that was the loudest one

And the scariest

And the heaviest

The thunderstorm…

The thunderstorm…

The thunderstorm…

Abby Guo

                  Ode to my Mom

Mom,

Beautiful,radiant mother 

Your kindness getting stronger and stronger every day 

My mom the sun of the universe  

Always willing to be there for her family

Your smile is bright as a sunflower 

Your laughter is like bells ringing softly and gently 

You’re more beautiful than a glamorous flower with pretty petals 

You mean everything to everyone 

Your kindness showers every minute of the day

“Mom” 

Prisha Prasanna

My Mother

My mom, a beautiful magnificent mother,

The sunshine of the world,

Bringing me happiness,

The one who took care of me when I was young,

She comforted me when I cried,

The one who put me to sleep in nights that were long,

She is very brave and strong,

She was the the person that gave me life when I was born,

and she is the person who loves me the most of all.

Chloe Duan

Praise the Comics  

Praise the comics. Giving us flowers out of fights. The X-men fighting the blob, wolverine, and vanisher, praising our hearts telling our smarts that if the X-men can fight evil forces so can we. Yes a lot of the time these super extraordinary, not so ordinary, people are not people at all so how can we look up to them? If you think this way I do not blame you, how could people look up to Loki, god of mischief, Thor, God of thunder, and mutants known as the X-men if they are not men at all? Let’s take a fall.

The Avengers are mostly mutants but Captain America, a kind person from the ’40s who took a super serum and fought in World War II, is human. Iron man, well known as Tony Stark, dogs would bark at him, and say a Human genius, Natasha Romanoff, no offs here human, Clint Barton, a human. 

4 people from the original 6 Avengers are no stranger to a human. Giving us a chance to say that we can do it.  Yes, our parents may be mad, and sad, but we will be glad to know that we will always fight evil forces,  make bold choices, let our hearts guide us through our weird days, and put aside the odd manners of why life brought us here and say cheers for our fight has been fought. Yes, our parents may be mad, sad, and nowhere near excited for that path of reading, about “Merzah the Mystic, a powerful empath and telepath who ran a Himalayan monastery,” and not going outside except to go to the library, and the bookstore.  

Thank you for reading.

Mary Hardesty

Badgerdog Session B: 2PM Novel Writing (5th-8th grade)

Every Tuesday afternoon this last week of June, I met with this group of dedicated novel writers and natural storytellers. I was repeatedly impressed by their insight and enthusiasm, and the humor and imagination they brough to the Zoom classroom and to the page. The scenes and sentences they wrote were full of beauty, humor, and depth. These writers wrote opening scenes, developed complicated characters, mapped out plot, and brought the landscapes of their novels to life. 

A testament to their hearts and imaginations, here we have excerpts from novels about families, dystopian futures, alternate realities, magical worlds, all of which seem to have a real knack for creating suspense and world-building. Most of all, I was been so impressed by the emotional depth of their work. These writers understand that the greatest books are the ones that make us feel deeply. I can’t wait to read what they dream up next! 

Mary Terrier
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Desert Sky

My dreams were the same. For the past few days, all of my dreams had been about the stars. 

The sky’s the best thing about The Desert, after all. It is always clear and fresh, no towns to ruin its beauty. During the day, it is always blue and warm. During the night, you can watch all of the stars in complete silence, while smelling the crisp, cool air.

Sohum Jain

Excerpt from The Twin Academies

The magical land of Eira consisted mostly of pastoral countryside, with the occasional walled fortress or snowy peak here and there. Villages sprawled, small against the fields. On the horizon rose two entwined stone towers that made up the Twin Academies. Every child in every village dreamed of going there, but the odds were so small, they might as well have spent their time on other things. Only two children—one boy and one girl, between the ages of five and thirteen—were taken every year, and they never returned. Despite this, excitement preceded every Enrollment Day, and disappointment followed it.

I didn’t bother myself with such things. I was called lazy, even unmotivated, because I spent my time reading for fun instead of sword-fighting or studying. Half the time, I never even bothered with my appearance. This particular late autumn day, I woke up with the seventh volume of Ria’s Adventures lying on my face. I slapped it off with some difficulty and sat up. The sun was already shining through the glass window, and I could hear the banging and clanging of pots and pans downstairs as my mother prepared breakfast. It smelled delicious, and I figured that I might as well go and see what it was.

Downstairs, my father was seated at our oak-wood dining table, drinking a mug of hot apple cider. Not an unusual sight, considering how chilly it was outside. My mother bent over the black iron woodstove, preparing something that was probably fried eggs traded from our neighbor. I sat down across from my father, enjoying the three seconds I had to relax until my mother noticed how unruly my hair and clothes were.

Her mother-sense kicked in, and she whirled around. “Tris!” she said, exasperated. “For heaven’s sake, you look like you’ve just wandered through a whirlwind on your way to breakfast! Do you want Kyla to see you this way?”

Well, okay, Mother, you’re playing the girlfriend card? “I was planning to wash up afterward.” Not a lie, of course. I was planning to do that.

She sighed. “Very well. But you had better make good on that promise. Oh, and don’t forget to do your chores.”

Ugh. Chores are the worst. 

“I do require some winter blankets from the attic,” she added. “Would you mind getting some?”

I nodded, and she served up breakfast. I stuffed my face with delicious, runny eggs, and then went back upstairs to clean up. I stood in front of the mirror and washbasin, wiped the egg off of my face, and combed and tamed my wild dark hair. Then I walked over to my wardrobe and selected a simple off-white tunic, light brown pants, and my dark brown boots. As an afterthought, I slung my sword over my back. I don’t sword fight for fun, but it felt good to have some kind of protection, even if my blade only ever saw pest-control duty.

I decided that I looked good enough, and climbed the rickety ladder up to the attic. It was cool and musty inside, a year’s worth of dust stirred up at my disturbance of their rest. I located the wooden crates labeled “Winter Bedding,” and strode over to them. As I moved, I disturbed a smaller box, but it wasn’t just square. It had a lock with a keyhole, but no key in sight. I might have kicked the box aside, but something in me said, This is important. Don’t just leave it. I decided to take the sheets down to my mother now, and later I’d search for the key. Maybe Kyla could help.

Miriam Haskins

Excerpt from Wisps of Smoke 

The green leafy branches dappled the bright blue sky. It was a chilly Thursday morning, on the 21st of February. Simon was fifteen years old. 

He had been kicked out of the house once again. This time, Simon had made too much noise coming down the stairs for breakfast. He couldn’t remember a day when he hadn’t gotten in trouble for some odd reason.

When he was ten Simon had discovered this clearing in the meadow west of the house. It felt magical to Simon, though his older sister had called him stupid when he had asked whether she felt the same. Simon dared not ask his younger brother.

 Simon wandered around the area while he thought. He wondered why he had been born to this family, when his Gold traits were so obviously opposed to the rest of the family. The Acriman line had been Sharp-minds for ten generations, as Simon was constantly reminded. 

In his family’s eyes, he had broken the streak of Sharps and ruined the family`s reputation in the Sharp government. Simon was a waste, a yucky piece of Gold-minded trash whose only purpose was to ruin his family’s lives. 

And the Acrimans treated him as such.

Michael Schwabe

Excerpt from Saving a Song

It started with scientist Cara Corelet. It was her discovery that changed the world. Destroyed it, you could say. The best in her field, Cara researched the workings of the human mind, specifically its process of emotion. She worked alongside the government and was considered one of the most important researchers of her generation. But from her genius, a kind of insanity was born. After losing her son in a dreadful accident, she began feverishly researching for a way to numb her grief. It became an obsession and the government, worried by her slipping grasp on rationality, stopped supporting her experiments. She was approached by a privately funded organization which offered to help her, but their motives were questionable. They were considered a dangerous and controversial group; well financed and powerful, but hungry for acclaim and control. No doubt, looking to use Cara’s research as means to gain both. However, Cara had been overcome.

She continued her research under an organization called X-Uncovered. They watched her constantly, often encouraging her to let the insanity fuel her work. After many months, she made a fateful discovery. A serum which could be injected into the bloodstream and cause the brain to dull all emotion. It was far from complete, but Cara could no longer continue her work. Her time with X-Uncovered had driven her to madness. Though much of it was due to their encouragement, the X-Uncovered organization had no use for an insane woman, scientist or not. They eliminated her and continued her research themselves.

The X-Uncovered organization had many scientists working for them, but none were able to perfect the serum. Perhaps, it simply could not be completed. After all, emotion is as difficult to control as the tide; headstrong and ever moving, changing. But X-Uncovered was not ready to give up yet. They enlisted the help of more researchers from institutions and organizations from all over. Until then, X-Uncovered had hidden Cara’s research, hiding it from the world. However, the researchers could not help without knowing what they were working on. X-Uncovered had no choice but to reveal the incomplete formula. A few scientists, upon learning the potential power of the serum, reported it back to their superiors. Soon, acquisitive eyes turned to X-Uncovered and their priceless serum and conflict began to stir. Jealousy, greed, and hunger for power and fame fueled the fire of inevitable war. X-Uncovered had no shortage of enemies and the list was growing. 

As the tension grew, X-Uncovered finally hit a breakthrough. It was not the ideal formula, but they had to take action. Armed with what they called “the dulling serum”, X-Uncovered flew straight into a war that consumed the world. They felt no guilt or compassion for anyone and their strategies were notoriously straight-forward and flawless. They bombed cities, sank ships, hacked satellites, and tore down laws and leaders. And as others retaliated out of anger, betrayal, and fear; the order of the world began to crumble. The Earth was destroyed and life was nearly completely wiped out.

Felicity Fok

Pray

Me and mom slam the cars doors and run inside the hospital.

“Where is he?!,” Mom asks the person at the front desk “My son, Harry! I was just called a couple minutes ago by this hospital saying that he’s in critical condition!”

“What was his last name?” The person asks

“Harry Anderson! He’s nine years old and 4 feet tall!” My mom yelps

“Ok she’ll show you the way” He says, pointing to a nurse

As we follow the nurse down to Harry’s room, we see lots of doctors and nurses rushing around.

“Harry!,” Mom bawls. “I was so worried!”

“He’s sleeping now” The nurse says, pushing me aside

“C-can I at least stay in the room with him?” mom says, trying to hold back a tear

“Sorry but no. His injury is very serious and we can’t risk any chances.” The nurse says, handing my mom a tissue.

“T-then can I sit outside?” Mom says, dabbing her eyes with the tissue

“Well you can sit downstairs.” The nurse says shrugging

Mom nods

Then, I hear a long beep.

“His heart stopped,!” The doctor shrieks “I need more help!”

A doctor rushes into the room.

I stare at mom’s face. It’s pale white

“…Mom? Are you okay?” I say, feeling worried.

“H-his heart stopped?” Mom suddenly shrieks.

“It’s ok they’ll take care of him.” I say trying to comfort her.

The nurses face turns dark and sad. “Time of death, 6:49 pm.” The nurse writes down on a piece of paper.

Mom falls on her knees.

“W-what are you talking about? This is the best hospital in town!” Mom cries.

I try to hold in my tears, but I can’t. A river of tears come out of my eyes. Mom holds me tight and I hear her whisper something.

Olivia Yan

Excerpt from The Caged Princess

Drip.

Drip.

Drip.

The water stuttered as the drops fell down. I looked around, scanning the ill-lit halls of the catacombs. Nothing but halls of darkness only lit by one weak flame resting on a torch against the wall were ahead. I slowly started to walk through the halls, making my feet slosh in the dirty water below me. A tiny gust of wind passed through the catacombs making me shiver. But I continued to walk. It was quiet, so quiet you could hear the wind blowing. I didn’t like it, it was too quiet.

Then I felt something—something cold and sharp touching the back of my neck. I stopped. Then slowly moved my hand over to my dagger, and slowly grabbed it off the baldric. Then I sliced my dagger through the air, and then it hit something—the wall. I exhaled unaware that I had been holding my breath. If there’s nothing behind me, then what was touching the back of my neck? I thought to myself, and looked behind my shoulder, revealing nothing but the previously walked hallway. It’s probably me just being paranoid. I thought to myself. Then I continued to walk.

Though, as I walked, I realized that the halls got darker and darker, and darker as I got closer to my destination. Once I finally got to the catacombs tunnel system, I stopped and got my map from my bag. The map said to continue to go north, so I went into the tunnel on my right. The tunnel looked about the same as the one into the catacombs, but it had much more torches lighting my way. And, the floor didn’t have as much water as the other one. My shadow seemed to dance as I walked because the fire wouldn’t seem to stay still. I continued to walk.

And after walking for two hours in this dark and cold maze, I finally saw light come into my view. I dropped all my belongings and then ran right to it. It was beautiful. Green trees and green grass suddenly came to my eyes, and pink, purple, blue, and flowers of all colors too. I let out a sigh of happiness and joy. I finally escaped the awful unlighted halls of the catacombs. I felt happy to finally escape that place.

But my happiness didn’t last for long. Because soldiers in red and gold started to surround me. My happiness and joy immediately melted off my face and turned into a scarred face. One of the soldiers walked up to me, and then said: “Princess Anastazia Souliere of Aiwerinad you are under arrest for the murder of King Azar Souliere of Aiwerinad .” He nonchalantly said to me. “B-but I-I would never k-kill my own f-father.” I stuttered, trying to fight back my tears. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be used against you in court.” He said, and then walked over to me and cuffed me with Valrite shackles. “No! You can’t do this to me! I screamed at the soldiers. I tried to escape their grasp, but it was too tight. I was going to die. And I would never see the beauties of the green trees and grass ever again. I felt hopeless. I felt powerless. And I felt stupid for thinking that I could run away. I shut my eyes tight, so I could think. I wish I could go back in time, I thought to myself. Then, when I opened my eyes, nothing happened. I wished for something that wouldn’t happen. How stupid of me. I thought in my head. I wouldn’t ever escape. I wouldn’t ever go back in time. What was done, can’t be undone.

Madelyn Yildirim

Excerpt from The Lost 

I wake up groggy, my head throbbing. I rub my eyes, slowly opening them to a beautiful, alive world, the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming. There are flowers of every color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. The sky is a beautiful shade of blue. The breeze runs through my hair, I think for a second that my life is perfect then I remember reality. I get up and the world seems duller. The plants look like they’re dead and the sky turns into the color of tears. I clutch my locket, the silver heart with a picture of my family before it happened. I pulled out my phone to take a picture. No reception, the screen says, I groan, Wondering where I really am. I quickly get up and walk to the closest place with people. 

I stumble into town, I am greeted with glares but I eventually see a friendly face. I start walking towards her as eyes are glued to me. I glance at the color stalls seeing every shade of colors that exist. I glance around me and see booths filled with fruits, another one filled with stuffed animals and another one filled with vegetables. I stop right before a booth selling glass animals, seeing a glass chicken with red, black, yellow, and gold markings. It’s so beautiful yet so fragile, yet despite this you don’t want to be called a chicken.  

“Hi” I say

“Hello, I’m Ava” the girl says then whispers as quietly as she can “my next victim” and chuckles. I don’t read into this as everyone stares at us. It’s like they want to tell me something but don’t. 

“Emily” I said as friendly as possible

“Oh I know” she chuckles.

I look at  any signs of why she would know my name then I see my face plastered against a building, the chocolate hair pulled back, my pale skin exposed with only a tank top and shorts and my green eyes glowing behind glasses. I look down realizing this is what I’m wearing, my pajamas. Then I notice something else, something strange, everyone has hazel eyes, the exact same shade of hazel.

No wonder everyone was staring at me I think to myself.

“Let’s go to my house,” Ava exclaims.

“Ok” I reluctantly said, Realizing I am breaking my mom’s biggest rule. Don’t trust a stranger but she already told me her name and she seems nice so I go along with her. She walks to a castle sized house and rings the doorbell. Her whole neighborhood has houses the size of castles. The same shade of grey and the same white, green, and blue flags. They are the exact same and have the same exact gates and plants.

Elise Yan

Dry Tears

I groan and check my watch. 3:45 AM. He should be here by now. I swing my bat over my shoulder, wincing at the sudden pain. A stifled laugh alerts me. I clutch my bat tight whilst squinting my eyes struggling to see through the dark. “Weakling” I relax and roll my eyes at the familiar voice. He emerges from the bush he was hiding in. “Says the person who was hiding in a bush like a coward.” I said, emphasizing coward. He just laughs. I roll my eyes again. “Stop, tell me what you found about him or her” I say, strictly. “Okay, Ms.Boring. But I take my payment upfront, you don’t pay me now, I won’t talk.” He spoke, stretching his arm forward, palm facing up. I sigh, take out the crumpled dollar bill from my back pocket and place them on his palm. “That should be enough” He looks at the cash and counts them, fingering through each of them. He clicks his tongue. “You’re a dollar short”. He said, smirking. “Whatever information you’re about to give me is worth however much I gave you, your skilless.” I snapped, wiping the smirk off and replacing it with a frown. “Fine, He is a powerful mafia. Mafia KING. I snuck behind his base area which is located near the abandoned bakery, off on Oaks Vill. It’s heavily guarded with men who are huge. Like 6 feet tall. He is an important guy after all. I couldn’t get any pictures of him but I have some of his base and men. Maybe you’ll be able to recognize them if they ever, you know, come around.” He mumbled the last part, I guess not wanting to give me ideas of doing anything stupid, but I heard it. “What was his relationship with my parents though?” I whisper, holding back my tears. He hung his head low. Anger rushed through my body. “They didn’t DO anything.” I said, raising my voice, causing him to look up. “Right?” Silence fell. We both stood there in the dark, our faces being lit up by the old ‘Gas ‘em up’ sign. The only sound was the occasional woosh of cars going past us. The strong smell of gasoline lingered in the air. Litter piled up in the corners and sprinkled on the ground.  I didn’t want him to feel bad or even comfort me, if he was even going to. So I secretly wiped the tears that escaped my eyes, cleared my throat that had been clogged with grief, and said. “Thanks, for the information. It was helpful. I’ll prepare tomorrow.” He looks up. “Yeah, yeah yeah yeah, of course. G-go ahead.” He stuttered with a tint of awkwardness in his voice.  And from there I walk away. My steps, slow. I turn back to see him do the same. Slowly walking away. Awkward.

Sriya Chakravarthy

Badgerdog Session B: Dystopia (7th-12th grade)

Ms. Katherine’s Dystopian Masterminds

It takes a very clever and persistent writer to create a new world, especially when that world is facing the injustice and danger of a dystopia. But my writers were happy to accept the challenge and create dystopian stories of their own. 

For a whole week, we studied all of the nitty-gritty of YA dystopian stories: the empowered heroines, the power-hungry villains, the showdowns, and all of the complications in between. 

And these brilliant writers had ideas of their own and worlds to explore. I am thrilled to present to you excerpts from their stories, which you may find leave you to shocking discoveries and cinematic cliffhangers. Enter if you dare!

Katherine Lamb
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Excerpt from “Angels of the Night”

Alaya

I walk down the cracked pavement under the faint flickering lights of the street. The concrete is damp, and weeds force their way through the cracks reaching for the sun. I smile to myself; it is night now and the sun has gone, what do the weeds reach for now? I draw my thoughts back to the current assignment. A relatively simple request; Find the man named Larvone, force him to surrender the whereabouts of his treasure, and then eliminate him. I do not know what his treasure is, nor did I bother to ask. That is not my job. I am an assassin, one of the best here in the dark ruins of what used to be New York City. I consider myself lucky to have such a providing job. There are so many fools in this place, willing to pay for the death of a hated enemy or even long-time friend. I run my finger over the gun strapped to my thigh. This will be easy.

Ivy

I scale the rooftops of crumbling buildings with ease. It has always been a special talent of mine and it gives me the perfect cover from anyone watching on the streets. I am on a mission. A mission to kill.

Evelyn

I have been working for Larvone as a secretary for two weeks now. Why? Because it is the easiest way to get close to him and learn his schedule without drawing suspicion. I have been tasked with extracting the code to a safe, hidden somewhere in New York. I have been told it contains a treasure of vital importance, though to me, that means nothing. All I care about is the pay. For two weeks I have not seen my younger sister Eva and not a minute goes by that I do not think of her. She is the reason I’ve put up with this vile man and I do not intend for it to be for nothing. I scan the coded paper in my hands once again; Larvone is in danger. Do not allow his death until the code has been received. Should you fail, no payment will be given. I do not care for this man and his death would not bother me, but my instructions are clear. Until I have secured my pay, I will allow no harm to come to this man.

Alaya

I stand in front of the darkened manor, hidden by the shadows of the trees lining the path to the door. Its walls are almost completely hidden by vines and I see no light coming from any of the many cracked, opaque windows. To a passerby, the manor would look abandoned. But I know better. I run and press myself against the vine-covered wall at the side of the house. I hear the faint sound of footsteps and draw my weapon but no one approaches. It may have been my imagination, though I highly doubt it. I have done this enough times to know this place is clearly hiding something. Once I get to a window, I peer through. The inside of the manor is barren and dark. No furniture, light, or people. But it is clean. I see no cobwebs or dust, and the walls are evenly painted. My eyes narrow and I get to work on the window. Locked as I suspected, but after a few minutes of twisting with my fingernail, I hear the latch click. I slide the window open and roll through the opening. 

To be continued……

Felicity Fok

Faelita Rising

Prologue 

 Drip…drip…drip. Outside, a light rain was falling, forming small puddles which reflected the silvery glow of the moon. The wind silently rustled the leaves nearby but cautiously so, as if the slightest disturbance would bring the Devine Spirit’s wrath upon it. Tonight was the Unbinding and every creature, entity, even Night was holding its breath in apprehension, fearful of the Faelita Destiny has chosen to release. 

Not far away was a towering gray castle, situated at the edge of a cliff. Its imposing towers seem to touch the clouds, creating the impression that it used to be lived in by royalty.  Worn-down stone steps leading towards the busted metal gate and crumbling walls suggests this castle was an ancient architecture bearing the mark of its suffering.

Right then, the sound of quiet footsteps broke the tense silence. Striding down a narrow path was a figure wearing an azure blue cape. As it got closer, his profile came into view. His features were exotic but no less attractive, with high cheekbones, sharp facial features, glowing amethyst eyes, and shoulder-length white hair so white it seems unnatural.  His face was unrevealing and stoic. Spotting the castle gate ahead, he hurried towards it as though on a mission. 

Finally reaching it, he soundlessly pushed open the gate and entered the grounds of the old dwelling. As he drew nearer to the grand doors, something must have occurred to him seeing as he soon started sprinting unusually fast towards it, already a blur. Then, he slipped inside and shut the door behind him. And all was silent once again.

. . .

The inside of the castle was nearly pitch-black, with only the dim candles flickering here and there to guide the white-haired fae. After criss-crossing through a series of hallways, he eventually stopped in front of an onyx marble door, decorated with gold symbols. Pushing open the door, he stepped inside. Seated all around the room was a court of 56 gorgeous looking fae, divided into 7 houses-Aqua, Aer, Ignis, Glacio, Terra, Umbra, and Lucidus-each having eight representatives. 

Acknowledging each of the leaders of the houses with a nod, he approached his own seat at the front of Glacio, but was interrupted by a voice filled with scorn. “Well, it seems as if Colden has finally joined us, what a surprise. Don’t you have better things to do as a prince, hm?” The speaker was equally alluring in his looks, but carried an air of darkness other fae did not. At that gibe, the white-haired fae whose name was Colden whirled around to face him. “I advise you to watch your mouth, Ryker, unless you have a death wish. I bet Lily wouldn’t want to see your deceased, bloodstained body show up on her front steps now, don’t you agree?” Colden retorted coolly. “Her name is Lula. L-u-l-a, not whatever ludicrous name you created for her.” Ryker ground out. Waving a hand dismissively, Colden sneered at him and stalked towards his seat. 

At this point, everyone was watching their altercation intently and the room had gone still. Irritated, Colden scowled, “Well, get on with whatever it is and stop wasting my time!” Glancing at one another, the leaders of each house motioned for Valen to start. “Right, so as you all know the Unbinding is happening tonight. And you know for the past few years the Faelita has been…quite destructive, to put it lightly. Our assumption is that Destiny might be lenient on us this time, but what if she doesn’t? We need a plan-” he was abruptly cut off by someone scoffing. It was Colden again. “Seriously, a plan? What are we gonna do, run to those simpleminded humans? We’ve got nowhere to go, much less a plan. Why don’t we just stick around and wait for the deaths of fae species, sounds like a pretty good plan to me.” he deadpanned. 

“Fine, if you’re so determined to die then go ahead, but we are NOT going to just sit here and wait for the worst.” Valen snapped at him. “And you have a plan that will work? I have to say I don’t believe that.” challenged Colden. Speechless, Valen struggled for words. “The least you could do is to cooperate though!” he said finally. “Yeah, yeah, sure whatever.” came the careless reply.

Visibly frustrated, Valen sighed. “Since Colden has been very helpful in cooperating, we should start thinking about the plan. Anyone have suggestions?” Nobody spoke a word. Cursing under his breath, Valen shook his head and gave in. Suddenly, melodious music sounded all around the room, filling the quiet place with an angelic tune. Everyone sucked in a sharp breath. It was time. 

To be continued…

Starla

Plutonians’ Revenge

“I hate flying to other planets, something bad always happens.” Shoko muttered to herself as she was getting ready to fly another mission. Shoko walked to her ship and turned the engines on. As she waited for the engines to warm up, she went to the back to make sure that her package was secure. She was supposed to deliver the package to her friend on Neptune where the skirmishes were happening. Actually, she wasn’t even supposed to be going anywhere near Neptune because it was on lock down, PLANETS orders. PLANETS was a group of council members who ran the solar system, they were like the leaders. When they deemed Pluto a dwarf planet because of its size, Plutonians retaliated and started to attack Neptune. If you weren’t a planet, then you were at more risk because no one wouldn’t really care about what happened to the other dwarf planets and asteroids in our solar system. The council passed a law that no one outside of Neptune was allowed to help because it would put their lives at risk, that they were needed on their home planet to provide supplies and that the PLANETS would supply them to Neptune. Everyone knew that the PLANETS cared about nothing but themselves. Most people would just keep their heads down and continue with their normal lives, but not Shoko, she disagreed with the council. She knew that Pluto was deprived of its planet title because they opposed PLANETS. Plutonians knew something about PLANETS. They were going to tell everyone, but PLANETS found out and they removed Pluto from its planet title, effectively removing Pluto’s rights to associate themselves with other planets. 

Shoko was what you would consider an outlaw, once you’re deemed an outlaw, you’re deprived of your planet. Shoko was an Earthian before she became an outlaw. She was transporting goods, weapons, and other supplies to Neptune to help Pluto. Her friend, Alijah was currently on Neptune, he would take the goods that Shoko brought and distribute them to Plutonians. Shoko was passing the asteroid belt when she saw a bright flash to her left. ‘Shoot’ she thought, ‘the PLANTEES saw me’ PLANTEES were loyal soldiers that served the PLANETS, once they found you, it was nearly impossible to lose them. Not for Shoko of course, she was a pro at this, also considering this was not the first time she was seen by the PLANETEES. Shoko maneuvered around the beacon light and flew onward past Jupiter. She continued to fly without any more disturbances. ‘Good’ she sighed to herself, ‘No more running’ Shoko really didn’t like running away. She had always thought that it was way too much work, like they had never caught her, so what’s the point in trying right? Shoko continued to fly and passed Uranus, ‘Almost there’ she reassured herself. When she reached Neptune, she saw Alijah waving to her with his arms, flopping around in the air. Shoko chuckled at his goofiness and landed her ship. Alijah was a Neptunian and his father was the representative for Neptune. Everyone would think that Alijah would be on his fathers side, but he also disagrees with their decision to remove Pluto from its planet title. Shoko chuckled at his goofiness and landed her ship. 

When she opened the back of her ship, Alijah went inside and started to remove the straps that were holding the package down. Shoko turned around and saw that he was struggling with the straps. She got up and pulled her dagger from its sheath on her thigh and cut the straps. “Thanks.” Alijah said. Shoko nodded in response and together they picked up the box and carried it out of the ship. “Hey, is this the last package?” Shoko asked. She had been delivering these packages for months now. Alijah had told her that Pllutonians were building something big to expose the PLANETS and to help them defeat the PLANETEES on Neptune. “Yeah, this is the last one. Now come on, Plutonians are gathering around to get the plan in action.” Alijah replied. Shoko followed Alijah, returning her dagger into its sheath. She had the package in her hands. They walked past a few buildings and rounded a corner into a dark alleyway where there was a hidden tunnel blocked by a rock. Alijah moved the rock and when they entered the tunnel Shoko heard the rock slide back into place. She turned around to see Alijah dusting his hands off and walking onward. They walked for another ten minutes before Shoko saw a bright light ahead. 

To be continued…

Sahasra Barre

Catnip

Chapter 1

The cat had laser eyes. Of course. Sorin didn’t know what else she had expected. How had the hunters even managed to catch this one? She was distracted by the cat turning, his (hers?) eyes glowing. She quickly dodged, throwing herself to the side as the lasers appeared again, this time slicing through one of the stone pillars that held up the compound. She groaned. Anymore of this, and the place would collapse, most likely killing the cats inside. And then she’d lose her job. She’d also most likely be executed. She had to calm the cat down. But to do that she had to lure the cat outside, where it could do as much damage as it wanted. She sighed. What she was about to do was one of the worst decisions of her life. She whistled, gaining the cat’s attention. They turned, charging, as their eyes started glowing, ready to fire their lasers again. She started running, and honestly, running was not her strong suit. Her strong suit was training the cats, giving them treats for their good work, and occasionally, sneaking some of their treats for herself to eat. It’s not like they would miss them. It’s not like she got much of anything else to eat. She quickly ran outside, the cat running after her. She quickly slid to a stop, throwing herself into a nearby bush, while the cat continued on, running into the brush. She sighed. The cat could go crazy in there, and calm itself down. It’s not like it had anywhere else to go. It was, after all, on an island. 

She walked back to the compound, to finish what she was doing before the hunters dumped the cat on her. Madame Meredith, the Lord’s bodyguard, had required mounts due to the fact that she was accompanying Lord on a diplomatic trip. She needed to finish saddling the steeds, horses and giant cats alike. Mercenary Country had amassed the most superpowered cats of any nation in the world, and that meant they had hundreds of giant cats. Giant cats were some of the most common mutations that cats acquired, and every fortnight, if the hunters returned with cats, they’d inevitably return with a giant cat. She quickly looped the reins around Ginger’s head. Madame Meredith had a reputation for having a nasty attitude, and Sorin hoped she would be happy with Ginger, one of the worst behaved cats on the island. But when it came to Lord’s cat, she paused. While she could get away with giving Madame Meredith Ginger (really, she’s fast and good under duress!), that wouldn’t slide with Lord. So she gave him Greg, a hulking beast of a cat. Greg had been named by one of the cook’s daughters, and it had just stuck. While he was slow, both in speed and in brains. He was incredibly resilient and could brave all kinds of weather. The exact opposite of Lord, she thought, snickering to herself. It was a common rumor that Lord, despite being a genius with no equal, was sickly and weak from surviving the Cat Flu, as the disease came to be known. His guards, the police force of the islands, the Lord’s eyes, ears, and mouth, had done their best to quell the blasphemous talk, but they could only do so much.

Her thoughts were interrupted by one of the guards running in. “Lord requires the steeds now!” He barked. Sorin sighed, waving her hand. “I just need to bring these two out to the back with the rest of them. You can follow me.” She replied. Quickly hanging the names of those who were to ride the two cats around their necks, she led them outside to where the rest of the cats she had saddled were. Lord famously kept a large entourage, to protect himself, and mask who he was. Wherever he went, guards, servants and others went too. In order to protect his identity, he wore a mask at all times. It was amazing his identity had been kept secret for the past 15 years. She watched as the guard clumsily herded the cats to the ferry. Ferries were used to transport people between the mercenary islands, and from the cliff the cat compound was on, it was easy to see what was going on down below. She noticed, with surprise, that Madame Meredith was on the ferry as well as other guards. She never came to pick up the cats herself. She never left Lord’s side. That meant- she quickly turned to look at the others on the ferry, searching for him. There, in the red cloak. A frown present under his half mask, the mask, predictably, fashioned to look like a cat. He looked just as scrawny as she had heard before, but even from this distance, she could tell he was tall, easily towering over his companions. Against her better judgement, she continued staring. And maybe he was magic, maybe he was part cat, because somehow, he sensed her staring, and turned to look at her. The frown slowly morphed into a grin as if he was amused. Startled, Sorin jumped off the rock she had been standing on, returning to the compound, startled. And then it hit her. That was Lord. She had seen Lord. She had a better description of him than most people in the world. Lord was not a merciful man. She could be killed for that! But still, a part of her felt the thrill of looking the man in the… not eyes, but looking at him! If she wasn’t killed for that, it would be a story to tell her grandchildren.


To be continued…

Yashoda Salamon

Badgerdog Session B: Journalism (3rd-5th grade)

We need to read more reporting by students. They don’t try to fool you with tricky rhetorical questions. They get straight to the heart of the matter and stick to the facts. It’s true that those facts can be silly, but who doesn’t love a good laugh? These eight star reporters in our summer journalism workshop were all set to ask the tough questions… and answer them. They wrote as roving journalists and the interesting people being interviewed. You will read the reporting of Saffron Prescott who, alongside her team of “famouse” journalists, covers the eruption of Mt. Mozzarella. You’ll head to the gym and meet a clumsy rock climber named Matt and then encounter Ms. Will, a multi-tasking woman who, for the 52nd time, has a broken garage door. You will be asked to contemplate the debatable question: Are dogs or humans better? Flip through the pages to find facts about the G.O.A.T. in gymnastics and a rap about presidential pets featuring Bob Dylan! You’ll find an article featuring the animals we love, the planet we live on, people we know, neighbors, friends and those experiencing homelessness. These journalists wrote compelling editorials. Alexandria shared facts about Austin’s vote on Prop B and her opinion, “It’s not fair for homeless people to be in jail. They did nothing wrong.” Colin made a dire plea for our environment writing, “Run, fish, run.” Using their wit and compassion, their intellect and bravery, these writers tackled some of the most important issues we face. Isha sums it up perfectly, “I enjoy being a journalist because it is the best job in my opinion.”

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Protect the Planet and Save the World

I hope that one day I can be a part of an animal care project. Because I think that animals should get the same care that humans do. So, what I think people can do is sign up and volunteer for animal shelters. I know a lot of people like animals. I love animals and some animals are scared. So, if you could help the environment you’re going to 

save those animals and if you volunteer at a place like an animal shelter then you can help. The animals feel scared by themselves; bunnies and cats want to have someone by their side. 

I love the planet and I know a lot of people do. And a lot of people don’t care. And if people don’t care this Earth is just going to get worse and worse and if it gets so bad at some point it’ll probably just blow up. And we don’t want that. If you like the Earth, you probably want to keep it a good place. 

Maybe you don’t like recycling. Maybe you can make yourself pieces of fancy art. Then you can take your recycling and now that doesn’t mean get a lot of recycling, it just means take the recycling that you have. Maybe make a planter and then you can buy real plants not plastic plants.  Maybe out of the recycling you can make a self-watering planter. 

Helping the homeless people. Since prop B has been voted on people have been suffering and people have been in jail. Some people are doing nothing to stop it and some people are encouraging it. Some people are taking action. But there are not enough people. If we can get more people to help the homeless, there will be no homeless going to jail. It’s not fair for homeless people to be in jail. They did nothing wrong. Even when people do nothing wrong other people think they’re doing something illegal. Donald Trump made the United States bad. But together we can make it good again. People are starting programs to make it so that the homeless people don’t have to be homeless anymore. So, if you don’t like the homeless you can join a program and there will be no homeless people begging for food and you won’t be annoyed.

Saving our parks and forests. Everybody needs parks and forests in their neighborhood. When there’s a good park that means a good environment. If you have trees and flowers the air will get better. If you have trees and flowers, the air quality is going to get better. When you have factories and lots of smoke in the air, you’re just gonna die. And if you have trees then you will have a better air quality and you will get a better and longer life. By planting trees you can help the environment.   

Alexandria Keith

BNN10

2021/7/1

Hello, I am Hydro with BNN10. Today, we will be going to a debate site and listening to a very interesting debate about what is better, dogs or humans! Now let’s listen in. Humans are cooler than dogs because they can do a lot more things like building houses and giving dogs what they want like treats and going outside and walks. Well, humans make oceans dirty and also they pollute a ton. Think about that. Well dogs can be very dangerous and also they poop on walks and no one likes picking up poop. And humans can get very mean and get people killed. Well, dogs can eat stuff they’re not supposed to and then puke or throw up in your room; how does that sound dog fans? Well, humans can be very dangerous too. Dogs can steal people’s food when they’re not looking. Humans used to be very mean to girls and treated them unfairly and they still do that. They also used to do that, I think, to black people and enslaved them and didn’t treat them too well.

But if you like dogs, dog people, you have to spend a ton of money for it them especially that the people that aren’t super duper rich. Like, if you don’t have a ton of money, dogs can be very bad things for you. Well, also you have to pay for your house and if you don’t you have to be homeless. You also have to pay bills and all sorts of stuff too. 

Well, a lot of dogs don’t like getting their nails cut, so you will have to try to cut their nails. If it’s your first dog, they will probably get out of your room and try to not get their nails cut, so then you’ll have to take them to a dog nail cutting place like Dogtopia. It’s spelled even more money. 

Humans can bully each other and be mean to each other too. Well, people take a career helping dogs and making sure they have good homes. Imagine that you’re going on a trip, but you need someone to take care of your dog. You either have to let one of your siblings come to your house and take care of your dog and risk something being stolen or drop off your dog at a dog hotel or dog camp until you come back. Well, that wraps it up for today. I’m Hydro with BNN10 out! 

Athan Siow

Greatest of All Time

Simone Biles won seven national championships and she won five Olympic medals. Want to know the fact that she’s 24?

She is a gymnast. 

She lives in Spring, Texas U.S.


Aubree Rivera

Twin Explained 

~Written by James the 559th and Catherine the 999th

Hi, this is James the 559th and my friend Catherine the 999th and we are here today because we took over the Twin Explained Talk Show. As you can see, Darcey and Kacey are tied to chairs in the audience. Well, today we will tell you about Bob Billing James the 559th; it’s Bob Dylan.

Wow, I’m surprised you’re still alive! How old do you think I am? Well, I was told that you were kind of a 50’s guy. Correct and I’m proud of it! But I was born on May 24th 1941. So when are we going to get to like all the stuff and how the kids near here created a new song that I’m supposed to sing? Yes, yes, in a moment right after this quick break. 

Two hours later… all right Bobby. My name is not Bobby it’s Bob. I prefer my name in all capitals like this BOB and please just call me Mr. Dylan. Than that settles it. Well Mr. Dylan, did I get that correct? Yes, you got it correct, now go on. So the kids wrote you a poem/song thing in the bobber that was involved with this White House dog article I thought it was really creative. Yeah, we’re gonna show you it. Be silent and don’t cheer or clap or do any beats. Just sit there and will tie you up and have you eat some popcorn. Don’t tie me up. OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, fine, you won’t be our prisoner! Thank you. Now let’s cut the chains.

Please silence your phones for this presentation (and iPads.) Well, listen to you! Here’s a story about five presidents and their pets and their pets were called first pets. That is the end of the rap part of the song. First, we have Barack Obama/ with a total of two dogs with no drama/ can’t wait to tell you more/ just listen up and be silent no s’mores/ and we’ll finish up/ now next up is President Bush/ with a total of three dogs and one cat/ well, that’s a lot of pets/ he went after his father in the presidency/ and was quite popular/ until Barack Obama came along/ now listen up/ this one’s about President Kennedy/ with a total of five horses, seven dogs, two birds, two hamsters, one cat and one rabbit/ that’s a lot of pets you’re thinking now but there’s even more/ let’s continue this western style song/ President Calvin Coolidge and his 12 buddies that are dogs/ there’s more and more and more and more that he has/ including two raccoons, seven birds, two cats and more/ last up is President Teddy Roosevelt/ with five guinea pigs, one bear, one lizard, one pig, one barn owl, a pony, one badger and more.

What did you think?

Mmmm mrp hhhhhhhhhh weewoo weewoo weewoo.

Oh, oops! This is Bob; I mean this is James the 559th and Catherine the 999th signing off.

Cecelia Siow

The Seas of Red Tide 

The river flows through the reef       

Where the red tide rushes out of control

Ruby red tide rages towards the fish 

Run, fish, run

Before the red tide gets you

Colin Keith

The Unexpected Event

I am Saffron Prescott, one of Geronimo Stilton’s all-time favorite helpers. He is one of my cousins, so I always keep in touch with Geronimo, Thea, Trap, and Benjamin. I enjoy being a journalist because it is the best job in my opinion.

One fine summer morning, I was fast asleep when all of a sudden I heard a boom! I woke up to see my family dressed in their best clothes. Geronimo urged me to change. I dressed up in a yellow frilled top and jeans. We rushed outside to find out that the noise was coming from Mt. Mozzarella.

Mt. Mozzarella was one of the safest mountains in New Mouse City. The reason was because it was said to never have erupted in the past century. Witnesses said they saw an asteroid falling from the sky and landing on the volcano’s top. We were all awestruck to see lava oozing down the side, and forming igneous rock.

After reporting that, we were all exhausted, so we settled down to watch TV. Even us journalists like watching TV after long days. We watched “The Adventures of the Stilton’s and Saffron,” which was based on us, famous or should I say famouse journalists. 

Isha Ladha

Oh Great

Ahhhh, hello and welcome to ANN 10. And it looks like Matt just fell from a rock wall. He just stated that he’s doing it without rope. Did you know?

  1. People climb without rope  
  2. People climb with only their hands
  3. And sometimes only with their feet

That goes to show that some people are really talented, but most are not. And then there are people like Matt. Despite how unfortunate that is. Although being a reporter I don’t rock climb, but Matt does. Don’t tell Matt I told you, but he once fell in ice cream. He, he, he, he. Wait ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Well, he just fell into a foam pit. Well, that’s unfortunate ahhhh ouch, bang! Well, that was more unfortunate. He just hit a gong, fell into a pole dancing at the bottom and fell out into the sand. Then he got pulled off a waterfall and got hit with a wrecking ball. Well, that was a lot for my poor head. 

The End.

Dun, dun, dun! Bang! OUCH BANG CRASH CLATTER AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

I said the end!!!

OK, OK. Ahhhhhh, help, help. BANG, ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGG!!!

Why, why?

Niko Siow

The Garage

“How are you doing Ms. Will?” said the reporter. “I am doing fine” Ms. Will said. “I heard you broke your garage for the 20th time.” “I certainly did not!!! ” said Ms. Will in an angry voice. “Well, then how many times did you break it?” “52.” “Whoa” said the reporter. “This time it happened because I was texting, handling my dog, writing a script, calling my manager, playing a football match and needing to go to the restroom.”  “Wow, that’s a lot of things to be doing if you’re 98.” “Just saying, for the record, I am 72 and do you mind if I call you Chuck?” “Certainly not!” “Well, there you have it folks never text, handle your dog, write a script, call your manager, play a football match and need to go to the restroom. See you next time on Chuck News!”

Vihaan Chepudira

Badgerdog Session B: Mythology (4th-6th grade)

In this one-week mythology workshop, students in grades four through six learned about tricksters, monsters, and constellations. We began by writing stories based on a “Merperson” selected from a collection of images. We then read and analyzed a prose poem by Matthea Harvey called “The Backyard Mermaid.” In Zoom breakout rooms, students worked together to identify vivid verbs, intriguing nouns, and points of symbolism in the poem. This led into the exercise of listing mythical creatures we know (and researching about some that we didn’t). Choosing from their lists, each student wrote a poem or a story about one such beast. We also responded to a prompt that had us creating unique animal-creature hybrids and writing about what would happen if these strange monsters met each other!

Our discussion of tricksters was fueled by two animal trickster myths: “Raven and the King Salmon” and “How Dog Won Fire.” In these tales, we saw how certain characters utilize intelligence and cunning to outsmart others—but, more importantly, we came to see that myths often tell about the earliest times and about how certain aspects of the world came to be. We had a chance to watch a video of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” being read aloud and followed along with the words on the screen. Although “The Raven” is not an easy poem to understand, we still garnered a lot of meaning from it, and it served as a great example of symbolism. Ravens, after all, are quite iconic in many cultures, and they are often found in myths. Exploring what the raven in Poe’s famous poem might represent was quite a treat. 

Rounding out the workshop was a lesson about constellations. We learned that two of the most known constellations, the “big dipper” and the “little dipper,” are contemporary names for what are also called “Ursa Major” and “Ursa Minor,” which translate to “greater bear” and “little bear.” We talked a little about the myth behind these nighttime outlines and how humans have always looked to the stars and wondered about what is above. We drew our own constellations, and then each student interpreted the drawing of a fellow workshop participant! Everyone was asked to imagine being an archeologist who was discovering the tomb of a lost civilization’s king or queen. If a peer’s constellation was found inscribed on the tomb’s wall, what story might explain the starry pattern’s shape? What might this tell us about what the lost culture valued most? 

It was a blast engaging with some diverse literature and sharing our own work with one another. Myths demonstrate one of humanity’s greatest truths: we tell stories to understand ourselves and the world around us!

Aubrey Ward

Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Experiencing a Yeti

There once was a pure white beast

He always wanted a colossal feast

But the only thing included in the meal

Was some magnificent yeast

The mountains continued beaming, tall

Yet the creature could still crawl

When its fresh fragrance of snow filled the air

Everyone began to bawl

The creature is now curious

The town hopes he won’t become furious

But, instead, becoming horrific

The creature begins to appear hideous

Akriti Arora

Mertool

Her name is Mertool. Her life is chaotic. Because she has a lot of tools, she is in demand from everyone else in her country. She lives in Mertown, where there are a lot of ordinary people that are not Merpeople. Mertool likes everything but people. Here are some of the things she likes: books, long swims by herself, sitting on a rock, and playing with her pet horse, Axl. Mertool hates people who go crazy, and she hates being pestered by people asking for her help. She worries about Mernappers coming to her house and taking her. They would take her to make millions of dollars because of her skills and then sell her to very bad people. Mertool always thinks that people will go crazy and destroy her house and kill her.

Aliyna Issac

Mixed Creatures

Poja, the Ninja Porcupine has a ninja outfit, has spikes like a porcupine coming out of the outfit, and has legs like a porcupine. Pin, the Pig Clown has pink skin, has back legs like a human, front legs like a pig, and a pig tail. Pin wears a rainbow clown wig and clown shoes. 

One day, Poja the Porcupine Ninja was practicing walking on his hind legs in the middle of the woods. He saw a clearing and thought it would be the perfect place to practice because there weren’t any trees to run into. Meanwhile, Pin the Pig Clown was looking for mud puddles to bathe in because he knew it had rained the night before. Pin saw a clearing and thought there might be some puddles because there were no trees there to block out the rain. He was sad to see there weren’t any puddles, but there was an odd-looking ninja. Poja and Pin saw each other at the same time. They just stood there staring until Poja drew out his swords and asked, “What are you doing here?” 

“Looking for mud puddles,” Pin replied honestly, “What are you doing?” 

“Hunting,” Poja lied. 

“Found anything?” asked Pin.

“No,” Pojo replied, embarrassed. 

“Do you need help?” Pin asked helpfully. 

“Sure,” replied Poja, “Need help finding mud puddles?” 

“Yeah, thanks!” said Pin. So, the two went off together searching for mud puddles and food, but they didn’t find either. Instead, they found the most horrifying thing you will ever see in your life.

To Be Continued… 

Cadence Virostko

The Life of Stuffed Animals

I know what you’re thinking: stuffed animals are just, well, stuffed animals! They smell like scented oil, nobody knows if they actually talk, can be “created” in any shape, all feel different, but most are fluffy, and yes, they taste like cotton. We all know they exist, but… The government has a top secret classified case proving that they are mythological creatures! If you don’t believe they CAN move on their own and that they ARE mythological creatures, take a trip to StuffedAnimalLand.

This does sound very real (it is), but the residents aren’t the people you’d expect… They’re stuffed animals! The entrance is very small so that only stuffed animals can get in and out. During the day, the stuffed animals lie still and motionless so that nobody comes to see them, but at night, they get on the party bus, which is as small as an ant (but can grow to any size) and is very fast. When they arrive at StuffedAnimalLand, they hop off and start partying! From classic music to arcades to watching fireworks, anything is possible—except when the monsters come. These tiny creatures come crawling through the entrance and are so fast, the gates can’t even close on them! Ants can crawl very fast, and even though they are harmless to stuffed animals, they can get very annoying. The stuffed animals have tried building a cage for the ants, but it’s no good. 

One day, an old and wise stuffed animal saw his owner looking up, “How do you repel ants?” The answer was vinegar mixed with water. Back at StuffedAnimalLand, the stuffed animals stirred up vinegar and water. This made something that smelled like oil. They all wore some so that ants wouldn’t attack them, and they put a container of the mixture in front of the entrance. Later that night, no ants arrived. The kings and queens of StuffedAnimalLand presented the highest civilian medal to the old stuffed animal that saved them: the Palm Stuffed Award! The wise stuffed animal was soon famous, and he was celebrated with fireworks! This is why stuffed animals smell the way they do.

Kunal Khandhar

The Hydra

The Hydra looks like a big dragon with no wings and with nine heads. Hydras live in the swamp. They feel like snakes, smell like garbage, and are considered a rare delicacy that tastes like beef, buttered and salted, to lizards, deer, and giant gorillas 500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 feet high and 500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons. The hydra desires another battle with Heracles, fears the giant gorilla, and needs a lot of meat—500,000,000, pounds to be accurate. The Hydra’s swamp affects its desires, needs, and fears because the swamp makes a good hiding place for the Hydra to hide from giant gorillas. Plus, sometimes the Hydra gets to nab some meat from the gorilla’s kills, and the Hydra thinks that Heracles will come back to fight him. The hydra attacks villages and mountains to strengthen up against Heracles. Beating Heracles is an honor to any Hydra and comes with the Alpha Hydra’s ultimate treasure and name of Heracles Slayer. If a Hydra kills one giant gorilla, it will become an Alpha Hydra. 

Ray Chen

The Phoenix

The Phoenix’s fiery feathers of bright red-orange and scarlet dance in the wind as it glides overhead. The majestic bird is calming, yet overwhelming. Though it will one day be consumed by the same fiery colors of itself, from its own ashes shall it emerge, more beautiful than ever before.

Samantha Rosson

Untitled

Jerry was a Truffle. Truffles are shapeshifters who will trick you into giving them food. Every day, Jerry would shapeshift into an old woman and ask for food on the street. But one day, his shapeshifting powers disappeared, so he had to find a new way to get food. He went to a nearby city and saw a restaurant and bought a sandwich. He saved a little bit to eat and went outside to catch a fly to put on the rest of the sandwich. Then, he went inside and said, “THE SANDWICH YOU GAVE ME HAD A FLY IN IT. GIMME A REFUND!!!” The restaurant had no choice but to give Jerry a couple of bucks back. And now, every day, Jerry goes around the world looking for new restaurants to give him that sweet, sweet food.

Tiffany Su

Badgerdog Session B: Flash Fiction (7th-12th grade)

Flash fiction is a genre that seems, at first, to belong to the Internet Age—vivid, compact little stories, the perfect fit for (a cynic might say) the contemporary short attention span. But look more closely and you’ll realize that flash is as old as storytelling itself. Aesop’s fables are flash fiction; creation stories and folktales from around the world, with their brevity, quick characterization, and supernatural elements are flash fiction

This group of campers was working, then, in a form both ancient and cutting edge, one with many challenges and endless possibilities. Thankfully, this was a bright and adventurous bunch—readily engaging with works by Italo Calvino, George Saunders, and Lydia Davis, creating small stories alternately rooted in emotional memory and floating electric across the technicolor horizon of imagination.  I’m so honored to present this collection of moving, vivid, funny, beautifully wrought pieces of flash fiction, all by young writers whose names you’d be wrong not to mark in your memory.

Ali Riegel
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Desertum

Desertum was the worst sort of place to live. It was vast, but only a fool could mistake that for a good thing. No one had ever lived to tell us what lay beyond our town and the endless sand, and we never dared to go too far for fear of what lay beyond. The openness taunted us, reminding us of what we could never have. 

Our town was clustered around the center where the hospital, school, and market were, if you could even call them that. The school only had a few classes, one for each age group, and the hospital consisted of three doctors. From there, homes spread out all relatively close together. We always worked, even the kids, but no one complained, knowing we had to get food for the market and water from the oasis in order to survive. We were content enough, despite the sun in our eyes and sand caked between our toes. We were like one huge family, everyone playing their part to put food on the table because if we didn’t work collectively, we wouldn’t stand a chance against the desert, our enemy. 

In a way, we were just zombies. We did the same things continuously, working in the sweltering heat and sleeping restlessly in the frigid air. We were forced to grow up too quickly, forced to learn the art of survival at too young an age. 

I was only five when I had to start collecting water, and the tasks piled on as I grew older. By the time I went to sleep at night, my palms were lined with calluses and blisters, my bones ached, and exhaustion coursed through me. Still, the bitter winds kept me awake at night, only making the next day’s job harder. 

Long ago, there was hope. Desertum would send out small search parties to scout out what lay beyond. We awaited the return of the fearless pioneers in giddy anticipation, but all hope quickly vanished when they either never returned or came back crazy and nearly dead, unable to tell us anything about what they saw. 

So Desertum gave up. There was no changing our fate; we would live and die in this pathetic town, and everyone had come to accept it. And yet, I wouldn’t believe that there was nothing out there, nothing to aspire for. Mom told me I was always a strong-willed child, always demanding things. Well, now I demanded answers. I couldn’t resign myself to the same fate as the town, the same pitiful life. Despite the warnings, despite the proof that nothing good would come of leaving, I had to. Desertum had nothing for me. I had heard stories of the outside world, and I had ambitions.

So it was in the dead of night that I stared at the vast and open desert, stars lighting a path past the cacti and windswept sand, lighting the way to a better future, a place where the vastness wasn’t taunting but welcoming.

Hannah McDonough

The Old Man at the River

There’s an old man on the bench, shuffled over to its left side. He has a loaf of bread in his left hand and a black cane lying by his feet. He’s staring wistfully out at the river and he almost looks sad, like he’s crying.

People never notice him sitting on his yellow bench, but Emery does. They can spot him from the other side of the river. With his flock of ducks gathered around snapping at the bread he tosses. Emery notices him every day and always stops to watch. 

The right side of the bench has space but he doesn’t place his stuff there, like he’s waiting for someone. Someone Emery has never seen, someone who will probably never join him. He looks content still, despite the longing stare. Sometimes a duck will crowd his feet and he’ll smile slowly and reach out with his knobbly fingers to feed the courageous little guy, while the others remain timid, further away. 

Emery walks over the bridge at the center of the river and heads shyly towards the old man, the dirt and rocks beneath their feet crunch and crackle with each step. The man doesn’t turn and Emery observes him a little more. He has dark brown skin, stretched and sagging, wrinkles around his cheeks, hearing aids in his ears and blue-rimmed glasses. 

Then his eyes turn to Emery and they look like tiger iron gems. He stretches his right arm out and Emery can almost hear his joints creaking as he pats the right side of the bench and turns away. Emery sucks in a breath and walks slowly to the bench and sits down. The yellow paint is peeling off to reveal black beneath.

The man hands Emery a piece of bread and returns his gaze to the little black and brown ducks and their hungry orange beaks. So Emery stays and sits with him, never speaking, but they return the next day and the next and the next again.

It’s a nice routine to follow for those months until it inevitably comes to an end, the day Emery shows up and the man is not there. His sharp tiger iron eyes aren’t there to glance at Emery and hand them a piece of bread like usual. He doesn’t return the next day or the next and Emery brings a loaf of bread to feed the ducks alone but it’s not the same. It doesn’t bring them any calm delight, just a sense of curiosity mixed with nostalgia. Emery will never say it out loud but they have a sinking thought that they understand what happened. 

Emery doesn’t ever sit on the peeling yellow bench again but they miss it and when the bench is removed and ripped carelessly from the ground Emery silently cries for the chance to have one more day feeding ducks with the old man at the river. 

Lexy Hall

{ Main.Test.I(“Cats”, 0, 3, “CONNECT”);} catch (HEHEHE) {  console.error(HEHEHE);}

This underwater metropolis,{ Main.Test.I(“Cats”, 0, 3, “CONNECT”);} catch (HEHEHE) {  console.error(HEHEHE);}, is a bustling place, though a little mysterious. The entire place seems to move around in the ocean and nobody knows if it will suddenly flood with water. This place, at first, seems to be self-sufficient, but actually relies a lot on trade—which is difficult, since the city is invisible to outsiders (they have machines to help with that, though).

Joe Delaca was an adventurous kid who lived in the city center. He first saw that something was off when he was visiting his grandmother, Olala Delaca, in the hospital, where she was recovering from when her submarine spontaneously combusted with her inside. When he was exiting the hospital he grabbed a free newspaper off a stand at the door. The headline read: Proposal to Rename City Dismissed as Being Too Crazy! The headline was not the thing that caught Joe’s eye, though, but a story below it. The story read that the number of mysterious submarine incidents (including Olala’s) had increased dramatically in recent days. The story below read about how a third prosecutor in the city’s Investigative Board had suddenly quit, but Joe was not interested at that time.

The Lssklndl’skdjs Faction was a mysterious organization. Few people knew its goals and most people did not know how much clout it had. The next day, Joe was walking along when he stumbled across a suspicious folder that fell on the ground by pure luck. It said: Lssklndl’skdjs Faction: Top Secret. He picked it up and continued on his way. 

When he gave it to his father, Lelodo Delaca, Lelodo asked “Where did you get this?” 

Joe replied, “Found it on the street.” 

Lelodo immediately saw that these documents were highly incriminating, and they had to get them to the Investigative Board center ASAP.

There was one problem. When they turned on the news, it said that the Investigative Board center had been blocked because a massive pile of rubble had been dumped in front of the building. Joe and Lelodo were convinced the Lssklndl’skdjs Faction was behind it to prevent their lost documents from being turned in.

Suddenly Joe’s Father remembered that there was a back door to the building! They soon rushed there and found the back door. They delivered the tip and went home. The next day, they saw in the news that the documents had uncovered a massive conspiracy—the Lssklndl’skdjs Faction had been trying to seize power. The prosecutor was quitting because of a harassment campaign by the Lssklndl’skdjs Faction, since she was launching an investigation into their activities. The submarine attacks were targeting leaders who publicly opposed the Lssklndl’skdjs’s ideology, but they had also attacked random submarines (such as Olala’s) to draw away suspicion. After further investigation, it was found that Joe and Lelodo’s hunch was right: the Lssklndl’skdjs Faction was also behind the Rubble Incident.

Michael Wu

Story of a Broken Snowman

“Goodbye everyone!” 

I was waving everyone goodbye to the past year’s Christmas in 2019. I carefully put away my snowmen family (which were glass). I placed them in the closet. A few days later, I heard a huge thump inside the closet. I looked around to see if anyone had heard, but the whole house was asleep except for me. 

The next year, there wasn’t any party because of Covid. I opened the box to find one of the snowmen’s heads split in half. I glued it back on, and when I went to sleep that day, I heard a crack. I woke up and saw that the glue had failed to hold one half of the snowman’s head. The other half of the head had fallen onto the tile and shattered into many smaller pieces—the snowman’s head would remain forever broken.

Ryan Juramongkol