The Bean Plant

When my dad said we needed a fresh start after my mom died I didn’t realize he meant literally. Fresh tomatoes dotted the field with clouds of basil and parsley. Stalks of corn towered over the pumpkin patch and the smell of fertilizer burned my nose. The sun crept over the rolling hills as dawn [...]

Racing Coconuts

"Truth or Dare?” my best friend Jackson challenges me. I glance around at my circle of friends like they might have an answer. “Dare,” I say confidently. My friends and I always get together Saturday evenings. We’re gathered around a campfire eating marshmallows on a beach in Florida. Just then, Jackson grins wickedly at a [...]

Girl’s Best Friend

My curly red hair flew out behind me as I ran. What I desperately needed was a place where I could be alone, a place where all there was for company were the chirping of crickets, the flapping of birds, and the occasional breeze. Luckily, I knew exactly where that was. Lost in my determination of [...]

The Five-Dollar Bill

"Stop Tiger from chasing Fluffy!” Mike Brady yelled as he charged headlong at his sons’ dog at his wedding reception. Tiger dashed under the wedding cake table and tipped it. The three-tiered cake slid along the table and into Mike’s arms. When Carol Brady hugged him for saving the cake, it toppled onto Mike’s face. [...]

The Path to Acceptance

I could see the silvery clouds roll in. I was headed out of our summer rental in the town of Saignon, France, to buy a baguette. As I walked down the narrow lane I saw the leaves blowing briskly and those marvelous clouds were moving faster all of a sudden. I knew that a storm [...]

Grandpa and the Chicken Coop

By Jack Zimmerman Illustrated by Thomas Buchanan My grandpa has always loved to build and is a very handy man. He retired from his job as an electrician a few years ago. He has really big muscles and really big hands, so he can always lift something heavy. However, he still loves to build and [...]

Different City, Same Stars

I jolt awake when I hear the stewardess’s too perky voice come over the plane’s intercom system. “We will be landing in New York in just about fifteen minutes. I hope you all have enjoyed your flight thus far…” I zone out when she starts to ramble on about the weather conditions and time in [...]


Gliding through the water As swift and silent as an arrow With the swish swish splash of the paddle. Water burbling over smooth stones, singing over sticks, Jumbling in a happy mass to wherever rivers go. The blue blue sky overhead, clear as crystal, Dotted here and there with wisps of milk-white clouds. A gentle [...]

My Grandfather’s Words

One day we were riding in the car Talking about his work He speaks so deeply about everything Has a philosophical point of view. Talks to me like an adult As if I understand The amount of wood needed to construct a frame And how business works. Nonetheless, I listen And do so very intently [...]

The Chickens

In a comic explosion of feathers, the hens race to the safety of a compost pile. I wave a dirty dish rag after them, a warning not to get too close to our first outside dinner of the year. They start to creep forward, combs waving, lured by the plates of food we are bringing [...]

Half a World Away

Half a World Away, by Cynthia Kadohata; Atheneum Books for Young Readers: New York, 2014; $16.99 Electricity: It creates lightning, turns on the TV, generates power. A microscopic current. Something that we cannot see, that connects us all. The concept fascinates twelve-year-old Jaden. But what he can’t understand is this: he doesn’t feel connected to [...]

The Running Dream

The Running Dream, by Wendelin Van Draanen; Knopf Books for Young Readers: New York, 2011; $16.99 Have you ever seen a book on the shelf and known it was the perfect book for you even before you turned the first page? The Running Dream was like that for me. The moment I saw it on [...]