Hornsby Elementary

These enthusiastic writers met every Tuesday after school at Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary. We spent the first part of every workshop discussing their days. Our conversations sparked ideas and uncontrollable laughter. We quickly became a team of investigators, a close-knit group of friends, and we relied on each other for positive feedback to the stories we shared. These kids wanted to write; many times, they began writing before the lesson. While they wrote, I read them children’s poems from various anthologies. They were completely intrigued and never stopped asking questions. They were silly and serious. May their brilliant work inspire you to pick up a pen and write your own story!

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

At Nighttime


I have two big wings that are purple and clean. When it is nighttime, I come. I touch white, shiny things that everybody has. I sneak inside little cracks so I can go inside the room. I bring a pouch of magical dust, just in case they wake up. I bring gloves and shrinking dust, so I can fit under a big, fluffy thing. I smell drool dripping from the person’s mouth. I see a room full of toys and other things. I hear snoring louder than a wolf howling, and it woke up the whole neighborhood. I taste toothpaste that is bubble-gum scented. I hope I will get through the night with nothing happening. I dream that my wings have glitter on them. I love how I collect shiny, white things, and when they fall out, you get money. When I fly back to work at 6:00am, I fly high in the sky. But when I fly high, bird poop falls on my black, glittery hair. Now I have to put on extra conditioner.

Can you guess what I am?

Ta’ Naeja Shontae Bradshaw



Family is annoying
Like a cat wanting food
Stupid like a goldfish going into a wall
Hungry like a dog fierce for food
Loud like a screaming goat
But… we still love them no matter what
My sister is like a yelling goat, but I still love her
My brother is like a wailing whale
And my baby brother, like a little monkey jumping everywhere
But I still love them
Mom and Dad are intelligent like dolphins

Legacy Davis

The Hurt


It was when I got to the hospital; but first, let’s rewind four hours.

I was on a plane back to my state, and when we were going to our Uber I fell and my tongue was split in the middle. When we were on our way to the hospital, I was saying my lucky number: three. Then we got to the hospital, and I forgot most of it, but all I remember is that they removed my tongue from my mouth. To get it out, they had to remove most of my teeth. There were things I couldn’t do: I couldn’t taste, I couldn’t bite, and I couldn’t eat. Most of the things we had in our house were bad for me.

This year, they are making a fake tongue just for me. I will get it next week. After this, I was so freaked out to get in an Uber. From now on, we are going to have one of our family members come pick us up. It doesn’t matter if it’s five hours away or if they live far away. They will come to pick us up, all because of me. I never want to get on a plane or in an Uber ever, ever again. I don’t know when I’m going to overcome my fear of Ubers and airplanes. So now, when I want to travel, I am going to drive unless I don’t feel like driving anymore.

Allizon Estrada

The Best Day of My Life


I went to the casino and played, but I had one more coin, so I kept it. Then I went to a farm in Austin and bought a pig. I went to bed.

The next day I took a shower and cleaned my ears with a Q-tip and went to the beach. I swam and played. I saw a clam and took it to my house.

Those two days were the best days of my life.

Joseph Martinez

Mystery Animal


I fly at night, so mysterious,
sometimes with fright.
I spread my wings
and I’m ready to take flight!
I go only in the night,
it’s better than light.
I only sleep in the day,
not night.
I’m blind all day,
but can see clearly in the dark.
With my sharp teeth to eat,
now is the time I hate.
I have to go to sleep.
Now I hope I’m not late!

Debra Onsurez



silence all the laughter
everyone has gone
leave me here
let life roll along
shut out the light
I don’t wish you to see
this empty existence
now en-capturing me
close all the doors
let no one in
the person you knew
is no longer me
lock all the windows
make this my cell
the dark is my prison
my living cell
block out these sounds
let life roll along
I can still hear
but it’s not my song

Kallia Rogers

Bad Things


What if people were flat?
What if horses could fly?
What if Woody was a horse?
What if your teeth were peanuts?
What if teeth took over the whole world?
What if your face was a spider?
What if you rode a rat across the state?
What if you did not brush your teeth in 1,000 years?
What if your tongue fell off?
All of these things would affect your life…
What would you do if you had one of these problems?

Caydence Scott



I am the violet fox
I help animals
And stop pollution
I got bit by a fox and
I’ve never been the same since
I have purple hair and a fox costume, but
Shhh! No one can know
I have a sidekick
Her name is Crimson Cat
(Don’t ask)

Dax Young


Call to the Sun

The Hornsby-Dunlap Poet Heroes gathered every Wednesday after school to share life stories and build friendships. We explored the lives of authors: Shel Silverstein, Billy Collins, and Langston Hughes; we used sensory details to write about our grandmothers and we practiced limericks, similes, and symbolism. We played imaginative games to practice identifying nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Each week, we were thrilled to see each other and sad to leave. A few parents expressed to me their surprise that their children could be so excited about poetry!

Poetry allows us to express ourselves in a way unique to and distinct from any other art form. Lara writes in her poem, “Oh, how the rain is driving me insane!” William writes, “With all this light, now I see the true meaning of life.” When we offer positive feedback and encouragement, we see our fellow writers take flight. As Danika writes, “‘You can fly?’ asked the mama. ‘Yes, I can,’ said baby bird.” There is no greater joy than witnessing a group of elementary students discovering their own potential, being supportive of each other, and having the courage to share their original works. I think once you read these wise and hilarious pieces, you will all feel like Samuel, “I am happy as a butterfly in the air.”

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Light

I am running, fast as a bird,
running fast as I can.
I can see the floor disappearing
behind me.
The darkness is coming
fast, quite fast.
I avoid all things in front of me,
all obstacles, all stops, all problems.
I can see the door of light,
but am I fast enough? Can I make it?
The darkness is right behind me.
I make a leap for the door,
and the floor under me turns into
thin air.
I grab onto the edge of the door.
I look down and see dark, dark, dark despair.
I pull myself up, then something grabs
on to my leg.
I turn over and see a
dark, decaying, evil silhouette of myself.
It tries to pull me down, but I say,
“Not this time!” as I kicked it off.
I pull myself into the doorway.
With all this light, now I see the
true meaning of life.

William Maldonado

Run to the Sun

A bright bird had a run to the sun.
The bird always believed he could touch the sun.
As he soared by the trees.
He thought he was getting closer to the sun.
Birds watched as he flew faster than any bird in the world.
He looked back for a second, then — smash!
Straight into a tree.
Down, down, down he went.
Plopped on the ground.
Next, the mama bird flew to him and said,
“You’ll get there some day, so keep trying.”
He smiled and flew back to his nest.

William Maldonado


A flower is like
a bower on stage
I am happy as
a butterfly in the air

I am crazy like
a bull
when I am outside
I’m sweet like
a bird

Samuel Ojeda


My dream is to become a skater
and to overcome my fears.
I have crazy dreams.

In one of them, I was playing
then I jumped off a tree to the ground.
In another one, I jumped to the playground bar.
I tried to jump, but my legs
were frozen.

They couldn’t move because I was scared.
My body was ready, but my legs
were not.

Samuel Ojeda

The Rain

Oh, how I hate the rain.
It is such a pain.
I want to go to the shore.
But my mom said, “No go… Snore
Oh, how the rain is driving me insane!

Lara Kefeli

The Pig and the Ram

Once upon a time, there was a tooth. It was in a ram’s mouth. It always said, “Get me out of here!”

But the ram was too smart. One day, a pig came over, and he was smooth and squishy. He said, “Knock your tooth out!”

The ram said, “I thought you were on my team, best friend.”

Pig said, “Just for once, listen to me, please!”

“No!” said the ram.

The tooth giggled.


The next night, the tooth and the pig talked while the ram was asleep. The pig punched the tooth out. The ram woke up the next morning and saw the pig dead, lying on the floor. He was shocked! He looked on the TV and saw the tooth was the king! The tooth called himself Donald Rump! The ram got mad and jumped into action. He looked on the Internet and saw that there was a special potion that had been in a cave for millions and millions of years. Seventy-three people have tried to find it, but they either starved to death or got eaten or even died from being scared.

The ram never gives up, so he got a bag with a toothbrush and mint, a pack of smiley face stickers, and other random stuff. He set off and saw a huge monster-like creature. It had a clown face and a hairy body. He was blubbery and see-through. You could see his bones. The ram said, “Do you have a problem? I could help.”

“Yes,” said the monster, “give me a toothbrush!”

“OK,” said the ram. The ram gave him his toothbrush. Then he saw an even scarier monster! It had a smell that could kill someone! The ram said, “Do you want a mint?”

The monster said, “Yes!”

Then, he walked for days. He kept walking past monsters. One ate his leg off! He finally saw the potion, ran back, and gave it to the pig. The pig saw Donald Rump (the tooth) and together they put the tooth in jail. Then the pig and the ram ruled the world! They only ruled because of the ram.

“That was a happy ending.” said the ram.

“Well, for us!” said the pig.

Lara Kefeli

A Girl

There was a girl before
That we all ignore
The thing that she bought
She always brought
She was kinda poor

Danika Siv

The Always Ending Story

Once upon a time, a zebra was lying on the floor. Then a giant ant came and was nibbling everything in the city. He even bit the zebra king! “Ahhhh!” the zebra king yelled.

Then, the magical tongue got out of Jerry’s mouth and said, “I will save the city!” She ran for miles trying to find the crime. Finally, she found the screaming. “The time has come, tata,” she said. “Tongue versus ant!”

The tongue took a gigantic lick. The ant took a little nibble. The tongue yelled, “Ahhhh! That’s it! I’m taking you down whether you like it or not!”

The ant hissed at the tongue. The tongue used the taste bud slap. The ant now had terrible vision because of all that goop. Then the ant just walked right on top of the tongue. The tongue said, “I’ll eat you today then!”

By the time he ate the ant, the tongue had six bites and the ant was long gone.

He was never seen again.

Danika Siv

The Bird

Once upon a time, a bird was stuck on a bunch of little sticks. The bird was wondering where its mama was. The bird was very scared. The bird searched and waited for food. All you saw was a colorful bird behind her. The little bird was wondering, Is that my mama?

Then the big bird walked around and was waiting for a huge hug. Instead, the bird hesitated. The big bird was just waiting until she got tired. The big bird was very happy to see her little bird. She gave her baby bird a big surprise — some living worms that were pre-chewed. The baby bird was grateful and said hello to the big bird. Then the big bird had to live with the baby bird. She asked, “What is a surprise?” The baby bird thought until her brain got an idea. I might have a sibling, the baby bird thought.

So, she trained to fly. After a few days of training, she could fly. She spotted her mama. She flew faster than ever. She saw many eggs that still weren’t cracked. The mama bird was happier than anyone in the world!

“You can fly?” asked the mama.

“Yes, I can,” said baby bird.

She flew with her mama everywhere she went. After days and days of waiting, the eggs finally hatched. The mama was so happy, they found the dad, and the family was completed.

Danika Siv

A Brighter Fate

We all know the horrible fate of Gregor Samsa in Kafka’s Metamorphosis—he wakes up one morning to find he’s been transformed into a cockroach. As the story unfolds, we watch as poor Gregor’s family responds with disgust, and Gregor becomes alienated from the only life he’s ever known.

But in this week’s Unbound, Kafka’s chilling tale takes a brighter turn. Rather than waking up as a beetle, our protagonist finds herself in the body of a more endearing bug. And her family seems more accepting of her than Gregor’s does of him. Congratulations to Amy on this charming revision of a classic tale!

My Day as a Ladybug

When I woke up, I felt like a round circle. I was trying to walk, and I fell on my stomach. I had tiny, diminutive legs. I went to the mirror to look at myself, and I was a ladybug.

At breakfast, my mom freaked out and blurted, “What happened?”

“I don’t know!” I said. “I just turned into a ladybug.”

My sisters yelled, “She is so cute and chubby!”

I said, “Thank you. Thank you very much.”

Amy, fourth grade, Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School

Pure Joy

Whether or not you’re enjoying the fruits of Spring Break, this poem will make you think you’re on vacation. Have you noticed the gorgeous weather this week? Doesn’t matter—this poem will send the cool breeze wafting through your door. Planning to wander the streets of Austin for a parade of music? Either way, this poem offers a taste of the sound, rhythm, and spirit generated by thousands of instruments strewn across the city. What we mean to say is this week’s poem authored by Crystal, a fourth-grade writer at Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School, is an enactment of sheer delight and whimsy. We’re so happy to share it with you.

Happy Days

sunlight daises on my face
try to tickle me with a shoelace
on the green, soft grass
lying down in a gentle place
soft wind
lays a tiny touch on my face
sleeping with no shoes on
I guess that makes me wild
dancing to smooth jazz music
with a touch of pop, too
warm rose petals flow around my hot tub
with candles the smell of honey glaze
kisses on my cheek
surrounded by lots of cozy love
too bad I was dreaming
what a happy feeling

Crystal, fourth grade, Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School


It’s that special time in Texas, one of those brief cool spells that pop up between our singular season—summer. In keeping with this welcome transition from hot to not-so-hot, our featured Badgerdog writer extols the virtues of the cooler weather and the season known in other parts of the world as winter. Please enjoy Montanique’s gorgeous poem—it sings with images that capture the cold, just as it beautifully warms our hearts.

Winter I love
Dead trees
Turn green in the spring
Snow drops on the palm
Of my hand
Christmas lights switch colors
Back and forth hanging from the cold roof
Mittens keep me warm outside
When I am about to throw a snowball
Marshmallows and hot chocolate
Make me happy inside my stomach

Montanique, fourth grade, Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School

Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School

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

My Brother’s Hair

My brother’s hair is like a porcupine on his head. My brother’s hair goes straight up, and he has a big head like a planet. He always puts gel in his hair to make it spiky. My mom’s hair is flat like paper. My hair sticks up. My dad’s hair is curly, and he pulls it to the back of his head. My hair is soft when it’s dry. My brother’s hair pokes me.

Victor T.

Crazy Hair

Me and my family have crazy hair. My mom has straight hair, like a floor. My dad’s hair looks like a bouncy ball. My sister’s hair looks like a rattle snake. My brother’s hair looks like Frankenstein hair. My dog’s fur looks like a muddy puddle. My hair looks like a dead rattle snake, too.

Alicia S.

The Shell Ship

I am a predator in space. The stars are far away like little holes in a black piece of paper. There’s a swirling black hole. Me and my ship better get out of here. Away! We made it to this planet. I must destroy the two moons.

Nicholas D.

Amy with the Hats

Amy had a hat. She had different kinds of hats. First, she put on a straw hat, and her long brown hair got stuck. She imagined herself on a safari helping sick animals. Next, she put on her farmer’s hat and imagined her life as a farmer. She imagines planting vegetables and working hard. Later, Amy put on a sailor’s hat. She loves being a sailor because she loves the sea and she can be on a boat. Amy loved having her imaginary hats of life.

Mayra R.


My brother’s hands are like five medium sticks. My sister’s hand is normal, like a monkey hand. My hands are like little dog paws. My hands are nice with wonderful nails. They’re perfect. My dad’s hands are perfect, too. My cousin’s hands are small. My baby cousin has hands like bright little stars.

Alex L.

Different Types of Shoes

Almost everybody in my family likes different types of shoes. My dad likes Nikes; when he runs with them his shoes look like green chameleons running for their lives. My mom likes Sketchers for running. She runs like a cheetah. My brother likes soccer shoes. Whenever he’s running with them he looks like he’s in the middle of a soccer game. My sister likes Sketchers—the twinkle toes, the ones that light up. Whenever she runs with them, she looks like she has super powers. I like Converse. Whenever I run, it looks like I’m a star shining. And finally, my puppy: he doesn’t wear shoes. He’s just fat and sleepy. He looks like a puffball.

Yessenia S.


There was a lady who had a hat. It was quite old; there were rips and gaps. The lady had brown eyes and orange shoes. She had a red shirt. One day a little girl said hello to her.

“But what happened to you?” the girl asked. The lady started to cry. “It was just a question,” the girl said. “Why are you crying?”

The lady said, “Long ago, I had a son. This was his hat. He died of cancer.” The little girl said, “I’m sorry, miss.”

“Why should you be sorry?” The lady asked. “Were you the reason he died? No, I didn’t think so. Look, can you leave me alone?”

The old lady never saw the girl again.

Carissa D.


My sister has a big mouth like a big kissing frog. When she has lip-gloss on, she comes and kisses me like a big kissing frog. She leaves me all covered with lip gloss. Then I have to go to the restroom to clean my cheek. When I get lip gloss and put it all over her, she gets mad, and I run outside and climb the tree where she cannot get me! Then I go inside to hide in my mom’s room!

Angelica T.

A Hare

My cousin is as sweet as kittens. She got a new hare at a store that was as scary as an owl’s big eyes looking straight at you. But when you went in, everything was as normal as a monkey eating a banana. She asked the owner why it was so scary. He said, “Because on Halloween I made the store scary, and for the first time nobody broke in, so I did it every evening!”

Ariana M.


My sister’s eyes are like a full moon. My brother is as loud as a monkey. My mom’s hair is as curly as a curly fry. My dad’s fingers are as hard as walls. My dog’s spots are as black as a cold night. My hair is so soft, like a cat’s fur.

Jazmin G.

The Five-Foot-Long Rat

One day I was in the attic when something moved. I thought it was a snake, but NO! It was a five-foot-long rat! I went to get the rat poison, but when I came back, the rat was gone. I didn’t know what to do. I was looking around when I saw some dirty cheese. I saw the rat hole: it was big, like a tarantula could fit through it. So I got some wood and nailed it over the hole. I left, and when I came back, the wood was not there! I was scared so I went upstairs and got my slingshot. When I got to the attic, I threw the cheese from my slingshot, and the cheese turned and tossed like peanut butter, and I saw the rat following my cheese. I got more cheese, and then I killed the rat at last. I touched it, and it was hard like a rock.

Jackson V.

Trinity’s Story

I have an orange eraser. But it’s not an ordinary eraser. It’s a microchip from the FBI and Law and Order, the TV show. It sees only black, white, and red. Its eyes are everywhere. The orange chip will peel, peel, and peel, and there will be lots of microchips. The orange eraser disguises itself as an orange eraser. Even when it splits, it comes back together as one. It can hear when people are coming, so it comes together to make one. Beware, people. Watch out for orange erasers, because you never know when they’re on. So beware. Peace.

Trinity M.

Mother’s Day Poem Card Contest Finalist

For our Spring Holiday Poem Card Contest and in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we asked our 170 Badgerdog writers to wax poetic about the women they call Mom. We received more than 120 poems celebrating the strength, wisdom, and beauty of mothers who sing songs and wash flip flops, mothers with skin so soft and eyes that shine in the sun, mothers who work too hard, and one mother, who, if she were an animal would be a cat. We’ve selected the three poems that moved us most with their artistry, insight, and vision, and we’ll be publishing these on the Badgerblog this week. On Wednesday, we’ll announce the winning poem, which will also be distributed in restaurants across the city, so if you’re taking mom to brunch on Sunday, you may find a beautiful piece of poetry—an ode to mothers—tucked inside your check.

Today we present one of our finalists, a poem from Adonis at Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School. With great honesty and humor, it celebrates the unconditional love mothers wield, and stern protection that flares up when we ask for too much. Congratulations, Adonis!

Motorcycle Mom

My mom always sticks with me.
I can always say I had the best birthday.
With her smooth hands, she pats me
___on the back when I can’t sleep.
I can remember her saying, “You, my son,
___you can be anything you want to be.”
I asked her, “Can I be a singer?” Yes!
“Can I own a motorcycle?”
She looked at me. “Are you serious?
___Come on. You want a motorcycle?
___Over my dead body.”

Adonis, third grade, Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School

Re-Make Yourself

With words, we can remake not only our experiences and memories, but our entire selves. We can re-sculpt and replace and give ourselves all the glory or absurdity we demand. This week’s Badgerblog selection invites us to do just that—to discard our usual appearances and revise ourselves however we choose. Many thanks to Brandon at Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary for reminding us that we are what we choose to become, and we can reinvent ourselves whenever we like.

Any Face

What’s the matter with the sun as your face?
And books as eyes?
And a nose made of dimes?

If you had the right to make your face,
What would your face have?
Would it be like mine?
Or different?

You decide what it will be
And if you don’t like it,
Make a new one.

Brandon, third grade, Hornsby-Dunlap Elementary School