Entries 2022


Alicia GARRETT – I Left My Heart In Haiti – was in 5th grade at Rambam Day School.
Teacher: Lori Smith.

Excerpt from the story
……..“Smears of pink and orange painted the sky on the first day of my journey to America. I waved goodbye to Haiti when the final horn blew marking the beginning of our voyage. Ms. Q led the specially selected group to steerage. The second we got there, I got jumpy. We got to sleep in bunk beds, and everyone was crammed into the back of the boat like one big family. I heard languages of all sorts. After we got situated, Ms. Q said, “It’s time to go on the deck. We have 15 minutes, so let’s get moving.”
Everyone piled out through the little door and quietly walked to the deck. I brought my favorite book, Romeo and Juliet. Ms. Q had given it to me for my birthday. The waves made me feel like I was still in Haiti dreaming of swimming. I sat down and read while enjoying the fresh air. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” a voice peeped from behind me.”……..

Amira AVELLAN – Phantasmagoria – was in 6th grade at Conchita Espinosa Academy.
Teacher: Juliana Zapata.

Excerpt from the story
…….. “I rise before the sun the next day and grab my bag. I quietly walk out of the cabin, careful not to step on any of the creaky planks that make up the house’s floor. On my way out, I pick up some food and place it in my sack. Gingerly, I close the door and step out into the rising sun. I tip-toe down the front steps before a wave of dizziness hits me like a brick wall. My eyes start to glaze over, and panicking, I throw myself into some bushes.

Suddenly, each green leaf on the bush transforms into a butterfly with wings like sparkling jade. They flutter in all directions and eventually surround me. When they disperse, I glance to the side and see that I am in a magnificent tower. I begin to explore the room and find some beautiful stained-glass windows. I peek out one of them and the view takes my breath away. Far below me is a town of fairytale cottages, each roof a different color. Little children play in the village’s streets, and animals frolic in its fields. The tranquility of this view is suddenly and rudely interrupted by a slamming door. Who was that? I turn around and see her again. Angrily trudging into the room is the mysterious queen.”……..

Ariana KAYE – A Mind of My Own – was in 10th grade at Ransom Everglades School.
Teacher: Frances Alexander.

Excerpt from the story
……..“I am awake. As is true every morning, I find myself in the same old rusty bed surrounded by washed-out green-colored walls. There are no windows, and therefore no sunlight coming in. No use in turning on the lamp above my bed, since it hasn’t worked in as long as I can remember. The lamp flickers once in a while when I will it to turn on, but then the lamp returns to its normal status of “not functioning.” I look around, and my eyes adjust to the darkness. Everything is as expected – the cabinets in the right corner of the room are filled with shiny metal appliances, my desk and chair are on the left side. This is all I have ever known. This room has been my home my entire life. There are times when the voices in my head proclaim that something better exists beyond the confines of this room, that somewhere outside these stained peeling walls I can sleep in a bed that is twice the size of the one here. The voices allege that I have lived a different, more magnificent life. The voices eventually leave, though, and I return to the realization that this lifestyle does not bother me.”……..

Emilia ENRIQUEZ – The Fire Horse – Was in 3rd grade at Sunset Elementary School.
Teacher: Nancy Celdran.

Excerpt from the story
……..“The next day Sebastian goes out at night and when he comes back, he sees the fire horse and the fire horse sees him, but he does not run away. He just stares at Sebastian with his eyes glowing. Five seconds later Sebastian disappeared and the fire horse let out a loud neigh which woke up Martha. When she came out, she saw the fire horse and when she stared at him, she noticed something familiar: the eyes of the fire horse look like the eyes of her father. Then Martha walked closer and touched the fire horse. The horse started fading away and when it had fully faded, she saw her son and her father standing right in front of her, and realized that the horse had been her father the whole time.”……..

Aria JURKOVICH – Diary of Friends and the Grizzly Adventure – was in 4th grade at Palmetto Elementary School.
Teacher: Alina Lanzas.

Excerpt from the story
…….. “It was just starting to get dark as we reached the RV.  The sky was a soft pink on the horizon turning to a deep ocean blue higher in the sky.  The sound of katydids filled the air.  The bush crickets’ song sounded like a crowd of people whispering, “Katie did, Katie didn’t…, Katie did, Katie didn’t”.  As Tianna opened the RV’s door Sabrina said in an excited whisper, “Guys, look over there.”  Twenty feet away the necklaced bear slowly walked from the trees.  He was turning his head from side to side and sniffing the air.  He saw us and quickly climbed halfway up a tree on the edge of the lot.

    “Oh, look how cute,” I said.  “This furry guy got separated from its mom.  Let’s use the drones to find where the mother is.”  I checked my tablet and had the drones zip over the treetops.  “The mama bear is nearby, but she isn’t headed this way.  She’s walking towards that giant boulder we saw on the trail. Sabrina, run in the RV and fill your backpack with some food.  We’re probably going to have to lead this cub back to his family.” …….. 

Patrick KEEDY BROWN – Diary – was in 8th grade at Ransom Everglades School.
Teacher: Flavia Araripe.

Excerpt from the story
“August 22, 2022
Dear Diary,

I had the dream. It starts differently, though. This time, the dream has a backstory. I wake up in my bed, as I should. It’s the first day of school. I put on one of my pre-made outfits and go downstairs. I eat an apple and walk out the door.
It’s a sunny day. Despite it raining every other day this week, it’s sunny. A breeze blows through the air as I walk several blocks north to my bus stop. A few people from my grade are at the bus stop, but they ignore me. I ignore them.
A familiar rumble echoes down the street. The fluorescent yellow bus screeches to a halt against the curb, and with a squeal, the doors swing open. One by one, we climb into. I sit in the middle of the half-empty bus, six rows down.
I put my new black Jansport backpack in between my feet and look outside the window. We drive down one, two, three streets, and I watch life pass by through the window.”……..

Sara RAMOS – The Sandmen – was in 12th grade at Palmer Trinity School.

Excerpt from the story
“Far below the endless Sahara, past the towering leafy giants of the Congo and the jagged peaks of Angola, by a river whose waters run as ancient as its name, lies a tiny slice of Africa, forgotten, disregarded.
It is a place where the sun crashes upon the horizon like a scarlet supernova. Where the breath of the mountains blows so fiercely it rattles hills of sand into a vibrating mirage. Where time stands still at twilight as the first rays of violet are painted across the sky.
Here lies The Valley of a Thousand Dunes.”……..