It takes courage to explore the darker side of life. Then again, it takes courage to be a writer—to try and shape the words, to pinpoint meaning, to explore the parts of life we don’t understand or always want to look at. But in this week’s Unbound selection, a young writer at Creedmoor Elementary School demonstrates both kinds of courage. Her poem, “Black,” is proof of Samantha’s ability to embrace herself as a writer, to explore the darker side of things, and unearth the hidden beauty she finds there.

Black looks like a black rose.
Black is a dress at a funeral
Or an old rock.
Black looks like your eyelashes.
Black sounds like a little girl crying
Or a dark laugh.
Black sounds like a moaning ghost
Black tastes sour
Like licorice
Or burnt coal.
Black smells smoky
Or spoiled.
Black feels like the cold and damp air.
Black makes me feel comfortable
When I watch a horror movie.

Samantha, fourth grade, Creedmoor Elementary School


Creedmoor Elementary School

This week, we celebrate the work of twenty-two young writers at Creedmoor Elementary School in Del Valle ISD. In just three short weeks with Badgerdog writer Cara Zimmer this summer, these writers churned out a trove of amazing prose. The collection that follows is a testament to their creativity.

To a Muddy Dog Born in Mudland in 2010

—after Billy Collins’s “To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now”

Dear Muddy Dog,

Nobody likes muddy dogs because they smell.
But everybody likes fluffy, clean dogs.
Dogs feel nasty when they are muddy and have dry mud on them.
Oh, clean dogs smell like watermelon!
I bet if you take a shower you’ll feel better and prettier.
You don’t have to be scared of water.

Jonathan L., fourth grade

Robot Monkey

Robot Monkey will be born in California in the United States nineteen-hundred years in the future, so so so far from here. He will leave California and go to Africa, and he will think he an trick the people, but they’ll know he’s a Robot Monkey. They’ll make him a metal banana, and he’ll eat it all. Then he’ll go to Antarctica and makes a cave, and some people will make a Robot Girl Monkey and make her Baby Robot Monkeys. They’ll grow many months and days. The Robot Monkey and Robot Girl Monkey and their children will live happily ever after.

Jesus H., fourth grade

The Hurricane Weekend

One day it was sunny. The other day it was too windy, too rainy. The road was cracking and the houses were destroyed. Some houses had holes in their roofs. The houses and the people were scared of the hurricane. People were running because the hurricane was there. Trees were falling down. The hurricane destroyed all the places.

Maria T., fourth grade

The Confused Tatoo

Well, this is an awkward story for some people.

My name is David, and I want to tell you my story. When I was a teenager, I saw a man come out of a tattoo shop with a snake on his arm. I said to him, “How much did that cost?” and he said, “About $100. Or maybe more. But the man gives discounts on some tattoos.”

I said I’d go get one, but my wife wouldn’t let me because one of her friends had gotten a tattoo, and the man who drew the tattoo didn’t switch the needle, and the girl died of a disease. Then I thought, I could get one on my back so she won’t see it.

The next day, I got a beautiful tattoo, but when I woke up the next morning, the tattoo was deformed! Now it was a triangle, and when I took off my shirt, my wife saw it and got mad.

Alejandra E., fourth grade

The Banana Split Taco

I am a banana split. Wait! I am a taco. I want to know what I really am. Am I a taco or a banana split?

Wait! I am a banana split taco because I am a banana split inside a taco. I have finally discovered what I am!

My banana split body has chocolate ice cream on the bottom and a baby banana, then ice cream with chocolate sauce and a cherry on top. My taco body has a bunch of meat, lettuce, tomato, onion, and hot sauce.

Alondra C., fourth grade

Watermelon Island

One day, I was going to school. As I was about to open the door, my friend came and touched my backpack, so I looked at her. She was smiling, and I said, “Why are you smiling?”

“Because I’m going to Watermelon Island,” she said.

“Okay,” I said. I had to go to my classroom. If I was late, my teacher Miss Cara was going to get mad.

But my friend said, “Wait! I have to ask you if you want to go to Watermelon Island!”

“Yes!” I said.

So I left school and asked my mom if I could go to Watermelon Island, and she said yes.

So I went to my room to get my things ready, and my friend said, “Are you ready?” I said yes, and she picked me up. But I forgot my things! So I had to call my mom.

Ana T., fourth grade

To a Crazy Robot Born on a Planet in the Future

—after Billy Collins’s “To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now”

Nobody likes a Martian.
But everyone likes a robot.
I want to build a robot.
Oh, my dog pooped and peed on my robot!
I bet nobody there fights Martians.
I bet everybody lets the Martians leave the robot planet alone.

Colby S., fourth grade

Strawberry Lipstick

The strawberry lipstick smells like strawberry. When I put it on, I smell fantastic. It has a lot of colors in it. It makes my lips shine. It can make anyone shine. I put it on when I go to a restaurant.

Darlene M., fourth grade

To My Sister Born in Beans World 100 Years Ago

—after Billy Collins’s “To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now”

Nobody here likes a toilet.
But everyone likes beans that look like brown ovals with a dot on the bottom.
I wish everybody liked beans.
I bet nobody there likes paper.
I bet everybody there likes beans.

Elmer C., fourth grade

Robot Taco

Robot Taco makes tacos so good. Everybody eats them because they are good. He is almost famous—everybody talks about Robot Taco.

The thing that makes the tacos so good is that he puts salsa on them, and everybody likes it.

Ilsa R., fourth grade

The Creepy Day

Walking down a hall, I saw my mom with a bomb, and I saw my dad with a big straw. I saw a dog with a big jaw. I saw my mom with a bigger bomb. I saw a crayon bigger than my finger. I went to the park and saw a snake on a baby.

J.C. A., fourth grade

The Slimy Taco

The slimy taco is so slimy because someone stepped on her. She said, “Watch out bad, bad, bad, bad man!” She was walking, and she fell and she cracked her nose and everybody laughed. She was bleeding a lot. Nobody wanted to be her friend because she is nasty.

Jailinne R., fourth grade

The Romantic Lipstick

The romantic lipstick is always relaxing, but sometimes I put it on my lips, and sometimes my lips feel romantic. It smells like a rose, and it’s clear white, and when I put it on, my lips look bright.

Jasmin B., fourth grade

Piña Colada Lipstick

The piña colada lipstick smells good. When I put it on my lips, it smells like coco, and it looks like colada. My cousin always asks me for it, and I say yes. It looks white on my lips.

Jennifer V., fourth grade

Playing Basketball

I like basketball because I like to play. How should I play basketball to win points? To throw: you’ll get 1 point. To dunk: you’ll get 2 points. And that’s all you get points for. Playin’ basketball is so much fun for me.

Jesus D., fourth grade

The Missing Gorilla

There was a missing gorilla. He was going crazy and attacking cars. He was attacking people, too. The gorilla wanted to have a delicious meal, but he couldn’t get any food because everyone was running away because they were scared. That’s why he started attacking everyone. Nobody likes missing gorillas because they go crazy and hurt people for no reason.

The missing gorilla was breaking windows and buildings. He was killing people, but Joseph (that’s me) was brave and took the gorilla down to his cage and put on extra locks.

Joseph L., fourth grade


I am Texas.
I am a lion.
I am a tiger.
I am a lily pad.
I am a phone.
I am a pillow.
I am a blanket.
I am a dolphin.
I am a state.
I am a Badgerdog.

Katrinah P., fourth grade

To a Nurple in the Past in Australia

—after Billy Collins’s “To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now”

There was once a family in Australia named the Nurple family. I’m from the future, and I need your help to stop wars. They’ve started and they never end. Please help.

Your friend,

Larisa H., fourth grade

Goldie Dog

Once there was a farm that had a lot of animals who liked living on the farm. Then one day, the farmer bought a dog, and one night the dog had babies. Soon the farm fell down because it was old, and all the animals died. But there was a girl who found a puppy who survived when the farm fell down. So the girl took the puppy home, and her mom asked, “Where did you get that puppy?”

The little girl, Ilsa, told her, “I got the dog from the farm. It was in a pile of hay when the farm fell down.”

Then her mom said, “Well, I guess we could keep the puppy.”

Ilsa got to keep the puppy. She named her Goldie. She lived happy forever and ever with her puppy.

Lesley R., fourth grade

To a Cup of Chocolate

—after Billy Collins’s “To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now”

Nobody here likes a big scary monster.

But everyone likes chocolate.

I love chocolate. It is delicious and yummy.

Oh how much I love chocolate!

I bet nobody there likes a huge chunk of chocolate. Your mouth gets very sticky. That’s why I don’t like a chunk of chocolate. But I still love chocolate.

I bet everybody likes chocolate bars.

These are the chocolate bar’s friends: milk, Hershey’s, a cup of sugar.

Olivia C., fourth grade

To a Tumbleweed Blown in Flower Dust in Only Two Days

—after Billy Collins’s “To a Stranger Born in Some Distant Country Hundreds of Years from Now”

Nobody likes to fly, but one tumbleweed wants to fly. I just bet she would love to fly with all her heart! Oh, it would be a heartbreak if she didn’t get to fly! I bet nobody there would believe it if they looked closely. Everybody would want to fly. They would also ask a lot of questions, like, How did you make those wings? When did you make the wings? How do they work? Can you make us some wings? And more!

In the end, everybody had wings. When they went to sleep, they had to take off their wings, but they didn’t want to.

And everyone lived happy forever.

Sabrina T., fourth grade

Watermelon Island

I have a Watermelon Island, and I sell it and Ana gets it. I have a Watermelon Island, and I am in the water and some people come to visit. And Miss Cara is on Watermelon Island. And there are pictures of dogs and cats and cows on Watermelon Island.

Yuana S., fourth grade

Simply Put

This week’s selection for Badgerblog comes from Jose of Creedmoor Elementary School, and it shows you don’t have to write a hundred words to make a good point. Furthermore, sometimes the nicest, simplest things are the things that need to be said the loudest. Of course, our Badgerdogs work hard year-round to make sure their voices get heard, but what Jose captures in his poem is the drive behind all that wonderful hard work: Fun!

Blackie and Milo

you are so fun
you are soft as a bun
you look like a light
you are always in my sight
you shine like the sun

Jose, fourth grade, Creedmoor Elementary School

My Hot Ride

It was boiling outside one day when I decided to take a drive. I got in the car, and I turned it on and put on the air conditioner. It made my hair flow. I started to drive, and at first I went a little slow, then a little faster.

When I went faster, I rolled down the window. The air outside made my hair go wild like when you sleep on an ant pile.

As I went faster, my hair got crazier than ever. I went so fast I had to drive in a zigzag because of the other cars.

When I came to an empty road, I went faster than a jackrabbit on a rollercoaster.

Magdalena, fourth grade, Creedmoor Elementary School