“Pomegranate, apple, or bunch of grapes?" Mom asked, just asking out of sheer politeness, as she knew what the answer would be. "Pomegranate, please," her three daughters said in unison. Mrs. Loft sliced the brilliant red fruit in quarters, passed each girl a quarter and took the remainder of the sphere for herself. The two [...]

Me, Myself, and My Personality

“Can we please do it again? Please?" My mother looked at me, dumbfounded. "No way," she replied. "When I saw you go upside down, I thought you were going to fall. You know how I feel about roller coasters." "Oh, Mom, you are so cautious. Stop being so worried." "Oh, all right," my mother breathed. [...]

A Girl Called Helena

  It had to be the worst storm the town of Seaport, New Jersey had ever experienced. The rain struck the earth like pins piercing a pincushion, so keen and strong that there was only a foggy sheet of gray encircling the ocean. Flashes of lightning brightened the sky, and thunder sounded all around. Wind [...]

The Fallen Log

Elizabeth and Alexandra stepped across the deep, jungle forest. Palm tree branches tilted slightly in a soft breeze. Palmettos fanned the humid air, and their deep, dark green leaves and sharp stems bent to one side. The lush green vines decorated the branches above. Tangles of weeds cloaked the trees, and every now and then [...]


Lara flung the covers away with an arm and nearly fell out of bed in her rush to get to the clock, on the other side of the room. The piercing wail of the alarm had always irritated her immensely. She saw it as a shatterer of dreams, a malicious creature that waited until the [...]


The Loft family takes a road trip to Prince Edward Island


“Swim, Amelia, swim faster," Star screamed. My hands and feet moved faster and faster towards the ship but the pressure of water was pulling me deeper into the sea. I looked at the ship as it moved farther. "Stop the ship, Jack, please," I heard Star's voice. "I can't, the waves are moving it," Jack [...]


Michael’s eyes, the biggest, bluest eyes imaginable, glazed over with absolute ecstasy as he beheld the sand-crusted sea treasure sprawling in his hand. The creature squirming on the toddler's pink palm writhed and stretched, its legs curling as they reached towards the weak, cloud-strewn blue sky—slowly, painfully—until its motions became too much, and it lay [...]

Ghost Park

Swaying wooden swings Whisper to each other The wind blows dry leaves, Scattering messages across the park. The white, lacy blur Of a girl Polished black boots drum along stone paths As the boy calls out her name. "Come back, Margaret! I didn't mean it! Come back!"


Big and bright It stood and watched me. Shattering as I Skipped stones Across the surface Of the Solid lake, The ripples spread its Perfect whiteness. Silent but bold. It moved the ocean waters. It was howled at by the Wolf, Enraged by loneliness. It lit the path of the Dead night. I cup the [...]

Thura’s Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq

Thura's Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq, by Thura al-Windawi; Viking Children's Books: New York, 2oo4; $15.99 “In the middle of the night we were thrown out of our beds by some massive explosions," described Thura in her diary. Thura al-Windawi was nineteen years old when the war in Iraq began. That was also the [...]

Nothing Here But Stones

Nothing Here But Stones, by Nancy Oswald; Henry Holt and Company: New York, 2004; $16.95 “Bookworm" may be one of the best words you could use to describe me. Ever since I was little I could be found curled up in the oddest places, deep in a story, obviously oblivious to the real world. Reading [...]