The airport was almost empty, with only a few solitary people wandering about the terminal. The silence echoed throughout the building, surrounding us in a hushed stillness. Mom and I stood by the baggage claim and waited for her friend to come. "Mom," I whispered. "I do not want to do this." "Shush, Lena," she [...]

Phone Call

I had been water-coloring when my mom poked her head through the classroom door. She made eye contact with my teacher Diane, who nodded and told me to get my things even though it wasn't even lunchtime yet and I'd never been able to eat my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, which was a shame because I liked [...]

Mystery at the Marsh

"Look!" A little brown head bobbed out from under the dock; the feet under it propelled it around the reeds and out of sight. "What was that thing?" asked Ted, almost falling into the water trying to find it. "A muskrat, kids. You can use that in your essay when we get back to school," [...]


I look once more out the rolled-down window of our faded blue Chevrolet and gaze out at our little yellow summer house, rapidly shrinking as we roll away. The trim white shutters are pulled tight, awaiting next year when we return and the house will brim with life and energy once again. I see our [...]

Characteristic Property

The space pods zoomed above Cassiopeia Jaiden Starwing as she stood on the moving sidewalk on her way home from Academy. Cassie ignored the zooming noise as everyone else did, but her mind did not focus on the obvious. Cassie always acted mellow—she was the youngest of seven children, and the only girl, and she [...]

Basketball Season

I roll down the car window. It's hot. The engine murmurs steadily. I can feel my stomach flipping as we near Fullor. The basketball courts loom ahead, all empty but one. The two-door Toyota stops. Amy jumps out quickly. I take my time, slowly stepping out onto the scorched cracked blacktop. I can feel the [...]

Rare Treasure

The day Gu Zewei was born, we got the first notice. We had a month to choose a child to give away. "I will come to take her when you have decided," the official who delivered the notice said. She said "when you have decided," but her words implied that she was sure we would [...]

America Ever After

I love to go to the library walk through stacks and rows of books, picking whatever I like, the books pull me in. I can go on any adventure. I can sit and read all day, worming through them, reading out the whole shelf I am at home and somewhere else at the same time. [...]

The Best Thing in the World

The late August sun warms the carpet in my room. I sit listening to the sounds below me. Mom and Grandma cooking food in the kitchen. Dad putting the finishing touches on the cake Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends ringing the doorbell My brother running to the door with hellos Loud laughter sounds throughout the house [...]

The Land

The Land by Mildred D. Taylor; Phyllis Fogelman Books: New York, 2001; $17.99 "Can't figure how you can be so crazy 'bout them white brothers of yours neither, when once y'all grown, they'll be the boss and you'll be jus' another nigger." One of the factors that made The Land so interesting was a unique [...]

Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising by Pam Murioz Ryan; Scholastic Press: New York, 2000; $15.95 Did you know that esperanza means hope in Spanish? That word, and that word alone, is the perfect way to describe the young heroine of this novel, Esperanza Ortega. Esperanza Ortega is a pampered little rich girl in Aguascalientes, Mexico in 1930, who [...]