Justine started up the steep, blue-painted platform stairs. Her bare feet plodded through cold, chlorine-laced puddles that gathered on the narrow steps. Every time her foot landed in one of them, water rippled away from her feet, and droplets cascaded down the side of the stair, glistening as they fell to the deck below. She [...]

Fort Cuniculus

Brumm was woken by the distant thumping sound of the sentry's back paws. He was lying in a small, warm chamber with his twin brother, Trumm. He lifted one of his ears and listened more closely to the sound. It wasn't urgent, just the thump that told the residents of Fort Cuniculus that the sun [...]

The Last Dragon

I gaze out across the valley from my perch on the cold, gray cliff. I watch a band of knights ride toward me, scarlet flags embossed with white lions flying defiantly in the light breeze. They are followed by a crowd of villagers eager to view my slaying. I close my eyes for a moment, [...]


"Your mother? Gone?" Lydia's father asked. Lydia twisted her fingers around the edge of her battered suitcase and nodded. She didn't open her mouth for fear she would say something she would regret. "Fever, Mr. Wainscot. She had it for months," Sister Engels murmured, standing behind the eleven-year-old. "Months? Why wasn't I informed?" Sister Engels [...]

Traveling Light in the Andes

"Will you look at that?" I said, tugging on Mom's sleeve and pointing down from the balcony at the lady walking in through the gate, being helped by Jose Luiz and his siblings. "If ever there was a typical American tourist! She must have at least eight suitcases. Jose Luiz is too kind. She should [...]

Fridays Are for Tea

The streets echo with Farsi, reverberate with the sounds of decaying cars wallowing down the road, ring in the calls of vendors. In the old parts of the city, calls to prayer drift down the streets. The sun is beginning to set, flushing the white high-rise buildings lining Tehran's skyline with pinks and oranges. And [...]

Forever Untitled

The feather fluttered to the ground. I looked about me, as if affirming that no one would deprive me of this precious trinket. A red-breasted robin broke out in song. I closed my eyes and breathed in the lightly fragrant aroma of its music. Music. One of the few things in life that can't be [...]

Fairy Ship

I let my hand trail in the cool, clear water of the New Mexican mountain stream. It trickles like liquid crystal through my fingers, sending shivers up my back. Despite the pulsing warmth of the glowing July sun, the water has a sharp nip. I shift my position on the bank of the stream, letting [...]

Second Try

The pleasing aroma of freshly cut grass wafts through my nostrils as I step out onto the rectangular field, surrounded by the sounds of night with only the glowing field lights to accompany me. My toe kicks forward the round orb; its black and white checkers become blurred as the ball rolls dizzyingly towards the [...]

Peeling Apples

Carefully, warily, Sitting with my mom at the kitchen table. She peels quickly: in a few swift moments One twisted apple peel sits on the cutting board. I try to copy her, but no— The knife slips and Cuts off a small chip of the red peel. Trying again, I get lost in the smell [...]

The Vanishing Point

The Vanishing Point, by Louise Hawes; Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 2oo4; $17 How would you like if the only thing you loved to do was something that was reserved for males, and you had a close-to-zero chance of ever being allowed to pursue the life you wanted? If you are anything like me, it would [...]

Chasing Vermeer

Chasing Vermeen by Blue Balliett; Scholastic Press: New York, 2004; $16.95 Have you ever gotten a letter that changed your life? Well, it was an amazing letter that started Petra and Calder, two classmates, on a great adventure searching for a stolen Vermeer painting. In this story, their teacher, Ms. Hussey, led her class to [...]

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