Entries 2020


Liam PICKENS – The Tale of Blue the Mouse – was in 3rd grade at Temple Beth Am Day School.
Teacher: Phil Nathanson.

Excerpt from the story
…….. “Quick, the door is closing!” Martha yelled.

You probably don’t know the story of how we were captured, so, I’ll take you back to the beginning. It all started when we left the rose bush, to go to the store to collect scraps of food that fell on the floor. This is how we got our meals.
But before I go on any further, allow me to introduce myself. Hi! I am Blue. I’m a mouse, and I’m named after the color of my fur. I have seven brothers and nine sisters.
On one particularly hot sunny day, we went to find food. Josh, one of my brothers, looked in the meat department while the rest of the family looked in the vegetable department. About 5 minutes later, Josh came back running.
“The catchers are here!” He exclaimed.

We all started to run back home, but they were at the entrance. As we tried to escape, we felt the vibrations of their loud stomps and felt nets swooping over our bod- ies. My heart sank as we were thrown into a box with small holes.
As we were carried out of the market, our mother whispered in a sad voice, “Don’t cry my children, all will be ok.”
I looked out of the breathing holes and saw that we were in a van. As the van started moving, the roaring of the engine and the bumps shook us up and down. When the engine stopped, we heard the doors open and we were carried out. We were taken into a room with a lot of cages. “Exxxxxx!” I squeaked, terrified………

Lucia Rose DAHN – Just Maybe – was in 9th grade at Ransom Everglades Upper School.
Teacher: Elisabeth Anderson.

Excerpt from the story
…….. River Key was only supposed to be a moment, a weekend preceded and succeeded by thousands more, a dot on a timeline, you could say. Or maybe it was more like a blip: a day we were bound to forget, an adventure we could cross off a bucket list, a connecting flight to our future. I sometimes look outside and pretend things are as they used to be.

A soft breeze traveled through the archipelago of River Key, winding through canopies of trees and oceanside condominiums. The River Key bridge connected two islands which were contradictions of each other. One was lined with beautiful modern monstrosities, expensive restaurants, and exemplary schools. You could sit in a bakery downtown, raise a warm coffee to your lips, and still breathe in the slightest hint of salty air. That was the beauty about the idyllic North Key: it was easy to become mesmerized in the world around you and forget who you were. A lucky few called the North Key home, but the rest saw it as nothing more than a temporary distraction from reality.

On the South Key rested large condominiums built next to narrow streets, where vendors shouted phrases in a variety of languages. Students rode bikes in packs, pedaling through the city at dusk. There were rumors of crime and mysterious disappearances, and no one wanted their name to be the next headline. The South Key was a concrete garden, home to strip malls and casinos, in addition to interspersed, holdout single family homes. A few times a year, those from both islands converged on the River Key bridge. Traffic was halted for festivals and concerts, and the community was at peace together………

Ivana TROIA – A PIg’s Flight – was in 4th grade at St. Agnes Academy.
Teacher: Ms. Gonzalez.

Excerpt from the story
        Once upon a time, there was a pig named Bacon. Bacon was a happy, cheerful pig. He as a handsome looking pig with a black body and pink spots. Bacon was different from the other pigs and therefore, teased by the farmers and other animals for his pink spots. He did not mind. All Bacon wanted to do was fly.

If you didn’t already know this, Bacon loved birds. He spent time watching birds fly and wished he could fly too. Bacon was definitely no ordinary pig. He did not like to roll in mud. He did not like belly rubs. All he wanted to do was to fly.

Ever since he could remember, Bacon lived on a farm, with lots of com stalks, and pretty flowers. If you asked any other pig whether they liked living on this farm, they would say, “it’s the life!”

One day, Bacon tried something new. He went inside the barn, where the horses and the geese were. He was looking for a very specific goose. He went over to the very specific goose, and asked. “Oink, oink, oinkity, oink oink?” “May I trade you my pink spots for your feathers?” Bacon knew that this particular goose loved his pink spots, and always envied them. “Honk, honk!” said the goose. “Yes, please!” The goose and the pig successfully did the operation, and soon enough, the pig had feathers, and the goose had Bacon’s pink spots. Bacon was happy with his new feathers. Now he was going to try to fly! ……..

Giulia TROIA – The Language of Fish – was in 6th grade at St. Agnes Academy.
Teacher: Katherine Greg. 

Excerpt from the story
…….. Ahh! I breathed in the pungent, salty smell of the ocean. Just like home. My toes gently brushed the soft sand. I could see the dunes, the clear sky and the puffy white clouds. Kids with beach balls were racing across the silky sand, laughing whenever the cool water touched their toes. “Kai. Isn’t the sea beautiful?” my mother asked, coming up close to me and putting her hand on my shoulder. “Yes!” I said. I could see the ocean stretch out in different shades of blue across the distant horizon. The sound of the crashing waves pounded in my ears. “Come on, mama! Let’s go swimming!” I exclaimed.

I raced down, the wind racing with me, sand coming up as I made my way to the clear ocean water. I submerged my head and body into the water. I felt a cool sensation, enveloping me. I plunged again and then came up for air. “Mama! The sea is beautiful!” I called. I sunk my toes into the sand and watched as silky, silver fish swam past me, eyeing me. I grinned and went under the water to race the fish. We swam around and around in circles. The fish were my friends. They understood me better than any other human could. Mama joined me in the water………

Paulina ALMADA – Little Liar – was in 10th grade at MAST Academy.
Teacher: Otto Zequeira.

Excerpt from the story
…….. The first time she asked for my name, we’d just met.
Father instructed me countless times not to pass by the faerie ring at the edge of the village. He showed me a path to avoid it, but that day, I was in a hurry, so I took a shortcut. I only noticed I’d stumbled upon it when I was by the border of the ring. When I looked up, I saw a girl hovering upside down on the other side of that thin, white line where the grass shone with an otherworldly glow, watching me.

I’d heard enough myths by my young age to recognize she was the Fae of my village. She was spoken about either with reverence or dread, for all who were seen walking away with her never came back.

The Elders of the village leaned toward reverence. They warned us about the Fae but assured us she wasn’t evil. She helped our village. Her magic nourished our crops during winter and shielded our houses from foreign threats. To call her evil would be an oversimplification. She was merely a Fae whose ways we couldn’t understand.
Still, she was not—and would never be—one of us………

Lucia MOGLIA – Varrimia – was in 9th grade at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy.
Teacher: Catalina Gonzales.

Excerpt from the story
…….. The nightly streets of Roydam held no mercy for the lonesome travelers in need for a hot bath and supple meal of chicken stew. The white wisps of snow cascaded down from the sky in twirling formation, lastly falling onto the soft blankets of shaved ice that had formed on the ground. The streets are dark and silent save for the dim yellow light of a single street lamp, or the sporadic sound of wheels on cobblestones. Winters in the city are unforgiving, succumbing locals to hide from the preying cold. Those who can afford wool coats and heavy boots might take an afternoon visit to one of the many pubs the city offers, hubs for drunken brawls and other entertainment. Others, not owning a penny to spare, find themselves on the street, arms around their body for the faintest feeling of warmth as they weather the cruel night. The soft echo of deep male laughter and clanking mugs from one of the pubs fills the expanse of frigid air outside.
Grace Lily Fireborn walks along the streets of the city, aware of the depth of winter darkness all around her.

Grace made her way down the streets of Varrimia’s capitol city, passing the plain stone structures fashioned by unorganized slabs of cement and stone. She observed, wonderstruck, how the houses seemed to be almost toppling onto each other for support, their stability lacking. She continued down the path, maintaining the effort to ignore the throbbing on her slippering heels or the low mumble of the homeless she passed………

Sara RAMOS – The Girl and the Ganesha Figurine – was in 10th grade at Palmer Trinity.

Excerpt from the story
…….. In my mind there is a tiny door that leads to a vault. The vault is locked and under chains. One insensible night, however, I open that door and that vault and I am swarmed with a tornado of recycled aromas. Every small smell morphs into the next without pause and without rest. The cinders from saffron incense, the whiff of ginger, and the wafting jasmine return to me all at once, bringing me back to the place that once was home. The toxic fog ignites my asthma and my throat in flames, and the pungent odor of what once was garbage reigns in multitudes the vast New Delhi streets. In these seas of commotion is a city that, besides all it’s defects, has a magic that can so quickly graze my wandering heart strings, and soon again strum them like a child would a guitar. I can almost see the scarlet and sapphire sarees draped on ancient bronze princesses as I remember where I come from.

Once upon a time, I remember… on the second floor of a shared apartment (embedded in the fabric of the labyrinth that are the Old Delhi streets; the narrow alleys filled with a jungle of electric cables at the mercy of thousands of grey monkeys), there reads a young girl. She lies stretched over a mattress so clearly bought in a flea market as her large black almond-shaped eyes read the words of Charlotte’s Web. They’re near incomprehensible to her, as her English is barely sufficient for bargaining with tourists, but even so her curiosity about the grand novel in her hands is enough to keep her trying………