Plain Old Kate

“Phooey," Kate said as she stared out at the rain. She and her friend Madison had wanted to play badminton in the backyard, but the clouds had stubbornly defied them. "This stinks," Madison said. "We'll have to find something else to do." "Like what?" Kate asked. "Like... we could draw pictures. Or I could help [...]


Splash! A clap of water crashes to my cheek. But I don't even think about that. I think about how my arms and legs are moving—well, mostly my arms moving up and down but also going side to side. I feel like a bird, a bird soaring into the gray misty sky. The heat licking [...]

Comet Is Missing

My cat, Comet, has always lived the wild life, ever since we adopted him as a kitten. We let him roam free outside, he won't allow a collar, he catches birds and mice to eat, he uses no litter box. I had the worst of bad feelings on Sunday afternoon when I realized that Comet [...]

The Gift

Jennifer was heartbroken to learn that Grandma Bea had landed in the hospital for a hip replacement. True, the heavy-set woman with the perennial cheery disposition, with cherries in her cheeks and a twinkle in her hazel eyes, had been slowing down as of late. The diminutive eight-year-old child, with hair the color of straw, [...]

Our Morning

  I am looking forward to this. It is my first thought as my eyes snap open. I keep them open, waiting until my dark bedroom comes into focus, which it rapidly does. I anxiously search my sister's face, and find it to be smooth and serene. She sleeps on beside me. Good. I want [...]

The New Soccer Season

Noel seemed to hang in the air for a second before crashing into the ground. The grass rushed up to meet him as his lungs were crushed by the impact. Dazed, Noel looked around. The soccer ball was snatched away quickly as the opposition took control. The stifled laughs that followed made Noel wish he [...]


Rachel sat at her kitchen table, leafing through the Sunday newspaper. Comics, sports, politics... nothing caught her eye. She briefly skimmed the weather page, which had predicted sunshine; however, it was pouring outside. Looking up from the black-and-white pages, Rachel saw a world of gray. The smooth gray tile of her kitchen floor, the gray [...]

The Cool Counter

Mmmm, the man on the bench says as he plunges a spoon into his mouth. Aaaah, his wife says as she pulls out a clean white spoon from her lips. The woman at the front of the line grins. A little girl to the left of me is dancing like a ballerina, with a cup [...]

The Wolf

I sit on the porch The dark woods around me Insects chirping And listen To the distant sounds of the party Inside. It is a party thrown for me, By my parents. A party I didn't want— Strangers crowding into our little house People I don't know Pinching my cheeks Muttering lies about "How she's [...]

Desperate Journey

Desperate Journey, by Jim Murphy; Scholastic Press: New York, 2006; $16.99 Something about Desperate Journey just pulled me in. The author, Jim Murphy, showed me a different way of life. In the mid-i800s, many families, usually Irish, made a living by being pulled along the Erie Canal by teams of mules, horses, or any other [...]


Swordbird, by Nancy Yi Fan; HarperCollins: New York, 2007; $15.99 Imagine you live in a world of birds, of flight, of complete freedom. Imagine an evil hawk comes along and tries to steal your freedom and make you his slave. Imagine being caught up in a pointless, bloody war, for which your family and loved [...]