Elf Hat

I took the shiny red scissors and stuck the blades into the tape that mummified the brown package. I love getting packages in the mail. I love the smell of tape and cardboard, the promise within the shadowy depths of packing peanuts and something to pull out and unwrap. As I worked at the tape, [...]

Good Night, Son

The soft patter of rainfall filled the attic of the tiny house in Boston. Peter Carrol sat alone in the attic, surrounded by old photos and clothing. All of the memorabilia belonged to his son; a son who was no longer alive, a son who was his pride and joy; a son who was cruelly [...]

The Sea Lion Waltz

The beach was still, the sand untouched. The only sounds were the wind and the breaking of the waves on the shore. Ally doubted that she, Olivia, and Jake were allowed there, as it was a private beach, but chose to ignore that piece of information. They continued along the path, finally reaching the sand. [...]

A Cedar Morning

The Crow woke me up. He is perched at the top of the old redwood, his raucous cries circling and drifting, jerking me from my dreams. Half of me wants to shake him for waking me; the other half wants to scatter extra birdseed around his redwood for letting me be a part of this [...]

In a Moment It Was No More: 1963

"You're lucky, Spencer. I wish I had a baby brother." Ten-year-old Spencer Coleman smiled pridefully at his best friend, José Perez, and then down at his month-and-a-half-old brother, Johnny. "I'm glad that he's a boy,"Spencer whispered. They had to be quiet, or else they'd wake the baby "Now he can't turn out like Libby." Liberty, [...]

Speaking Up

Sometimes think that "if only" must be the two most depressing words in the English language. How many times have you said to yourself, "If only I'd studied harder" or "If only I'd been there five minutes earlier." If only I'd had the courage to speak up last fall, I wouldn't be regretting it now. [...]

Grandpa’s Locket

"So, Grandpa, how's life been treating you?" my older brother asked cheerfully. My grandpa just shot back an icy look, looking at him for a long time without a blink. "OK," my brother whispered, raising his eyebrows. "So, Dad," my mom said with a fake smile, "are you planning to go on vacation or something? [...]

The 54th Rider

Sandra looks out into the crowd. Her face is firm, her lips set in a straight line. This is it—the moment she's been waiting for for nearly ten years. She pulls her hat brim down over her eyes and pulls on her gloves, worn from the hard labor back when she helped her father on [...]

The Tide of Happiness

I was pulled up, Only to be sucked back down. The sea lurched and charged! My hand reached to clasp my father's. Instead I dove With a new strength, Fooling the incoming wave. As I surfaced, Gasping, laughing, My father's hand met my own, And together we ducked, The sand churning beneath our feet, While [...]

The Boy and His Grammaw

Laughing and smiling And sitting and hugging A dirty little boy and A graying woman are Sitting near a dingy trailer. Rough steps and an old bike Rusting before their eyes Yet their smiles Can dazzle even This blank scene . . .

Run, Boy, Run

Run, Boy, Run by Uri Orley, translated by Hillel Halkin; Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2003; $15 The minute I opened this book and read the inside book jacket, I couldn't wait to turn to page one and immerse myself in another fantastic read—Run, Boy, Run. I even set down Gathering Blue so I could read [...]

The Ballad of Sir Dinadan

The Ballad of Sir Dinadan by Gerald Morris; Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2003; $15 "What do you want to be when you grow up?" All of us children have been plagued by that awful question time and time again. Either we dutifully dole out a rehearsed answer, or we smile, saying we haven't decided quite yet. [...]