Brentwood Elementary’s 5th Grade: Ms. Beck’s Class


It came as no surprise to me to discover that several students in Ms. Beck’s class had parents who were published authors. Ms. Beck’s passion for writing became evident from day one and I witnessed that enthusiasm pouring from her fifth graders’ works. She joined in when I gave the prompts and produced a magical poem about a cat and her students jumped right into the exercises, as well. They delivered creative nonfiction with letters to objects around the house and developed unique descriptions for their fictional best friends. Ms. Beck’s writers also welcomed the opportunity to privately record their emotions in hand-made journals. I am immensely proud of the published results you see before you. Congrats to all the Brentwood writers!

Terri Schexnayder
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Why Gaming Is Good for You 

My 1st reason is you get to play over 2,000 games also I know over 100 games not that much to 2,000. People think gaming is bad for you, but it really isn’t bad for you.

Let’s say you finished your homework (your boring homework) you can turn on an amazing xbox that has over 200-100 games. You can get for free or buy for money and every now and then they have a discount that let you save money on games that cost money.

It is the same for PS4 and a PS. A PC is way better than a Xbox and PS4 because a pc has stuff like a graphic card and a very good memory card, like on a pc you could get a lot more games than a Xbox and a lot of game companies release some games on PC and don’t release the same game on Xbox and Playstation because they don’t want to do the extra work to do the same for console.

Gaming isn’t bad for you. It is good in some ways and bad in some ways, you should play for only up to four hours at max. You shouldn’t be playing ten hours per day, because that is when gaming is bad. People say that videos are always, bad but it isn’t at all (Most of them are Karens that say it is bad). Matter of fact, not all games are a shooter games. Some games are building like for example Fornite is a shooter game and Minecraft isn’t. 

 Thanks for reading why gaming is good for you. I hope you learned a lot about gaming.


Running Majestically in the Field

Running majestically in the field
While everyone else takes a kneel
Their beautiful colors shine bright in the sun
As they walk on the leaves and drink from the pond…
I am who I am from what I can see
And some people call me the horse of many mysteries…

Ashtyn Gunning

Letter to Fence Gate

March 31, 2021

Dear Fence Gate,

Why do you hurt me? Do you not like me? I mean I didn’t slam you that many times. Just a few moments when I was in a rush but it wasn’t like thaaaaaaaat hard. Why did you slash me on my side so hard? I’m still in pain from when you were so cruel. Don’t you understand the conditions you have put me in? I am considering suing you for all you have … I mean you don’t really have anything but that’s off topic. You aren’t very nice you know, you almost made me *sniff sniff* cry *sniff sniff*.  WAAHHHHH!!!!!

Bye*sniff* for now, 

Avan *sniff*

Avan Bollich

My New Friend

We fell into the portal to fiery depths of hell. Then I met my new friend in the fire depths of hell. His name is Hacker. He always carries a laptop around so he can make things fly off his laptop. He is 15 and does not know what college he is going to. He loves computer science and he thinks he will get into M.I.T.

Me being a strong person with Thor’s hammer. They are both good physically  but I have a mental disability and A.D.H.D. so it is harder to learn. I am 14. We are 12 days apart. In 2 days it is going to be 15. But they make a great team together. But they have a motion to get the top of the rock wall. Will they get to the top? Yes or no? Next time.

But they have a motion to get the top of the rock wall.Will they get to the top? Yes or no? Next time.

The challenge is a mental and physical challenge. It is hard to choose what hand and foot to hold. It is blue, yellow, green, white, and purple. I got yellow and blue. The hacker did white and green. they try to do it over and over. but then the hacker got on top and he showed me how to get on top too. WE GOT ON TO!!!!!! We will see you next time on the wonderful journey.

We found the next journey in the fiery depths of hell to the gold mines. When I got to the gold mines there were monsters on the way to get to the gold mines. There were too many goblins hacker threw knives at one guy and I sumined linting on the other to see we do make a great team. we will see you on the next adventure.

We have entered the place and it is creepy. But they still marched on their way then they encountered 5 ghosts. How can they know how to kill them? They can do anything because ghosts when you throw at them it goes right through them. so then you have to come up with a solution to the problem. The hacker said that we can… make a copy of the thing and do your own way to kill the ghosts have fun. If you don’t know how to just search up a video because  I can’t put one on the GoogleDoc. Bye.

Eli Braman-Ray

Cunning Is the Red Fox

Cunning is like me, my paws are air making not a sound
On the leafy crunchy grassy ground
With every move I make
So fast you barely see me in that flash,
I slither up the hill.
I am the cunning red fox.
My skill, I pounce with every ounce
But still as silent as a mouse.
I sit in the grass, my ears up high
I close my eyes, ears to the sky!
And so then I hear a muffled noise,
Then I’m flying and touching the clouds!!
The bunny is in my mouth.
I am the cunning red fox.

Elowyn Pate

Remote, Where Have You Gone?

Oh where have you gone this time, Remote? I try and try to keep you in the same place, but every time I place you down, you always disappear. I really want to watch TV but every time I have the time you always play games with me. It’s like you’re running off to the circus. Instead of watching TV I have to go around and find you, and it’s getting tiring.

Is this because we dropped you under the couch and forgot about you and used the other remote to watch TV instead of using you? Please stop being a jealous remote. I am tired of you always playing hide and go seek like mister power cord. Here we are still not in speaking terms.(P.S. Can you tell him I am sorry?)

Anyway is there any way I can make it up to you? Like make you a special name tag that says the “Amazing Remote”?Maybe a throne? Maybe a trip to the salon? A trip to the zoo maybe? Just please call me if there is anything I can to to make you feel like you are needed cause you are.


Ps. Maybe if you don’t stop I will just always use the other remote instead.

Finley McGrath

Dearest Mrs. Carpet,   

I am writing to send my apologies, you see I’ve done you wrong. I blame all problems on you, throwing pillows, and punching the surface of your fluffy blue body.  I let ickle Milliekins (you know that dog who sheds ALL the time) leave her black hair on every inch of your face. Ahh, you see, I’ve seen the errors of my ways, I now see the suffering I put you through—the crums of crackers, dirty clothes, tissues from when I’m sad.

Please just pour out the memories of seven days ago, when I rang you outside to get the water I spilled off of you on a bone and give it to the dog. (I’m so, so sorry, I know that must have hurt!) But I’ve come to the nasty conclusion that your physical body isn’t the only thing I hurt. Please forgive me for thinking I might throw you away, you know how cramped my room is, but all the same, I regret it as much as you.

In the end I know I have treated you wrong, so once and for all…… I’m so sorry!

Your apologetic owner,

Grace Nichols

Me and Chad Broski

Chad Broski = he has his own coffee go check him out
Me =  the stupid kid 
Chad Broski = lives in his office 
Me = live in his mom’s basement with his dolls
Chad Broski = he looks like a office man with small feet
Me = I look like a wired kid that sits in his room because he has no friend  
Chad Broski = has a hat and its just a hat
Me = my mom has not fed me in 5 Days help me please 
Chad Broski = has a stream go check him out 
Me = I am still the stupid kid

Harrison R-B


Dear Bike,

Thank you for entertaining me ever since I got you. You have gotten me to friends’ houses, and just letting me ride you. Thank you for helping me when I was bored. Especially in quarantine. I have been bored out of my freaking mind.

Jude Castillo

The Rebel Business

Once upon a time in a sparkly rose gold castle lived a princess named Amber. Well not really a princess. You see Amber wasn’t like any other princess. She didn’t want to sit down and have tea, or go to balls. She wanted to ride four wheelers and play tag. 

One day the princess was at her prep school when Rhonda walked in. Rhonda was the meanest of princesses. But luckily she was Amber’s friend.

“Hey Amber what’s the 411?” Rhonda said excitedly.

”Ok lets see,” Amber said, ”Jamie told Karen who told Lucille who told Kathy who told Chris that Girdy wore jeans.”

“Oh my tiaras!” Rhonda exclaimed.

Since they were princess they were only two were where fancy dresses, and occasionally skirts. It was against dress code to where anything else.

”Well does Queen Flora know about this?” Rhonda asked.

”Probably not, she doesn’t really communicate with us that much. She only talks to me because I’m her daughter, and most of the time I break the rules.“ Amber said annoyed.

”Well try not to break the rules then.”

“Oh yeah because I enjoy getting in trouble.” Amber said furiously.

“Alright right girls it’s time for special edition,” the announcer said.


“Everyone split into your groups.”

“See ya later,” said Rhonda.

”Bye Rhonda.”

Even though Amber didn’t act like a princess she still managed to get into advanced etiquette. She thinks it has something to do with her mom being the queen of Rosemary Country.

“Alright girls today we are going to be learning how to curtsy in front of the king.” The announcer explains.

Amber raises her hand.

“Yes Amber?”

“Why would I need to curtsy to the king if he’s my dad?” 

Kyeri Hickman

Mr. Snail

Mr. Snail stars on his back with letters too 
has been through so much and is doing well 
back and forth he flies very high and he’s light as a feather 
and slow as ever 


Dear Squirrel Who Was In the Nest,

Why are you such a pest!

Those eggs, happy as can be.
But you ate them in your tree!

They were going to grow,
So I hope you know.

That now they’re gone.
And mother is sad,

Why are you
So bad?

Your angry neighbor,

Lily Tello


Oh Dear Socks, I miss you so much. Can I find a sister:

Oh Dear Long School Socks, just because I stomped in a mud puddle that’s fine right?

Oh Dear No-show Socks, I just have one of you. I’m still looking for you if you hear this Bill, Bob, Bobina, Brianna, Brooke, I miss you. Bailey thinks that you five are playing hide in seek.

Oh Dear Wool Socks, listen just because.. hmm I think you are in the trash. Hmm I still can’t find you. Are you in the trash? If so, I’m not sorry.

Oh Dear White Socks, why did you have to get brown of the bottom? I just step out in the rain and then step in a landfill. I think I found a mouse in there, but I don’t know at this point. I think I might step on some mud just for you if you brother died. So sad just because I put him in the water it means nothing. Ohhhhhhhhhh my god, I found out why he passed. I thought y’all get washed, but I need it y’all to soak in a tub. If you read this, say hey.


Makenna Vasquez-Stegant

Two Sides

Silence is the sound
Of nature

Crash is the sound of the
The water so deep

Nature is
At peace

Ocean is anger
Waiting for release

Ruby Meadows

Trever & Joey

Trever – not the smartest, thinks a lot about himself, lives with his parents and likes Takis.

Joey boy – likes to surf and talks funny lives, is humble, lives in his own house and likes salads.


Dear Cords, 

You’re always not where I expect, even when you’re in a drawer you’re always all tangled up. I can’t untangle you in time before my iPad runs out, you’re always not long enough to reach where I sit. Please oh please stay in the same spot and maybe be a tad longer.

Why does it take so long for you to charge my iPad? I mean why does it take 2 – 3 hours. Maybe next time only 30 minutes because it gets so boring. Also the only thing that helps me is the long extension cord. If there were no extension cords I would probably give up on you. Why oh why do you have to be so short and always leave my sight? Please come back to me so I can charge my iPad to play.



The Lover Brothers

There were two brothers that were name Frederick and Trevon. Trevon loves candy and Frederick is the one that loved cotton candy. They live in LA. Trevon and Frederick are brothers.

Trevon is 15 and Frederick is 10. Trevon and Frederick live together. Trevon is the one that doesn’t like school and Frederick loves school. They both love to go to the park. One just loves to fight and one just loves to drum one. Trevon is in the 9 grade and he doesn’t know what 2 x 100. Frederick don’t know what is 2×2, but it’s ok.

They both love to match clothes and there favorite snack is Sour Patch Kids. Their favorite drink is root beer. When one fell behind on homework, they help each other. And if someone tried to make fun of them, they would stand up and say to leave him alone. They fight sometimes, but they still love each other and that’s why there are the lover brothers.


Contradiction is the Cat

Purring, kneading, cuddling-in
Glaring at the disrupter

Angel softly sleeping by my side
Rocket ship blasting through the house

Rolling into a sun beam
Attacking like a monster on its prey

Scritch scratch happy cat
Cry whine starving baby

Sweetly rubbing head against my hand
Brutal claws digging in for the kill

Lifting chin for more love. More!
Giving love?  Never!  OK, maybe sometimes.  But you’ll never know when.

Ms. Laura Beck


Brentwood Elementary’s 5th Grade: Ms. Merritt’s Class


People often ask me who my favorite writers are, and my answer has always been my students. The fifth graders in Ms. Merritt’s class are among some of the finest writers I have ever read. Painting vivid pictures in the mind’s eye, and using figurative language to shape stories that fly off the page. On the following pages, you will experience teleportation caused by a wish, and travel with a spy through Russia. These students have shared their views on life with candor and striking sensitivity. Experience Beck’s “Mount Everest-sized disappointment” when losing his Xbox controller again, Jordan’s description of a messy life, Webb’s car trip to his grandparents, and Leah’s comparison of life to a bouncing ball. Gus eloquently frames life during COVID-19: “Where the twilight buzzes with emptiness and fear.” They wrote insightful epistolary poems to: watercolors and a paintbrush, guacamole, and a door. Ariana begged Zoom that it, “Please stop lagging;” Isaac tried to locate a hamburger named “James the 5th” and Harper wrote an endearing letter from a child to a cardboard box. Ms. Merritt’s students expressed what they think about friendship. Milo wrote about “Best brothers,” Claire shared her opinion about true friendship and Lahna about a horse and a girl who are best friends. Drake personified the feelings of a pencil; Chet listed alphabetical alliteration and Paloma offered a stunning poem about fruit. This is writing that will move you. Move you to laugh or weep or even fly like Anahi’s raven that will, “Dance like a ballerina across the bright night sky.” 

Jena Kirkpatrick 
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Man Who Wished

There was a man that wished for superpowers and one day he woke up and he wanted coffee. Then he got the coffee, and he got dressed. His car broke down and he teleported to work. This is when he realized he had superpowers he was shocked! Then his boss turned on the news and he saw a story about a man who tried to steal and since he knew how to control his powers. He teleported to the palace. The man caught him and turned him into the police. He became a superhero.



Powerful is what that raven is
That raven is powerful
I am the raven
You would never expect it
It comes out through the gloom
But the brightness that comes from the soul 
Will make you love it forever
With the warmth from its self
The black metallic color on you beams off the bright sun.
As you dance like a ballerina across the bright night sky the world glows to the point that the galaxy sees you
We see you Raven
We hear you Raven
We love you Raven



There are so many birds!
The purple ravens are the least favorite birds.
Red Robins are the one of the most popular birds.
I actually have seen a Red Robin once.
Birds can be…rude, kind, in between etc.
I love birds a lot!
They are my favorite animals!
Just imagine the nice or mean birds on your window.
Not calm or calm birds, they are amazing.
So many types of birds, color, texture.
The colorful birds are Amazing!


The Totally Unexpected Vanishing of the Xbox Controller 

Oh no…this can’t be happening? Every time I get the time to play on this beautiful pitch black box, you disappear. It’s honestly like you’ve been Thanos snapped out of reality. This is a Mountain Everest sized disappointment, it truly is. Just come out and show yourself to the world my beautiful Xbox controller! I beg you, please don’t make me suffer to the point where I will have to wait a couple of years so I can order a PlayStation 5 off a bunch of scalpers! I just want to play my game. I don’t have much time left, seven entire hours is an incredibly short time to play my game!

Oh wait, you were literally right in front of me on the couch the entire time I was screaming all the oxygen out of my lungs like a complete idiot. Eh, I don’t feel like playing on my Xbox now. I’ll just go take a nap during the time that I’m able to play my game. 

Beck Hicks

Dear Door,

Oh how I love you, door. I open you and close you so many times everyday. You squeak and turn yet it still annoys me. You keep the warm air inside my room all day long. You’re hard to close but you still hold a special place in my heart. No matter how many times you make me mad, I will always love you but not all the time though. I sometimes want to kick you; I’m not gonna lie. Still you’re great and it would feel really weird without you because there would just always be a giant open hole in my room. Stay strong, don’t give up, like literally stay strong. I don’t want you to fall. 🙂


The Spy of Russia

One day a man and his dog arrived at the border of Russia, he was on a mission to make sure the Russians weren’t up to something terrible. Once he got to the border checkpoint he needed to show his papers. But he had a fake set of papers so he could get by, he made it past with his dog and he was transported to a small town. Where he would begin his mission.

The first day he was there he saw some soldiers that looked like they were transporting something very important, so he and his dog followed them. The soldiers went to a secret bunker on the side of a mountain and what the man and his dog saw was horrifying. It was a nuclear testing facility and they were preparing to set off a nuke. Then he saw it, it was a huge mushroom cloud about seven times the height of Mount Everest and he was shocked to see how every scientist and soldier was calm. Then came the shockwave which was so loud that one of his ears started to bleed, he and his dog started to get out of there when a group of Russian soldiers spotted him. They yelled at him to stop but he could not understand them, then bullets started to wiz at him and he just kept running. At one point the russian soldiers stopped shooting, but the man did not realize that his dog was shot in the leg and was bleeding out. Once he saw the wound he ripped off a piece of his shirt and wrapped it up on his dog’s leg, he rushed his dog to the nearest town and found a vet. They put the dog under anesthesia and spoke with the man. The man could not understand them well, but luckily there was one veterinarian that spoke English. They said they had to amputate the leg and he was fine with it as long his dog was okay.

He found a place to stay for the night but he could not sleep, it was because his dog meant everything to him and he did not want to lose him. The next morning he went to the vet and his dog was very tired but he looked okay. He left with his dog and went to an airport where he could get back to America and warned everyone about what he saw. He told the military about what he saw and then a high rank in the military warned the president. They made sure their security was strong everywhere.

They never had to go to a full on war with Russia but they still made sure that no country was threatening another country.


Alliterative Sentences A – Z

Ann ate amazing apples
Bobby baked brownies
Calvin collects carnivorous cicadas
Debbie downer dated dinosaurs
Emily enchanted extraordinary elephants
Filip finds fun facts
George gives great gifts
Harry hates hot jalapeños
Italy is impressive
Jesters jabber jubilantly 
Kelly kills Kangaroos
Lily La Lion loved lamps
Manny makes messy mops
Nattale needs numbers
Oliver’s otter offends other otters
Pepper paints portraits
Quill hates alliteration
Rosa really relates
Samantha says “Sup.”
Terry’s tupperware tells the truth
Uranus uses underwear
Vanesa vetoes valiantly
Wade wants water
Xavier X-rays xylophones 
Yale yodels 
Zebras zig-zag


Dear Guacamole, 

You always run out too fast. We eat you with enchiladas, chips, tacos, quesadillas and potatoes. If you are always running out, how will we enjoy you? If this is about queso, then you are better! We can’t eat queso with beans. But if you have a problem with tacos or enchiladas, then we’ll go out to eat, but please please stop running out so quickly. I need you for chips and sandwiches. Oh! Speaking of sandwiches, do you like egg salad or is this what that running out is all about? Fine I’ll just put you on chips (and maybe a potato or two) or quesadillas (I love quesadillas) and you should too with all the Oaxaca cheese it’s soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. End of discussion. Period. You will not run out ever!

Sincerely and hungry,


It all starts with an unsharpened pencil, but soon this unsharpened stick can become something greater. But do not worry, it will have a delicate mark of letters. If you like sharpening your pencil then maybe you will enjoy this, but if not then maybe you shouldn’t try this. A twist and then a turn and voila you have your sharpened pencil but then a horrid snap. If the pencil breaks then maybe you have more. But it takes some chance to find one that is just right for you.


—a golden shovel poem

striking word: how can I stay strong in a world where fear and sickness wait outside my door 

we’ve put on these masks but I still don’t know how
this place is ever gonna feel the same. how can 
it when there’s a pandemic? no one I
love being able to talk to no interaction or friends to stay
with after school, no sleepovers, no strong
adults throwing me into a swimming pool this summer, no waterballoons in
the bucket this summer, nope not this summer try again next year, it’s a
different place in Austin, a different planet. a world
where everyone wears masks of all colors, where
the twilight air buzzes with emptiness and fear,
where nobody knows when this will stop and
I hate how this stupid sickness
and how it makes school be all online and stuff. can’t wait
for it to end and I can walk outside
again without  worrying  about having a mask. my
life like everyone else’s is corona outside my door.


Life of a Cardboard Box

Cardboard Box
Global Material Recycling
8079 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78753

Dear Cardboard Box,

I know you haven’t arrived there yet but when you do I want you to have a token of my gratitude. Rough, tan, Cardboard Box, you came from a tree (I don’t know what type). But I don’t think you knew what you were going to be used for. I am assuming that you assumed that your only purpose was to get a shipping label slapped on at a company like Amazon and distribute or hold things like computers and stuffed animals but you mean much more than that to me.

When I was littler you were a simple play car, or a fort, or a box to ship your little sister to your grandparents in. Once I got older though you turned into one of my best craft projects, a dog box. I had seen a bunch of pictures online of them but I didn’t know how hard they were to make. It took me a week and so sorry for the pokes and jabs of a green pipe cleaner when I was spelling out my dog’s name in big fuzzy letters. And for the sticky glue I got all over you. Also for the dusty dirty dog blankets lining your bottom but, and I think you will agree, it was worth it for the creative, fun, box tradition, whatever they may use it for, to be passed on to a new generation, my dogs (both of them because even though I made it for one of them I think the other got jealous so they took it over.) You held up strong for the first few months until you collapsed and tore from exhaustion at the end of your life, but all generations will always love you, a simple shipping box. My dogs and I thank you for your dedication and selflessness.


Hamburger Letter

Dear Hamburger James the 5th,

Look man I need to gobble you up ok, it’s nothing personal. You’re just so good, it’s not like it’s my fault you smell like fresh meat with gravy!!! I ordered you with all meat and no vegetables, I need my money’s worth. Is it that your brother Jeff Mayos is here also, is it that you don’t want to see him get eaten?  I will eat you both at the same time, or are you just terrified? Last time you jumped over me and zoomed away! Can you at least tell your 83 fries that are all named Max to stay so I can dip them in Catsup?


P.S. Please stop hiding! I have looked everywhere, the trashcan, the restaurant, and my car. Please just come out.


Life Is a Mess!

My room was so messy it looked like an asteroid just hit the room. So I just slept on the couch that felt like a fluffy pillow. Then a couple days later I started thinking about how nice it would look if me and my brother redecorated the whole room, so I went to his room and asked him if he would like to help me redecorate my room and he yelled “NO!” at me. My heart dropped and tears came down my face as I walked away in sadness.

The next day as I was walking to school I heard somebody sneaking up behind me so I looked and saw my brother.

“Why are you following me?‘’ He asked

’’You just yelled at me like you were a lion.” I said.

“I just wanna say I’m sorry I was just having a bad day.”

“It’s ok just don’t be like a lion next time.”

“I won’t’’ my brother said as we both laughed.

’’Now that that’s over, still wanna redecorate your room after school?’’my brother asked.

My cheeks lit up as I shouted, “YES! Oops I mean yes.‘’ I whispered.

A couple hours later I heard the bell signaling the end of the school day. DING! I stood up and zoomed out the door and went straight to my dad’s car. Ten seconds later I saw my brother walking to the car and as soon as he got in I gave him a huge hug and said, “Thank you.”

“No problem. But I’m not doing it.”


The Best Best Friends

Emily and her best friend Tosty are going to move to the big big city. But she doesn’t know! When her mom tells her she is so sad. She packs her bags and puts Tosty her horse in the horse carrier. The horse carrier is pink. It is Tosty’s favorite color.

They go on a 17 hour drive. When they get there, Tosty gets stolen. Emily goes on every website she can looking for Tosty. She spent hours trying to find him. Finally she finds him going on bid for half a million! She asked her mom.

“I do not have that much money.”

“Can I ask dad?” 

“You can try, he’ll probably say no.”

“He said YES!”


“I am getting Tosty back! I can not wait to feel his shiny toast color fur. He said he’ll be here in 5 days! What should I do? I can’t wait!”

“Go make some friends.”

“What no! Not until I get Tosty back.”

“Don’t you ever yell at me young lady!”

“Sorry. Alright what are we going to do while we wait?”

“How about the shopping?”

“Or we could go get ice cream?”


“Sounds good, let’s do it.”

Five days later, Tosty arrives.

“Oh my gosh! Hi, Tosty! Tosty looked like he was hurt! It looks like Spurs had dug into the side of him. Someone hit him with a whip. Mom, do you think Tosty will be okay?”

“Yes I think tosty will be just fine okay sweetheart.”



Life Is A Bouncing Ball

Be loud like a singing nightingale
Live Life like it’s not so small and frail
When You touch we will shatter
But we bounce back and get put back together
The waves tower and swallow us whole
The trees give shade to a weak baby foal
The sands blow and tuck us in tight
But through it all the world gives us light 
We run we hide but problems sneak up
Yet good can follow and bring us some luck
We send in our courage to get nothing back
Yet we do in return we get pride on a plaque

Leah Drory

A Letter to Water Colors

Dear Water Colors,

Hey how have you been? Yea I know I have not used you in a while but I can explain.

When I bought you I was so excited! You see your colors are so vibrant and shining But it takes a while for them to dry.

Maybe you could try to speed up the process?

Also don’t tell Watercolor Paper but he is all used up, 

Don’t worry I will try to get more.

And I would not want to put you and copy paper together.

If I’m correct you two have a bad history.

And I know that Watercolor Paper is your one best friend.

You to were made for eachother, literally.

Anyway could you also try to stop staining my brushes?

I know its fun to leave a mark, but on the paper ok.

And for my end of the deal I’ll use you more. Don’t worry, I did not forget about you. 

Thanks a lot, Water Colors.

Leola Considine

The Best Bros

There were two brothers Miguel and Jack. They are best friends, but before they were like heaven and hell.It all started when Jack wanted to join the soccer team but also did Miguel, the thing is they did not want to see each other at their games.

Miguel was walking home from school, then before you knew it a car was coming for Miguel, but Jake heard his scream and came running to save him! He went to save Miguel just in time but he did not have time to save himself.

Once they got to the hospital the doctor said that Jack had shattered his knee. Miguel was so thankful that Jack had pushed him to the sidewalk.One week later Miguel had helped Jack so much that Miguel started doing everything with Jack and would help him around the house.Then the next month goes by and Jack teaches a lot of skills in soccer then the big day comes, when Miguel goes to him first game of the season!



Fruit is the candy of nature
That hangs down from the trees
And perches in the bushes that sway in the evening breeze
And when you take that first bite your heart begins to plead
For more of that delicious fruit that hangs down from the trees


The Drive to McKinney 

My brothers and I were in the car heading to my grandparents house,
It was a long drive.
I saw fields of grass, trees, cows, and  planes when I looked up,
my younger brothers were a little bit crazy in the car because we got to play video games and ate candy, 
(Lots of yelling),
Chick-fil-a nuggets with ketchup please and a rootbeer,
Stopped at a gas station, 
restroom break,
snack time again.
Back in the car again with my yelling brothers. 
It was like music to my ears.

Webb L.

Brentwood Elementary’s 5th Grade: Ms. Brown’s Class


Writing, at its best, is a conversation. It could be between the writer and the reader, or maybe just the writer having a chit-chat with themselves. Occasionally (as is the case with some of the pieces below), it’s a highly emotional exchange between the writer and an inanimate object. Not only can writing bea conversation, but it can also spark entirely new ones to happen away from the page.

That is exactly what happened in these workshops. We had all manner of conversations, inspired by the work we read and shared together. These ranged from discussions of poetry and the value of fictional friendships to reasons we might steal batteries from our TV remote control and the horribleness of litterboxes. This group of writers have created valuable, interesting, uniquely creative conversations in their works, and I’m so grateful to have chatted along with them in our time together.

Marissa Macy
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

My Ghost Story

Hi, my name is Keith, and I have a friend who’s a ghost. I know it’s weird, but hear me out. I will tell you how it all started.

I woke up, feeling drained and tired. ”Wake up, Sleepyhead” mom said as she went to get the cleaning supplies. I swear, every time we clean (she is always such a cleaning freak), she gets mad when there’s like one sock on the floor.

”Ok,” I said as I got up.

”Clean your room after school, it’s digesting.”

Well, she might be right about my room. It has Dirty clothes everywhere and dishes and unknown stuff. I grabbed my backpack and took it to the kitchen. My mom was cooking some bacon and eggs, and my big brother was playing Duty Calls or something like that.

”Breakfast is ready!” Mom said as she got the plates.

When we sat at the table, my brother said, “I dare you to go inside that creepy house across the street.”

And everyone who knows me knows I can never pass a dare. *Insert dun dun dunnnn!*  


I walked up to the house. I had a second thought, but I ignored that and went inside.

It was so old and broken and creaky,and it smelled like fart farted everywhere, There are books everywhere, chairs that look like it might fall to dust if you touch it for even a split second, dolls that look like they’re haunted. Just a lot of creepy stuff in general.

”Wow,” I said to myself as I noticed there was a stair on the side of the house. So I went up on there *creeeeeeeek*

I opened the door and that’s when I met the ghost. ”Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

My heart was full of fear as I saw the ghost yelling, “Well I’m a ghost, if you didn’t know.”


Eli And Robby                                                                                                                         

There was once two little boys that met in kindergarten. One was named Robby and the other Eli. They were really good friends, but Robby was kind of a misbehaved kid. He stole candy and got in trouble in both school and home. And then Eli was a was a well-behaved kid. He never got in trouble and was almost perfect.

And even though it seemed like they had nothing in common, they were best friends, because they both loved the same foods and the same type of books (which were joke books). If they ever started a conversation, it was almost impossible to stop them from talking,

As they got older Robby began to get in bigger trouble like sometimes he wanted a new phone but he didn’t want to pay for it so one time he tried to steal a phone. But he got caught, and he had to pay for it anyways. Eli began to be very successful in life and became rich. But when Eli had became rich, Robby became a small time thief.

As time passed  they hadn’t talked in a long time, so Eli decided to text Robby to see what he was up to. But Eli saw that Robby didn’t respond for one week. Eli decided to do a little research and found out that Robby was arrested for stealing another phone. Eli decided to pay the police station, so that Robby could be free and he could talk with him and catch up with him. Eli and Robby talked for hours, and they felt like they were kids again. They hung out all day and then they both went home, because it was late. Robby realized how good Eli’s life was and decided to change his ways. He didn’t brake any laws, worked hard, and soon he was living a life almost the same as Eli’s.


Dear Computer,

Your pixels are as smooth as a baby’s butt. I’m sorry we couldn’t update you. That was tragic. I know I overwork you. I’m sorry but  I only do it because you’re so entertaining. I wish we could be together more. You’re my everything. And for that, I dedicate this poem to you.

You shine brighter than a star. Keep shining, my love.

Your love,


Dear Air Conditioner,

Why do you make it so hot in our house like a boiling pot? I’m always having a fan on because of you.



Derrick & Neil

Once upon a time there was this one boy named Derrick. He came from a family of five brothers and three sisters. There were so many siblings in their house that their parents had to take turns doing day and night shifts each two jobs each. So he only really saw one parent at a time. He started to feel really lonely because none of his siblings shared any of his interests, and he didn’t really see his parents a lot.

Where his dad works there was an incident… his father worked as an Uber driver, and he got into a terrible accident where a truck crushed him. And sadly his dad did not make it. Derrick was so sad when his mom told him after that he wouldn’t leave his room. He didn’t even want to eat. All until at night he heard a big boom.

He gasped and looked out the window. He saw a big round circle that had rings. He then realized that it was a UFO. He couldn’t believe his eyes since all of his family was asleep. He quickly grabbed a coat and ran outside.

When he approached the UFO, he noticed movement in the UFO. He got scared, so he picked up a stick from the floor and approached the UFO. When he got close, he saw an alien and it was hurt.

So he said, “Hey are you ok?”

And surprisingly the alien knew English. He said, “Yeah, I’m ok. I think I crashed.”

After that, he snuck the hurt alien inside his house. He soon realized since he didn’t have friends, the alien could be his friend. So he asked the alien.

And the alien said, “I guess you saved my life and sure why not.”

Derrick was so happy. After that Derrick decided to name the alien. Derrick thought it would be funny if he named the alien Neil Alexander. because the initials for Neil Alexander are Neil A. and Neil A. back wards spells A.lien.

So Derrick told Neil his new name and Neil actually liked that name. After that, Derrick took Neil around the city because he wanted to get Neil used to earth. They were so happy until…. his parents sent the coordinations on the UFO to earth because they were in the middle of war. They started tracking the UFO’s crash site and they went to earth to retrieve Neil.

Whenever they got there, Neil was so happy to see them. But when they said they were taking Neil back, Derrick wasn’t happy to see them. But he knew that those are Neil’s parents and they love Neil. So when Neil got in the car, Derrick gave Neil his little brother’s old tablet, so they could still keep in contact with each other and even FaceTime. After that, Derrick didn’t have Neil but still did at the same time.


The Crystal

One day, Daisy and her best friend Diana were taking a walk like they always did. On their walk, they saw a shining ball on a hill so they ran over and Diana touched the ball. When she touched the ball it turned blue and when she let it go it turned white. Daisy touched it for five minutes and it pulled them into a cave with crystals everywhere and every color.

While they were looking around, a man startled them and told them, “I’m Mr. Ferryman. I see you have found my cave. Come with me”. They followed him and he showed them a crystal that had a missing piece to it. “This piece of this crystal has been stolen by a man named Levi Hook. Levi stole this about 25 years ago and I’ve never seen it again…”.

This scared the girls… they were worried that Levi would take something important from them! “Uhm… d-does he still live around here?” Diana asked nervously.

“Nobody knows. He could be right above us right now!”. This just scared the girls even more. They knew they were going to find Levi and take that piece from him.

The next day, they searched everywhere. They were about to give up until they remembered one more place… a small cave. They went in it and someone was in it. It was no one other than Levi Hook! They quietly looked around and saw the green, shining piece of that crystal, but there was one problem: Levi was right there! They had to think of ways to be sneaky. They got a stick and knocked off the crystal from the stand it was on and escaped quickly and Levi didn’t notice!

They brought the piece back to Mr. Ferryman and said, “Mr. Ferryman!!! We got the piece!!!” he smiled and put it on the perfect green glowing crystal.

“Wow… we’ve been missing this for over 24 years and you got it back in a day?! I’m impressed.”

The news got spread around and the girls got $100,000!

Frances Roma Ramirez

I’m Sorry for You, Broom

I’m sorry for you, broom. It must be horrible to have to pick up other people’s mess, just like I do. I feel bad that I stuck you into the trash can to retrieve my very special plate, and our valiant efforts to get my sister’s dirty Frozen 2 diapers from under the old black couch (they were very stinky). We shouldn’t have to do these things, but the world will never be fair to inanimate objects and eleven-year-old boys.

Gustavo Maloney

Dear Chandelier Over the Table,

I wish you weren’t so low. It is impossible to not hit my head. I got a bump on my head one time. Also I wish you would not be so bright. You are constantly shining in my face. Please keep in mind you can be replaced! Also let’s talk about the fact that you never ever hit Maisie on the head just Mom, Dad, and me! I repeat I can replace you with a high tech chandelier! I could even get your brother, and I know how much you hate him! I will put you in a landfill and you can rot there for the rest of your life! Oh and one more thing: You have got to dust yourself. You are giving me allergies! 

 Thank you and I hope to see changes 

Your amazing owner,

P.S Could you please stop hitting my guest in the head it is scaring them off?


The Brave Dr. Pepper

One day in a small refrigerator, there was someone named Pepper and Pepper was a soda. One day the refrigerator that all the sodas lived in was getting thrown away and everybody was so scared. One person couldn’t see his world collapse, and so Pepper and his friends opened the fridge door. Five Sprites went to the owner so they could be drank (and so they could get his mind off the fridge).

Dr. Pepper got out as well and went to the big fridge to ask for help. They said yes. So then they waited for the dumb human to throw the fridge away.

There he was the human named Kane. *tan tan taaaan* Now all the people from the big fridge got out to fight and all the people from the small fridge got out fight. And there Kane was picking up the fridge when Pepper shouted, “This is war!!!!!!”

So they fought Kane. They punched him and kicked him (and one even punched him in a bad part). Kane was now on the ground, scared. So Pepper said, “You will not throw the fridge away.“

Kane said,”Ok, ok, ok.“

And all the sodas were saved because of Dr. Pepper.


Dear Overflowing Trash Can,

Do you think this is a joke? I’ve been waiting for a week, and you still haven’t cleaned yourself. I mean, do you think I’m gonna do it for you? Because it’s not my fault you fill up so quickly! And don’t get me started on the fact that you can’t even close properly because of all the stuff that’s in you. I mean what kinda trash can are you?

Oh and you might be wondering why I’m sending a letter. I know it’s a little old fashioned but it feels cool and don’t you dare not respond to this and give me the lame excuse that you don’t have arms. You are just as capable as anyone! Even the Trash Bag responds when I complain to him. His handwriting is really bad though. I mean who can blame him? He doesn’t have fingers. Anyway, I hope you respond soon or I’ll turn you into Simon’s litter box.

Lots of resentment,


Dearest Argos (my dogo),

I do not know how you get into the trash and cabinets that are twenty feet high? How did you do it? Do you have telekinesis? Can you fly? Are you a master of parkour?

And how do you fit so much in that belly of yours?(Especially when you eat a whole loaf of bread!) It’s almost bottomless! And you don’t even throw up?!?!?!?!? The more you eat, the more immortal you get, and the more your farts stink! Another question, does Paloma (our other dogo) help you on your evil schemes to steal our food? OK and what could possibly be in Lilly’s backpack that you think is so important you have to go through it every day the messiest way possible!??!?!?!?!

Any way to wrap it up, when you eat a whole loaf of bread while we are out, please think of our terrored faces when we finally arrive home to trash everywhere and little pee stains on our carpet.


P.S. Please stop drinking out of the toilet, there is plenty of fresh water in your bowl.

Leon Barfield

Summertime in The Very, Very Far North

Duane was hot! So hot that he woke up early, maybe too early. He never hated his shaggy cot more in his life. He groped around for his snipers (the small metal cutters). When he found them, he jumped out of bed and ran to the edge his cave and down the stone steps (which he made last year) and puffed to the shipwreck.

He had little beads of water on his face. He ran to the big hole on the side of the ship and burst into C.C.’s room. She was frantically flying around the room.

“Hello, Duane!” She chirped in her high pitched voice.

“Hello C.C I need help.”

It took a second for C.C. to answer “What do you need?” she asked.

“This morning i woke up super hot.”


“I think we have left winter” Duane cut her off.

“What!!!! Duane winter will come back, but for now we welcome summer”.

“What’s summer?” Duane asked

“Well, it is the opposite of winter. So you know how winter is cold?”


“Well summer is hot”

“You mean the way I felt this morning?”

“Yes,” she said sadly.


What Would Happen If Anxiety Took Over Your Mind?
—a poetic version

Snap, Skit, Hide, the world is out to get you,
Stay on the ground blend in don’t move at all,
Change your colors don’t show anything,
Never trust anyone,
Let the thoughts that keep you safe encase you with their tentacles
wrapping around your mind until you have to give up and bow to their wrath,
You’re trapped,
You try to escape but the thoughts come,
More and more each time taking over what you once were and what you will be,
Until you become someone else something else that no one can save anymore.


How We Bested the Mafia

Hi, I’m Jim Mcgee. I’m 87. Have you ever heard of the story of my best friend and I? No? I thought so. It’s about us when we were twelve and…

Once there was this kid named Dave and he was the son of the president. You know the president because he’s “the boss” and “the boss” was busy as heck. He had a lot of conferences over new laws with some other people (I forgot their name) to see if they should veto it or appoint it.

Anyway, Dave was the president’s son and booooyyyyyy did he like to prank those important people. Sometimes I helped him (if you’re reading this, Dave, no offense), and I thought my ideas were better, like that time we brought a crazy mule into his dad’s office (yes, he was mad).

One day we went to Chicago for a vacation and we heard that, and get this, the Mafia was planning to kill his dad! Boy was he shocked, so we faked that we got sick, and we went back to the White House where we yelled “Psych!” to his mom and he got grounded.

When he (barely) survived his grounding we told the White House guards and they believed us. Except no! They didn’t believe us, I mean, who would believe the biggest pranksters the White House knew? Hold on let me ask you a question, do you think maybe you would’ve believed us? After we told everyone, and no one believed us, we decided that we were gonna have to come up with a plan ourselves. We started working on ways to trap the Mafia, and let me tell you something, nobody missed us. I mean, if you were an extremely important serious guy, would you miss two crazy pranksters?

Once we finished, we knew we were missing something, and it only took us two seconds to figure out what we were missing. The answer is when were they coming? Luckily, we saw on TV that a famous gang, that looked exactly like the gang we saw, was coming to Washington D.C., where we lived. They said that tomorrow they were going to do something that was important business. Bingo!

The next day, we set all the traps in their places after everybody was asleep. We waited and waited until we saw a sinister looking group pull up in a limo and that was our thumbs up for bringing the traps to life. When they started digging holes in the ground to get in, they found real jewels! I’m talking diamonds, gold, rubies and more. They decided that they would get way more money from this than killing the president. So they went back to their big car. When they were in the car, the ground gave way and set off a very loud alarm! They were trapped. It only took a few minutes for the White House guards and the police to find them. Then we came running out of the building telling the guards what happened. They couldn’t believe it. But they saw all the jewels the criminals had so they arrested them for stealing sacred Whitehouse treasures.

During the trial, the jury found out that these thugs were responsible for several cases of homicide plus plotting to kill the president, so they were sentenced to jail for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile at the White House, everything returned back to normal including the pranks.

One day, Dave and I pulled one of our greatest pranks ever. We set Whoopie cushions on every chair, except for his dad’s. We also switched out “the boss’s” speech with a fake Gettysburg Address written by us. You should’ve heard him when he read it because it was awesome! Of course Dave got in trouble, but it was totally worth it. We are the greatest pranksters the White House has ever seen.

Max Donahoe

Dear Sleepy Bunny,

Thank you so  much for comforting me every night when you sit on my dresser. I feel as though when you are near me you keep away my bad dreams and when you’re gone the bad dreams come for me. I hope that you enjoy it when I bring you on family vacations although I’m super sorry that the duffel bag is squishy and it makes you claustrophobic. I will attempt to upgrade to a bigger bag so that you will have room for some space and some air.

Another thing is that eventually I will make your own bed next to my desk so you have a place to relax. Again, thank you for all you do for me and all of my other stuffed animals agree with me that you make them happy as well and you are great company.


Dear Very Bright Lamp,

I’d like to start out with why do you have to be so bright?! Ok now that I have gotten that out of my system, let’s move on.

What I’ve really wanted to share my feelings about is: why do you have to provide the perfect amount of light to every except me? When I turn you on, could you just maybe be five notches dimmer? I would also like it if you only provide light for me and no one else, I know you are just trying to be nice, but your being just a little too nice. I hope you take this seriously.

Love your owner,

P.S. Can you tell the ceiling fan to quiet down a little bit? Thanks.


The Emotion Storm

Happiness is a big and strong T.Rex.
Every once in a while, an emotion storm comes.
It starts simple with small raindrops of madness.
The madness is fun in small amounts, but storms full of them can lead to insanity.
Next comes the fierce bolts of anger.
If your T.Rex is hit, then you will burst out in spurts of rage.
Next, if you are unlucky, a big, strong tornado of depression comes.
Your T.Rex could be in there for months, maybe even years if swooped up by the tornado.
And even after the storm, the T.Rex will still be there, maybe a little roughed up, but he will still be as happy and delightful as ever.


This Is Me

As swift as a fox, yet as clumsy as a panda
As quiet as a mouse, yet as loud as an elephant
As intelligent as a dolphin, yet as stubborn as a mule
As colorful as a peacock, yet as drab as a newborn penguin
As slow as a sloth, yet faster than a cheetah
As brave as a tiger, yet as fearful as a hamster
As intrigued as a dog, yet as annoyed as a cat 
I am unstoppable 


The Boy Who Was Running Like the Wind

The boy was running like the wind. He had stolen the store’s bread.

’’Get back here you little thief!’’ said the shopkeeper.

The boy went back to his house, which was under a bridge. His house had two wood pillars and a metal roof and walls. His bed was a rag and his pillow was a… well, he was lucky enough to find a pillow. He had no one with him. He was starting to think that he would never get a family when he heard something outside. A stray dog was outside. When he saw the boy, he jumped up and ran right toward him.

’’Its ok,’’ said the boy with a smile. ’’You’re safe now.’’


Lee Elementary’s 5th graders: A Light in a World of Darkness


It is apparent in the content of the following pages that Ms. Joshi’s students have been paying rapt attention to current events. They are well-informed, empathetic advocates for change, and they are calling for action. Their global concerns are evident in the powerful writing they’ve shared. Equally, you can witness their strong characters and personal convictions concerning the world in which they live. Xander encapsulates this sentiment perfectly in his poem, “Curious in Living Form.” “Curious is faced by a tremendous threat, but instead of using fire against fire –Curious uses investigation and interest to spark others into helping others.” At such a young age, he is aware of the most powerful force: community. Together, we can make changes for the better. Hana would like you to consider the plight of the African elephant in her poem, “The Decline.” Margaret asks us to remember the tragedy the citizens of the island of St. Vincent faced after the volcanic eruption of La Soufriere. “Covid was still there like your dark, lurking shadow you just can’t get away from.” These students incorporated powerful metaphors to express themselves succinctly. Hyun-Jin wrote, “Disappointment is a viscous snake. It is a chameleon that blends into your feelings.” Anais shared, “The horse’s mane was a flowing golden river of forgotten dreams.” We are called to open our eyes and truly see from the wise perspective of these authors. Molly invites you to “Cherry Blossom Days” in Wuhan, China where, “Doctors are attending the festivities, so this time they really won.” These students are also quite hilarious and optimistic. Reading their writing is an eye-opening adventure that offers hope in a time we need it most. Pepper eloquently reminds us, “There is a Warrior –Hidden beneath the Delicate lace of your wings. If you want to Fly –give up everything that has ever weighed you down. Fly.”

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

Dear Car,

We have a problem. What is with the weird noise you make whenever you’re carrying me? I know it’s hard to go all that distance, but you don’t have to groan about it! And not to mention that you are always thirsty every time we go on a trip! You better shape up your act or the next stop will be the scrapyard.

Adam Kerrigan

The Golden Stallion

The horse’s mane was a flowing golden river of forgotten dreams. It was like a sign of well being, a light in a world of darkness. As the glistening steed galloped along the endless fields of flowers, the rainbow array of blossoms was a plea of hope, slowly fading as the glowing stallion grew farther and farther away.


The Fear of Being Alone

I’m always really scared of falling asleep with nobody in my house. I’m afraid of it because I’m scared that a stranger might come into my house. When I think about it, I always think about something happy and that a robber isn’t going to come into my house. One time I heard my fridge make really loud noises, and I thought it was a robber. When I’m alone I sometimes watch TV, because it distracts me from what’s happening. I always know that robbers are not going to come into my house. I have a really safe neighborhood, but there’s still a chance. Robbers are like bunnies you don’t see them often but there’s a chance of you seeing them anywhere.

Asa Grogan

Beautiful Creature

A creature that  roars loud like a siren in the distance will roar no more. 
A beautiful creature, part of earth’s history. 
What used to roam can roam no more for he has fallen for he is gone. 
The beautiful creature that used to be we can never see.


Business Dogs

Their fur done and ties ready,
they have fun and get sweaty,
they are cute when they sew,
and have little bows,
and visit their friend Freddy.


To The Displeased Tennis Ball

Dear Tennis Ball,

I’ve been meaning to check on you. My sincerest apologies about last Thursday. I did not intend for you to splash into that muddy puddle. Anyways, it has come to my attention that you do not appreciate the way I treat you. Tennis racket informed me that you are angered when I bounce you against the wall. Filled with pain when I slam you against a racket. Anguished when I throw you in frustration because you did not soar over the net.

I would like to address these complaints. For starters, I apologize for mistreating you. Surely you understand that I don’t purposely harm you. I was just simply playing a game, the game you were made for playing. Therefore I have a solution. If I let you rest for about a week or two, would you be satisfied? I would also consider not hitting the ball as hard or throwing it when not necessary. Please understand your complaints are giving me a bad reputation with the other equipment. Do let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Kind regards,


Bye, Bye, Boone!

Wolves. Wolves. Howling at the moon.
Wolves. Wolves. Howls in July, August and June.
Wolves. Wolves. They are so cute.
Wolves. Wolves. We’re so doomed.
Wolves. Wolves. They eat lots of tablespoons, of a guy, named Boone.

Harry Sloan

Disappointment is the Vicious Snake

Disappointment is a vicious snake.
It is a chameleon that blends into your feelings
hiding as quietly as a mouse.
It is an owl that silently follows you
wherever you go.

Disappointment is a spy that is always watching you.
Nobody will ever notice it—
the bright green snake in the bright green grass,
the camouflaging chameleon somewhere in the bushes,
the skulking owl in the dark, thick trees.

And when you least expect it
It will strike
The venom from a single bite
enough to poison your hopes and dreams.
And then the snake will slither away, never to be noticed
until it strikes again.


T-rex in Feet with Feet

If there were 7.billon dangerous Tyrannosaurus Rexes on the earth, that’s a lot of feet. But if they did not have any they would just scoot along on the dry plain ground, and that’s just sad. But if they had one foot that would be okay, I guess, but they would hop around like rabbits but with huge teeth. Thankfully they have two so they can walk around. However, if they had too small feet that’s just too much.

Isaac Rocha

My Couch

The cracks in middle of the cushions are like black holes
You cannot eat what ever you what.
It is comfortable to sit and lay on.
It’s black like a T.V.
It’s comfortable like my bed.


Earth’s Big Yelp

Climate change is taking over. If we don’t help, we’ll be gone by October. There is no planet b, and if there were where would it be? It’s the world against us, and unfortunately we are winning. The earth is is our home, our safe place, our panic room. The earth is in the panic room. It feels like everyone in the world is banging on the walls. The world is shriveling and the plants are dying. Too many animals are not surviving, and no one is helping. Yes there is Mars, but thats so far away. It hasn’t been proven, and I bet you the world it won’t be today. The world needs help. It needs to survive, and I think you want it too, or else you could die. We just need awareness, we just need help. Even the little things can prevent earths big yelp. Just recycle. Just compost. That is all we ask. Imagine you were being buried in a dumpster unable to get out, because that is how it feels and it’s not going to stop. Airplanes would crash into your chest. How clean you would be if no one dug down to crest. We are so sorry, and we hope you accept. We’re almost at your core, and I don’t know why we don’t help.

Kate Pallante

The Lurkers

What lurks in the dark? The invisible there at night, but not in the morning.

The fear of the unknown. What could jump out whenever not be noticed until the night?

When it lurks in the shadows lurks in the unknown.

Hiding till it disappears at dawn in the scorching burning sunlight that awakens me in the morning when the lurkers disappear, hiding under the bed and in the closet to jump for you at night when only the children can see them

Lila K. Linden

My Beloved Pencil

Dear Pencil,

Thank you for all you have done, you help me with homework and for fun. You help with making a list so I remember what to buy, but you are a little dangerous because you can poke someone in the eye. I get to have fun when I am with you, I get to draw, write stories and make lists. I don’t know what I would do without you, you are the best mechanical pencil and you being a mechanical pencil is so much easier for me, and it doesn’t hurt you when I sharpen you, because I don’t have to, I just have to press your head and led comes out of your feet and that doesn’t hurt you (hopefully) and gotta be honest you have super cool hair that you can erase with. When I have any mistakes, you fix it like its nothing. You are as colorful as a parrot. I love your colors like you fell in a rainbow, We are happy when we draw or work with each other. you will always find a way to entertain me, you write like no other.


Luisfer Bilbao

A Wild Beast of a Volcano

Everything was almost normal that day on April 9 on the island of Saint Vincent. 

                                Cheerful people chattering.
Lively music playing.


La Soufriere erupted. A monstrous, fiery cloud of ash and dust rose like a fluffy loaf of bread in the oven. The cloud went 32,000 feet into the sky as the volcano ruthlessly spit out more pieces of rock.

The Prime Minister ordered an evacuation for everyone as destruction made its way across the island. COVID was still there, like your dark, lurking shadow you just can’t get away from.

Signs of activity had been hinted at in December, but who would’ve known such a thing would happen? The volcano hadn’t been active for decades. 

Panicked citizens fled to other islands nearby, while some went to half-clean shelters that were only recently set up.

Margaret D.

The Royal Lion 

While hunting the lion is quiet. Creeping up behind the prey in the tree like grass. The lion jumps out of the grass and the prey escapes. The lion is a race car, he is catching up to the prey. It is a cat and dog fight. The lion won the fight and the gazelle’s body is a flowing red river. After the lion and his pack were done with the poor gazelle there was no trace that the gazelle even existed. The gazelle was an ancient story. What can I say? That is the circle of life. 

The lion colors are black, beige and white. The lion’s tail is black, their nose is too and some parts of its mane are black too. Beige is the main color of the lion, its body is beige and the parts of its mane. The lion has white around its mouth. 

Its teeth are two knives. Cutting through anything they get their mouth on. Their mouths are very destructive.

Their eyes are small but they fit their face. Their eyes might be small but they have excellent vision eight times better than humans. 

Their claws are swords splitting everything in their way. 

The lion’s mane is a majestic mythical furry creature.  

The mighty king of the savanna is the lion. 

The lion is empowered and the queen of England is too. 

The sound of a lion’s roar is a raging thunder storm.



Now we can be proud of our country again
We don’t have to be embarrassed 
That we have an American flag in the yard
Now we can tell people we live in the U.S.
Without embarrassment
We can let immigrants in
With open arms
Now we can walk down the street
Without being too scared
America will heal this year
So will the world and its citizens

Meredith T.

A Forest Wolf

A wolf stands in the forest. Big, bright, eyes of sunstone, staring, ready to pounce on his prey. Snow, cold, wet, white snow, falling onto the grey-brown fur, covering it with a shivering weighted blanket. Trees, surrounding the creature on all sides, like water to an island. The wolf, with his tall, mountain ears, listens to any noises, rustling of leaves, snapping of twigs, for any prey in the nearby flood of nature. The small, black nose, looking through the tall trees, smells lunch and aims for it. The wolf is outranked by a number of bears, and surrenders back toward his hiding place, waiting for a safer meal to suffice his hunger. 


Dear Sand

Oh sand how do you with my toes on your lush surface? Are you happy when you stick in my toes or when you find trash on your beach? I don’t think that would be nice. how is your relationship with the water as it covers you like a blanket. Are you the person that hides the shells for the children to find? What about the wind? Does it feel like you are shedding your old self to make room for a new one? Does it hurt as you slowly get washed away? How I love the lapping of your friend the water as you play patty cake.

Owen H.

Open Your Eyes Humans

Gray wolves, gray wolves, howling in the night. Unaware of their future fright. They try with all their might, but unfortunately their population goes almost out of sight. Forced to the midwest, their numbers could fit in a nest (not really). Finally after the Endangered Species Act, gray wolves’ population slowly grows back.

The panda cup was a great blue ocean. Every day was a stormy one. He was being brought to a new habitat every other week. The same construction workers were destroying countless habitats to keep up with the demand for resources.

The only highlight of each day was being able to enjoy the minimum amount of bamboo needed to survive. The rest were used for more useless goods humans wanted to possess.

The panda Cub was heartbroken, ready to pack his very few bags and head out to his new containment. But this time, he was shocked. His jaw could have touched the ground from a hundred feet up.

He had an actual habitat! Other pandas to play with! A bigger diet (well just more bamboo)! Finally he was loved!

Ozzie Gerring

Bed, Thanks, But No Thanks

Dear Bed,

You are so high, you are a giant. You are so uncomfortable that I hate getting out of you. I love when you wrap your arms around me. Dear bed, I wish you were cotton candy. Hey bed, I wish you could just cooperate when I put the sheets on you instead of you fighting me. Dear bed, if you do not start cooperating with me then you are going to go to the landfill. 




There is a Warrior—hidden beneath the delicate lace of your wings.
A good omen of prosperity flies through the river of hope. It’s reflection shows light in powerful ways.
It brings a dream into reality—the message and wisdom and enlightenment from other realms.
You are a blessing of joy, wisdom, and maturity from up above.
If you want to fly—give up everything that has ever weighed you down. Fly. 
You’re the pilot of your own story—you control where it goes, and how it flies.
Eyes of sapphire—heart of gold—glistening on the free, cherished, delight of life…

Pepper Baker

Sorry For Everything I Did to You

Hello Hermet, my lovely eraser,

I got you at the beginning of the year, smelling as fresh as my mom’s new air freshener, and I snatched you straight out of the package ready to replace my old dirty tissue. I love how you keep my desk clean when I’m scribbling math problems and notes on it. You have a dark royal blue shell with a black furry bottom. I’m sorry about the time I scribbled on you but the teacher made us put my initials on you. because you are very dirty and grimy, you might need to take a shower at some point, you reek. Are you ignoring me because I accidentally jammed a pencil into your foam? And now there’s just a little black dark mark that is urging into a plumpy purple bruise (We might actually need to go check that out). Please talk to me because my desk is getting dusty and grimy and filled with black flakes of dirt. Why don’t I give you a little break once a month, would you like that? Please respond. 

Sincerely, Your favorite person in the world (and the only one you know, I guess),

P.S if you don’t take a shower in the next week I might have to get you replaced.

Reese Clinchard

Be Gone Sadness

Dear Sadness,

Hope you’re having fun at Disneyland. Don’t come back. We are not missing you. By the way, Happiness has taken over. Don’t worry your blue spiky dodgeball, Owie has not been touched. Oh and since renovations, we had to move your corner somewhere else. We don’t know where but the construction crew said then moved it somewhere where we will never see it again yay. If your wondering what we put in your corner, it is a pool table. Again hope we never see you again.

Samuel Meadows

The U.S. Has Hit the Big One

We all have been through some tough times during this pandemic, it has not been quick. It’s felt like five years, we had some tears. Some of us have lost family, all in all this year has been very very uncanny. From death to riots, from COVID to quarantine. During those awful times our beloved scientists were in the lab doing their calculations and figuring out how to make that amazing life saving vaccine. Earlier in 2020 they finally started delivering the vaccines to hospitals everywhere.

Since everyone wants this amazingly bad pandemic to end,they decided to get that vaccine shot, so as of April, 18, 2021. 180 million adults have chosen to have their first dose of the covid vaccine.

This great big Milestone is important to us Americans, because that is almost half of our country.


From Me To You, Gaming Mouse

Dear Gaming Mouse,

I apologize for grabbing you without asking first. You are my favorite. You are lighter than a feather, smaller than a mouse. Your LEDs shine better than any light…maybe. Your scroll wheel is satisfying to scroll. You jitter click like no other. I lov—wait hold on I just remembered that you’re an inanimate object. Then again, your optical censo—no, stop, I have to snap out of this!!! That stri—no, don’t say it!!! That stri—STOP!!! That fabric covered string tho—NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your Beloved Gamer

P.S. where is your P.O. box. (;   


Curious In Living Form                               

Curious is shy yet bold
scared yet excited
hunted yet cared

Curious has fur the color of 
caramel mixed with strawberries
the same color of the rage burning
through the forest it lives in 

Curious is never fearless,
Curious just knows how to 
explore and have a fun time 

Curious has paws the color of night
when the stars and moon have ran away

Curious is faced by a tremendous threat but instead of using
fire against fire Curious uses investigation and interest
to spark others into helping all living things

Curious has a face streaked with white
like bleach whiting a stain

Curious an attitude that will put a smile on
the cruelest of human invaders not because
it’s perfect but because it’s thoughtful and 

Curious has a belly of a fish but instead of white
it is black like Curious fell in an ink bucket

Curious has taken the hearts of many and 
persuaded them to help it’s cause, but when 
something is loved unconditionally there will 
always be a force to combat it 

Curious has a tail which on it has rings that
go round and round the rings the color of sand

In the flesh Curious is the Red Panda they have 
always supported humans even though they destroy
their homes and poach them but Red Pandas always 
support and keep on exploring

I hope you do too


Lee Elementary’s 5th graders on Creativity, Imagined Creatures, and Hope


Dear reader, it has been a long year. Some students have been in the classroom and others have been dialing in from home. Everyone misses seeing their friends and we are all looking forward to a little more normalcy this summer. On the following pages, you will see for yourself what is on Ms. Joshi’s students’ minds.

Charlotte has beautifully expressed her feelings in “Solitude in Spring” and you can almost hear the exhale as you read her line, “Finally, the silence is broken.” Yes, we are ready to run free, have sleepovers, giggle and eat an ice cream cone while the melted parts drip down our arm. We’ve been patient and tolerant. We’ve had ample opportunity to explore our imaginations and be creative. As Eliza shared, “Creativity is always there with bright wisps of rainbow colors, it inspires you –an extravagant voice in the back of your mind.” Oh, please do listen, reader. You may hear the sounds of Daniel’s Giflermulf, ”In my imagination it’s an animal that you can see every time you walk into the dreams of my dreams –that are now your dreams.”

These students have shown great perseverance; they’ve grown and expanded their horizons. They’ve even written letters to inanimate objects. Jaiman penned a clever letter to the concept of time: “Dear clocks, I would especially like to learn quickly—how to become a better writer, summarizer, and quick main idea finder.”

These incredible students wrote about their favorite animals, breakfast, cookies (possibly for breakfast), football, love, happiness and progress. They wrote about clones, what should have been and baseball. Yes, dear reader, they even wrote about the bubbliest creature of all. Please scroll these pages to find out more. I just know that you will be inspired to follow your dreams and explore your own creative voice.

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Wolf

The wolf has yellow eyes and black and white fur. His eyes glowing in the dark and his fur giving a faint glow of white. He is looking for food for his cubs.

If he does not find food, he and his cubs would starve and die. He has to be fast and strong to catch his food. His cubs are waiting for him.

He catches two snow rabbits and when he gets home, he and his cubs will have a feast.

Aldin Wildes

Dear Shoes,

Why are you so double minded? I put you on with socks and you are so warm and comfortable.  When I put you in without socks, you are so uncomfortable. Do you have an attitude problem? It seems like when I wear you without socks then you revolt.  Sometimes you even stink. I’m not talking about just a stinky attitude. You actually stink.  Please cut this nonsense out!




progress, progress has been made
with millions being attended 
but millions still lie in wait
standing patiently for their turn

how much longer do we have
to be isolated from the world
in our own personal space station
even fresh air seems too far to grasp

the world has been flooded with despair
and we have only just started to dry it out
with towels and sponges
that can only do so much

progress, progress has been made
but is progress enough?
for whatever we do,
however hard we try,
progress isn’t perfect


Solitude in Spring

Solitude in spring,
New beginnings before November,
It’ll be okay by August.

Strike up conversation,
No, you go first
Finally the silence is broken.

It’ll be here soon enough,
River of leaves, now bare trees,
Gone as soon as it had appeared.

Blissful laughter, mindless banter,
we could be inseparable, I’ll be here forever,
Or I guess just for a while,

Even then, it’s enough.


Swooping Down

We were going so fast! It was like I was riding on the back of a hawk at 1000 MPH!
It was as if I was a cheetah sprinting through time
Or a falcon swooping down!
If only it was as real as that bunny it was swooping for—oh wait!
If it’s swooping for it is real—yay!

Connall McCain

The Giflermulf

My animal is not a real animal, but in my imagination it’s an animal that you can see every time you walk into the dreams of my dreams that are now your dreams but they are also my dreams. Never mind, never mind.

The animal is called Giflermulf, it’s pronounced giflermulf. It’s a kind animal with a good heart, a sweet tooth, and a taste for good watches—yes, watches.

He’s/she’s bubbly, kind, silly and is satisfied with one hug. He/she gets grouchy when you wake them up very early. It has a black coat, a tail, a long snout, and is sluggish sometimes. But over all he’s/she makes a fantastic pet.

Daniel Delehant Busch Armendariz

The Busy Rock Dog

The dog has a big tail,
a great big rock.
His big paws stomp on the trail.
He heads home to his dock.

Now the Rock Dog is fine!
He’s set up the sign.
Now not worrying at all.
But after that, soon,
Somewhere near noon,
his phone has a call.

He forgot to go shopping!
He’s worrying, hoping!
He doesn’t have any cash.
The bank is closed.
His money, in withhold.
He, bedaffled, only having ash.

He is now blue.
He ain’t got no clue
how he was wrong,
but now he’s good.
He’s still got food.
He was right all along.



Creativity is always there 
with bright wisps of rainbow colors, it inspires you.
An extravagant voice in the back of your mind 
taking over your thoughts.

Lost feathers glide through the wind,
ideas forgotten.
Words come back out of its gray beak,
giving you more things to think about. 

Sometimes, it can be loud and annoying,
repetitive at sometimes, too.
But the voice really makes you think on things
and it’s not leaving, at least not any time soon.

Eliza Gold

Walking of the Wolves

The wolves are being hunted
like the bucket being punted
soon they’ll be a myth,
or until there is a fifth.
The sound of a gun
that won’t be fun.
What a terrible sight,
nothing is alright.
The ground soaked with blood,
it will turn into a flood.
The endangered species act,
it’s bad that’s a fact.
The wolves are dying
and nobody is crying.

Evan Kim

Hi Mr. Football,

How come you don’t always let me catch you? Is it because I always kick you? Well, that is part of the life of a football!

Wait, is this about the time I kicked you over the school fence? Sorry I didn’t intend to do it. What?! You don’t ever want to pay again? Why? I didn’t do anything else!

You mean I did something to your friend? Oh, you mean the time I punted him the roof of a school during a chess tournament? Ok, how about I never try doing that again?

Oh you are scared you will suffer the same fate? Ok, I will never punt you near a roof.

Still not convinced huh? Wait you are worried someone will throw you over the fence while trying to throw you into the basketball hoop? And you don’t like being treated like a different ball? Well, that does make scene. Wait, if I tell them to stop and you will play?

Yay! Consider it done.

Gavin Dawson

The Wolf

The Wolf waits in silence 
The Wolf stalks its prey 
When the time comes 
The Wolf strikes  

The Wolf is a powerful tsunami 
The Wolf is a mighty mountain
The Wolf is a brave hero 

The Wolf is an angry crab 
The Wolf is an empowered bear 
The Wolf is an energized Peregrine Falcon

The Wolf is powerful

Hank Redmon

Getting My Bat

Crack, Bounce, Catch, Throw, Run, Slide, TagHe’s OUT!
At the plate I get my bat 
Throws the ball I make a crack
It’s like roaring thunder in the sky
Through the wind it makes me cry
Rumbling, tumbling, down the lane
Running the bases, I feel no pain
Nothing but happiness
Nothing but cheer
The big white disk is coming near
I slide, he tags
down low, up high
I’m jumping like a kangaroo
Lightly tapping the base
I fall on my face
Silence… He’s safe!

Henry Roselle

If I Were an Object

If I were an object
I would be a stuffed elephant stuffed animal
with big brown eyes,
soft gray fur,
long trunk,
long tail with soft hair at the end
and I would belong to a little girl.



Cats and dogs, equal
Girls and boys, equal
Blacks and whites, equal
Predators and prey, equal
Lions and tigers, equal
Wolves, and foxes, equal
Animals and plants, equal
Everyone is equal


The Lion and the Savannah

The Lion stalks his prey like an owl, waiting patiently. 
His stomach rumbles, yelling for the taste of meat. 
When the moment comes, he pounces, happily devouring its prey. 

With a full stomach, the beast happily walks home with the rest of his pack. 
His eyes whisper with sleepiness, telling him to rest for a while, with the waves of
calmness falling over his old bones. 
Slowly they close, and drift into a wave of calmness. 

In the morning, he wakes, eager as a child in front of candy. 
His children arise, wrestling each other for a bone. 
The troop moves, letting their appetites and their stomachs lead them to food and
dominance of the savanna. 

The Savannah eventually became a giant civilization. 
Soon, a new animal species takes over. 
They are the Elephants, as intelligent as a robot.

Leo Presti-Long

Letter to My Grey Laptop

Why do you always hop off my desk? Why do you try to escape? Is it because I put that grey leash on you? For the last time, that’s the plug! Why are you always taking naps when I need you to work! Please stop sleeping on the job!

I don’t want to replace you, but your sleeping problem has become too bad! I know I accidentally set you on the black couch and my dog sat on you, but you need to get over that! I am giving you one last chance. I really need you to help me out, okay?




Does it annoy you that kids climb you as they poke and twist your branches? Does it make you mad as they climb you and fall only to climb back up and do it over and over? Does it hurt when you watch as they chop you down only to leave you as a stump and use you as firewood, but only to wake again as smoke floating out the chimney?

But after all that do, you still love them. Or do you watch green with envy at how they move? And you don’t (or do) you respect them for how brave they are? Do you know as much as or do you know less then the wind? Do you ever visit your stump?



Lift your spirits high as you can, listen to what hope is,
when you bring a life of wonders
hidden in the dark all the small voices can sing,
so soft, so quiet, so beautiful.

I can see a life of music in the air
as it brings kindness to your heart,
to your life as a human,
as a unique, one-of-a-kind person.
No one is the same, and no one is better than everyone
or of one thing or single person 

Feeling the beat, as I see,
oh a life of someone’s smile
through the road of worry and doubt,
through happiness and success



They say you will make history,
but what are you if not a copy of another creature?

What are you if not fake life?

Why do you deserve all this fame,
when so many animals die everyday?

Why are they so happy you were created,
when so many had to perish to get you here?

Why do so many people hate you for no reason?

Why do some people think you are the future?

You may look like another creature,
but you are not.

You have your own personality,
which is unique in every way.

For something so beautiful,
can never be recreated.

Maylinn Woiwode


I love pandas.
They are cute,
chubby, bubbly animals.
What’s not to love?

Their black and white fur,
their shining dark eyes
and cute faces
are the most adorable features of an animal.



The T-Rex is the biggest dinosaur. 
And I want to learn more.

You lived 70 million years ago.
You’re no longer here , I know.

You can’t be hunted down, because you were at the top.
All of the other animals had to stop.

You were as tall as a tree. 
2.5 billion of you roamed free.

Your big sharp teeth scare me.
I wish I could think of something funny.

I’m glad you’re not here.
If you were, I would have a tear.

Miles Bloom

Love is a Thing with Puppy Breath

Love is a thing with puppy breath; 
filled with fur 
love is a thing with puppy breath; 
never once being a burr.

It waits for you when you get home; 
then it’s a lion that sees a gazelle, 
about to go on the hunt. 
Covering you with slobber and drool; 
never once trying to be cruel. 

They are devoted and kind; 
only with protection and loyalty in mind, 
like a loyal soldier ready to go to an impossible war; 
not thinking of it once as a chore. 

They never wind down; 
even when bound 
to a chair. 

Love is a thing with puppy breath, 
with you until your last sigh. 
Love is a thing with puppy breath, 
always right next to your left thigh. 
Love is a thing with puppy breath. 
Not ready, yet, for you to die. 

Love is a thing with puppy breath.



Your eyes are a sea of moonshine, soft and singing,
made of ghosts and stars.
Your eyes are full of sadness and pain,
memories of death and blood still flash in your pupils.

Your life, your rarity 
is as precious as time,
your time, your time here.

Your pawsteps stir the snow, 
lifting seeds and grass to the pale winter sky
rise up, your eyes say.

You take one last look at this earth,
this terrible, poisoned, dying earth,

with your blue-gray-white ghostly eyes,
those sunshine-filled, moonlight-spun eyes
then you turn away

and run away
far, far away
away from all that will hurt you.
These people
do not understand.
You are life, you are love, you are our test.

Maybe someday, somehow,
we can live together, in harmony.
For now,

See you later, Star Wolf.

Olive Fountain

Dear Happiness,

It has been a little over a year since your departure and since then boredom and tiredness have moved in your old place in my mind. I guess you probably left after the pandemic hit, but the number of cases have decreased greatly and doctors have almost perfected a vaccine for ages 12 and up, so I hope you will move back in soon.

In case you didn’t hear me the first couple of times, I’ve missed you so much, but you probably know that since I’ve written 2,672 letters while you were out. I think it might’ve been because my dear friend and great protector facemask moved in. Or maybe these letters aren’t getting there, but if you get this, please write me back to let me know you are okay. 



What It Should Have Been

The elephant calf roamed the savanna with three of the original forty-seven elephants in her herd. Her herd had once been populous, moving confidently from one watering hole to another, sometimes skirting the lush, emerald and chocolate-colored forests. There used to be so much joy, as though nothing could go wrong. But now, it was a hard search for water in some places. The forests that they had once skirted had been almost completely cut down. Where there had once been beautiful oceans of leaves and trunks and branches, there were now only countless graves for thousands of trees and animals. Monkeys and birds, lizards, snakes, all buried in what had once been called home. She knew that there were other places that were still lush and full of life, but not here. 

Somewhere else, there would be huge watering holes swarming with flamingos and zebras and wildebeests. There would be lions, prowling the undergrowth, pouncing at a large gazelle that had wandered away from the herd. Then, the lion would drag it home to feed the pride. There would be a plump leopard sitting in a tree in a grove and vultures would scavenge what it could not finish of its meal. And there would be enormous forests, softly vibrating with the chitters of monkeys, the sweet chirps and warbles of birds, the small squeaks of lizards, and the rhythmic hiss of the snakes. 

But not here. Oh, no. Not here. Here, you will see dried up watering holes. You will see no flamingos splashing in the fantasy of the deep blue water. You would see unnaturally small herds of zebras and wildebeests, their bony legs stumbling over rocks, bleached by the merciless sun beating down on them. A starved lion would weakly drag itself through the dry and dead savannah grass, trying desperately to find anything for its nearly diminished pride of fellow lions. A skeletal leopard would cling to the bark of a burnt tree, a small island in an ocean of stumps. A lone vulture would fly in circles, very near the possibility of plummeting out of the sky as it waited for any carcass to scavenge. 

Here, you can no longer see the grand forests that once stood. You could no longer hear the chitters of monkeys, the sweet chirps and warbles of birds, the small squeaks of lizards, and the rhythmic hiss of the snakes. You could only hear echoes of their shrieks of terror as their homes crashed to the ground.

Back there, in the perfect world, huge herds of elephants would travel, their lovely lives continuing. But here, in this terrestrial wasteland, the elephants are barely hanging on. They had lost twenty-nine herd members to poachers and thirteen more to heat, lack of water, starvation, and disease. They had only lost one to old age. Everything around them was losing life. And there were two worlds for them. What it was… and what it should have been.

Pilar Dettmer

The Bubbliest Creature of All

Warm and fuzzy, sweet and 
soft, guinea pigs are all these things
and even, even more.

Their squeaks are little 
gummies you enjoy with 
every bite

Their chubby selves might as 
well be the reason I

Guinea pigs deserve more love.
They live like lower class
to rodent such as hamsters. 

Guinea pigs are delicious chocolates
you find at the candy store,
but if you don’t like chocolate,

Guinea pigs are the 
grandest of all
I hope you think so too!!!

Ridley Jackson

The Last Cookie

Mike and Mary heard my mom say from downstairs, “We have one more cookie.”

They ran so fast that I wondered if people could become cars. But then Mike and Mary stopped fighting and running and ran faster to Mary’s bedroom because the cookie was oatmeal and raisin. Mary and Mike don’t like oatmeal and raisin cookies, because they don’t like oatmeal or raisin at all. And they only like snickerdoodles. My mom usually makes snickerdoodles, but today she made oatmeal and raisins.

Mom walked to Mary’s bedroom to talk about why they only eat snickerdoodles. They said, “We love the sweet taste of the cinnamon in our mouth.”

Mom understood and will not make more oatmeal and raisins. Mom said, “I will teach you to make snickerdoodles.” Then Mike and Mary ran to the kitchen to make snickerdoodles.


Summer Time

What I’m gonna do for summer vacation is that I will go to summer camp, and I’m gonna have playdates with my friends. I will play outside with my friends, and I will have pool parties at one of the volunteer’s house. And when I go outside, I will play football.


Inside the Strange Folder

This writing folder is a little strange,
Since you need to write in a different range,
You need to write a different story,
To keep up your writing glory,
They can be long or maybe short,
And you might need a bit of support,
But remember, when you are feeling down,
And looking around,
There is something to start a story.



Wolf breaks the silence,
sprinting through the forest faster and faster,
jumping over fallen logs,
seeing through the fog,
suddenly spotting dinner,
he crouches,
he squints,
hazel eyes,
white fur,


The Magnificent Hippo Llamas

It was such a pleasure spending a week at the Magellan International School with these fifth- and sixth-graders and their inventive minds! The Magnificent Hippo Llamas dove straight into the camp and delighted me with their eagerness, cleverness, and humor every single day.

As reflected in their name, these sixteen writers graders love animals, and they wrote about everything from rhinoceroses to butterflies to sharks. We created “chimera” creatures, animals made up of parts two or more other animals and told stories about their lives, their origins, or their discoveries. We imagined abstract ideas like creativity and anger as though they were animals enclosed in a zoo.

We read and discussed writing by Nicolás Guillén, Franz Kafka, Patricia Smith, and Jacqueline Woodson, and their words inspired our own. To practice surprise and encourage experimentation on the page, we played surrealist games, like three-headed know-it-all and question and answer, and these games gave many of the stories below their initial seed.

I so enjoyed working with The Magnificent Hippo Llamas, and I hope you’ll enjoy their pieces below. Be prepared to laugh, gasp, and smile.

Erin Zwiener
Badgerdog Teaching Artist



When I was about five years old, I won a bug catcher. That day, I caught a beautiful blue-winged butterfly. I live on a country lane in Fieldtown. My dad owns a farm where he grows corn, peas, cows, pigs, and horses. When I got home, I set Jane, my new pet butterfly, on the barn cabinet and decided to take my horse Snowflake for a ride.

I saddled her up and hopped on. We went around the farm and over to the pound. We then galloped to the corn fields, where my dad was picking the corn stalks. Then we headed towards the pig barn, where Grumpy, Snozzy, Lazy, Happy, and the three other pigs (whose names I could never remember) were sleeping and eating. Then I went over to milk Snickers. I grabbed the bucket and stool out of the dusty cabinet and started milking her. I then thought about my teacher and how we had just finished reading a Greek myth.

I then remembered Lazy, my favorite pig and how, when I was a child, she let me ride on her back. And I remembered Jane, my butterfly… What if? No that wasn’t possible.

Later, after a dinner of yummy biscuits, chicken, and creamy milk from Snickers, I took Jane up to my room. And since I had won Lazy from the county fair, she was my responsibility, so she slept with me. I brushed my teeth with my blue Cinderella toothbrush and put on my PJs and got in my bed, and my mom read me a story and tucked me in. Later that night, I woke up to the sound of the window shuddering. I stared up at the picture of my name in all blue letters: Rosie. Then I slowly drifted back to sleep.

In the morning, I awoke to the smell of eggs and pancakes. I noticed that Lazy was not in her normal spot, and Jane was not in her cage. I started to freak out when I saw some small fluttering by the door. I grabbed the bug catcher and trapped Jane inside and went downstairs to eat. Once I had finished, I went upstairs to check on Jane. When I looked in a magnifying glass, I saw that Jane was a little bigger. She even had a pig nose. Then I remembered Lazy.

Wait… I looked closer. “Jane” had pig feet and even Lazy’s old scar. OMG, I thought. I threw Jane (in her cage) into my saddlebag, jumped on Snowflake, and we rode off to the vet. The vet didn’t know what was going on and said to take Jane to the doctor. The doctor said to take Jane to Professor Louis. Professor Louis ran tests and did experiments that involved machines and needles.

Eventually, he concluded that I had invented a new animal! A pig butterfly, a putter. It was pink with pig legs, a pig nose, pig eyes and ears, and a pink butterfly body and blue wings with pink spots. Professor Louis thought Jane and Lazy had been struck by radioactive heatwaves. He said Lazy Jane would eat leaves and plants. When I got home, I decided that I would keep Lazy Jane a secret. Lazy Jane hangs out in the field till I come home from school. Then she eats dinner and sleeps.

Helen Payan



—after Nicolás Guillén’s “The Hunger” 

It flows out through the bars,
Bright blue eyes, wings like an angel,
Like a horse in a pen!
Free of heart and mind,
But unfree to roam wild.
It is always thinking of new things,
Like the wolf on the hunt
Or the lion as it roars.

If it could be free, free of this cage,
It would soar like an eagle
High above, where no one could stop it.

It beats its wings in the cage.
The girl stops as she passes the cage.
She breathes.
The girl feels the spirit of the animal
Deep within her heart.

She presses the key into the lock.
It falls.

Free at last.

Lanie Sepehri


Larry the Swimming Grape

It was 2032. Humans and animals had become more intelligent, but they were not the only ones. So had grapes, and Larry the Grape was going further than any grape had gone before. He was going to the Olympics. He trained hard every day, jumping off the counter and swimming in a bowl with the fan blowing him the opposite direction.

Then it was time for the Olympics. He entered his name, got his gear on, and when he heard his name called with the rest of the swimmers, he got out of his seat and started walking.

His fellow swimmers did not seem to notice him, as they almost stepped on him three times, so he hitched a ride on someone’s shoe. When they called a name, they did it three times. He guessed they were honoring him. When he got to his spot, someone else was there, so Larry tried to get him to move, but he wouldn’t budge.

When the buzzer rang, Larry jumped into the water. When the water hit him, he felt the rush as he swam. He could feel the water helping him, and then he won, but there was no medal and no winner’s music. He guessed he’d have to wait, so he jumped into his grape bag to say hi to his friend Cherry. The next thing he knew, he was being swallowed.

Emily Steer



—after “The Hunger” by Nicolás Guillén

Creeping, pouncing, shredding.
Always on the prowl.
A panther sneaking in the
woods, a lion crouching in the plains.
A shark swimming in the reef.
An eagle ripping into a fish.
This is anger, wanting revenge,
being resentful and mad.
Anger is cruel, it destroys
and deceives.
You cannot escape anger.
Not you and not me.

Michael Gearing


Project: Aquatius Monkius

Project: Aquatius Monkius.

Day 1: The lab just started. My lab just moved to a small, tropical island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This project is run by the government. The public will not know about it at all. It is my job to keep a journal tracking the experiment. We are trying to make a part-monkey, part-shark creature. Our plan was revised more than thirty times.

First, we had a shark completely consume a yellow leaf monkey, which are native to this island. The lab then exposed it to radioactive waves for ten minutes. We put it in an enclosed area of water that was touching the shore, and we are going to keep the creature there overnight.

Sketch #1: Shark being exposed to radioactive waves.

Day 2: The project has gone horribly wrong! The experiment was not in its enclosed area this morning, but we still had a chance to see it and do some tests on it. The first time we checked on it, it was amazing. It had the head of a great white shark and the tiny body of a yellow leaf monkey. The monkey’s arms were replaced with shark fins, and it had a large shark fin on its back. The monkey’s legs and tail were normal, but they didn’t have any fur. It is very dangerous, and it will eat anything. Right now, I am on a boat with my team searching for it. Where did the team go? Who got ketchup all over the floor? What is that grunting noise behind me? Why do I see a monkey tail and a shark fin in the water? Oh no.

Ivy Semovitz



A black and white animal.
It looks stressful and in pain.
Creepiness on the outside,
but anger on the inside.
Heat sliding down the forehead,
thinking quietly about
revenge. I look closely at it,
thinking how much pain and
stress this animal is given.

A yellow and black spotted
animal. So sluggish and lazy.
Drooling everywhere, waiting
patiently to get out. The eyes
are barely open, gaining more
weight by the second.

An orange and black striped animal.
So loud and wild. Roaring
every second. Running rapidly
back and forth. Slipping and
falling. So dirty.

Shreya Gupta


The Chronicles of the Goatster

One day, I wake up and do my daily routine. I go into the farm and “borrow” some chicken seed, then I go back to my cave and eat. By the way, I’m a Goatster, head and wings of a rooster and body and legs of a goat. I hear the farmer screaming, “It’s gone again!”

“There is someone breaking into the shed again!” exclaims the farmer’s wife. “That’s 3 days in a row!” They take the whole bag of chicken seed! We need to call the cops about this!”

That. Is. BAD! They can’t call the cops! I’m going to go back to those scientists! And technically that isn’t all true! When I’m done, I make sure not to finish it! I just leave one seed and put it in one of the animal pens. That’s fine, right? RIGHT? My best bet is to stay in my cave. That is the only place to hide anyway. Where I live, it is all flat ground surrounded by mountains. Wondering how I got here? I was running away from those scientists and fell down the cliff. That’s right. I fell down a CLIFF!

The farmers definitely called the police. They’re talking with one of them right now. I go to the back of my cave and try to blend in, although a giant chicken goat does not blend in well. Next thing you know, an officer walks by, he looks in the cave, widens his eyes, then walks back, humming and looking at the sky. What are the odds he saw me?

The next day, I do my routine. I “borrow” the chicken seed and go eat, and then I take a nap. I wake up to the sound of traffic and a large bump. All I can see is myself and a bunch of white. I wait for about an hour and then feel the truck screech to a stop. I hear people talking outside and immediately pretend to sleep. They take me outside, and I immediately make a run for it. As I run through the lab, I get lost. I go past all sorts of animal experiments. I feel so bad, so I let them out, but they run away from me fast. I finally get out. Now I’m a Goatster on the run.

Kiana Thompson



—after Nicolás Guillén’s “The Hunger” 

Never afraid to speak up
Stands out
Like a peacock in a field of cows
Beautiful without knowing
When you least expect it
It will show
It cannot be contained
But will hide with the best
Until, until the day when it breaks free
It will soar high again
Not afraid to express itself
Not afraid to do anything
This is courage at its most

Hannah Van Houten


Raining Gorillas

Today I woke up in the morning and turned on the news. They said we were going to have a big rain, so I had to bring my umbrella with me. Should I bring original or lucky shield or super bright yellow umbrella? I wondered. I decided to bring my lucky shield umbrella, just in case if I had bad luck, like someone punching me.

I went to my school after I prepared the lucky shield umbrella. Going to my school was fine. Then I went to the classroom, and I knew something was wrong. My friends and teachers looked like gorillas. I thought, What? Am I unconscious? It was weird.

After school, I crossed a street to go home. It was still raining. Suddenly, the raindrops formed like a huge hairy black monster. I turned on my phone radio, and it said gorillas (which were made by raindrops) were spreading a gorilla virus that makes people turn into gorillas. I protected myself with the lucky shield umbrella. I guess this umbrella is unlucky. Anyway, I think I’m the only one who can survive here. I protected myself with the lucky shield.

But I had a great idea. How about I feed the gorillas and treat kindly? I had this idea when other citizens started freaking out and punching gorillas. So, I started the action. Luckily, I walked in front of gorillas. Then I said, “Listen up gorillas! I will treat you very kindly, so please stop the raining gorillas!”

The gorillas talked together as a team and said very deeply and loudly, “DEAL!” But there was confusion. How would we turn gorilla people into actual humans?

I asked the raindrop gorillas, and they cast a spell on gorilla people, erased their memories of the raindrop gorillas, and turned people into humans again.

Meredith Kim


The Pengrhino

Once a year, it’s Pengrhino versus the Mousrat. They fight in New Zealand in a giant stone arena. If you step on one tile that’s a trap, you die. The Pengrhino has a penguin head with a rhinoceros horn, a rhinoceros body, and penguin’s feet. The Pengrhino waddles. It is about six feet tall and weighs 550 pounds. The Mousrat has a mouse face with rat teeth and tail. The Mousrat flies around the arena. It weighs 400 pounds and is five-foot-three. The Pengrhino gets its horn into the Mousrat’s stomach right off the bat. The Mousrat dodges all the attacks after that. The Mousrat jumps up after and sinks its teeth into the Pengrhino’s back. They fall off. The Pengrhino turns around and kicks the Mousrat out of the arena. The Pengrhino wins the animal games. Fireworks!

Price Deering



Once on a dark and scary night, a mad and crazy scientist with wacky white hair tried to make a hybrid of a kangaroo and a cow! He added lots and lots of strength potions so the animal would be impossible to defeat. That scientist wanted to rule the world, but something went wrong…

When the hybrid was created, it was given the name Kangacow. It didn’t listen to the scientist and punched him, so he became unconscious. The Kangacow ran out of the lab and hopped to the nearest town, Baltimore. The AFC Championship was going on — the Baltimore Ravens versus the New England Patriots. During the fourth quarter, Kangacow made baby Kangacows from his udders. They grew to full size in five seconds and rampaged the field. The crowd ran for their lives. Someone called the army, which surrounded the stadium with tanks and helicopters. The Kangacows started to multiply, and they hijacked the army and made those army men their slaves.

They did this to the whole USA in a matter of months! The scientist built a Kangaproof bunker and tried to make a formula to turn the Kangacows back into normal animals. The other countries tried to gang up on the Kangacows, but to no avail. The Kangacows destroyed the troops and vehicles.

To help take over the rest of the world, the Kangacows called the Swampmunks and Neagles. The Swampmunks were the Navy, the Neagles were the Air Force, and the Kangacows were the Army. They had a whole military force! They first attacked Russia and China because they knew they were the biggest powers after America. The Neagles guarded the Americans, the Kangacows guarded the Russians, and the Swampmunks guarded the Chinese. Then, something happened…

The Americans revolted and ran into broken tanks when the Neagles weren’t looking. They could shoot the Neagles with a tank’s machine gun and missile launcher, but the tank couldn’t move. Then they had an idea. The army men could distract the Neagles by detaching the machine guns and shooting the Neagles while the civilians could stay in the tank to shoot missiles. They kept the Neagles and strapped them to tanks. Then the Kangacows kept calling, but they didn’t come. The Kangacows sent the Swampmunks, but they were ambushed and kept them hostage. The Kangacows called the Swampmunks, but they didn’t come. They knew a big battle was coming…

Shaurya Pathania


Llamstrich on the Loose

Once upon a time, there was a scientist who bred animals in his lab, and one day he made a Llamstrich — half llama, half ostrich. It was hideous! When he looked at it, it had the body of an ostrich and the head of a llama. As soon as he grabbed his dart gun, the beast kicked the door to its cage and sped down the hallway. The scientist alerted the police, but as soon as they arrived, the Llamstrich was gone.

In an old house there lives a family of two, a woman and her son. They were llama farmers, but something was off. One llama looked different. First, it had feathers. Second, it had talons. The boy ran to his mother, but as soon as she came, it was gone. The Llamstrich could not find a safe place to hide! So it ran to the police and found a magic portal.

August McMurphy


Llamstrich on the Loose, Continued

It was just time for bed, but I remembered I had to tell Egard something, and I asked, “Do you want to go on a trip?”

Egard nodded yes. “I already packed for us. Eight-thirty, and we’ll be on the road.”

I said, “Heh, heh. Be in the sky, I guess.”

Egard grunted and used his big gecko-gripped tail to hang on the ceiling. The rooster crowed, and Egard and I were awake. I put on my swim shorts and got my matching shirt and hopped on Egard’s large eagle head. He flapped his beautiful angel-looking wings and thrust out the door and into the sky.

An hour later, we stopped at our favorite seafood place. Once we finished that up, we got outside, and I checked Egard’s portal generator. It had full battery. He put his two front eagle-arms out. I looked, and to my surprise, we were over a parking lot, and everybody saw us. They were taking millions of pictures. The portal opened, and Egard flew through with ease. When we were going, I told Egard to do it alone.

Once Egard was through the portal, he was in an arena full of sadistic kittens. At the end of the arena there was the one and only Llamstrich, which was dressed in a combat suit, and then the Egard looked down. He was in a combat suit of his own. The kittens yelled fight!

Jacob Ulmer


The Hippsquirrel

Pete goes to the desert to look for a new species of animal. He gets to a huge hole in the ground that looks like it goes more than thirty feet deep. He’s big enough to fit in the hole, so he goes down. He sees some light at the bottom of the cave. He goes down to it. It takes him five minutes to get to the light. It flattens out, and he enters a small room. When he gets closer to the light, he figures out it’s green and slimy. He jumps over it and sees a straight tunnel forward. There’s more green stuff on the walls. He tries to avoid it, but he accidentally touches it. It burns him and dissolves.

He keeps going forward, and he sees a huge lump on the ground. Then it starts moving. He yells and tries to get out, but a wall of sand falls over the entrance. The giant thing has a huge head and a really small body and tail. The gigantic thing moves forward and snuggles on him. It starts licking him too and then starts digging through the wall back toward the light. The giant head thing goes through the hole and into the light. Then Pete has a good look at the creature and sees that its body is a squirrel and its head and teeth are a hippo. He decides he likes it and that he will call it Hippsquirrel. The Hippsquirrel starts going up. He follows.

When they get to the top, Pete picks it up and carries it into his truck. It seems okay with this. It keeps licking him, but that’s fine. Pete drives back to his house. It’s in the forest away from the city, so nobody can mess with him. He does research on the green light and finds out it’s nuclear radiation. That’s why Hippsquirrel is two different animals. After that, Pete tries to find out what it eats. Two hours later, he figures it out. Frogs! After that, Pete lives with the Hippsquirrel and takes care of it.

Alastair Dorsett


21 Hours

Hello, my name is Jerry the Rhino, and I live in a zoo. Here is a tale about my everyday life. I wake up at 7:00 and eat breakfast, which lasts until 8:00. I have a rest till 12:00. I’m so tired, but I know I can’t sleep for the whole day. I have to eat! I dreamed about sleep. Then I wake up and have lunch until 1:00. Nap time is the best. I sleep until 6:00, and then I have dinner, which lasts until 7:00. Then I take an amazing night’s sleep until 7:00. I repeat this day to day. I am the tired animal and nobody will ever stop my nap time!

Jonah Strong


The Story of Fly Guy, a.k.a. The Prowling Fly

Once upon a time, there was a fly who had a kid. That kid was named Fly Guy. Fly Guy loved to prowl everywhere. Soon he got the nickname The Prowling Fly. He left home when his mom died. He caught a plane to Abilene, Texas. Then he caught a cow trailer to England. Then he went to Spain in a taxi cab. Then he caught a submarine to Australia. That is where he started his hunting spree.

First, he tried eating a human, but he didn’t like it. So he went to the outback and saw a pretty fly named Annie Bell. They got married. They had a kid named Darwin Jeffery Wendell. Prowling Fly soon taught Darwin Jeffery to hunt. Prowling Fly killed a giraffe and loved it. Darwin killed an elephant, not realizing they were endangered, but it tasted good. One time, Prowling Fly killed a rhino. He didn’t like it. One time, he and Darwin Jeffery were trying to kill a lion, but Darwin Jeffery was swatted by the lion’s tail and died. Then Annie Bell left him because she was mad.

Then Prowling Fly was all by himself. Then a fly caught his eye. Her name was Kim Lardashian. Soon they had another boy, and his name was Ronald McDonald Wendell. Ronald loved chicken, so Prowling Fly found the most popular bird and told Ronald it was a chicken. Ronald made chicken nuggets. Everyone loved them. So Ronald left his parents and made a very cheap fast food place. It became famous nationwide.

Prowling Fly wanted a hunting partner, so he called an old friend. His friend was Silkie Spider. His friend was a good hunter. When Silkie got there, Silkie brought his wife, but Silkie had no kids. But the day Silkie’s wife got there, a mouse ate her. Silkie decided to go back home. So, Prowling Fly was on his own. Prowling Fly was hunting an elephant but was spiked by the elephant’s horn. He was never found.

Epilogue: You should never be scared of flies. Nothing was harmed in this story. Don’t think that in real life a spider won’t eat a fly. It will.

Coalter Daywood

The 16 Musketeers

I’m honored to introduce you to a group of creative and passionate young authors, who call themselves “The Sixteen Musketeers.” Like the musketeers in the famous story, each of these writers represent an essential part of this collective whole—a group that worked hard over the course of a week, encouraging each other, cheering for each other, laughing with each other, learning from each other. But each Musketeer is also an individual, with a distinct writing style and a powerful voice.

During our week together at the Magellan International School, these students wrote stories and scenes of dialogue that starred a talkative fisherman afraid of cats, a mysterious young girl with wings, a bus driver who borrows a time machine, and a host of other fascinating, complex characters. Yet most of the pieces collected here—the writing that these students most desired to share with the world—are poems or nonfiction passages that focus on transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, through the precision and magic of language.

These students are determined to report on life as they see it, and to share their passions—for violins and videogames, for starry nights and storytelling—with their readers. I was inspired this week by the imagination, intelligence, and playfulness of these young writers. I hope you, too, find inspiration in these pages.

Allison Grace Myers
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


Ode to my Pencil Case

As I open my pencil case,
Little opportunities sprout legs and escape the dark pouch.
A pencil for making the opportunities
And an eraser for cleaning the messy ones up.

This case isn’t the kind that holds books or scrolls,
But the one that holds the tools to make them.

Inside there is a place for everything to go in.
It is so packed up and works very hard,
But it tries not to complain.
The pencil case says,
“My zipper isn’t stuck, and I’m right in front of you,
So open me up.”

Mannat Ahluwalia


Henry the Dragon Slayer

My name is Henry. I am a dragon slayer.

I was found in a river, adopted by one of the King’s ministers. I am now the dragon slayer, and I am one of the best in the profession, but there is yet one dragon that remains. We all call him Scaly. He has eaten all our dragon slayers. He is the fiercest one of them all, so my job was to kill him.

One day, I set out on foot, because no one was willing to come close to the dragon. I would love to say I reached the cave and heard the dragon snoring and chopped off its head, but that’s not what happened. He was torching the cave. I walked into the cave. It was around 100 degrees Celsius. (Talk about turning up the heat!) Yet I was determined to kill him. I charged in and fought the dragon. It was a short fight. I died.

I am dead now, as I tell this story.

Pranav Rao



As the sun sets over the mountains
And cast shadows in my room,
Colors spread across the sky—
Red, orange, yellow, pink.

I gaze in awe at the setting sun
As bright as the opossum’s yellow eyes—
The scene that gives all artists inspiration
To draw, to read, to paint, and to write.

 Nadia Tjiptadjaja



Spiders are very ugly and scary, and you can’t really change that, but I’ll try:
Their eyes are an okay color?
Maybe they cannot bite you when they’re in a good mood?
Well, bottom line: They’re TERRIBLE!
With their eight eyes and eight legs, it’s hard not to flip out around them.
You have to admit, when you see a spider, it’s like you’re King Kong.
It’s disgusting when their webs won’t come off your skin.
But I have to make them cute,
So they’re CUTE.

Jase Brown


The Pillow

Dear Pillow,

I know I throw you off the bed every night, and my butt lands on your face when I’m doing gymnastics, but you’re a pillow—do you even feel pain?

Okay, you definitely had something to say about that.

Okay, okay, you have feelings too, I get it.

But, I’m sorry, I mean, I bought you so I could have pillow fights, a fort, and something to rest my head on, not really for a friend.

Oh, I do need you a lot.

I guess I owe more to you than I think I do.

Olivia Trail


Flickering Stars

Crickets singing
Silence, almost, as
The stars flicker
Like diamonds in sunlight
Further away than the sun
But we’ll reach them
Sooner or later.

Miette Crawford


Ode to My Violin

Seven years ago, my mom bought me a violin. In my free time, I like to practice. I go to camps, clubs, orchestra, and a middle-school competition orchestra called All Region. My violin is brown, except for the neck, pegs, button, and chin-rest, which are black. The body is rough, like half-sanded wood. It is very comfortable. My violin sounds like an oboe if I play properly. If not, it’s like someone snoring. Without you, violin, I would be bored every day.

Akhila Jallepalli


A New World

I get inspiration from my imagination. Whatever comes to my mind, I write it down, and instantly I get transported to a world of magic and wonder. I write my thoughts down, and a story comes to life, until soon I am pouring my thoughts onto the paper. I pick a tiny piece of my writing and move it around, only to pick it up again and piece it with another sentence. My thoughts and feelings are my inspiration. I find a thought in my brain, and a new story is born—a new world in which I am engulfed, a new place to go, a new place to see, a new place that will inspire me.

Aanchal Save



Flowers, flowers,
Full of power supplied by the sun.
They patter in the rain and
Wither when they’re done.
Colored with Beautiful shades
Of red, white, and blue,
Depending on the seasons
They might not catch the flu.
Flowers are for everyone,
Whether you’re sunny or dark.
If you want to be at a golf-course, or when
Batman leaves his bat-cave
Right after he sees his mark.
Flowers are more ancient
Than the human race itself.
They make sure to stay living
Either in the garden or on the shelf.

Aditya Gupta



Clowns haunt you instead of making you laugh.

Their lipstick looks like blood and scars, like a knife digging in every day. Clowns are becoming scary and dark, and they are making horror movies about clowns named It. There are clown gangs attacking people. What is the world coming to? What next — the Joker coming to life?

The world will come to an end, knowing we will all die of clowns. They are as scary as a dark hooded man coming up from your bed, and pulling you under.

Sully Meyers



Where I get inspiration is when people complain. I write about what is bothering them, or unfair to them, or to the team, so people can notice their mistakes. And, after that, they need to talk to the person and explain why they were doing this bothersome thing and try to fix it, or tell the person what to do so it will stop. It’s like when you order a hamburger with everything, and they give you nothing on it.

Maggie Wright



I like baseball, because I’ve played it since I was three. I hit the ball with force. I like the stripes on the baseball. They are red like fire. I like that there are different types of bats. I have four metal ones and one wooden bat. The bat has a vibration when I hit the ball. I like when I step on the plate—it gives me a great feeling. Baseball is a fun sport to play in the fall and the summer. It’s hot in the pants.

Owen Doerle


Ode to Tiny (Yorkie Puppy) 

Mommy got me my sweet, tiny Tiny,
My smidgey puppy.
His honey-brown eyes
Are melted Hershey bars.
Every day
He looks for me to play.
When petted,
He nuzzles closer to me.
When hearing the flow of piano,
Tiny naps in my lap
Like a mini bear hibernating for winter.
He lifts me up when I’m down
And turns a frown upside down.
I don’t know where my joy would be
Without my little Tiny.

Samantha Tang



In a videogame shop, there is a game. It is a very special game. When you play with four players, you each pick a character, and then you’re sucked into the video game, and you are trying to get off the island before it sinks into the ocean. But don’t worry—you will go back home.

There are enemies that smell like garbage that will try to kill your character. The jungle on the island has plants and trees that smell moist. Everywhere it smells like a very real island, and everything looks like what it is supposed to in real life. Rated M: It is called “Run!”

Daniel Nikazm


The Secrets of the Spider

Spiders are hairy, big and small, black and ugly, but their webs hang majestically from the ceiling. Sparkling dewdrops hang on the web in the mist.

The black widow’s hourglass sits proudly on its back, gleaming with pride in the rain.

Spiders are masters of the shadows. Scuttling quietly in the darkness, they spin their prey into blank paper-white cocoons.

In the end, a female spider has hundreds of tiny spiders, and ideas. A new generation of spiders float in the wind, carried by silver lines, but all in all, only a few survive.

Sophia Li


Ode to the Clock

The shiny circle on the
wall, with numbers up
to 12, hands that move
around the circle of
numbers, 1:37 to 12:59,
lots of numbers to tell
the time, my mind and
my eyes say it’s 9:45,
it’s 1:00, ZAP,
Time goes past in a blur,
One red hand goes
second to second, fast,
BOOM, it’s 2:30, BAM,
3:20, Ding Dong Ding
Dong, it’s midnight, Ding
Dong Ding Dong, it’s mid-
day, tick tock goes that
circle with the time,
the clock was red,
like blood.

James Trudo

The Dank Hollows

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



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



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…


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



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

The Snowball Fighters

In just one week, our community of writers travelled to Egypt, escaped tigers in the forest, time-traveled to World War II, and swam with hammerhead sharks in the coral reef. Working in a group brings a writer’s imagination to life and provides much-needed support to take risks. These young writers inspired me every day and never hesitated to put pen to paper. I am lucky to have spent time with such special young people, and I know you will enjoy their work.

Kelsey Shipman
Badgerdog Teaching Artist


The White Pumpkin

It was a dark and stormy night. A crescent moon hovered above, and lava fell from the sky. The devil flew out through a portal in the lava. The Tremendous 3 were ready to defeat him at last. They pulled out their swords out, ready to destroy, when a pit scorpion army came charging over the hill.

“Devil or scorpion army?” Rocky said to himself.

“Scorpions!” Boomer said and led them through the scorpions.

“Into the mansion!” Captain Sparkles said with confidence.

As they entered the main hall, four more people emerged and everyone’s portrait ­– including The Tremendous 3 – became one.

Then the lights went out and someone said, “Greetings, fellows. I am the White Pumpkin. I hope you know how circuit traps work because they’re everywhere!” Then the front door locked and the windows sealed.

Just then, somebody screamed, the lights came back on, and someone was gone. They looked at the portrait and there was a red “X” over his face.

To Be Continued . . .

Ryan Vest


Egyptian Trials

I walk through the intense, sandy desert. I keep pushing myself to go on. It was summer when my sister and I got lost in the desert. We had been trying to find water for weeks. All of a sudden, a village appeared. We didn’t know if it was déjà vu tricking us, or if it was real. We had decided it was real and walked over to the village quickly.

We could feel the hot, scorching sun beating on our skin. As soon as we walked into the village, we saw a giant pot of water. And I thought the desert was waterless and uninhabited.

Someone came out of the village. She signaled for us to follow her, so we did. She led us into a mysterious room. It was filled with tons of food, water, and ancient artifacts. The woman said, “Wait!” and walked away.

My sister Camille and I started to stuff our faces with food. Then a man appeared and said, “I know you’ve been looking for your family. We have been waiting for you.”

“Who’s we?” I mumbled to myself.

“I see you’ve started eating. If you want to find your family, you must go through ten trials. Now go to bed. The sky is getting dark.”


“Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!”

“Camille, I’m up!” I could smell a crisp scent. It smelled like fire. It looked like we were in a dungeon. There was a shovel and a letter. It said: Cleo’s prized possession. Find it before the sand turns burnt orange, when the sun rises from dawn, or this will be the end. The end is just the beginning.

Maya Hay


Running Away

I’m running through the jungle trying to get away from the tiger chasing me. I see lots of trees and bushes. The air is so hot and humid that all my clothes are stuck to my body, but the sun is hidden behind a wall of clouds in the sky. Next to me is my best friend Avery. She has dark, long hair with tan skin. She’s running alongside me, away from the tiger.

We slow to a jog and see two different paths. One has no trees and barely any growth ­– great for running but no available space to hide. The path leading in the opposite direction has many trees and lots of growth.

“What path should we pick?” Avery asks me.

“I don’t know, but we need to pick it fast,” I reply.

“Let’s go this way,” Avery says jogging towards the overgrown path.

“Okay,” I say. “This path will provide us lots of cover to hide.”

But about ten minutes later, we wee a giant boulder blocking the path and any way around it.

“How do we get around it?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” Avery replies. “Maybe we should climb?”

“I don’t know if we could get up and over it.”

“Well, it seems to me that it’s the only way to keep going.”

We somehow successfully get over the boulder and keep going. After about five minutes, it suddenly starts to pour, making us even more wet. Miserably, we continue jogging until we are in a clearing with no trees but only tall grass. In the middle of the clearing, we see a man facing our direction cloaked in a robe. Slowing to a walk, we stand about five feet away from the man. He suddenly opens his eyes and says, “Congratulations, you have reached Holly Point.”

Scotty Ploeger


Sally the Sea Monster

Sally the sea monster’s birthday is here!
The people on the shore give a big cheer,
rush to the store
and buy candles and cake galore!
Quivering and shivering, they give a call,
so afraid that they will get mauled.
She towers over them all,
she is so tall.
Taller than the Trojan Horse,
it is her 100th birthday, of course!

Elle Vickey


Underwater Adventure

Plunging under water, I suddenly saw a sight quite different from the diving point. Coral as far as the eye could see, in vivid colors, from white to bright pink. The coral provided a safe and protected area for fish and other aquatic prey to hide from dangerous predators. The coral came in different shapes, with some beautifully carved into a curve, and others with thick spines.

The scenic area was calm with few disturbances. It was no more than three seconds after I had this thought that I saw hundreds of ripples in the once tranquil water above me. Three full-sized hammerheads had sensed me in the water and were aiming for human leg soup! Experiencing a thrill of fear and excitement, I started swimming frantically toward the surface, forgetting about the sharks. Ten feet from the surface, I finally regained the reality of the threat. The hammerheads didn’t seem so interested in me anymore. They had spotted a rather large catfish and were raring to go after it.

Relieved, I continued my exploration of the ocean floor. I found many news things, like a clump of seaweed floating peacefully in the upper waters and an otter basking in the shallows. But what intrigued me the most was a metal piece poking out of the water like the mast of a ship. I followed it down and saw the ship’s hull, which had a huge hole in it, perhaps from a cannon ball. I started exploring it and found a beautiful lump of mineral that looked like a block of gold preserved for five decades in this sandy grave.

I started looking outside the ship for more treasure. Then I noticed a desk on the deck of the ship painted in vivid colors. That’s when I woke up to my alarm clock and wished I hadn’t eaten so much before bed.

Arnav Batra



I was in a rainforest with waterfalls surrounding me and rain pouring down over the tall trees. I saw three huge birds flying from tree to tree. I was very cold. The green grass felt wet and damp on my feet. My faithful companion, Mary the monkey, was perched up on my head scratching my hair.

I looked up to see Mary pointing at a long trail. I hoped that it would get us out of the forest because I was lost and needed to find my house on the outskirts. As I was saying, Mary hopped down and started to walk slowly along the trail so I could catch up.

“Good job, Mary!” I exclaimed as I gave her a bright banana I found. We chose this path hoping to find our way back home. Suddenly, Mary stopped. I was curious to see what was going on. Both of us stared at the long river. There were huge trees against the banks of the river. I knew what I had to do. Mary and I gathered some firewood and bark. We planned to make a boat.

I gently placed all of the wood side-by-side on the grass. We found a rope on the way that someone probably left behind. Mary was a smart monkey, so she tied up the wood and bark together. The next thing you knew, we were sailing across the river. As soon as we crossed the river, the sun came out, and Mary and I felt thirsty. We spotted a shady clearing to sit down and take a break.

Then, I saw him. A man about forty years old was standing there offering us water. I ran and grabbed at the jug, and soon it was empty. He asked me, “So, where are you headed?”

“Home,” I replied. Then the man just vanished into thin air.

Mary and I tried searching for him, but he really was gone. Then something terrible was happening. The ground began to shake. The Earth said, “Honey, wake up.” I opened my eyes to see my mom shaking me awake! I was having a dream! I raced outside to see the forest. The same man I saw in the forest earlier came outside and winked at me! Could it be?

Neeraja Sankrit


Death Zone

Two days – two day! – to get out of this lonely sand trap. In two days, it will be my birthday and if I’m not home in two days, my life will be gone, useless, dead.

I look around for some hope of a way back home, but all I see is an empty, quiet desert. There’s sand in every direction for miles around. The only thing here besides the sand is the sky, but even the sky is empty – not one star.

The sun has set and I need to set up camp for the night. I look around to find a rock, or anything but sand to sleep on, yet there is nothing.

I decide not to sleep tonight because in the morning there will only be one day left until my parents let me live on my own, but if I’m not there, I will live with them forever.

I keep walking, trying not to think about what will happen if I can’t get back in time.

The desert is a very intense place to be. It’s like it can never make up its mind. In the daytime, it’s boiling hot and peaceful. But in the night, it gets chilly and very windy. But it is always dry.

Tonight is especially windy. The sand is blowing up into my eyes, making it very hard to see.

I keep walking to – I have no clue where. I think by now it must be midnight. Tomorrow is my birthday, yet time doesn’t really matter here in this sandy mess. It doesn’t really matter to me anymore. There is nothing in this place but untouched sand. I’m losing all hope. There is no way out.

I close my eyes and lay down. I let the wind carry the sand across my body. And I fall asleep. Forever.

Barbie Burgett


The March

The waves crashed against the battered sand. Kids laughed as the water splashed around them. The wind started to pick up speed, tossing girls’ hair in their faces. The clouds turned gray. I looked over at Katrina, trying to figure out if she’d seen the weather change.

As we walked along the beach, we saw a pathway that went in the direction we were headed. Suddenly, Kat started walking a bit faster. Instantly, she broke into a full-on sprint.

“Kat!” I yelled. I sprinted to catch up with her. Then I heard thunder. I assumed it was the sky, but I was wrong. It seemed as if everybody on the beach was charging after us. Finally, I caught up to Kat. I knew I would because she was quite a bit smaller than me. I was about to talk to her when I realized I was completely and totally out of breath. I stopped to take a break. Fifty people appeared in front of me. They were in between Kat and me. I started to run again. This time I dodged the people. Finally, I reached Kat.

Lightning struck down in the woods, which had just recently recovered from a wildfire. The trees burst into all different shades of reds, oranges, yellows, and even some blues.

If only I had my camera with me now. We were heading straight towards the woods. Every person on the beach seemed as if they were in a coma, heading straight towards the fire. The closer we got, the louder and hotter it became. Suddenly, I couldn’t run anymore. I stepped out of the pathway and observed what was happening. Everyone was running in a synchronized fashion, moving closer and closer to the fire. No one was able to be themselves. Then, just like that, the forest disappeared. Strange.

Now, I finally saw what was doing this. It was actually a who.

To Be Continued. . .

Allie Shepherd



The blue sky, white sand. The glistening ocean. Yes, this will be the place – the place I will call home. The wind blowing so softly on my face. This is perfect. Well, not with my brother.

On the fifth day, I take a walk along the shore, when suddenly a huge wave splashes on me. But I don’t get wet. And if that’s not strange enough, the waves split, forming a path underwater. I decide to follow the path down into the depths of the ocean.

Oddly, I can breathe. Suddenly, I hear a loud thump behind me. I turn around and see my brother sliding down the steps. How did he get here? No point in asking – he’ll start talking some mumbo-jumbo nonsense.

Suddenly, the path is blocked by a big boulder. I think of going around it, but then I won’t be able to breathe. Then it hits me – no, not the rock. My brother! He pushes me right through the rock. Then, once I come out the other side of the rock, I’m hit by a gust of water. I keep on walking down until I come across a clearing. I see someone swimming around – actually, more like standing. A mermaid! I quickly swim up to her and ask, “What is this place?”

She replies, “Ah, you have finally arrived.”

For what? I wondered. She snaps her fingers and a huge castle emerges from the ground.

“It’s your time, child. Rule us well,” says the mermaid.

Mark Menezes



Those spunky animals,
always looking to play,
usually working hard.
But when they get a minute,
they don’t waste a second.
Not very easily distracted at work,
but at home they easily whip up a storm!

Very humble creature on top,
sometimes stress-relieving,
never abused.
Always looking for new traits and tricks,
basically anything to get away from…
Farmer Joe!

Adriana Guerra


The Life

“Phum! Phum!” went the speeding, spinning bullets of the gun. The sweaty, tired soldiers were training for World War II, which they knew was just around the corner. One soldier felt the urge to speak up and say they shouldn’t fight, but that would cause trouble. All the soldiers climbed into the trucks. Even that one soldier knew what he had to do – jump out of the truck.

Soon afterwards, they were about ten miles from La PaPa, when the one soldier jumped out. No one seemed to notice because all of them looked as if they were napping. “Uh!” Soft grass caught him.

“Buh! Buh!” There was a very weird sound, as though it might be an instrument. For a second, the soldier thought it was music in heaven. About a mile up the road was a large violin making a strange sound. It looked like someone had just thrown it away and abandoned it. He picked it up and took it with him to town. About a half a day later, the soldier arrived in town with his violin. It looked to be 10:45 a.m., and he was exhausted. He took some money out of his pocket and went down the street. He checked into a hotel for two days. He knew he had to make money to get to his town.

The next morning, the soldier went to go and look for a job. HE walked right into a store with a sign that said: “Help Wanted.” But he slipped on the ground! He looked under him, and he must have slipped on a green, wet pear. He got up and asked the cashier if they still needed people, and she said yes.

One Week Later . . .

The soldier really enjoyed his job and decided to live there. He lived happily ever after.

Owen Shafer



“Camping, camping, camping. It had to be camping…” I groaned as the car skidded to a stop. We got out of the car, and that was the start of our one week – a tech-free camping trip.

My sister and I set up our large, turquoise tent. We put our stuff inside and went exploring. We passed some trees and came to a clearing. The view was breathtaking. I felt as if the forest were welcoming us.

Suddenly, we heard my dad calling us. “McKenzie, Jessie! Dinner time!” We ran back to the campsite and gobbled down our dinner.

The next day, I woke with a start and ran to our hideaway. No one was there. I went back to the campsite and saw my sister sprawled on the ground, unconscious near a poisonous snake. “Mom! Dad!” I screamed. They, along with my older brother, ran over. They saw my older sister and almost fainted.

My brother, a brainiac, showed us a picture of a flower that would cure her bite. “I’ve seen that before!” I exclaimed. “When Mom took me hiking, it was on top of that mountain.”

I started climbing up the mountain. Halfway up, I was dripping with sweat. “You can do it!” my mom encouraged me from her position above me. We finally reached the top! I grabbed the flower, put it in my pouch, and started repelling down. I got the flower!

Shreya Selvaraju

The Explorers

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

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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

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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

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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

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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