Blue Eyes

There are some things in life that you never forget—no matter how much time passes, they just cling to your heart and mind like the stubby fingers of a kindergartner clutching his mother’s hand on the first day of school. Special moments, like the day when my parents showed Nick and me the place where [...]

As the Breeze Blows

A light breeze tousled Natalie’s long auburn hair as she ran through the woods. The canopy of leaves above shielded Natalie from the sun beating down. Natalie loved the outdoors and was thankful that she had finally finished her chores so she could have fun. “Neigh!” Natalie heard a strange noise. What was a horse [...]

The Spectacle Dilemma

Angie pulled on a jumper and a pair of pants, not peeking. She stuck her arms in a jacket without allowing herself even to think. After gulping a cup of OJ and some cereal, she brushed her teeth without grimacing. But when she was ready, backpack slung over shoulder, it was time. To decide. She [...]

A Weekend with Isabella Hohenstaufen

I shaded my eyes against the Saturday morning sun, then snuck another peek at my watch. It was already ten o’clock, and Isabella Hohenstaufen had yet to appear. Every summer, for two weeks, my parents and I vacation at Carrie Ann Bay, where we own a beach house. This is the part of summer that [...]

The Kind Cow and the Tiger King of the Forest

There is a special place in the old Kingdom of Nepal where the plains meet forests that goes on up to the Himalayan Mountains until the tree line stops and it is very cold, where the daphne bird, the rhino, and the tiger are close to grazing cows. Gopa was a beautiful cow with kind [...]

Fern, the Queen of All Hunting Dogs

Mom gently shook me. “Honey, your father is home.” “What? Oh! Yay!” I cried, already out of bed. “Dad, how did your hunting trip go? Was Fern good?” “Fabulous!” my tall father said. “She treed this one!” He held up a large silver coon. “You trained her well.” “Thanks, Dad.” I looked up at him. [...]

The Water Gun Fight

“Splat!” A blast of cold water slapped my bare arm. Gasping, I quickly whirled around to catch the source of the attack. I faced a familiar face with dark brown eyes, dark uncombed hair that stuck out in every direction, and a big, playful smile. It couldn’t be anyone but my older brother, Paul. “Fight, [...]

Through a Champion’s Eyes

The crowds roar for me as I step on the track. I listen, and I arch my neck and dance as my groom leads me down the stretch. Mike, my jockey, sits still on my back and listens too. But I know he is excited. I can tell by the way he grips the reins, [...]


I love it when it’s raining and you’re driving and you pass under a bridge and the rain stops for just a moment. I love it when you walk outside on a wet morning and you can smell damp clay and freshly mown grass under the gray morning light. I love it when it’s nighttime [...]

Mixed Bag

I sigh As the warm water pours down my back Washing off the dust and dirt Of the last week It’s been so long since I showered. A movie Playing on television Surrounding me with its music and images It’s nice to be part of society again. Pillows Soft and fluffy Two of them on [...]

The Crimson Cap

The Crimson Cap, by Ellen Howard; Holiday House Books for Young People: New York, 2009; $16.95 Growing up is something we all do at one time or another. I just stumbled upon Pierre Talon when he was in the middle of the process. He looked at me with sad, intense eyes surrounded by tattooed charcoal [...]


Darkwood, by M.E. Breen; Bloomsbury Children’s Books: New York, 2009; $16.99 “What happened next was so strange that Annie could not be sure afterward what was real and what she had imagined.” This line, from M. E. Breen’s Darkwood, is an accurate summary of Breen’s first novel. The story is a wonderful sort of strange, [...]