The Ocean Child

The summer cabin was wonderful. We all thought so. It was white with blue trim around the windows and doors. The roof was gray like mist. I had been waiting all summer to visit this cabin, but it was the beach I was most eager to see. My name is Jasmine, and I love the [...]

Moonlight Waltz

“Kalie, have you practiced your flute yet?” My mother’s voice squeezed under my bedroom door and rang in my ears. “Not yet…” I answered. I knew what was coming next. “Well, do it now. Dinner’s in twenty minutes, and I know you want to watch TV before you go to bed, so you’d better get [...]

Furious Fire

Scars are a part of you; they never go away. All scars have a story. Whether it’s funny, sad, or scary—the story’s always there. My scar’s story is one of pain and despair; a story in which fears are faced and lessons are learned, all from one little spark. Our summer stays at my family’s [...]

Wolf in the Woods

Mom and Dad were asleep. I had to wait a whole three hours after I went to my bedroom to sneak downstairs. Who knew that after kids fall asleep, parents stay up until midnight? Sprinting down the path, my mind wandered to Jack. He would be upset that I was late but happy I had [...]

In My Own Backyard

The first day of summer vacation, I made a beeline for the library. I checked out as many books as I could and trudged home with a bulging book bag. Swinging open the front door, I dove for the couch. I slung my book bag off my aching shoulder and rummaged inside it, retrieving the [...]

My Father’s Doves

Running to the market, my father clutched the bagful of coins to his chest. On the leather bag was sewn “,” horse, in Chinese, the only gift that his father had given him before the war. He hurried across town, walking under the wood sign with the words “Tai City” etched on it and following [...]

Magical Words

You wouldn’t think that two girls who were so different could become friends, but somehow, Litzy and I did. I rubbed my eyes with sleepy fingers as I stared into the mirror. An eleven-year-old girl with dark eyes and wild, unkempt dark hair stared dauntlessly back. I took a deep breath and braced myself for [...]

Ocean Beat

I can hear waves crashing like drums. As they hit the strip of sand they leave behind a little crab. The tiny musician claps his claws together with such a tiny click that no one but I can hear it. Every piece of wind and sand dancing in rhythm to the salty spray of the [...]


The air is thick The leaky faucet in grandma’s bathtub is going drip, plop, drip, plop There is a small glimpse of light coming from the crack in my door My bed feels so big Like I would need one thousand me’s, five-foot me’s To fill the bed The air suddenly becomes thinner The faucet [...]

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin, by Sy Montgomery; Houghton Mifflin Books for Children: New York, 2012; $17.99 The world is not always a friendly place for people who think different. Temple Grandin thinks in pictures instead of words. She was unaware for a long time that her way of thinking was unlike that of others. As a young [...]

Inside Out and Back Again

Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai; HarperCollins Children’s Books: New York, 2011; $16.99 Last year, my family and I moved from Florida to West Virginia and it was a disaster. The movers came late, our kayak fell off our car roof while my parents were driving down a highway at about two o’clock [...]