The View from Santa Chiara

One thing was for certain, she never wanted to go. She never wanted to go to Santa Chiara. Francesca stared out the huge windows of the dining hall; the rain beat harder and harder against the window, making it almost impossible to hear the nun as she said grace. The ancient Madonna in the painting [...]

Brutal Deluge

I looked through the small window of my new room, watching heavy streams of water galloping through the streets. Fortunately for me, our house was located high on a hill. My parents had run down to try to help the other villagers. Flood season had come. All I could do was stare, and watch in [...]

My Last Summer’s Night

"Mommy! Mommy! Look what I found!" Trish squealed as she entered the living room, dragging behind her what appeared to be a giant book. I set down the magazine I had been flipping through; there was something familiar about that book, but I couldn't quite place my finger on it. "What do you have there?" [...]

Where Time Forgot

"Sophia, honey, where are you going?" My mother's voice rises above the creak of the screen door. "Outside," I call back. The door slams behind me as I step out into the purpling spring evening. I smile. How could "outside" describe where I'm going? Stepping off the edge of lawn, I run through the woods. [...]


Berg woke up for the seventh time this week in a cold sweat. That same dream had invaded his subconscious again, the dream where he is in the jungle, where through the thick brush he can make out a light, like a campfire. And there is also the rhythmic throbbing of voices and the steady [...]

My City

As the snow season ends, about two months late, I look out my window and see my beloved city. It is late at night, and still the bustle of the city sounds as alive as the day, more alive possibly. Streetlights shine in a line and light up the darkness. Buildings flicker on and off [...]

Muslim Girl

CHAPTER ONE: LEYLA   ake up, Skylar!" hissed my older sister, Robin. "It's already eight-fifteen!" My groggy eyes adjusted to the early morning light streaming through the window and I glanced at the clock. She was right. I had twenty minutes to get dressed, have breakfast, and brush my teeth and hair. I dragged myself [...]

Surprises at Sunrise

I drowsily woke up to the voice of my sister, Emma, instructing me to wake up. I lifted one of my heavy eyelids and saw that my bouncy sister was hovering over me, fully dressed and ready for the day. She held two buckets in one hand, and in another was a stack of clothes [...]

Magical Moments

I climb to another branch in this Sequoia giant many times older than me. It has stood through day and night, through rain and wind and lightning, yet stands alone strong and tall. I see a view so stunning from my high perch way up here, the valley and the mountains, with mist pouring over [...]


Smoke blackens your face, Bold paintings line the creases in your skin, Twisting and turning in the crooks of your elbows. In the darkness you crouch, An animal with dark cheeks and sunken eyes, Next to the smoldering embers of your fire. I see you skulking half hidden in the shadows, The whites of your [...]

Powerful Words

Powerful Words by Wade Hudson; Scholastic Inc.: New York, 2004; $19.95 This is a collection of poetry, rap, historical speeches, stories and biographies on the struggles and triumphs of African Americans. This book intrigued me because it was the ideas and thoughts from the eighteenth century to the edge of the twenty-first century. I could [...]

The Wanderer

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech; HarperCollins: New York, 20oo; $16.99 About a year ago, my friend recommended The Wanderer to the girls in my Mother-Daughter book club. When she described it to us, I knew right away that it would be the perfect book for me—that I just had to read it. A few months [...]