Tag Archives: Magellan School

The 15 Radical Potato Renegades

18 Jul

The process of bringing a new poem or story into the world involves tuning into the senses and removing whatever stands in the way of a fresh perspective. These young writers came to camp every day with an attitude of openness and the willingness to dig deep to find the materials needed to accomplish such a task. These magicians of narrative and technicians of the rhythmic line have the ability to conjure images, characters, and worlds instantly, and the following poems and stories are a sample of what is possible when such experts of the imagination practice their art together and support each other. This collection is a constellation of worlds, where the depths and complexities of human desires, joys, and struggles may be rediscovered through these writers’ impulse toward curiosity and surprise.

Adam Edelman
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


Roach History

I come home from school
I see a big fat roach
slimy and juicy
crawling away faster than
Leo Bolt, the fastest man alive
a round sphere is thrown
into the circle of time
with the roach spinning
with it
this sphere is blue with
scribbles of green
384 – 322 B.C.
Aristotle thinks the Earth is
the center of the solar
system… he was wrong

in Aristotle’s room
there was a roach

both roaches looked
the same

which makes
both roaches the

same roach

Will Sharp


Tiffany and the Moon

Tiffany was sick of her house. She was sick of having a smaller room than Barbie, and her closet was only the size of an RV. She wanted somewhere to live where she would have more space than her sister.

One night, she was staring at the moon and it hit her. The moon had all the space she needed without anyone to share it with. She rushed inside and asked Barbie, “Can I have money to buy a rocket?” Barbie, being the selfish person she was, declined.

Tiffany was riding her bike home from school, sulking, when she noticed a closed bank. She walked to the door and took out the pocket hammer Ken had given her. She broke the glass and walked inside, stealing all the money. Then she opened the unlocked door into the empty street and rode away while the alarm blared behind her.

Tiffany rode all the way to the rocket store and bought the pinkest-looking rocket she could find. Too impatient to wait, she flew to the moon, the Earth fading behind her.

Several years later, she settled on the moon and relaxed but could not get the ringing of the alarm out of her head. It was everywhere. She looked at the pink rocket and, for the first time, she regretted what she had done.

Himanshi Malik


Song on Thanksgiving Dinner

– after Czeslaw Milosz’s “A Song on the End of the World”

At the beginning of dinner
The fresh, clear water enters the cups
Warm gravy spills onto the steaming mashed potatoes
Rasberry jam splats and spreads itself onto the heated toast
Salted, crisp potato chips pour onto fancy plates
Sliced sausages and beef tastes perfect with BBQ sauce
The wonderful aroma of turkey takes over the house
Finally, the hot, crisp turkey slices into layers
And peppers and salts itself
Cold, freezing vanilla and chocolate ice cream
Heaps onto plates in gigantic scoops
The meal ends and the children go outside to
Play in the warm light of the sun
While adults turn on the TV to watch football
Stars play their hardest
Everyone waits for the next Thanksgiving
Everyone hopes it will be as good as this one

Joseph Park



– after Dara Wier’s “She Thinks She Hung the Moon”

My head is a broken motor.
The same song plays on repeat.
My head is an endless ocean.
It has jumping monkeys that can fly.
And my heart is a dark abyss,
If all bad thoughts would vanish from the Earth.
My heart is an unfinished tale.
It has experienced the strangling of wind.
My head is a beatdown system
That wishes paper could come to life.
My hands are rolling pencils
That may reveal unknown voices.
My heart is a heavy drumbeat
That may cause dreams to contain reality.
If it has a lightning storm that brings joy,
My head is a burning cabin.
It creates shoes that run on their own.

Natasha Telang



All set to go outside, the sun pops up
The cats are ready to meow
Gleaming its rays on us, the sun is out
The people are moving their brushes across their dirty teeth
The cats are anticipating their first meal
The sun is a vivid bright orange and yellow
The sky, blue as a puppy’s eyes
Getting dressed, the hungry people eat their meals
The energetic cats are anxious to play
The sun and sky, ready to start the day

Athvait Manikanatan


Sunshine’s Story

Once upon a time, in the Orchard of Happiness, lived a cherry named Sunshine. Sunshine was the brightest red cherry in her whole tree. There were many cherries that fell in love with her, but she did not love any of them. Her friends nagged her day and night to give some of them a chance, but every time she refused.

One day, in the apple tree across from her, Sunshine spotted a dazzling and handsome apple. His lush green leaves highlighted his deep red skin. He was so beautiful! He was always flirting with the other apples and never paid any attention to Sunshine. Nevertheless, Sunshine couldn’t stop thinking about him and would not give up. But her friends saw her looking lovestruck at the apple, and immediately reported her. The leader was furious, for it was against the law to fall in love with a Pomme. You could only love small-tree fruits, such as kumquats and figs. The leader ordered his guards to move her to the other side of the tree.

“Hey, let me go!” Sunshine demanded, but it was no use. During the struggle, a twig scratched her side, destroying her flawless skin. Her reputation was ruined! She was miserable. The guards finally set her down at the other end of the tree. Sunshine started to cry.

“Why are you crying?” a kind voice said. She looked up. Sunshine saw a purple fig with green stripes running down his sides. He had a concerned expression.

“Why do you care?” Sunshine asked bitterly.

“Because I can’t stand to see a beautiful cherry like you upset,” the fig replied.

“You think I’m pretty even though I have this horrible scratch on me?” she asked the fig, very surprised.

“Of course. It makes you look tough. My name is Stripes, by the way.”

“My name is Sunshine,” she said.

“That’s a pretty name. It suits you,” Stripes said happily. Sunshine blushed. She stopped crying. She thanked Stripes for making her feel better.

“Anything to see you smile,” he replied. They ended up loving each other and were together forever.

Maryn Medlock



I own an expensive supercar. My heart explodes as I race down the track. My hands are rattling roller coasters, trying to keep the car under control. I have sped down the steep snowy mountains of Colorado. My feet become slithering snakes as I turn side to side to slow down. I have ended the sorrow and sadness of war. My feet are thunderous elephants as I run through the streets, yelling that war is over and world peace has begun. I have ventured into the vast nothingness of space. My mind, an airport of thoughts, thinking about what we will find. I have traveled to some of the most famous places in the world. My arms are swinging pendulums as I run off the airplane, ready to explore and discover. I wish I could travel back in time and meet Muhammad Ali. My imagination is an open door, ready to make that dream into a reality.

Evan Deeny


What We Are

– after Dara Wier’s “She Thinks She Hung the Moon”

My head is a hungry pigeon scavenging in lively New York City.
My heart is a single teardrop streaming down powdered cheeks,
messing up makeup as I go.
My hands are dull steak knives, forgotten in the kitchen drawer.
I am a velveteen rabbit buried beneath the wet earth.

Your head is a rusty train trying its best to make the distance.
Your heart is a wild stallion, scarred yet powerful.
Your hands are the soft petals of a freshly sprouted daisy.
You are an unforgettable chaotic hurricane destroying everything you touch.

Our heads are drops of water spraying from a hidden waterfall.
Our hearts are pictured in a lonely Polaroid
laying on the creaky attic floorboards, collecting dust.
Our hands are woven into a cool-colored quilt, hiding in between the threads.
We are the sun rising and setting, painting the sky warm shades,
admired from the rooftop where you and I lay.

Sophie Holloway


A Rainy Day

A yellow daisy blooms
Basking in the sun
Until thick clouds cover it
Their color changing from white to gray
Water wets the ground
First the drops are small
Sliding down the daisy’s petals
There is only a quiet pitter-patter
Then the rain comes down hard
As a powerful sheet of water
And the daisy’s yellow is lost
In a sea of gray
For what seems like forever
The pouring downfall does not stop
Then the rain is gone
As fast as it appeared
The only sound is a flow of water trickling down the gutter
While all else is still
Even the sun, peeking out from behind the clouds,
Seems to have stopped midway
Through the morning sky
Shining on the blooming yellow daisy, wet with dew

Eve Nguyen


Song on a Day at the Beach

– after Czeslaw Milosz’s “A Song on the End of the World”

At the beach
Glittering waves crash upon the shore
Slippery dolphins are jumping out of the water
Seashells stud the sandy shoreline
The air smells of salt and sandy hair
The way it should be

The beach is joyous, celebratory, imaginative
Rosy-cheeked children run along the sand
Laughing and skipping, full of life
The way it should be

At the beach, you are peaceful and comforted
Brightly striped umbrellas are staked into the ground
Above beach towels to keep you dry
When the tide comes in

Then sunset strikes
Seagulls squawk their last before returning to their nests
As if being called home for dinner
The tide rolls away
Families pack up their memories from the day
Until I am the last one left in the cool darkness

At the beach, new days begin
New people walk the salty sand
For the beach is a place of new life
Every time the tide rolls in
Every time the tide rolls away

Emily Kahn


The Three Pups

There once was a mother wolf who had recently given birth. She treasured her three pups as if they were her life. She cared for them by feeding them salmon, licking their coats clean, teaching them how to enjoy the woods while respecting nature, and gently tucking them into bed every night.

One day, while the pups began preparing to head into the woods for lessons in hunting, their mother warned them, “Take caution, be observant of the environment, and always stick together!”

They all replied with an obedient tone, “Of course, Mother!” They ran off into the woods, carelessly yipping.

Lash and Cacti, the mother’s two favorites, began playing hide and seek with Ginga, the other pup. “Ready or not, here I come!” howled Lash. Lash bounded through the shrubbery until he came upon an oak tree where he located Cacti hiding in the roots.

“Hey, you found me! Now we must go find Ginga!” Cacti joyously said. They fumbled through the underbrush, howling Ginga’s name, but were unsuccessful. They briskly returned to their mother.

Their mother was in shock. “How could you two lose Ginga? I told you to stick together!” She was furious, but concern swept over her anger. They set off into the woods. “Ginga, Ginga!” they repeatedly called.

They dashed through the woods in panic. They checked behind every tree, rock, and bush. Ginga was nowhere to be found. Suddenly, they broke into a clearing, and a flash of sunlight hit them, blinding their vision for a brief moment.

Ginga, the scrawniest one with the worst hunting skills, sat in front of a pile of salmon. “Ginga! You had me so worried! Don’t ever split up from your siblings aga–“ his mother barked, only to be interrupted.

“Mother, look what I’ve caught! Now you, Lash, and Cacti don’t have to hunt tonight! Aren’t you proud?” Ginga beamed.

“Ginga, I will always be proud of you, but all that matters now is that you’re safe,” his mother responded. She protected her pups in a warm embrace, weeping as she vowed to herself to always protect her pups.

Honor Mackdanz


My Random Story

my bicycle pump is rusty
my car won’t work
a bicycle sits under a tree
the water jiggling in my glass
that sticker on my shirt
sticky tape on a dog
red birds that are mean
flat earth
round sun
a big caterpillar eats a city
cool dog with sunglasses
Clair bear rests in her den
dairy products in a store
green eyeballs in my head
bluebirds in a tree
my touchy story

Sean Ryan


Sparkler’s Talent

Once, in a place very far away, lived the Kingdom of Dragons. In the Kingdom lived a dark red dragoness named Sparkler. She had blue dots lining her wings and blue gemstones under her eyes. She spent her days in a small, cozy den at the edge of the Kingdom. It was nice there, but Sparkles was very sad. She had been banished from the castle, the center of the Kingdom, because she could not breathe fire like the other dragons. She tried many times to ignite the flame inside her, but she just couldn’t.

One day, she was walking out of her den when she heard a swoosh, boom! She looked up, startled, and saw the castle was being attacked! Flames engulfed the castle, and even from where she sat, Sparkler could hear the screams of terror. Before she knew it, she was flying full speed to help. She stared down at the crumbling castle, horrified.

Suddenly, she felt something strange inside her. She opened her mouth and breathed water! Sparkler quickly closed her mouth in shock. Then she thought, Wait! I can help with this! She opened her mouth again and breathed water all over the burning castle. Steam sprayed everywhere she went.

When Sparkler was sure she had extinguished all the fire, she landed on the remains of the castle. She looked around and saw crowds of surprised dragons beginning to swarm her, congratulating her on stopping the fire. A large shadow was cast over her and the crowd fell silent. The Queen. She swooped down and landed gracefully in front of Sparkler. The Queen, radiating power, towered over her. “Did you fix this?” she thundered.

“Ye-yes, Your Majesty,” Sparkler stammered.

“Thank you very much. You saved our kingdom, and for that, you are welcome to stay in the castle whenever you feel like it,” she announced.

“Thank you, your Majesty!” Sparkles said happily. She moved into the castle and lived there for the rest of her life and she lived happily ever after.

Kate Medlock


In My Head

– after Dara Wier’s “She Thinks She Hung the Moon”

In my head, the singsong voice of the jay never stops, like wings wanting to fly.
In my head, the howling and screaming cries of the distant coyote
silence – a broken window, cracked.
In my head, a salamander stops fearing and climbs out
from under his rock – an unsteady ladder.
In my head, the inner thoughts and feelings of flower
and tree circulate – like steamships, big and bright.
In my head, all the stars share stories from their travels
around the Milky Way – a starless night, clear.
In my head, the pyramids touch the moon and stars,
a black cat, mysterious and haunting.
In my head, the great works of the Greeks come alive
and speak – a book store open and waiting.
In my head, the slippery skipping stones of the river
have tea with the jagged ones of the sea – finger-like pencils drawing in the details.
In my head, turtle and tortoise explore outside their shells, a bomb shelter, secure.
In my head beautiful, hand-sewn rugs fly freely, a ball game, a home run.

Haley Kate Nettleship


The Forces of Nature

Mountains of molten magma-turned-lava
Rush down the volcano’s side
Blistering hot, a glorious golden-red
It sends out a call to every predator near
“I’m here”

The wind wildly blows as it sweeps through the streets
Twirling, whooshing, swooshing into the night
It throws down those who stand in the way
For what good are those who defy us?
The voices of the wind say

The night is dark, cold, and empty
Night is black, soulless, and a void without joy
But it can be merry, too
You just have to show it what to do

Stars flicker through endless nights
Never seeing the sun, never dimming the bright light
Still, they soar just beyond our reach
Knowing that a lesson, they still have to teach

Ramya Nambala


The Explorers

17 Jul

From the first day of summer camp, these Explorers took each writing experience and gave it a personal twist. One explorer performed both characters’ parts in the hilarious dialogue he wrote. Another turned her emoji poem into prose. One adventurer even turned her narrative into a chapter for her novel. Whether sticking their toes in the water or diving right in, they all willingly pushed themselves past their writing comfort zones, which was very fun and exciting to watch!

Gena Raymond
Badgerdog Teaching Artist



She peered down the shady alley, all brown and black. Not the most welcoming colors. The city she lived in was a smoggy, contaminated place. Most of it was like the foul-smelling alley before her eyes: dumpsters, garbage, and smoke. Most of the contamination was dumped into the sea. At least she had her red barrette from her real home.

She wished she was back there in the forest: vivacious and colorful, textured trees, so much green. Her true home was beautiful, and how she missed it. She didn’t have any real reason for staying in the city. She could just move back home, where she belonged.

But moving back would take money, which meant she’d need more jobs. That was going to be hard. Just then, she heard a whistle, a sweet and pretty tune, a nice melody. She looked up to see a blue bird. Plump, but pretty and fluffy, with a sharp beak. She was filled with hope at the sight of it. She was going home.

Anna Alleman



My family is space.
I am the sun and my sister is the moon,
for we are opposites.
My brother and other sister are stars, not present
yet still able to be seen.
My pets are the Earth, in range of my parents,
but using the gravity of love to draw my sister, my parents, and me close.
My parents are the gravitational pull that holds us together,
for without them, we would scatter.

Joaquin Bartelli

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.36.07 AM

The City

One cold winter night, a flying squirrel watched for food. But then the squirrel thought it was too cold to be out, especially at night. She took one more look around before she headed home. Then she saw one acorn. She jumped down on it and brought it home.

The squirrel’s name was Nataly. She was a shape-shifter. Her real shape was a Gowea Flower, which was blue with a tan face.

She flew back to her beautiful town to share her meal, but she wished the acorn would stop screaming. Suddenly, she toppled into the bright, warm city.

“I found food!” she called. Everybody screamed and ran away.

“Oh, right.” Nataly had turned back to a Gowea Flower.

Later, everybody was at the dinner table eating the food they had caught. “It is almost winter solstice!” announced Chief Begur. “Soon it will be almost impossible to find food. Does anybody know what to do?”

“I have an idea,” Nataly said. “I could turn into a human and find food there!”

“No, that is too dangerous.”


Later at home, Nataly got her cloak and her water bottle and set off into the forest. Once she was far away from her city, she changed into a human.

How should I get there? she thought. She wandered around until she saw some really bright lights. That should be where the city is! She ran towards the lights. Then she stopped in awe. There in front of her was the most awesome city ever. Suddenly, a crowd of tourists rushed her into the city. Into the unknown!

Winter Caine


The Book of Wonders

Money makes you greedy
It makes you two-faced and you start to lose it
Money flies away
Then you’re pointed in the wrong direction
America can’t handle this nonsense
Poop flying everywhere
Pizza disappearing
People start turning into Pikachu
Unicorns flying with people
The Book of Wonders is coming to life.

Noah Carrillo



Flying money made the guy airsick before he saw the lion in the tall grass
With a small sleeping cat pointing to the right
A turd sits still with the dorky Pikachu
When a guy waves both his hands
And a man rolls his eyes while reading “Wonder” the book and eating pizza
Then a unicorn rides by with a lady and two butterflies on it
With an American flag and a mad kid
While the two-faced man is standing there

Coalter Daywood


My Family Is a Candy Store

My family is a candy store.
My dog is the dark chocolate–sweet if you take just the right amount.
But take too much and you get an unpleasant taste.
My brother–he’s difficult to place for someone
who deals with teasing and people who are annoying,
so therefore he is the cane pop–
hard on the outside and sweet on the inside.
My dad is the jumbo jawbreaker–hard to be broken.
My mom is the white chocolate–unusual, but sweet and strong.
And me, I’m the milk chocolate–an original, a daredevil.

Ryan Deeny

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.37.02 AM

The Forest

Maria Sanchez was looking out her apartment window. It was raining, and she was looking for something, anything, that would brighten her day. Suddenly, the doorbell rang. That must be today’s 12 o’ clock newspaper, Maria thought. She walked over to the door and opened it. She took the newspaper and paid the man without saying a word. She sat down on her soft bed and started reading the first page of the newspaper.

Then she saw a small article about a new café called The Mystical Forest Café. I’m hungry, thought Maria, so she got out of bed and grabbed her gray coat and her red hat. Then she ran down the stairs to the lobby and trudged out into the rain. It was a long walk and by the time she reached the café, she was starving.

As she opened the door, she was greeted by a friendly looking man who said, “Hello. You will be seated at table forty-one.” She nodded in solemn silence. She did not like to talk. Then Maria sat at table forty-one. She ordered an espresso.

It’s been hours, Maria thought. When will they bring out my food? Suddenly, Maria stood up. She was going to ask how much longer it would be until her food came. She marched into a long narrow hallway.

At the end of the hallway, there was a door. Maria opened the door and stood awestruck in the doorway. Standing before her was a vast forest. Maria wasn’t amazed by the forest, but the beautiful bluebird that perched in a cage hanging from a tree …

Ava Deviney


Family Tree

My family is a tree.
My mom is the roots, who gives food to the tree.
My dad is the trunk, who holds up the tree and supports it.
My sister is the branches, spreading happiness to the tree.
And I am the fruit, sweet and tasty.

Anusha Dudella



Calstone was an ordinary town with normal people. You wouldn’t expect anything out of the ordinary to happen there. But this was no ordinary day.

Mayor Pennysalt looked out at the storm. The wind was howling like a caged animal and when the sleet came down, it came down hard and strong.

“Arnold, come here right now!” Mayor Pennysalt yelled. Arnold, who was no more than twenty-five and had the misfortune of being Pennysalt’s servant, shuffled in.

“Y-y-yes, my lord, Mayor Pennysalt?” he stuttered.

“What is the meaning of this terrible weather?” he barked.

“W-w-well, sir, I don’t know.” he said timidly.

“Then get OUT!” Pennysalt shouted at the top of his lungs.

Arnold raced out as fast as his legs would take him.

Meanwhile, a girl about ten years old who went by the name of Rebecca Shining was the only one out in the storm.

He’s here, she thought. He’s coming for it.

She watched as his shadow lurked in the corners trying to get to her, trying to get to what was in her pocket.

What was in her pocket was a seed. It was a small seed, but it held unimaginable powers.

She walked up the moonlit hill. This was the spot. She knelt down and dug a hole in the warm ground. Rebecca reached into her pocket and pulled out the seed. She put it in the ground and a tree grew up. Its branches were huge and its leaves were green as emeralds. As a blurry figure appeared, a doorway appeared in the trunk.

The blurry figure announced, “Rebecca, you may pass.”

She stepped into the deep, dark tunnel.

Natalie Fischer

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.40.17 AM

Taco Diner

My family is a taco.
My father is the beans because he keeps us nice and toasty.
My mother is the tortilla.
She wraps us all in tight.
And I am the string cheese that makes us flavorful.
My baby sister, she’s the candle.
She’s what makes our family special.
She lights our family up.
She keeps us together.

Aditya Gupta


Metaphor for My Family

My family lives inside a candy store.
Dad is the caramel, delicious and sweet, ready to be eaten.
Mom is the small gummy bear, yummy and everyone’s favorite.
My brother is the bittersweet chocolate, wishing to be eaten.
And I am the lollipop that is sweet but can’t be bitten.

Akhila Jallepalli


Acid-Spitting Blue Whale Petition

I ask the U.S. government to give the Navy acid-spitting blue whales.

See, when two or more warships get into a fight, they repeatedly torpedo each other until somebody sinks, and torpedoes are expensive. If you use acid-spitting blue whales, the acid doesn’t cost anything because it is produced from a gland, and it melts the enemy’s ship easily, rather than high-cost-low-effect torpedoes.

The government could build the whales for less than one million dollars each. Please sign to win the next world war! (They also look really cool.)

P.S. The acid doesn’t harm fish.

William Lei


The Family Book

My family is a book,
thick as an untouched piece of wood.
My dad is the soft leather cover,
willing to be open and closed, tossed and thrown.
My mom is the table of contents,
keeping our family organized and together.
My brother is the beginning,
warming up slowly, giving way to the story.
I am the middle,
uncertain and chaotic, willing to give an unexpected twist.
My dogs are the ending,
calm and exhausted, hinting about the next book.

Shayna Levy

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.36.38 AM

No Chores

Chores kill our children’s dreams and hopes. Chores turn kids into mindless slaves for no reason. If you are a parent, listen up! If you ban chores, your child has more time to play, which makes for a happier child. That happiness makes for a better child who will have an open mind and be ready for school!

Ninety-nine out of 100 children suffer from Dead Minds from Chores (DMFC). This is caused when a child has too many chores and never gets to have a free mind. Help me to end chores.

Our goal is 1,000,000 signatures. For every signature I get, I will raise $5 to end DMFC.

Pearson Mudhol

Supercaligobble- tasticcampialidocious

14 Jul

If school teaches us how to use language to inform, persuade, and explain in order to communicate and connect, then a creative writing camp, I do declare, should show us how to use those skills alternatively as mechanisms of play, a key to unlock the vault of pleasure that bubbles inside each of us. In just one week, these kiddos harnessed the energy and the power of play to create a body of work that is both beyond-their-years smart and perfectly silly, one of the greatest accomplishments in creative writing.

Tyler Gobble
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


Two Truths and a Lie

– after “I Remember” by Joe Brainard

I remember when I went to Disney Land and I went on a ride called The Tower of Terror. I got on the ride and it went up really high. The windows in the ride were open when I got to the top, then it dropped us down.

I remember when I saw this show on TV, and they were putting liver inside sheep intestines. They baked it and then ate it. I thought it was gross.

I remember when I was eating dinner, and I was eating caterpillars. After I thought I ate it, it crawled back up my throat.

Emory Smith


My Awesome Pet Turtle

Once upon a time, my mommy and daddy gave me a turtle for a present. It looked like a green shell that someone painted black lines on.

“Okay and thank you,” I said to my mom and dad. Me, my mom, and my dad smiled at my pet turtle.

Once, when I came home from school, I ran upstairs to my room, as usual. I changed into my play clothes, as usual. Then I checked my pet turtle and was going to tell him that his name was Flash! I’d been thinking about it all day. But when I opened my closet and saw my turtle, it was giant. I didn’t know turtles were giant.

It’s just a phase, I told myself. And it was. Then, the next afternoon, I was a little dirty, so I wanted to take a bath. So I went to my bathroom and started to fill up the tub. Then I turned off the tub and got in with my clothes on because I was just a little bit dirty.

Then my pet turtle came in with me. Again, I thought, “It’s just a phase,” but it wasn’t. Every time I took a bath, he crawled in with me, and that smelled. He smelled like a wet dog. So, finally, I decided to give him back to my parents.

“Okay,” they said, “but are you sure?”

“Positive,” I said. After that, I never got a pet again, and that turtle became a pet to a different girl.

At night, I can still hear the whimpering of his little voice when I left him.

Bella Rose


My Friend

– after “To You” by Kenneth Koch

She is as sweet as

She is bursting
like a starburst.

I love her like
a stuffed animal
I’ve had all my

I believe her
like my mom.

She is as cute
and as a cuddly
stuffed animal.

She is super
cuddly and

She is awesomely

She is a best
friend to have.

She is my BFF.

I love her
so much as
a friend.

She is the
nicest friend
I know.

She and I
stick together.

Anna Grace Theiss


Candy Pooping Dog

Your parents give you a candy pooping dog. Your room is a mess because the dog was pooping candy. Then your whole house is filled with candy. Then you have an idea: you should give the dog to the rodeo. Then, you start to miss him, so your parents take you to the rodeo. You live happily ever after.

Evelyn Jenkins



  1. Here you go. Thank you. What is it? “Um, um, goo.” Okay. I’ll take it to my room and play with it.
  1. “Ahhh!” It’s so sticky and it’s alive. “Help, help.”
  1. “Knock, knock.” Come in. I’ll help you. Oh, no. Now I’m stuck! “Help, help.”
  1. “Knock, knock.” Come in. I’ll help. I have unglue and a container. “Squirt, squirt.” We’re all better. What about the alive goo? “Plop” goes the container. “Get him.” Yay!

Wills Nettleship


The Mythical Flying Cat

One day, a girl’s mom got her a present. Inside was a cat, but it wasn’t any cat. It was a flying cat. At first, the girl loved it, but then one day the cat started flying all over the house. It knocked over the girl’s painting and the mom’s vase. And it was scratching everyone.

When the girl took the cat for a walk in the park, it started scratching everyone it saw. And it scratched the girl’s sister. She got mad at the girl. The girl’s mom came, and the girl told the mom everything—the painting, the vase, the scratching.

Then the mom said, “What do you want to do with the cat?”

The girl said, “I don’t know.”

Then the mom said, “How about we donate it?”

The girl said, “Yes,” then they donated it.

But the girl felt something blue in her heart. “Mom,” she said, “I miss the cat.”

“It is okay,” said her mom. “Everyone feels that way sometimes, and you will always have the cat in your heart.”

“Ahhhh!” said the girl. “The cat is in my heart?!”

“No,” said her mom. “I mean, you will always remember the cat.”

Maya Patel


My Sandwich

Materials Needed:
2 slices of bread
1 slice of tomato
2 slices of lettuce
A piece of beef
Also, ketchup

First, put two slices of bread on a plate.
Next, put the beef on the bread.
After that, put the tomato on the beef.
Then, put the two slices of lettuce on the tomato.
Then, put some ketchup on the lettuce.
Last, put the two slices of bread together.
Eat up and enjoy!

Salma Nahvi



Yellow, yellow, the color
of yellow. My string cheese
is yellow and so is my
shirt. I like yellow. Do you
like yellow? I know
a joke: What’s brown-headed
and eats bananas? Oh, I know!
It’s my dad ha.
But he can’t
Be here.

Sidney Dykes


I Remember

– after “I Remember” by Joe Brainard

  1. I remember I thought unicorns were real because I thought horses were unicorns.
  2. I remember when I saw a watermelon purse from a fancy store called Charming Charlie.
  3. I saw a rat outside in my backyard.
  4. My brother got scared of a bug. It was a beetle. They’re gross.
  5. I remember my brother wanted money from my dad. Someone had the same pants as my dad, and my brother stuck his hand in the person’s pocket. When he saw, he crashed into my dad.
  6. One time, I went to a store with swords. My cousin touched a sword. The store keeper said, “Don’t touch it again.” He kept on touching it. He got kicked out.
  7. I remember I met an actress from the movie Hunger Games.
  8. I was playing and my brother asked me, “Are you an alien yet?” I said yes as a joke, and my brother was screaming crazy! “Ahhhhhh!”
  9. I was playing at my friend’s house. We made grilled cheese. It was good! It was made with whole wheat bread and fresh cheese.

Laasya Bokka


Malia’s Sandwich

If I could invent my own sandwich, I would put candy in it, like gummy bears, candy canes, chocolate chips, and caramel. First, you melt the chocolate chips, then put the melted chocolate chips on bread. Then, you put on some gummy bears. After that, put on some caramel on the gummy bears. Then smash some candy canes. Put those on the caramel. Put on another piece of bread and you’re done.

Malia Shafer


Architect Gobble

Mr. Gobble
was building
a house.

House Gobble!
Such a great

Gobble, Gobble.
The house
is great.

You should
a city.

The city
is great.
Make a state.

The state
is great.
Make a country.

The country
is horrible.
I hate it.

Aseem Datta


The Lake Unicorn

– after “Backyard Mermaid” by Matthea Harvey

I live in the lake. I catch fish to eat for my meals. I hunt for sea shells all day. I swim in the lake when I get hot. I sunbathe in the sun. I gallop all over the mushy sand. I live in a small sandcastle. I have a friend that is a crab. I swim with the turtles. I glow when it’s night. I have fins that make me swim faster. I love to hide in the coral.

Suvi Ryther



Somewhere to float,
Somewhere to race.
Somewhere to be
Is all in space!

Shooting all around the world
In our gigantic rockets.
Looking for space food
In your teeny tiny pockets!

Bright shining stars
Glooming in the dark.
Just like lights
Bursting in the park.

Looking through telescopes
at Venus, Saturn, and Mars.
You also might see
The sparkles of the stars.

Arushi Ahmed



Nice soft squishy
little oft things

looking at me in a

Yummy soft food
is a mush

Pumpkins being picked
made into soft pie

Good soft
small stuff smell and
soup-e-soft soup yum.

making me die, smells

Annie Zhu

Outright Writers

14 Jul

The following are pieces from some of the special writers I was able to work with this summer. In our classroom each day, I was met with a myriad of unique voices and experiences. These Badgerdog campers came to our classroom with open minds and big hearts, with careful opinions and thoughtful questions. It pleases me to share their work with a wider readership here on Unbound because this work deserves to be read. For me, having access to the inner worlds of these wise, intelligent, and funny fifth- and sixth-graders offers me hope for our future and lends humor to our present. Throughout our week together, our writing practice centered on writing faster than the critic. The following pieces are what happens when we move faster than the voices that criticize us, and I encourage you take a note from these brave and creative students.

A.R. Rogers
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


The Monster Shell

The sand drifted through the salty water, and a shell floated through the ocean. It gradually landed on the ocean floor, just as a snail approached–a snail with one red shoe. The snail glanced at the luster of the shell, and considered his choice. Mr. Snail was looking for a home to replace his shoe, and this one seemed to suit him well. He slid inside the house and glanced at the sparkling waters above. A plastic bag landed on the ocean floor, and Mr. Snail examined it. He shoved the bag aside to reveal a pair of gold scissors inside. Mr. Snail pecked at the blazing object, and stretched out his arms. He snatched the pair of scissors and opened them, but they were too heavy. Mr. Snail fell and his shell slid off. He grabbed the shell, but it shifted away, and said, “Don’t touch me!”

Mr. Snail’s eyes popped out of his head! “A monster,” he screeched. The snail began to flee, but was too slow.

The monster shell pounced on Mr. Snail and commented, “I’m no monster. I’m as nice as a dove and as happy as a human. Don’t run away. I’m your shelter.”

Mr. Snail answered, “Fine,” and put his smooth shell on, adding, “But if you plan to harm me, you won’t get away with it.”

Mr. Snail rode along the bottom of the ocean. A drowsy feeling came over him and Mr. Snail curled up inside his shell. The monster shell yawned, and fell asleep, too.

Mr. Snail awoke to something nudging him. He peeked out, and saw dozens of teeth looking back at him! “I’m famished, and you look like a pleasant feast,” said a voice.

Mr. Snail perked up, and saw a Great White Shark. “Oh, please, don’t eat me. I’ll taste like rotten skin covered with slobber! Please!” he murmured.

The Great White smirked. “I’ll gobble you anyway!”

The shark came nearer, and the monster shell jerked around. “No one can eat my buddy! Not even a white lump with pointy things!” The Shell ran to the Great White Shark, and pierced him with his point. The soft scent of blood filled the water, and Mr. Snail scrunched up his face and looked at the shell.

“Oh, thank you for saving me back there. I would be dead if it weren’t for you.”

The shell shrugged. “Glad I could help.” The friendly shell jumped on the joyful snail, and they floated towards the surface. The currents moved them towards shore, and the two friends slithered towards the red, orange, and yellow sun. After the sunset, stars layered the pitch black sky. Mr. Snail and the shell knew another adventure was waiting for them on the other side.

Liza Tsoi


The Narwhal

Have you ever heard of a narwhal or a mer-a-corn? Well, today might be a first. Now, let’s get on with the story!

One time, there was a magical narwhal, who went to see a sorcerer to get legs. But the sorcerer said, “You don’t need me to give you legs.”

“Why?” said the magical narwhal.

“Because you are a magical narwhal! Duh! You don’t need me to help you. You can do it yourself.”

“Oh, right! I knew that!” said the magical narwhal, and with that he was on his way. But, of course, when he got home, he completely forgot about wanting legs, so he took a nap. An hour and a half later, he was awakened by a loud knock on his door. To his surprise, there was a mer-a-corn standing right there, and with such a cold, hard stare–strong enough to shatter his very soul!

Lily Richey


Three Japanese Haiku


White rice and curry
We ate sushi and ramen
Tofu and noodles


Blue skies and pretty clothes
There are beautiful old ruins
And cherry blossoms


Models in the sky
Colorful neon bright nights
Five-story shops

Scarlett Bowman


The Crow and the Bike

Once, there was a crow named Jack. Jack was a very simple bird, and did not know what to think about bicycles–or humans, for that matter. The only thing Jack knew about humans was that they did not like crows. So, one day when Jack saw a human on a bike, he flew away.

The next week, Jack saw another human on a bike. Again, Jack was about to fly away. But suddenly, the human stopped his bike and got a drink of water. Meanwhile, Jack was thinking, What if I popped the wheel with my beak? After some time, Jack decided to pop the wheel.

He was just about to pop the bike wheel when the human got on the bike and slowly went around Jack, avoiding him. Then the crow had an idea: What if all humans aren’t bad?

So, the crow learned that not all humans are bad.

Jonah Strong




Fluffy, white, cotton candy
Magic in the air
We drink their tears
We breathe their mist
Clouds, an unearthly gift


Under their branches there is shade
In their leaves clean air is made
Heartwood makes their trunks stand tall
They bear fruit to feed us all


Under her cloak, Time stands still
Space himself is bent to her will
People stare as she blots out Sun
And one by one they succumb
Shadow is greater than them all
Only to Light will she fall

Eva Ewing


Midnight with Mr. Cold

It’s late. Midnight.
The sky is black and blue.
There is no sound but the
wind blowing and crickets chirping.
The moon is big and stars small,
as they shine and glow like one-thousand lights in the sky.
The city sparkles in the distance
while it’s dark where I am.
The lights are big and bold
up on the glowing bridge.
I feel the soft fall leaves hit my hands
and cold icy wind hit my face.
I feel my long brown hair slaps my shoulders,
as the wind slows down.
He was here–
the person I’d been waiting all
my life to see: Mr. Cold.
As he arrived, the lights went out,
wind stopped, and crickets, too.
The stars and moon dimmed into darkness.
As he walked, his white hair showing,
he stuck out a gloved hand,
reaching for the case in mine.
He took the case and disappeared into dark.
What did he put in that case ten years ago
when he gave it to me to keep safe?

Gabriella Smith


Gold Then

One thing that looks like a giant gold penny is now flying high in the sky
The sun thinks it’s a flower that blooms for twenty-four hours
People think the sun is a coward for calling himself a flower
People change their minds and try to figure out discoveries from the bar-b-que
Flaming on the stove which we call the sun
Back then there was no sun
No beautiful colors brown under and gold
It was sad
Not even one person was on land
All colors no more
Only the color black

Sarah Linton


A Day in the Life of a Younger Sister

Chapter One:

The stained-glass windows glinted in the sun, creating the illusion that they were shimmering, like tiny waves of glass rippling. Music strummed through my head, and everyone stirred impatiently, waiting for the bride to come. I stared out the window, and listened to a bird chirping a sweet song as we waited.

Then a sudden hush fell over the room, as the groom and the Reverend strolled down the aisle. The benches creaked as everyone stood up to look at the incoming bride. As she walked in, her silky, pearly white dress brushed the tile floors. Her hair was a golden blonde color, and her extravagant lace designs crawled up her dress. The bride’s veil stretched to her feet and bounced across her back as she walked. I listened to the click of her heels as she glided past me. Soon, she passed her mother, and her mother swooned, put her hand over her heart, and sighed.

As she arrived at the altar, she shared a smile with the groom, and then proceeded. The music died down to a soft hum and the Reverend began to speak. I watched as my older brother got married, and watched him carry away his bride. I smiled, laughed, and even cried a little. But not because I was happy.

After the wedding, Jacob walked hand-in-hand with my sister, coming over to me. “Congrats!” I said, half-smiling.

“I finally did it!” he exclaimed excitedly, grinning ear to ear. His smile was as big as a watermelon sliced in half. I remember the names I used to call him: monkey face, silly boy, goof ball. I remembered all the games we would play, like tag, chase, and zombie killer. I would miss him a lot. Then, unexpectedly, I burst into tears. Thick tears poured from my eyes and trickled down my face.

“What’s wrong, sis?” Jacob asked.

“I’m just so happy for you!” I lied, wiping my eyes.

“I’ll take care of him,” said Kathleen, dragging him away.

Later, I snuck away to sit in the garden behind the chapel. I inhaled the smell of sweet honeysuckles. Charlie came out a couple of minutes later, and wasn’t surprised when he saw my tear-streaked face.

“I’m going to miss him a lot, too,” he said, sitting down next to me. I lay my head on his knee, and closed my eyes. Suddenly, all the memories rushed to my head. A single tear fell from my eye. I just hated to see him go.

Mimi Nguyen


Garold the Hermit Crab

Hello, my name is Garold. I am orange with pinchers and a protective plate on my back. Us hermit crabs live next to a sea that is far away from Earth. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how my bestseller made it’s way to Earth!

As you may have heard, I have written three books. At first, not many crabs liked my work. All of the hermit crabs that live in the world of Atlantis are really not open-minded. Where I live, humans can’t get to me. Even if they tried, it would take exactly seventy-five light years.

My friend and I are really the only creative things on the planet. Now, you may be wondering who my best friend is. Well, of course, he is a red shoe. I found him in a plastic bag that read, “Thank you for shopping at Shoe Mart” all over it. I’m guessing my friend is paralyzed because he can’t walk or move. He doesn’t talk much either, but sometimes I hear him making noises like the ocean. He stays in my fourteen-carat gold house next to my twenty-four carat gold scissors.

Well, let’s just get back to Garold’s life (in other words, my life). I love to go on adventures, and guess what!? Just yesterday a UFO crash-landed in my backyard!

The aliens asked me to help them find a green shard called kryptonite. It turns out kryptonite can only be found on Earth with an evil man named Superman. The aliens said that Superman stole the kryptonite that was rightfully theirs. Aliens said that Superman lied, and that he hated kryptonite, but the truth was that he loved to eat it! The aliens called their emperor, and the emperor was furious about how selfish Superman could be, pretending to save the world when he was really trying to make aliens extinct!

I was way too busy to go to Earth yesterday, so I’m going today. The rocket UFO is a new creation that was made just three days ago. The rocket UFO is lustrous and is very sparkly! I am going to fly the rocket UFO to Earth. Now, as I mentioned earlier in the story, it takes seventy-five light years to get to Earth. But with the rocket UFO, it only takes three days!

To be honest with you, I am not scared to go to Earth at all. Now that I am in the rocket UFO, I am surprised by how fancy it looks inside. Blue velvet ottomans and big white couches, a bed with a red quilt sitting in the corner and clean white carpet. I run straight to the bed and start to jump on it. To my surprise, the bed is rock-hard. “Just how I like it,” Garold says to himself. This is going to be the best trip ever!

Too bad it’s only for three days. Three days go by so fast, and before I know it, I’m crash-landing down to Earth. The landing happened when I was sleeping, so I don’t really know much, but I do remember hearing an ear-piercing screech and before I knew it, I was crash-landing down to Earth!

Isobel Ryther


Lea the Lemon

Once, a long time ago, a lemon fell from a colossal lemon tree onto the rough ground. “I’m falling! I’m coming into the world! I’m starting my life!” exclaimed the lemon. Once she hit the hard ground, she decided she needed some soft clothes to wear. So, she ran to the supermarket and looked at a sign in the window. It read:

New Gold Scissors: $20
Plastic Bags: $.40
Pretty Red, Blue, and Purple Shoes: $9 per pair

“Oh, dear! I can’t get any of those wonderful things. They don’t seem to have any care for lemons who don’t have any pennies or bills,” the lemon said to herself.

The lemon was a very sweet lemon. Her name was Lea, and she had, as not many lemons have, sturdy legs, long arms, beautiful eyes, and a pink mouth. But most importantly, she had feelings.

Suddenly, Lea had an idea! “I could go to the counselor! He can help me! I am sure he can!” she exclaimed happily. So, Lea the Lemon walked (more like ran) to the counselor’s office. When she arrived, she spotted two doors. There was a smallish door for fruits and veggies, and a human-sized door. Lea opened the door and looked in. She stepped inside and was greeted by a beautiful strawberry lady, whose name was Sally.

“Hello, how may I help you?” asked Lady Sally.

“I am in need of help, and I thought you would be perfect for my troubles,” answered the hopeful lemon.

“Yes, of course. Who would you like to see today? Miss Callie Carrot? Sir Christopher Cantaloupe? Or Mr. Benjamin Blueberry?

“Mr. Blueberry, please.” said Lea.

“Of course,” replied Sally Strawberry. She looked at her calendar, and led Lea to a blue door. “Here you are,” she said.

When Lea stepped into Mr. Blueberry’s room, he greeted her with a wide, welcoming smile. “Hello! How may I help you?” he said in an accent Lea couldn’t place.

“I have money trouble. I went to the store, and everything costs coins and green bills. I need things from the store, like clothes, and I don’t even have a home! Or friends!”

“Do you have family?” asked Mr. Blackberry.

“Yes, but either they have fallen way before me or haven’t fallen yet,” Lea explained. “So, they can’t help me.”

“I see.” Mr. Blackberry leaned back in his chair, and thought of how to help Lea the Lemmon.

Ellie Murphy


The Adventures of Sir Lemon

Sir Lemon sat on the produce shelf next to Miss Apple. He was startled when he learned that his friend, Joe, was pulverized by a man wearing red All-Stars. His friend’s blood was put in a cup with sugar and water that humans call lemonade.

By the way, did you know that Sir Lemon is not ripe? That’s why Mr. Red Shoe didn’t pulverize him. Out of fear, he hopped in a plastic bag with an orange, four pears, and one hundred cherries. The bag swayed harshly when the human dropped the bag, and Sir Lemon was bashed against some of the cherries. Good thing his skin was still hard.

He rolled out of the bag, and saw a bright orange and red paper bag. Sir Lemon wanted to see more things and explore the world. On the way to see what was in the paper bag, he made up a song.

“I’m a tiny lemon in the big, big world,” he sang with a small and squeaky voice until he reached the bag. He peered inside and found a tiny top hat! Sir Lemon put it on and started to fly. He looked down and saw the tops of the buildings. He looked up and saw that the top hat had turned into a helicopter. Then, Sir Lemon realized he was wearing a green suit and had arms and legs! He knew then that the hat was magic, and he flew the helicopter over the all the huge buildings!

Mateo Wells


Ms. Allison’s Orphanage for Young Girls

Today, we traveled down a brick road, all the way down to the wealthy street of Lincoln. We went as far as you can go down Lincoln, to 73 Lincoln St.

It’s no ordinary house. It’s two stories and made of brick with lots of windows of different shapes and sizes. There’s a wooden door with a gold knocker. It’s the type of house in which you would imagine an old lady sitting by a fire. Maybe that’s what you would do forty years ago. Know that if you enter through the front door, you would see Sage, a young careless lady. Sage would probably be counting her money.

Sage runs the orphanage. It was started by her great grandmother, Allison. Ms. Allison started the orphanage at the age of eighty-three because she felt lonely. When Allison died at the age of eighty-four, her daughter, Milly, took over. When Milly passed away, her greedy daughter, Sage, took over. The orphanage has fifty-three girls.

Now, back to the house. The house downstairs is shiny and smells like lavender, but if you dare to walk up the wood stairs, you will find twelve rooms, two bathrooms, and ten bedrooms. In the bedrooms, five to six girls sleep on blankets and pillows.

Our story takes place at 5:30 a.m. If you were there, you would hear thundering footsteps–the footsteps of Ms. Sage.

“A new orphan is coming today! Clean up and prepare a bed!” screamed Ms. Sage. You will smell dust, tears, and sweat as the girls shake out the blankets. The new girl comes in. She’s short and maybe a year old. She only has the clothes she came in. Her name is Avery Kya Thomas.

Five years later…

“This is cruel and unfair,” said Avery one day. “We are being mistreated, and not one of us has been adopted,” said another girl.

“We should tell someone,” said Avery. It took a while, but soon they had a plan. The girls put the plan to action on the second of October.

At 6:30 p.m., when Ms. Sage came up to bring the food, Avery was dressed up in the older girl’s dress. The thundering of Ms. Sage’s feet was Avery’s cue to hide. Avery leapt into a closet! Sage unlocked the door that kept the girls from going downstairs, and walked to the first room to deliver bread and water. The bread was a rock, and the water was dirty. Avery ran down the stairs two at a time. The light was so bright, it burned her eyes, and the room was orange and pink. Avery ran to the front door. She opened it up to a bustling street. The air tasted weird and smelled weird, too. All of a sudden, water started to fall from the sky. Avery walked, and as she walked, she observed. She was looking for a person she could ask for help.

Avery found me and told me her story and I went to the police and explained the situation. Ms. Sage was arrested, and all of the girls were adopted. As for me, I live with my wife and my adopted daughter, Avery.

Kaye Boyle


The Adventures of Mister and Misses Cake

Mr. Cake was in the oven getting toasty and fresh when he became aware.

He asked himself, “Where am I? Why am I here? And why is it so hot?” But then he heard a loud ding! and was pulled out of the oven, carried by the chef at the bakery, and feeling the fresh air in the world.

The chef sat him down and got a big white tube and started to squeeze it onto his body. Mr. Cake was very curious; he was feeling of nervous and excited at the same time. Once the chef was finished, he then took Mr. Cake to the display. And that’s when Mr. Cake caught a glimpse of Mrs. Cake for the first time. He suddenly felt more nervous looking at her. He knew he loved her, but he didn’t know how to express it.

Right when Mr. Cake was about to say hello, the chef took Mrs. Cake and put her in a box, which he handed to someone, and they took her away, never to be seen again. The chef then left to go to the restroom. “Nooooooo!” yelled Mr. Cake.

He would never be able to marry Mrs. Cake.

Suddenly, he heard a voice next to him. “Psst! Hey, you! Yeah, you!” Mr. Cake looked over to see a mysterious looking cake.

“Hello, I am a sponge cake, but you can just call me Spoog. It looks like you had a crush on Mrs. Cake, huh?”

“Yeah, but she’s gone now,” replied Mr. Cake.

“Love is a thing that happens a lot here, but it never lasts,” said the sponge cake. “What’s your name, anyway?”

“Mr. Cake.”

“Well, Mr. Cake, I could always help you find Mrs. Cake.”

Suddenly, the chef picked up Mr. Cake and handed him to Mr. Carl, who handed the chef a green piece of paper. “Oh, no!” yelled Mr. Cake to Spoog.

“Oh, well. Sorry, Mr. Cake. Good luck finding Mrs. Cake!” Spoog yelled back as Mr. Cake was put in a box and put in Mr. Carl’s car.

On the bumpy ride home through the clear plastic box, Mr. Cake spotted Mrs. Cake. She was very nervous and afraid. Once they arrived home, Mr. Carl carried both of them to the fridge, where they met Lil’ Cake. Mr. Cake overheard Mr. Carl saying he was going to marry Mrs. Caroline, but he didn’t have a wedding cake, even though he already went to every bakery in town. So Mister, Misses, and Lil’ Cake all got a great idea. They all hopped on each other to form the greatest wedding cake of all time. (Best Cakes in the World gave it a 10/10.)

And after, that Mr. Carl and Mrs. Caroline had a great wedding, and Mrs. Cake and Mr. Cake could be together forever with their child, Lil’ Cake.

“I think they only married me for the cake,” said the regretful groom later.

Ethan Thorsen


The Wooden Family

Hundreds of years ago, when kingdoms clashed and monsters roamed, a story would unfold, its many pages and details worn and lost by the gripping hands of time. While war stories of gore and swords dominated the years, it sometimes came to be proven that the  most seemingly trivial of tales are the ones told best.

And so there would come to be a man, his face tattered by age, who reeked of broken dreams and chances that never came, whose only light in his eyes was his love of nature, all courtesy of the malevolent forces of poverty. He was a farmer, married to a simple woman, whose name, like his, had been lost by time, perhaps deemed trivial, and then neglected until the memories faded entirely.

They both had a profound passion for all things in nature and loved each other just as much. They had no children, but were content to adopt a rabbit or likewise for some days in place of a baby.

By a cruel twist of fate, it happened one day that famine, as it occasionally does, reached the man’s village. His career as a farmer was torn apart, as if it had been a house of cards in a hurricane. He was forced to hunt, stalk, and slay the animals he loved.

The day he began hunting fell sometime in autumn. The crisp morning sky was filled with the scent of dew and dying leaves, which peppered the ground with crimson and a dark brown. The man had hung a net between two trees, almost invisible against the lush green forest.

A young bird had flown into the net. The man looked at the struggling animal and wondered if he could really bring himself to make it his next meal. Reluctantly, he brought his knife down.

No. He couldn’t.

Swish! The knife came down, it’s metal blade reflecting the terrified bird’s eyes. Soundlessly, he cut the net, freeing the bird. Wasting no time, the bird flew to a tall cedar tree that shot up above the green forest canopy.

And then the tree spoke.

Slowly, words came. “Thank you,” the tree began. “You… spared… this bird’s… life. How can… we… repay… you?”

The man spoke of the famine, and asked if there was a way to end it. After several minutes of silence, the tree spoke.

“Take… some… of my wood… and… crush it… into dust. Then… throw it into… the air… and the famine… will end…”

The man obeyed. It worked like a charm! In an instant, clouds filled the sky and started to rain wonderful rain. Animals came over the hill in hordes, and flowers went from seed to bloom in seconds. It was a miracle.

More than a year passed. The man yearned for a son. Once again, he came to the tree and explained his dilemma.

“Take… some… more wood…” the tree said, “and fashion… a bowl… with it. Feed… your wife… from it… and she will… have… a child.”

“Thank you,” said the man. He bowed and set to work.

Another year came to pass, and the man’s wife gave birth to a young, beautiful boy. Tragedy struck, and he fell dreadfully sick. Pus oozed out of his pores and he coughed blood. Desperate for his son’s life, the man came to the tree one last time.

“Oh, tree, is there nothing we can do to save his life? Must he die like this?”

“No…” said the tree. “I can do… one… last… thing. You… must take… my heart… and give it to… your… son.”

The man looked upon the tree, horrified to learn what he must do to save his son. “No!” cried the man, aghast. “I will not bring an end to your life. Is there no other way?”

“There is is… one… last way, but… I would… rather… you not… do it. Come here… with… your family… and become… part… of me… forever.”

“I will do it,” said the man. “We will give back to you, the one we have taken so much from.”

And so the family came to the tree. They arrived at its roots, sitting together as they watched branches cover their final view of the forest.

No one regretted a thing.

They would be together forever.

Aneesh Vanguri

The Writing Explorers at Magellan!

12 Jul

As you read our first poem, imagine a land where ideas zip through the air, punctuation starts sentences, and scissors are best used for painting a poem. It’s a place where inspiration hides in the bottoms of shoes and brand new OMGI’veNeverHeardAnythingLikeThatBefore characters pop out of bags of discarded trash. If you’re having trouble understanding this nutty and fantastic place the Writing Explorers call home, you may need to take the advice that opens Adam’s story. (Note: Use your imagination.) Now follow the Post-It note path and see where it leads. Just please be sure to close the door behind you. We really wouldn’t want any of those slippery ideas to sneak out.

Tricia Hassenfeld
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


You can… Um… Toucan Do Anything You Can Write Everything Pugs!

– after Tyler Gobble’s “The Big Permission”

You can do anything
You can pick your nose
You can… sneeze slimy, green-brown pieces into pea soup
You can sneeze squishy, slimy yellow bubbles into your tea and
serve it to a table of fancy grandmas
You can make a mountain of boogers
You can eat a carpet in half and live
You cannot write a story about skunks in the middle of a poem
You can write a story about skunks and chocolate fountains!
You can play
You can eat a dirty pizza
You must write only on lined paper with a number two pencil
You can write a poem with scissors
You can make a(nother) mountain out of boogers
You can be immortal
You can catch ideas in mid air
You can have fun making poems
You can eat Doritos
You can make a poem out of smiles
You can teleport to a fantasy land
You can lie
You can demolish people
You can have fun making poems
You can make a poem out of smiles
You can write with your knee cap (it might be hard)
You can trap your teacher with marshmallows
You can draw with words
You can write incomplete sentences in any color marker

The Writing Explorers

Daisy Wood Witch and The Lost Hair

Once, there was a town called Daisy Wood. Fairies, ponies, and witches grew there. One day in Daisy Wood, a young lady named Rosa sat on her bed wondering, “When will the day start?” She looked out the widow lined with gold, a window I shall never forget.

Long black hair flowed from the top of Rosa’s head like a river’s steam pouring down and framing a quite pale face. Something stood out. Her eyes were a pale green, the color of most powerful creatures.

The sun rose and the day began. Then Rosa’s hair hair turned a world of color. Every color you can imagine striped her head, and energy tickled her toes. “What’s happening to me?” Rosa mumbled.

I forgot to tell you I’m Fairy Linda, Queen of Daisy Wood and an inventor. I flew in just then and said, “You are a magical witch who brings colors to Daisy Wood.”

Rosa almost fainted in surprise. “What do I do?” she stammered in a shaky voice.

“Let me braid your hair,” I said ignoring her question.

The next day Rosa awoke at 5:30. She had had a restless night. She bent over to look at her braids. One of them was missing, the pink hair. A shadow fell over Rosa and a memory shot through her mind, a memory of a figure sneaking into the room holding something shiny then slicing something off. The shiny thing she saw must have been scissors.

The Great Parade was to take place that night. The parade came every year on the 10th of May to celebrate winning the war against Kylo Land. Rosa was always bothered by the fact that everyone was dressed in black and gray. Today was the day she could recreate their style.

So, that night she went outside to the parade. Something inside her said, “Count to three, close your eyes, and say, ‘Color, color, color.'” That’s what she did, and it worked. Seconds after she did it, every outfit turned bright neon red, pink, yellow, and orange. SHE HAD USED HER POWER!!!

The next day, she brought color to every place she could think of. She is known by color now and is the most powerful person in Daisy Wood… To be continued in Book Two…

Caroline Boyle


Under the Teacher’s Desk

– after George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From”

I am from the dark
place under the teacher’s
desk. It smells of paper, glue,
and old scissors. It tastes of
dusty floors and worn wood.
It feels like cold concrete
slabs and finely cut cylinders
of branches and, last
of all, it sounds forgotten,
but come under the
teacher’s desk.

Vivian Chatterjee


Dave and the Purple Pimple

Dave was a alien that lived on Mars. He was bright pink with three eyes and had octopus arms, a bird foot, a pig foot, a frog foot, a rat tail, and a big fat nose. He lived with his dog named Pluto, who was made of Pluto’s craters. His friends were named Unicorn and Mermaid. (Unicorn is a mermaid and Mermaid is a unicorn.) And the thing that Dave is basically addicted to is purpleberries, which are basically blueberries but they’re purple.

One day, Dave was listening to his favorite Justin Timberlake song (for the thirteenth time) while eating purpleberries and Unicorn flopped into his spaceship and screamed, “I HAVE A GREEN PIMPLE!”

“How?” asked Dave.

“I don’t know. I came here because you’re the smart one,” said Unicorn.

“Well,” Dave said, “maybe you dyed your hair green and it rubbed off onto your skin.”

“Or maybe I ate too much seaweed. You know, they say that if you eat too much of one thing, you can slowly turn into that thing by eating more!”

“That’s a saying?” asked Dave while chewing his fifty-third purpleberry of the day (but who’s counting?).

“I read it in a book,” Unicorn said. “You should really read more.”

“I read a LOT!” Dave said.

“Whatever,” she said and left. Then, one minute later, she came back and reminded him, “If you don’t want to turn into a purpleberry, you should lay off them for a while like two months.”

“Well, I don’t take advice from a book, even if it is fiction,” Dave said.

“You mean nonfiction,” she corrected.

“Whatever,” he said. Then, when she left, he slammed the door shut and to prove he wouldn’t turn into a purple berry, he ate a whole year’s savings of purpleberrys.

One month later, Mermaid and Unicorn came to Dave’s house and knocked while screaming with joy. “Dave, my pimple is gone!”

“Don’t come in,” he said. “I don’t want you to see me.” But Mermaid ignored him and shot lightning out of his horn and made the door fall down. That’s when they saw Dave with a giant purple pimple.

“I told you not to eat those purpleberries, Dave!” Unicorn sassed.

“That is the biggest purpleberry I have ever seen planted right on the tip of your nose,” mermaid said. Then Pluto came and saw Dave’s pimple and then he fainted. He looked like the dead emoji.

One hour later, once Pluto woke up, they found a solution.

“Why don’t we just do what Unicorn did?” Mermaid said.

“Good solution,” said Dave. (Did I mention they weren’t the smartest creatures?)

“First, let’s go to the gym and try to pump some iron!” Unicorn said. Two hours later, once Dave did twenty pushups, fifty squats, and six jumping jacks, he created four more pimples by sweating so much!

“I’m sorry,” Unicorn said. “Now I remember that was the thing that made me have more green pimples. Let’s try the spa now!”

So they went to the spa, where they tried to give Dave a foot massage and were able to pop one pimple. They were down to four more pimples. Then Dave had to take a nap, and while he took a nap they threw away all of his purpleberries because they didn’t want him eating any more purpleberries.

Once he woke up and found out the purpleberries were gone, he screamed and screamed and let it all out and then looked at his face and saw he was down to three pimples!

“How did this happen?!” he asked.

Mermaid answered, “I forgot to tell you that when you were sleeping, I stomped all over your face till a pimple popped.”

“And I did some research that acne cream can help pimples, whatever acne is,” said Unicorn. “So, I went and bought some! Fetch, Pluto!”

Pluto slowly walked over to mermaid with the acne cream, gave it to her, turned around, saw Dave, and fainted again. Then they applied the whole bottle of acne cream, and one day later there were no more pimples!

Pluto slowly approached Dave, saw him, and his face turned into a kissy face emoji!

“I’ve decided to never eat purpleberries ever again!” Dave said.

“Yay!” they cheered. “Now, I have a new favorite fruit–blue tomatoes!”

“Oh, no,” they said.

Emma Fiebig

Mr. Elephant




Benjamin Goodman



Note: use your imagination

One day, at 10:00 a.m., a boy named Bob woke up. He realized he was late for basketball, so he got dressed, brushed his teeth, ate breakfast, and ran to the court.

Halfway there, at 620 Bowie St., a portal appeared. Bob got sucked up right in front of the Houston gym and civic center. All the players asked, “Where is Bob?”

Meanwhile, the portal sent Bob to the death star. Luckily, there weren’t any storm troopers around. Bob started to run. He hid in a room so the stormtroopers wouldn’t spot him. To his surprise, he ended up in a room with C-3PO, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and R2-D2.

“Who are you?” asked Luke.

“I’m Bob.” said Bob. “Can you help me?”

“Sure, kid,” said Han Solo, “But first, can you help us escape?”

“Okay. I saw a ship in the hanger.”

“That’s useful information,” said Luke. So they ran to the hanger, and Luke and Han made cover for the others. Then they climbed inside the Millenium Falcon. Then the entrance accidentally opened into hyperspace, and Bob was sucked in. “… Can somebody close the door?” asked Luke.

After an hour, Bob landed in the forbidden forest. He was surprised to see Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, and Fang there.

“Oi, who are you!?” asked Draco.

“I’m Bob. Who are You?”

“I’m Harry,” said Harry Potter. “And that’s Draco and Fang.” They adventured off, then Harry spotted a cloaked figure drinking unicorn blood.

“Aaaahhhh!” said Draco. Fang went with him. Harry and Bob, who were scared, ran into a log. Luckily, a centaur saved them.

“Are you okay?” the centaur asked.

“Yes,” Harry and Bob said.

“Harry!” said Hagrid, Ron, and Hermione. “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” said Harry.

“And who is this young fellow?”

“I’m Bob.” Just then a portal appeared, and Bob got sucked in…

Bob ended up back at his house, and his mom said, “Where were you? Go outside and practice!”

But Bob didn’t care about being late because he felt good!

Adam Hyink


The Happy Princess

Once, there was a princess. She lived in a castle. She lived with her mother and father. She was also very, very curious. Each time she got out of the castle, she felt so happy. When she returned, her mother and father were waiting for her at the castle doors. The princess was so embarrassed she turned candy apple  red.

One year later… Her parents thought they needed to come up with a plan to keep their daughter from seeing the outside world. They tried to lock the princess in her room, but she had a rope and climbed out the window. The king and queen tried a few other things, but none of them would work.

One denim blue morning when the fluorescent yellow sun was up in the sky, the princess walked alone to a place called The Never-Ending Valley. There were many pathways in the valley, and the air smelled like emeralds and sapphires.

But when the princess went halfway through the valley, the rest of the sky in the valley was plum purple with lots of ebony black clouds. Just then, two robbers kidnapped her. When she woke up, she found herself in a cage.

The two robbers took the princess out of the cage and made her a slave by putting handcuffs on her hands. They made her work day and night until she was tired and exhausted. She cried, “Please let me go. I have been working for five years. Let me go!

Then the robbers boomed, “FINE,” and the princess disappeared out the door.

Back at the castle, the king and queen had been desperate to find their precious daughter. When the princess returned, she saw her parents. They were so happy. After they hugged, they had a tea party and lived happily ever after.

Leah Lukose


Ms. Kerloobi & the Blue Tomato

Ms. Kerloobi was a witch in the Black Forest. She was very short and fat and had big feet and frizzy hair. She lived with her cat, Sylvia, who only had one eye, and Cedric (a rat made out of grapes).

The witch had a garden. In the garden, she grew hundreds and hundreds of different plants and fungi. For example, morning mushrooms were mushrooms that made you wake up at 12:01 a.m. every day for nine years.

The witch was 565 years old. She grew her plants and fungi and gave them to villagers or other people passing by to help them with their needs. But the next day, there were three brothers passing by–one short, one tall, and one stubborn. They all came in on three horses.

The first two brothers asked for easy plants, like a plant that would give you the ability to breathe fire or eat any thing. But the stubborn one asked for the most complicated plant, one that could make him into a dog. Ms. Kerloobi was growing a plant for this, but it hadn’t worked in 500 years!

The witch tired to tell the stubborn brother that it wasn’t perfect yet, but the stubborn brother just would’t listen! The stubborn brother took the plant (the blue tomato) and ate it all up and yelled in the old witch’s face. “I told you so! I told you so!”

Right as he started turning into a dog, the little body of the a dog turned into a taco instead of a normal puppy shape! Ms. Kerloobi had never told anyone about her love for tacos. If she saw a taco she’d eat it! So, you can imagine what she did when she saw the taco “dog.” She went and ate the stubborn brother without really trying to. There was no way to make him live again Unil one day… To be continued…

Gabriella Oettinger


Garfield in the Summer

On a super duper sunny day, Garfield the stuffed animal woke up and ate some pancakes. Then he went back to bed, but he could not sleep because it was too hot, so he went to the freezer and got a ice pack. But on the way to his comfy bed, the ice pack melted. Then he noticed a fan near his comfy bed, turned it on, and went to sleep. But it was just the beginning. Zzzzzzzzzzzz!

Emily Piper


Pluto vs. Mars

Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard the story of Pluto the Warrior? (Gasp!) You haven’t? Well, if you want to find out, I guess I will tell you. I’ll start with the basics. Her name is Pluto, she’s a girl, she lives on Pluto, she likes to go to war, all of her friends are girls except one boy, she’s won 9,999,999,999 (9 billion+) wars, she has curly hair, yellow skin, and rocket boots, she’s smart, playful, calm, and kind. Then End! Just kidding.

Now, let me tell you a story about one of the wars she fought. One day in England (the one on Pluto), Pluto noticed a sign hanging from a rocket house. It said: Dear all strong warriors, There will be a war held on December 1 – ??? If you want to join, please call (512)-914-5505. We will exept anyone. What are you waiting for? Hurry up & join! Pluto was so exited! She called the number on the flier. Five months later…

Crash, bang! “Bye, Mom. Bye, Dad. I’m leaving. I’m going to the war.”

One hour later… Pluto was getting in her spaceship. “Love you, honey. We will miss you!” said Pluto’s mom.

One hour later… “San Antonio, here I come” Pluto landed in San Antonio (the one on Pluto). She walked into the Alamo, joined her team, and started the war. She blasted everyone, except one alien. Five minutes later…

“Stop, stop, stop!” said the other team. “We quit, you win.” Pluto’s team won!

One hour later… “Mom, Dad? Mom, Dad? I won! Mars was too scared, and it was to cold for them!” Pluto yelled.

“You’re alive!” said Pluto’s mom. Everything was nice and calm. Until…

Lily Ruth Poland


Rinkles Tells the People

“Yay! Who loves parties?” asked Rinkles.
“We do,” said the people.
“We’re all going to die in a plane crash,” someone said.
“I’m so bored. What am I going to do, Pugzo?”
“We could have more parties.”
“I’m going to tell the people,” said Rinkles.
“People, I have met a person who has told me of something. Here he is,” said Rinkles.
“Hello! We’re all going to die,” said the same person.
“No, we’re not,” said Rinkles.
“But he is a giant muffin. I’m scared of muffins.”
“He’s not a muffin. He’s a puggle,” said Rinkles.
“Let’s make a water slide. Look at my dance moves!”
“Water slide is done.”
“Okay,” said Rinkles.
“The water slide was awesome.”

Brandon Sharp


How to Use the U.W.O.G.P.

Hello! Sup? Where is Mars? Well, anyway, where is Mars? Just kidding. Now, the real question is: How do you use the U.W.O.G.P.? Well, here is how you use it. I am Bob, fly wonky professer of sadly nothing. Here is how you use the U.W.–aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!-O.G.P. (The aaaaaaaaaaaaaah! was just random letters that I finally got to use.) So, now how to really use the U.W.O.G.P. First, fill it with… Um… Oh, yeah! Fill it with… No… Yeah! Oxygen. Then throw it in the other thing’s face. If the other thing doesn’t have a face, just throw it at some other part of the other thing’s surface. This weapon was used by Bo-bo once to win the war of Jupiter. It went like this: The cold surface of the planet had killed Wo-wo, and the other men were determined to win the war, so they appointed a new officer and deputy of the army, Bo-bo, and created the two U.W.O.G.P.’s (Ultamite Weapons of Green Popping). Each looks like a green balloon. The two armies met in the Alamo 2.0, and every time Bo-bo’s army lost one man, the other army lost two. But when the other army called in reinforcements, Bo-bo’s army had to use the two U.W.O.G.P.s. Ka-kapow! The first U.W.O.G.P. covered half of the other army in flames. Boom! There went the other half. And now the two U.W.O.G.P.s have reformed to be used again another day. Now, where is Mars?

Jackson Shouba


The Deathley King

Palion Kun Sulion was a really fat king of the aliens. He ate aliens and made aliens. There was something called the Alien Source that created aliens, but it had to be put into a machine to make it active.

Palion’s secret wish was for everybody to like him. One day, he came up with a plan to make everybody like him. His plan was to eat aliens until everybody liked him. He made an anouncement the next day that he would eat aliens until everybody liked him. Everybody started whispering, except one alien named Nasha. Nasha was staring at Palion.

The next day, Palion was eating more aliens than usual. Mr. Pas, the server alien that catches aliens and gives them to Palion, was chasing Nasha. Nasha jumped into a pit and Mr. Pas gave up on Nasha.

Out of his hole, Nasha saw a rocket ship. Nasha walked up to it, looking around nervously. It opened and a human stepped out. The human said, “Come here, alien, and you will be safe from that useless king.”

So, Nasha got in the rocket shop and headed towards earth.

“I NEED MORE ALIENS!” screamed Palion.

“Oh! I just remembered! I have an alien!” said Mr. Pas. He pulled out a human and gave it to Palion. Palion ate the human and Mr. Pas ran back out to catch more aliens.

Back in the spaceship… They landed on earth and Nasha looked around

“Let’s go to my house,” said the human, and they did. Nasha spent two days on earth before Palion arrived, looking for Nasha. He finally found him and told him to come back to his planet, so they went back to Nasha’s Planet.

The weird thing was that Palion didn’t try to kill Nasha and eat him. When they got back to Nasha’s Planet, Palion told Nasha he’d been thinking about it and he wasn’t going to eat anybody ever again. After that, everybody liked him. The king fulfilled his wish.

Gregory Spradling


A Land Far Away

– after George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From”

I am from a land far away,
with pink fluffy unicorns
dancing on rainbows
and fairies that make mushrooms
home. With waterfalls and
herbs glistening with raindrops,
making the air hazy. Plus
steaming feasts at the dinner
table. And phoenixes
squawking in the distance.

Gayatri Srinivasan



Once, there were five men who wanted to climb Mount Everest. They were all sad because they had to leave their families. But they all met up at the airport. Their names were Jay, Charlie, Gungh, Tom, and James. When they got to the mountain, they started climbing. They came to a bridge. They each hung a flag for good luck, except for James who didn’t believe in luck. When they were a quarter of the way up the mountain, someone shouted “Avalanche!” Big, small, and medium ice chunks rolled down the mountain. The men dodged the chunks of ice and ran to safety. The next day, they were half way there. They had to put on masks because they couldn’t breath because the air was so thin at that altitude. As they got closer and closer, they were almost shaking. They saw a snow monster. All of a sudden, the monster grabbed James and threw him off the mountain. Charlie threw a lantern. It blew up the snow monster. They made it! They were all sad. The End.

P.S. One out of five people die. What, you really thought it was over? Think again!

Colin Thompson


Take-ing Over

One Monday, Dr. ClipCow woke up and heard something fall and shatter. He got out of his bed and went to the lab area, where he saw a lime green chemical that had exploded and fallen to the ground! The exploding liquid filled the room and, out in the hall, patients screamed and yelled as they fled the building. Dr. ClipCow parachuted out of the building. It knocked down three buildings as it fell! Dr. ClipCow’s two servants jumped out the window as the building was falling! Meanwhile, Dr. ClipCow was scared, just drifting down. He was so scared that he screamed! He worried his whole plan might fail, but he was not going to give up yet. He thought for a minute and then he knew what to do. He would climb through the president’s vents and take over the world! Just then, he landed on the ground! He ran, got into his car, and drove to the computer lab. Then he looked up a map of the president’s house, printed it out, and looked at it. He thought it was magnificent. Then he stole the computer and left with out a word! To be continued…

Madeleine Vollmer