Castle of Shadows

Castle of Shadows, by Ellen Renner; Houghton Mifflin Books for Children: New York, 2012; $15.99 Charlie is the princess of Quale. Yes, she lives in a castle, with gardens and servants that cook and clean. But ever since her mother disappeared five years ago, Charlie has been all alone. Her father the king has gone […]

If Money Grew on Trees

We started high-fiving each other every time we sold an item I could see the bike in the display window of the Park Ave Bicycle Shop. A black BMX with a fire design on the frame. Every day since third grade I had gazed at it on my walk home. Now, looking at it for […]

The Soundtrack of Summer

The breeze sweeps through my hair and pulls aside the curtain of leaves above me allowing sunshine to fall, gracefully onto my face. I close my eyes and listen as the hammock sways me gently. With a bold splash someone dives into the relieving cool of a backyard pool. An insect hums and chirps while […]

This Summer

“Dad? Where will we move?” I ask, taking the liberty of cleaning the table CHAPTER ONE DISASTER FALLS “I call this room!” I yell so everyone knows which room I had claimed for myself. My brothers and sister run up the stairs so that they too could declare their rooms. I look out my window, […]

How to Fail

Deep breath, deep breath. I look straight into the mirror. “Hello,” I say to the fake audience. “My name is Henry,” I sigh, shaking my head. “Hello, my name is Henry and I am going to show you what would now be called a modern miracle.” About three hours every day are dedicated to magic […]


Did I do something wrong? Did I say something I wasn’t supposed to? Why did you leave me like a child crying at school, pleading for their parents to come back? Only they come back, and I know you will not. You weren’t supposed to leave. I never saw you go. You didn’t leave a […]

College Day

It was 7:32 a.m., my hair was getting frizzy, the fog outside my car window was limiting my vision to a few scrawny bushes, and my stomach was churning. “Hey,” my dad called from the front seat, “you OK, Pade?” “Yup,” I lied, because it wasn’t really a question, but conversation. He was satisfied and […]

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer, by Jennifer Gennari; Houghton Mifflin Books for Children: New York, 2012; $15.99 My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer is a book about politics and pie. June Farrell is a twelve-year-old girl living in Vermont whose talent is making delicious pies. All she wanted to do over summer vacation was go swimming […]

As a Family

“If I ran away, I would go here to live” It was just a typical day, a nightmare of an “as a family” picnic; my brothers following me around, me trying to get away and be alone for five short minutes. I’m sort of a loner sometimes, though when I say that, I don’t mean […]

The Creek

I stare into the crystal clear water and watch My life flow by in only a way nature can make it. My eyes wander to the trees and notice the pattern of the shadow the tree casts upon the rough black rocks. It is then I realize every aspect of the creek— the fish, the […]

Whisper of Night

The musty, damp smell of earth engulfs me, blocking the sharp, acute smells of night from outside my den. My bushy tail, tipped with white, flicks, causing the leaves and moss that make up my nest to rustle and scatter. It does not matter. I shall see to it come daylight, for now it is […]

The Ocean Child

Her voice was soft and it reminded me of wind chimes The summer cabin was wonderful. We all thought so. It was white with blue trim around the windows and doors. The roof was gray like mist. I had been waiting all summer to visit this cabin, but it was the beach I was most […]

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