Tag Archives: summer camp

The Champions

11 Jul

I am always surprised by student work, particularly when it comes from young children. But what struck me most about this group of lower-elementary writers at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church? From the first day, they demonstrated an inherent curiosity in one another and a sincere interest in each other’s opinions, writing, and ideas. The grace my students exhibited when listening to each other helped to propel each student’s confidence and voice so that the work they produced garnered a new importance and creative authority.

At sharing time, after each student read a poem—or perhaps a story she hadn’t finished (so that part of the story was spoken from memory, in front of all of us, eyes wide with anticipation and the wonder that comes from performance)—hands shot up from the inquisitive audience, and their responses to each other’s work (which ranged from quoting the funniest line of dialogue to appreciating the story’s tension and mystery) were thought-provoking and remarkable in themselves.

When I first started writing creatively, I wasn’t much older than the girls in my class, but I did not have a community like this one to encourage me to write and to think about what I was writing. I believe this community they so easily and automatically fostered will help not only their writing but other experiences as they grow and enter the world, making them better prepared to embark on their own potential realities and yet-unwritten futures.

Rachel Gray
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Buttercup’s Family

I went downstairs and opened the door. No one was there.

Then I heard a meow.

I looked down and there was my kitty, Buttercup! She had something in her mouth. I took it. It was a… Before I could tell what it was, she took it right back. Then she meowed again. Then a whole alley of cats appeared.

I dropped my mouth open and looked down to see Buttercup, but she was with her family.

Story Rogers

 

The Writer

Every day, I see a lady sitting on a bench with a piece of paper and a pencil, writing day and night. I wonder:  what is she writing?

The next day, I notice one piece of paper lying on a bench. I read it. It doesn’t seem like it’s finished yet.

I look up. On all the other benches, a single piece of paper sits on each. I soon read all of them and it makes one big story.

Emily Piper

 

The Other Side of Oz

So, you’ve met Dorothy, but have you met her twin sister? I don’t think so. She’s from California, but she is the bad twin.

Oh, no! Another tornado is coming toward us!

Are we back over the rainbow?

Yes! But we need to go back.

No! I never want to go back. I want to see that wizard. So, which way to the Wizard?

Well, you have to follow the Yellow Brick Road.

Fine, I will do that.

So, they did. Until the road became two different roads. There was a red road and a yellow road.

Oh, yeah. I don’t care about the Wizard now. I want to see where that road goes.

So, they went.

Then they saw a sign. The sign said they had reached the Haunted Forest.

I don’t want to go in there, said Dorothy.

Well, I do, said the sister. This will be so cool. Come on.

So, they went.

Then they saw a wolf! It was growling and barking.

It’s trying to bite us.

It’s trying to bite you, not me. I’m going to pet it.

No. Don’t do that.

Why not? It’s not going to bite if you do it right.

Catalina Elizondo

 

I’m Sorry

I’m sorry I had lunch with
you and I didn’t offer you any.
I’m sorry that I tried to pop
you. You just make such a satisfying sound,
and I’m sorry that you are dragged
around every day just to be forgotten.
I’m sorry that I let you go. I
just love the way you gracefully float
up to the ceiling.
Please forgive me, balloon.

Vivian Moore

 

Horses

One day, Eva and Story were riding horses. Story’s horse was Cozy. Eva’s horse was Crystal. There were racing over jumps, like Cross Rails, Oxers, and Verticals. They were in a big field full of emerald green grass and trees with perfect green leaves and chocolate-colored trunks. They jumped for hours after dinner and lunch. They rode forever.

One day, a fox arrived. Eva’s horse Crystal got spooked and ran. Eva fell off, but luckily she landed on a soft patch of grass. Her horse Crystal slipped and fell. She twisted her ankle.

Story had a ranch. Story offered her one of her horses from her ranch. Eva was riding Good Night.

The next day Crystal, was all better. Eva rode Crystal. Story rode Cozy.

They were all BFFs. Best Friends Forever.

Eva Texcucano

 

Little Pink Riding Hood

Of course you’ve heard of Little Red Riding Hood, but have you heard of Little Pink Riding Hood? No, no you haven’t? Well, here’s the story.

Once upon—okay, let me back up. If I don’t tell you this, you’ll be totally confused. Okay, Little Pink is Little Red’s twin sister. Back to the story.

Once upon a time, Little Red and Little Pink were playing Rocket outside. Their mom came out and had a long present and a basket of candy. It was their grandpa’s birthday. “Little Pink, can you get these two presents to Grandpa, please?” said Mom.

“Okay,” Little Pink said with a cheesy smile.

“Why can’t I?” asked Little Red.

“Because,” said Mom. “Last time Grandma almost died when you delivered the gift! I’m still so mad at you. Plus, I want to give Little Pink a turn.”

Little Red wasn’t sure of this, so when Mom went back inside and Little Pink went in the woods, Little Red Riding Hood followed her with her Mom’s phone so she could videotape it.

Before long, Little Pink went off the path into the woods.

“Oh, oh!” said Little Red, and she followed her sister while videotaping.

Little Pink went into a cottage. Little Red followed and quickly hid where she could videotape when she got in the cottage. There were The Seven Dwarfs and Snow White.

Okay, of course you didn’t think Snow White would be in this story, but she is. So, yeah. Anyway.

“Dwarfs, why do you have this cane? It’s a piece of junk,” said Little Pink.

“We have a sticker to put on his car!” said one of the Dwarfs.

“Silly! He ain’t have a car!” said Little Pink.

“Good. We made it into a saddle. It extends,” said Stinky. “That will hurt his butt!”

“You guys are useless,” said Little Pink and left.

No one saw Little Red go. Wow, she’s awesome at this, Little Red thought.

Anyway, Little Pink went to Grandpa’s house, and do you know what she said? She said this: “OMG, Mom and Little Red are terrible. Grandpa will only like my present.” Little Red did not know Little Pink was sassy, but apparently she was. Back to the story.

Little Red took a shortcut so she could get to Grandpa’s first. Little Red said this to Grandpa: “Happy Birthday. Me and Little Pink’s present will come in a minute, but Little Pink is a bit slow.” Grandpa laughed.

When Little Pink got there, Little Pink was confused. She said Happy Birthday strangely.

P.S. Little Red stopped the video after Little Pink said happy birthday.

Grandpa opened his presents. He liked both of them.

When they headed back, Little Red took a shortcut, so she got there more quickly. She immediately showed her mom the video. Mom was mad. Little Pink got home. Mom showed her the video, and Little Pink got in trouble.

“Little Pink,” said Mom. “As long as you live with me, Red does the delivering.”

To Pink, that wasn’t much of a punishment, but it still was.

Okay, so I’m only telling you this now so you don’t think I’m lying. Little Pink’s the mischievous and bad twin.

Well, to be continued… because it’s not the end of their lives. Or is it?!

No, to be continued.

Leela Menon

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Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers

7 Jul

The stories and poems collected here were composed by a group of incredibly talented and creative young authors who call themselves “Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers.” During the course of our week-long Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church, this phrase kept popping up over and over again—like a refrain in a catchy song that you just can’t get out of your head—and the more I ponder it, this strange and unexpected title actually fits this group perfectly. The writing these middle-school students have produced is a lot like butterscotch: smooth and rich and extravagant and deliciously exciting. But it is also—like a mighty group of ocean attackers—fierce, determined, wild, dangerous. You’d better watch out and take cover, because you are about to come in contact with Butterscotch, the Mighty Ocean Attackers. Their stories and poems will assault you with the power of ocean-deep emotion, suspense, beauty, and humor. They will knock you over and leave you completely transformed.

Allison Grace Myers
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Inspire

I saw her sitting under a tree, chewing at the end of her pencil. Her eyes were full of concentration. She looked broken and angry, as though her own mind had failed her. I approached the girl, and her everlasting beauty overtook me. I tapped her on the shoulder, snapping her back to reality. She looked up at me with thought and praise in her eyes. I took her hand and helped her up to her feet. Her skin was smooth, pale, and perfect. I whispered to her in a soft voice, “Follow me. Great ideas lie ahead.” She smiled and we ran off to the forested line at the end of the sky. I showed her my place, my hideaway. The cherry blossoms fell gently to the forest floor. We just sat and talked for hours. Every once in a while, her eyes brightened more than usual. She would whip out her notebook and write something down. The sun began to fall behind the horizon, and as she headed back to her place by the tree, she hollered to me, “Next time, I’ll show you where my ideas grow.”

Gibson Hof

 

Grandfather

I never got to meet you
But mom tells me about you
I wish I could see your smile in person
Instead of in black-and-white pictures
The antlers of an eight-point deer you shot
Still hangs in our kitchen
Mom tells stories of how
You would bang them together to attract deer—
The sound they would make—clack, clack
And you didn’t let any of the deer go to waste once you got one
I wish I could have met you.

Sylvia Schwartz

 

Viola’s Perspective

We play the harmony of a piece and stay in the shadows of the melodious violins. Of the orchestra, we are the least important, but we’re there. Our voices are deeper than that of our shrill cousins, but our notes mirror those of the cellos. Our voices are clear and velvety. Our parts in pieces are significantly easier or less ear-catching. and we all know it. We joke about our “easy” parts, but it’s only funny if the one making the joke is one of us. We’re overlooked, deemed “a cheap copy of a violin.” That may be true, but it doesn’t make it any less insulting. We still play beautiful music.

Alice Guo

 

The Little Corsican Boy

I’ve missed you, my friend
You’ve changed so much
Since we met that fateful winter
Snow gently falling on our noses
It was the first time you saw snow
And you hated it
You were the little genius with the foreign accent
And they all hated you for it
We would all look twice
When we saw what you became
I watched you rise
High
Higher than the tallest steeple of Notre Dame
But how would I know what goes on
In your head?
You’ll never be what they molded you into
Not to me
Now I stand beside your grand tomb
Your coffin
Here I cry
Cry that they had smothered you in grandeur
And I remember the little Corsican boy
And I vow to introduce him
To the rest of the world.

Ellie Fitzpatrick

 

The Fox in the Woods

We moved silently down to the small creek. We could see our campfire up the hill, but only barely. The only light we had was the moon. The five of us stared at it, silent, listening to the water flowing and the bullfrogs croaking solemnly every so often. Everything we could see was tinted blue like sunglasses by the moon in the night. Then we saw the fox. It trotted within five feet of us. I have to say, it was smaller than I would have expected. As it finally scurried off into to the woods, we hiked back up to the campfire to find everyone else waiting. They missed out; they hadn’t seen the fox like that.

Beck Williams

 

Tasting Victory

We all have one goal. We all want victory. We all have one thing in common: volleyball.

We will always fight like there’s no tomorrow because we know we want it most. We will always support each other and make everyone feel welcome, so we can connect like the pieces of a puzzle.

When we fight back, we can almost smell the victory of our hard work. To us, that is the best kind of victory.

We know what we have to do: pass, set, hit.

We know how to win—we simply smile.

If our team breaks apart, winning is futile—sports is a mental game. We know we have to shake off our doubts and begin anew.

Even if we lose, we won’t give up. Giving up is for those who don’t want to taste victory.

But after we win, we know we’ve achieved our goal. We can taste the victory. After all, we are a team.

Eliza Lord

 

Hero: A Novel

– an excerpt

She lay on her back on the metal framed bed, necklace clutched in her hand, the bed creaking as she breathed. She let go of the necklace. Free from her clutches, it slid onto her amber-colored hair, which seemed just as eager to escape the bed as the necklace. The alarm clock beeped. I guess it’s time to get up, she thought.

She sat up in bed, pulled on jeans and a purple hoodie, stared in the mirror for a minute, and then Kat Ruben left the apartment. She headed down to the coffee shop on 22nd Street and said hello to the waiter.

“Hiya, Kat! What can I get you?”

“My usual. To go. Thanks, Gary.”

She glanced at the TV on the wall: WINGED GIRL SAVES BOY FROM KIDNAPPERS.

Kat pulled up her hood. That was a side of her she would rather not think about. Fortunately, for her, there was Gary. He had her breakfast ready—a big blueberry muffin.

“Her ya go, honey!”

“Thanks.” She gave him a five dollar bill.

Kat took her muffin to the park, where she ate half of it, but then gave up and fed it to the squirrels.

Fall was her favorite time of year. Cold, but not enough to snow. Perfect for New York and hoodies.

Bored, she looked over at the man sitting next to her. He was holding a newspaper. It had a picture of her on it. She had huge bug-like wings. She was lifting a car. Her mother had entrusted her with her wings. She told Kat to use them well. Kat would rather not. A superhero? An alien? How absurd!

Suddenly, she heard a voice from behind. “Hey, stop that!” Kat turned around. In the alleyway, there was a girl, no more than twelve, leaping up to catch a tattered book, but she was failing.

“Whatcha gonna do about it?” the boy asked.

“Hey!” Kat stood two feet above the boy. “Stop it!”

“Oh yeah? Why?”

Then, Kat made a decision. Was this worth it? She looked into the girl’s eyes. She saw pain, hidden by confidence, and stubbornness. She saw herself.

Kat snapped her wings open. They glistened, huge and powerful. She flapped them quickly enough to get about four feet off the ground.

“I said LEAVE. Now.”

“You said it, miss.”

Kat turned to look at the girl, but she was gone. The alleyway was empty, except for one page torn out of a book. “This diary is for the eyes of Quinn only.”

Quinn. She’d have to get to know her.

Claire Moore

The Dank Hollows

7 Jul

Three friends rob a bank and battle the military. A museum night guard evades ghostly possession and death. A cat trips off Coca-Cola and cruises its neighborhood via out-of-body experience. These are just a few plots of the story excerpts and poems you are about to read, tidbits and musings from the minds of thirteen dynamic and imaginative upper-elementary kids who attended our one-week Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church. The breadth of their writing reveals diverse perspectives on various topics, such as home and family, duty and heroism, solitude and self-reflection, and reality and dreams. Over the course of our week together, they thought about the world differently and discovered news sources of inspiration, each student utilizing his or her own writing style to create works that resonated with the entire class. These young writers were greatly in tune with each other’s creative work; they listened intently, provided constructive feedback, and asked loads of questions. By the end, they were developing characters and entire stories as a group. This proves that writing doesn’t have to be an individualized, private process restricted to the confines of one’s study or bedroom. Writing can bring people together and establish commonality and solidarity. I think, because of this, there is an odd cohesiveness to the pieces below. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe you can. Hope you enjoy!

Patricia Marquez
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Escaping the Lighthouse

“You better come back here this instant, young lady!” cried Lilyth’s stepmother, Ruby. You see, Lilyth was escaping from the lighthouse she lived in with her unloving father and evil stepmother. Lilith had been miserable since her mother died. When her mother was still alive, Lilyth was perfectly happy. True, she had known her father didn’t care for her or her mother, but she didn’t care as long as her mother was there.

But then Lilyth’s greatest fear came true. Her mother died. She drowned swimming in the ocean. The waves looked like a smooth surface of a lake that day, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that her mother was too beautiful. So beautiful that a shark spotted her and swallowed her whole. But, to make it worse, her father didn’t care one bit. He actually seemed rather happy. One month later, he had a new wife. So, Lilyth was escaping this once beautiful, sparkly, lighthouse home, not a dreary, dim, miserable house.

She set sail almost immediately. One week later, she saw a storm in the distance. It was blowing towards her quickly. She tried to turn the boat around, but before she knew it, the storm was upon her. The waves turned from five feet tall, to ten feet, to fifteen, until eventually they were forty feet tall. Then she saw it. A hurricane. A few miles from her. She could already feel the boat being pulled towards it. Even though she knew she was nowhere near land, she shouted into the distance, “HELP!” No response, except the thunder. “HELP!” She looked at the hurricane. It was a few feet from her. Now she was in the hurricane, heading towards the eye.

Rosemary Grace Poe

 

Museum

My name is John Baker. I’m a museum night guard. Well, not anymore. In fact, I’m never going to be a museum night guard again. Do you want to know why? I’ll take that as a yes.

It was in 2000, seventeen years ago. My partner, Rick, was working in the World War II exhibit. I was in the dinosaur exhibit. It was 11:16 p.m. The only lights on were the ones in our office. Lately, stuff had been strange around there, like reported whispering, and stuff falling off walls. I was walking by the pterodactyl statue when I heard Rick scream. I ran to his exhibit. It was quiet. I thought I heard voices. I whispered, “Rick… ?” No answer. I began to freak out. However, I stayed calm and looked for Rick.

I was about to turn a corner when a picture of a group of miserable soldiers fell off the wall. This picture was quite creepy. Well, more creepy than the others. Hands shaking, I hung it back up. It suddenly fell out of my hands. A sharp stabbing pain in the back of my neck had me falling to the cold floor. I couldn’t move. Familiar-faced, ghost-like soldiers stepped over me. I blacked out.

To this day, they don’t know what happened to Rick. That museum closed two years ago because of a ghost named Rick.

Link Pruner

 

The Bank Heist

“Hurry! Get the money now! We have two hundred grand on our hands, so get it done!” said Trevor, holding a huge case. We had fourteen minutes left. I went to the safe and put a sticky bomb on it. The sticky bomb exploded in front of the safe, and I took the money.

“Hey, Trevor, I got the money. Let’s go!”

He responded, “Okay, we have twelve minutes.”

I ran to the exit of the bank with my friend, Brandon. When we got there, the door was locked. “We’re trapped!” I said.

“There’s no sticky bombs?” Brandon asked.

“No. Hey, Trevor, you have sticky bombs?”

“Why do you always ask for my stuff?!” yelled Trevor, shooting the cops that were charging into the bank.

“Hold on. I might have some picklocks,” said Brandon. He took out the picklocks and tried to open the door. Trevor killed all the police and rushed to us. “Can ya hurry up?! We got three minutes left until the alarm starts and even more police start coming!”

Brandon opened the door with the picklock and gasped. “Oh no, oh no!” said Brandon. We were too late. The whole Merriwether Military was there. Tanks, helicopters, and thousands of police cars.

“It’s all right. Don’t say a word,” whispered Trevor. “You wanna know why I’ve been holding this case the whole time? It’s because of this.”

John- Paul Fernandez

 

Trump and the Chimpanzee

Donald J. Trump and Bill-Bob the chimpanzee were talking. Donald Trump said, “We need to build a huge wall from Mexico to China.” The chimpanzee could not reply because he could not talk over Donald Trump saying, “I like young women, especially when I can bribe them with huge amounts of money.” Right then, Donald Trump left to go to the White House and make ties.

Lincoln Evans

 

The End of the World

Where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this? The paper reads: The world will end on June 24, 2017. Oh no! That’s tomorrow! Wait, there’s another paper. It reads there are seven things that will happen until the end of the world. First, the floor will start shaking… Do you feel that? That’s the first stage. The second stage is no lights. The lights started flickering. That’s the second stage. The third stage is no water. Speaking of water, let me go to get some… Oh, no! No water — that’s the third stage. The fourth stage is the food going bad. Let me get some. I’m hungry. Wait, that’s the fourth stage. It has already gone bad. Wait, what time is it? It’s going very fast. It’s 12:00 p.m., and it says the world will end at 2:00 p.m. We only have two more hours. The fifth stage, lots of tornadoes. Wait, do you hear the sirens? That’s the fifth stage. The sixth stage, lots of people dying. Whoa, there goes the ambulance. That’s the sixth stage. What time is it? Oh, no. We only have fifteen minutes. We need to get these people on a rocket. It won’t take that long — it’s a small town. Okay, everyone’s on. Let’s go to Venus. Oh, no. Hurry! Let’s go now! The world is breaking in half! Okay, everyone is safe. Wow, what a dream. Wait, where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this?

Sarah Elizondo

 

Coke

I came bounding home over the tree log and right onto the front porch. I scratched and mewed at the door as my boy, Eric, answered. As soon as the door opened, I scrambled in to find my water bowl. It was right next to the food bowl, but something was different. The liquid was fizzy. I didn’t care. I was way too thirsty. As I drank the liquid, it stung my tongue and throat.

Eric said, “How’s that Coke?” That must be what it is. In my thoughts I noticed that I was not on the ground anymore. I was floating up and up and up. I tried to scramble down, but I kept on going and — oh, no! The skylights were open, and I went up out into the open air. I saw a tree. It was a pine. I frantically tried to get to the tree, but I couldn’t do it. Then, all of a sudden, an unpleasant warm breeze that ruffled my fur brought me over to the tree. I clung on for all my life, and way down below I heard Eric calling my name. “Coke, Coke.” So that’s why he fed me Coke. When I made this realization, I let go of the tree. Luckily, there was another pine, so I reached and grabbed one and I stayed on, so close that I thought the sharp scent of pine would kill me. I started climbing down the tree and touched the ground. Whoops! As soon as I let go of the tree, I flew up. I thought with melancholy that I wouldn’t even touch the ground, at least for awhile. But at least I was safe for now.

I finally got there. And I started to run faster than the wind, straight home to Eric.

Anna Schneeman

 

The Timeturner

The last thing I knew I was home, tired and hungry. I ate a small sandwich and went straight to getting ready for bed. Then it was pitch black, and I was lying in my bed peacefully…

Wham!

I got up with a jolt of anxiety in my bones. One minute I was sleeping peacefully within the darkness of my room, and what felt like a second later, the rays of the sun hit me. Normally, I would go back to sleep, the light never waking me in the first place. But this place made me feel like I never needed to sleep again. That’s when my senses hit me. I had no idea where I was.

“Where am I?” I said in awe. This had to be a dream, in a plain room with light streaming in. That’s when I saw it — the rays pointing at the golden object. A necklace… a Timeturner!

I hit myself in the face, and it didn’t hurt. I was dreaming. I went up to the table and took the Timeturner. It was cold, despite the fact that it had been in the sun.

As soon as I put it on, I woke up. My room was not dark, for it was morning. I got up and went to brush my teeth. Then I saw the gold glistening on my neck. How is that possible? Somehow I seemed to get ready in two seconds because, before I knew it, I was inside a museum. It looked empty. In fact, the world was silencing the humans. I could only hear a small breeze.

Uma Menon

 

Battling the Oslarbs

I shot my arrow at the Oslarb, piercing his eye, causing him to scream, and blinding him. He stumbled around, then I heard something behind me. I whipped around, and then silently cursed under my breath. They had tricked me!

I unsheathed my sword, slashing the blade at the creatures. They were fast, but not fast enough to block my blows. Three lay motionless on the ground, but the other two were Elite Oslarbs. They were bigger, faster, and very agile. I cringed in fear just looking at them. I knew I couldn’t take on both at once. I saw a tree with a slanted trunk, so I dashed towards it, running up to shoot them from afar. The Oslarbs couldn’t climb, so they took their axes and started chopping the tree. I aimed at the Oslarb’s lungs so the poison would stop him from breathing.

The tree started to drop, so I jumped towards a second tree hanging on by a finger. He pulled himself up, using all his strength. The Oslarb grabbed his throat. At the last second, he threw a knife at me and hit my right side, and I yelled in severe pain before he fell to the ground.

Asena Gursel

 

Voyage of the Freseke 1

“We are just importing some cargo to Barbados.”

“It’s still a long ways away,” Johanna said. “My first mate.”

“Thanks, honey. I love you,” I answered.

As I walked onto the giant tanker, I peered back to see Johanna. She was waving at me. It was a soft, gentle wave, a wave a man can never forget.

I entered the ship to see the Captain. He had a proud look on his face. He had on an all white uniform with a little gold sprinkled in places. On the captain’s head was a fancy Captain’s hat. “Welcome aboard, first mate!” yelled the Captain with excitement.

I walked through the halls of the ship, which were covered in rivets and screws. The halls all looked the same.

Alex Edmondson

 

The World’s Secret

Drip! Drip! Where am I? Why am I not in bed? Why is it dark? Questions fill my head. “Wake up.” I hear a man’s voice. His voice is gritty, yet pleasant.

“Who’s there?” I say shakily.

“Look in front of you,” says the man. The light turns on. When I look in front of me, I see a black stone table. On it there’s a folded piece of paper with the words TOP SECRET on it.

“What does it say inside?” I ask.

“The date that our beautiful home, Earth, will end,” the man says.

“Can I open it?” I ask.

“If you please. But just remember, if you do, you will have the most important piece of information the world will ever have. Are you ready for that responsibility?”

“Yes,” I say without hesitation. I rip the piece of paper in half.

I’m falling.

I black out.

I knew this day would come.

Lucas Jesser

 

My Name

My name is Sydney Piper
I really don’t like vipers
My favorite color is green
I think it’s really keen
I really like to cook
Even if it involves a book
I like much more than this
But I’ll stop, though
I have a longer list.

Sydney Piper

 

Summer

Sweet ripe melons sitting on the hay.
Big cruise ships sailing on the bay.
Sun shining down on the ocean blue,
Cows in green pastures saying mooo.
Flowers blooming up high on cliffs,
Smelling fresh baked pies in sweet strong sniffs.
Wheat stalks swaying in the gentle wind.
This is summer, my sweet friend.

Grace Rogers

 

Poem About Me

I am me
And me am I
When I was young
My eyes looked like the sky

Me am I
And I am me
I’m happy with my family
As happy as can be

Elliot Brown

Children of Elnard

7 Sep

These works (from a group of high school writers who dubbed themselves “Children of Elnard”) demonstrate a remarkable range—haunting descriptions of creatures, lyrical dips into the cosmic, wryly comic scenes of the absurd, suspenseful tales of action. But regardless of their varying literary inheritances and moods, all of these six pieces boast the unique imaginations of their authors. This collection, which shows only a slice of what these young writers are capable of, vibrates with confidence and vision.

Taya Kitaysky
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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The Black Turtle

If you have somehow managed your way through the vast maze of trees located on the edge of the Unknown Continent, you may at some point come across a peculiar cave on the other side of the forest where no light penetrates. In this very cave dwells the Black Turtle. A creature might be intrigued by this fact and dare to enter the cave.

Upon entering the cave, the Black Turtle will be triggered awake and proceed to emit a sudden, high-pitched screech. If the visiting creature does not heed this warning, it will hear three more screeches with each consecutive screech increasing in intensity. A creature that continues its way into the depths of the cave despite these warnings will soon witness two gleaming yellow dots as bright as the sun fade into appearance. As soon as the creature has been blinded and entrapped by the radiant eyes, the Black Turtle will reveal itself and attack.

Right before its demise, the creature will notice the Black Turtle, alight by its brilliantly glowing eyes. Amongst the darkness of the cave, it will discern a plethora of razor-sharp teeth residing in a mouth, an elongated neck plated with scales, a dull metallic shell, some curved claws planted on —

The Black Turtle stares at its latest victim then proceeds to drag the carcass backwards towards its collection. After it has finished disposing of the body, the Black Turtle climbs up its collection into the nest of corpses and closes its eyes.

Amy Min

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SEEK_

There is a gazelle leaping through the sky.
Tufts of nimbus clouds dance around his hooves.

Each star,
a stepping
stone.

Only time guides the everlasting river below, as he carefully stops to drink from its healing waters.

His stripes are a swift sight,
bold shimmers of gold blinding men who seek wealth.

A dragon hiding among the child’s gentle eyes.
Upon delicate snow he rests, in the lonely mountain tops he wails
with twisted horns of guilt. Sleep never favors
such a wondrous beast.

Grace Xiaoyao

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Memory Lane

Red walked discreetly through the woods, clutching her neatly woven basket closely. Her long, red hood hung lightly over her face, covering more than half of it and concealing her in darkness. It cast a shadow over the eyes, enveloping Red with a mysterious aura. The edge of the hood grazed the fingertips of the grass as she peacefully walked around, stopping now and then to pluck flowers from the open. The hood was the most distinct feature of this plain girl. Because of the constant habit of wearing the red cloak, the kingdom villagers had given Red the nickname Little Red Riding Hood.

It was once as red as blood. Woven from the finest of all threads, it had an extremely silky feel. Being as old as it was, though, it had become slightly battered, with several rips and tears scattered miserably. The years of constant weaving, washing, and sewing had downgraded the once beautiful, bold object to a significantly different looking thing with faded colors and patches sewn all over, leaving it looking quite mangled. The hood was incredibly dense and compact, weighing about fifteen pounds. The once-braided gold thread used to fasten around her neck had been reduced to a thin, frail piece of string, which was barely able to support the heavy weight.

People had constantly asked why she never bothered to purchase a new hood, or even ordered the finest weaver in the land to duplicate it. She could surely afford it; she was a princess and daughter of King Jack II. It was because the gift had been given to her by her late mother, whom she had deeply loved. To answer them simply, she always replied that it contained sentimental feelings. Red knew the idea of clutching this sad hood was silly and would never bring back her mother. But after she passed, Red had become the mirrored image of the hood — melancholic, pitiful, and frail, her once joyful aura destroyed for what everyone thought to be forever.

Zoe Min

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Bland Subconscious

There once was a large praying mantis sitting in a church.
He was big, green, praying, and mantis-y.
For many hours, he sat under the church’s vast roof unnoticed.
Sort of.
After the service finished, everyone stood up.
Except for him.
Now he had been noticed.
Unreasoned terror ran through the church.
Children cried.
Adults screamed.
He was stomped at, and people crowded in, forcing him out the old wooden door.
What happened that day, we are still unsure of.
All he was doing was taking a nap.

Kate Strelzick

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A Story On Paper

– an excerpt

All I can remember are lines. Lines left imprinting wherever we went. I once asked, “Mother where are we?” And she replied, “Darling, we live in a world of pictures and sketches. We live like ghosts of paintings. We live on paper, at the mercy of the wavering lines from a pen.” The thought of being out of control and helpless terrified me so I never asked her again.

That morning, it was darker. The lines traced long shadows and shaded the white away. Graphite dust littered the house, so we decided to do some early spring cleaning. Afterwards, we sat down at the crudely drawn table and ate our breakfast. Mother wanted liver for dinner, so I went out to fetch some. On my way back from the market, I noticed something new. A rustic booth with delicately crafted light surrounding the archway. I don’t remember this being here, I thought to myself

When I was a child, all the other children nicknamed me “Nosy.” First, because I had a cartoonishly large nose. and second, because I was curious. I would listen to fragmented conversations and peek into closets in search of treasure. Mother said I always had an adventurer inside me. I guess the name suited me after all, because when I saw the booth I immediately felt the need to inspect the place.

I was peering into the heavily shaded opening trying to make out its contents, when all of a sudden I realized someone was inside. Jumping back, my breath caught. I was contemplated running away when a woman stepped out of the shadows and said, in a voice that sounded like a creaky floorboard, “Looking for someone, Deary?”

***

“Max! We’re going to be late, again!” The dark-haired, clean-shaven man sprinted down the stairs. “Max!” he bellowed again.

“I’m coming! I’m coming!” said the voice from upstairs in an exasperated tone. A boy of about ten or eleven hopped down the stairs. He wore a T-shirt with a drawing of Batman on it, red Converse, and a slight boyish smile.

“All right. Let’s go, kiddo,” said the man, as he ruffled his son’s sandy blond hair. “Wait!” said Thomas, stopping in the doorway. “Do you have your sketchbook?”

“Of course I do, Dad! Do you really think I’d forget something that important?” Max replied lightheartedly.

“OK, Mr. Smarty Pants,” Thomas chuckled.

“Can you put on the radio?” Max asked.

“Sure thing.”

Thomas guided the steering wheel parallel to the bright yellow lines on the road, and tapped the dashboard in beat with the music as he drove. Max took his sketchbook from his backpack and opened it carefully. On the page, in the middle of the thick white parchment, a booth with the window had been drawn. Lights adorned the frame of the single  window, and an old woman’s face peered out of the darkness, looking at a spindly drawn girl with a big nose.

“How’s the story going?” asked Thomas.

“Great. I’m about to get to the good part!” said Max, grinning happily. He picked up his inky black pen and began shading the landscape with quick slender strokes.

Marielle Glasse

amethyst crystal

Tomorrowland’s Hero

Alessia was a hunter, a swift, lean being who stood only five foot two but could slam you into the dirt at any given moment. She was one who believed in superstition and witchcraft, in bad omens and black cats, cracked mirrors and clovers. So, when she found the wild crystals protruding out of the smashed-glass soil of Tomorrowland, she was overjoyed. They were a rosy pink, a color known to represent friendship, affection, harmony, inner peace, and approachability, and they stood out from all the other rubble; the demolished windows and skeletons of old buildings were the only proof that a war had been waged on America — a story for another day. Tomorrowland was what the survivors had built out of nothing, named after a section of a former amusement park.

Alessia nudged the crystals with her foot, jostling them. She was well out of Tomorrowland town limits, so putting down her gun might be a risk. But she did so anyway, looking down the barrel and pulling the lever to take her gun off safety, then storing it securely between her legs. She pulled at the crystals, unearthing them with a cloud of dust and a tinkling of shattered glass. Alessia turned the crystals around, examining them until she noticed the carving on the other end, the crystals neatly filed into the figurine. Slowly, she spun the object in her hand and brought it close to her face to look at it, the gun on the ground forgotten.

A detailed skull had been clearly carved out of rock. Its hollowed-out eyes seemed to stare into her soul, and the mouth was curved, teeth bared in a mad grin. Alessia looked at it in wonder, then caught a flash of silver in the skull’s eye. Passing it off as a figment of her imagination, she started to think. She knew skulls were a bad omen and wanted to drop the crop of crystals right where she’d found them. Yet she was compelled, almost by a haunting, disembodied voice, to keep looking. She finally tore her eyes away and gave a violent shudder, dropping the skull crystal and reaching down for her gun.

But another hand beat her to it. She whirled around to see a man dressed in black, a lazy grin on his face as he twirled her gun through his fingers. Alessia was up in a flash, kicking and choking and biting the man, forcing him to drop her gun with a thump onto the ground. She picked it up and pointed it at the man, finger on the trigger, one eye closed for a precise shot.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t kill you right here, right now,” she commanded, staring the man down fiercely.

The man chuckled. “Because, sweetheart, there’s someone else behind you.”

This did not startle Alessia. Being a hunter, she had expected something of the sort. Without even taking her eyes off of the man, she rotated her gun so it was pointing the opposite way, shot in the direction of the sound of stealthy footsteps, and heard a low voice scream “Ow!” followed by a heavy crash.

The man now looked scared, because Alessia had not been the defenseless little girl he had expected. The girl in question took a step towards him, cocking her gun, one long finger reaching towards the trigger. She looked into the man’s fearful hunter green eyes with her own fiery brown ones. She thought she felt the ground shake, but couldn’t be sure. The man also seemed to sense it, she noted. Just as she was about to pull the trigger, one ear-shattering explosion to end his life, a deep, commanding voice issued from the ground directly beneath their feet. It shook the ground, sending vibrations all around them.

“Never disrespect the sacred skull.”

That sentence was all Alessia heard before she dropped her gun, collapsing to the ground, her mind turned to an inky black.

Sachi Kulkarni

The Crazy Purple Pandas with Toasted Marshmallow Jelly Beans and Limes, a.k.a. the Pencil Movers

4 Sep

Here it is! The end of summer! But don’t fret just yet; here are some wild and amazing stories, plays, and poems from my Badgerdog kiddos during the July session at the Khabele School. These eleven young writers are true connoisseurs of play, preferring games and activity-based writing prompts, such as drawing characters first or mistranslating poems from other languages, to more school-like lessons. What a joy to work with them! What pleasure to read these fine pieces!

Tyler Gobble
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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The True Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Characters: Goldilocks, Mom Bear, Dad Bear, Baby Bear, Narrator, Wolf

Setting: House

[Bears, Mom, and Dad cooking food.]

Mom Bear: Let’s go for a walk.

Dad Bear: Great idea!

[They walk out the door with Baby Bear and forget to turn off the stove.]

Wolf: I’ll knock down this door and steal all their stuff!

[Wolf knocks down door and goes inside. Goldilocks smells smoke from outside and rushes inside.]

Goldilocks (worriedly): Is that smoke?! Hope it’s not a fire!

Wolf (panicking): Oh, no! Someone’s coming!

[Wolf hides behind a curtain.]

Goldilocks: Oh, it’s just the stove.

[As she turns off the stove, she hears wolf breath and runs upstairs.]

Goldilocks (fearfully): I heard a wolf!

[Goldilocks faints on Baby Bear’s bed. Wolf picks up stuff and puts it in a black bag.]

Wolf (fearfully): She heard me. I’ve got to get out of here fast.

[Wolf dashes toward the door, but trips over Baby Bear’s chair and breaks it.]

Wolf (painfully): Ow!

[Meanwhile, the bears are walking home and hear screams.]

Mom Bear (worried): That came from our house. Do you think everything is okay?

Dad Bear (panicking): I don’t know. Let’s check!

[The bears rush home and find Goldilocks laying on Baby Bear’s bed.]

Baby Bear (angrily): Someone’s on my bed!

[Goldilocks wakes up and finds the bears looking at her.]

Dad Bear: Who are you?

Goldilocks (frightened): I’m Goldilocks.

[Goldilocks explains what happened and gets out of the bed.]

Mom Bear: Let’s go look for that wolf!

[They go downstairs, split up, and look for the wolf.]

Mom Bear: Where can that wolf be?

Goldilocks (excitedly): Look what I found!

[Goldilocks picks up a piece of wolf fur and follows the trail. They find the wolf trying to sneak out of the window and Dad Bear calls 9-1-1.]

Joy Zhou

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How To Avoid Getting A New House

  1. Fight It: Before you go to the next step, try to talk your parents into not getting a new house.
  2. Start Moving: Print a four-by-two inch sticker that says SOLD, then run to the house your parents want to move to and put the sticker on the sign that may say FOR LEASE.
  3. Rip Up the Contract: If your parents have signed the contract already, ask if you can see the contract then take it out of their hands, go to your room, and rip it up.

Sudeep Tatineni

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I’m Twenty Feet Tall!

So, I wake up, and I’m twenty feet tall. I have to build a huge house, so I do not have to duck all the time. I have to make super-huge clothes, cars, planes, etc. I got this way because I had a dream and it came true. I fly to Africa with lots of resources, so I can help build homeless people some houses. Then I build a lot more huge houses and invite all the other homeless people to live in them. One problem is the food, so I have to make something that will make the food really big instead of small. Finally, I go home and relax on my big bed.

Kai Benton

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Chipmunks

– after Nicanor Parra’s “Mummies”

One chipmunk nibbles
on nuts.
Another chipmunk does
cartwheels.
One chipmunk scurries
everywhere.
A few chipmunks fly
in the air.
One chipmunk hides
in the corner.
A couple chipmunks
roast marshmallows.
Almost all climb trees.
One plays in the snow.

Julia Klima

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Friends Are There to Help: Chapter 2

I just remembered: It’s Maya’s Birthday. I got her a present. When I get there, she finds berries and nuts. I, on the other hand, can only find, well, you can guess, grass. I need to move in with Maya. She has a tiny hut made out of bamboo and straw.

I don’t know if Prickles and Chunky (her squirrel) are going to get along. I so have to move in with Maya. I ask Maya and she says yes. I am like OMG right now. Oh… She made her den three times bigger.

Anais Moreno-John

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The Ring Box Fairy

– after Matthew Harvey’s “Backyard Mermaid”

The ring box fairy waits to be fed. Just as she thinks she is going to die of hunger, the strange giant fairy that doesn’t have wings comes and feeds her candy. When the ring box fairy is about to thank her, the giant wingless fairy disappears. The ring box fairy sighs and starts to eat. Then she hears a click and the wingless fairy is gone.

The ring box fairy flutters out from her “home” and searches for the twentieth time for a pair of pliers. She searches each room for two hours until she sees a door she has not noticed before. She flies through the keyhole and almost faints when she smells the room. It is very dark and smells of car oil and dust. Dust bunnies, she thinks and shudders, zipping back to her box. She takes out her wand. Then she flies back to the room. When she finds the switch, she nudges it with the wand. The lights turn on.

The room, she learns, is not a room at all. It is more like the car’s medical room and home. Car guts are scattered everywhere. The ring box fairy scans the room. Tools! She looks carefully and finds pliers. They are too heavy for her. She drags them towards the door. Then she gives the door a shove with her wand. Knowing she cannot use the pliers, she considers how to get her plan to work. Then an idea forms. She drags the pliers onto the table. She leaves the parts of her necklace nearby, hoping the wingless fairy will understand.

Later that night, the fairy returns. Startled, the ring box fairy wakes up with a jolt when she hears the door slam. Then she hears several sighs and then something hits the table. The fairy remembers her plan. Hiding in the keyhole, she watches as the wingless fairy discovers her necklace and the pliers. The wingless fairy suddenly laughs. She fixes the necklace and leaves it on the table.

In the morning, she finds her necklace laid casually on the table. She touches the necklace to make sure it’s real. The necklace was golden with a blue diamond gem. She put it on and tapped it with her wand. Then she tried to open the door.

Hannah Kim

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Inside My Heart

– after Zoie Ryder White’s “Inside My Heart”

There is…
One smelly potato
Two rotten bananas
Three hopping fish
Four talking waves
Five people blabbering
Six pouncing humans
Seven hundred peculiar sharks dancing to music
Eight hundred great white sharks
Nine hundred pizza stands
One thousand suns talking to the hot dog stand
Two thousand off-pitch singers
Three thousand crazy birds talking about going poo on everyone
Four thousand birds going poo
Five thousand smelly people farting
Six thousand hot dog stands running
Seven thousand sharks bugging me like bad guys
Eight thousand birds die
Nine thousand yummy pizza slices
Ten thousand weird people screaming
Ten million people surfing
One hundred million people slipping
One billion people getting pizza
Ten billion people eating sharks

Shrey Jha

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The Daily Lives of Lions

– after Nicanor Parra’s “Mummies”

One lion protects her baby cub
Some lions cook birds
A couple lions hunt for giant zebras

All lions roar loudly to scare leopards
Most lions rest in tall dry grass
Many lions eat big zebras

Almost all lions wear fancy ties
Nearly

Cody Chang

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A Tiring Day

On a nice summer day, I went to the candy store and bought some candy. I hated the sight outside the window. I got out of the candy shop. I quickly ran to my house, not to eat my candy but to not see such a horrible sight. Instead of doing nothing in the house, I decided to watch a movie right away in the theater and drive there in my car. Before the movie, I bought soda and, of course, popcorn. The movie took four hours and thirty-five minutes. It was named “The Rainbow of Heart.” It was about a girl who lost her parents. It was rated PG-13. I loved it. After I watch a movie, I usually go to another one, but I wasn’t in a mood for that. I just wanted to go home and sleep. Okay, so that’s it. I drove back home. I immediately went to my bedroom. I didn’t even stop for a drink of water. I rolled on the bed. I thought of plans for the next day, but I was too tired. I slept for five hours. It was a tiring day. Just a tiring day. Exactly a tiring day.

Samriddhi Garlanka

At the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Three Little Sea Otters

Characters: Sea Otter 1, Sea Otter 2, Sea Otter 3, Farm Boy, Narrator

Narrator: It was a sunny day.

Otter 1: Well, now let’s build a house, guys!

Otter 2: Yes, all together.

Otter 3: Okay, I want a brick home.

Otter 2: No, straw!

Otter 1: No, We all know twigs are good.

All (except Otter 1): No!

Otter 3: Let’s do all our ideas.

[They swam to the surface and asked someone for supplies, like wood and hay and bricks.]

Otter 3: Can we have some bricks?

Otter 1: Also, some hay?

Otter 2: And twigs?

Farm Boy: You guys are in luck! Take this whole bucket.

Otter 2: Thanks. Just leave.

Otter 3: Sorry. She’s rude. Yay! We got more supplies.

Otter 1: Well, we should all start building.

Narrator: When they were done, there was a wood room, a hay room, and a brick room.

All: We’re done!

Otter 2: Well, let’s move our stuff.

Narrator: They all moved their stuff.

Allison Mehl

To Be Fearless

9 Aug

Athena confronts the idea of fear in this reflective vignette. She offers commentary on an imagined reality in which one is free of social pressure or distractions. Her writing cleverly balances the daily fears we might carry alongside the freedom of relinquishing these anxieties. Her final lines ring with confidence and challenge her readers to explore this question for themselves. What would you do if you had no fear?

Katelin Kelly
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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Shadows

What would I do if I had no fear?

I would skydive from above cotton candy clouds, and I would swim side by side with dolphins against the harsh waves. I would trek through a mossy rainforest and ski down the steepest slopes. I would shout my beliefs to the world.

And I would do so without having a sinking feeling in my stomach, without having slippery palms.

I would do everything I want, and there would be no looming prospect of death, no possibility of humiliation shading my vision.

I would have the ability to live in the moment as it is, instead of feeling flames tickling my cheeks. I would feel brave and alive. I would feel adrenaline coursing through my body, and the claws of a strong wind digging into my face.

If I had no fear, I would be free to accept my life as it is laid down before me.

Athena Luo
6th grade

All the Many Greens

6 Aug

Ava gives us a meditative glimpse into the history of the color green, after Linda Hogan’s “History of Red.” Ava tracks the color green from its primordial beginnings to its outer space mysteries, then back down to earth to make poignant commentary on how we have misused green with our commodified greens and polluted greens. If the dinosaur didn’t know its fate, do we? Ava’s poem inspires us to consider the circular and all-encompassing nature of green.

Katrina Goudey
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

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The History of Green

Sometimes I look back
At my brother’s glossy book,
And large teeth bare before me,
Snapping down to reveal thick green scales.
They cover a restless predator
Lurking within the bright green leaves:
The Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Does he know his fate?
And how does a green cloud of pain mist her eyes as the world falls?
Much later, a vision reveals itself,
Haunting, green.
The aurora borealis shimmering and flickering, green
Against twisted trees of lost time.
Time passes through the years
Yet the green grass is always there.
Hands work hard to fly, leaving this,
This green grass.
Rings of Saturn glowing, exotic colors, but the base
Is always green, the rocket light years away.
A green-haired girl walking, green phone case,
Black lipstick, and piercings.
She does not see the vibrant green around her,
Her phone blocking it all out, green polluting,
Shooting into the sky from the nearest factory.
Look at this green; is the wild dinosaur destroying Earth’s beauty?
Time has changed our green.

Ava Masterson