The Service Project

Madeline anxiously gathered her books and half-jogged towards the classroom door, praying that her Civics teacher, Miss Jones, wouldn’t notice her. “Madeline, can I speak with you for a moment?” Madeline’s Civics teacher called in her high, soprano voice. Her eyes scanned the room and then narrowed when they met Madeline’s. Madeline heaved a sigh. [...]

Three Huge Problems: Getting Through a Week in the Sixth Grade!

“Kat! Time for dinner!” “Coming!” Kat had come home from a long day—a very long day—at Hearst Middle School. She wasn’t hungry, she was mad. “Kat, it’s getting cold!” She sighed, closed her homework book, still ignoring her phone, and headed downstairs. “Did you have a good day?” asked her mom as she was scooping [...]


The hot, arid California air that is usually scorching in the middle of July has—for some odd, outlandish reason—quieted down. It is like a rain forest: wet and hot with great clouds like the feathers of an African gray parrot that ooze languidly along the horizon. It is like the South; the air is saturated [...]

Seeing in the Dark

It was late summer. The air was thick and humid. Elizabeth lay on her bed, even though the sun had been up for hours. Every day she chose a different place to zone out—her beanbag chair, the couch, a chair at the dining room table. It didn’t make much difference. Every night she cried herself [...]

The Hunt

Time seems to stop as the arrow leaves the bow

Blue Butterfly

Magic is like a little puppy. Curious and frolicsome, it bounds throughout the world, unbidden and free. It pauses, sometimes, to explore or play. It’s that breeze that makes the nape of your neck tingle delightfully, that lifts you way off your feet, then sends you tumbling into warm, soft grass. It usually shows up [...]

Finding Freedom

The last flame of candlelight had flickered out hours ago, but even in the complete darkness, Annabelle Caldwell’s eyes refused to remain shut. It’s hopeless, Annabelle said to herself as she gazed out the window at the full moon. I’m never going to fall asleep. Her mind began wandering and it settled upon Ruth’s birthday [...]


Every day I am reborn as something new. I am a prim cherry blossom, a sleek flying fish, a youthful scholar I am everything all at once; a savory dash of powdery cinnamon, a sprig of scorched chard. I am the pulse of the air I inhale, I am one of seven billion Homo sapiens. [...]

Home Plate

Ah, Baseball! My favorite sport. I feel the excitement and adrenalin running through me As we begin the game. I’m in my favorite position, The catcher’s spot, With the batter right beside me. I sign the pitch to the pitcher And the pitcher winds up. I see the ball sailing toward me And I hear [...]

Night Music

The cricket drones and an eternity passes. As the night whispers on the ground below, perched forever behind the star-soaked curtain of sky. And the rain drips from the old gutters to my windowsill and onto the ground below. Listen. Wait. You may hear the murmuring conversations behind the windows of home. A wisp of [...]

Crossing the Wire

Crossing the Wire, by Will Hobbs; HarperCollins Publishers: New York, 2006; $16.99 When his father died years ago trying to cross the Arizona border, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores dropped out of school and started to plant corn to support his mother and five younger siblings. After he gradually came out of the grief of his father’s [...]

One for the Murphys

One for the Murphys, by Lynda Mullaly Hunt; Nancy Paulsen Books: New York, 2012; $16.99 Growing up browsing through Salvation Army bins and snoozing in the basement, twelve-year-old Carley Connors is a born-and-bred Vegas girl who’s as tough as nails. Her dad is completely out of the picture, and it’s always been just her and [...]