Curtis Freedom

The hot July sun beat its fiery rays down on the heads of the slaves working in the shelterless Carolina cotton field. Tall, twelve-year-old Curtis, dragging his cotton bag behind him, paused to steal a moment to soothe his aching back. Straightening up, he winced as his back stretched. His hands, rough and scarred from [...]

Filling the Jar

Matt opened his father’s drawer. Within lay a large pile of phone, water, and electric bills. One after the other they read “late” or “unpaid.” Next to them, there was a small pile of grocery coupons that was being rapidly depleted. Wrong drawer, he thought. I’ll try the bottom one. As Matt opened it, the [...]

Beautiful Night

How the sea looked so different at night than at day I will never forget. How the sea lapped at my toes, moving up with the tide, to my ankles, knees, and eventually to my head. I was engulfed by the sea. Every time I lifted my head up to breathe in the salty air [...]

The Dragon Kite

Hugh gazed happily at his creation. Yes. He’d done it! “Leah, come look at this!” he called, holding the kite for his nine-year-old sister to see. Leah gasped out loud. “Whoa!” she breathed, admiring his handiwork. Her eyes traced over the delicate needlework on the smooth fabric. “Pretty cool, huh?” “Yeah…” She leant out an [...]

The Owls of Morovia

“Annabelle, I just don’t think this is a good idea,” my best friend said nervously. “I mean, the sign even says, ‘Private Property: No trespassing, No swimming, No exceptions!’” “Oh, come on, Sarah! Nobody’s home right now anyway,” I replied. I enjoy having fun. You know, taking risks and doing the most ridiculous dares ever. [...]

The King of San Marino

By Elizabeth Surman Scenario Number One: I’m not sure if the directions on my math homework mean one thing or another. Solution: Go to Dad. Scenario Number Two: I woke up late and can’t walk to school today. Solution: Ask Dad to drive me. Scenario Number Three: Mom hasn’t gotten back from grocery shopping but [...]

Imprisoning the Manatees

I squeeze my eyes shut and yank the plastic goggles from my face. Pulling them away, I swipe at the inside, attempting to clear away the fog that is obstructing my vision. My feet are coated by the gooey bottom of the Crystal River. The rest of my group remains face down in the water, [...]

The Fighter

I am an animal. I am a fighter. It is who I am. Each day it is the crack of the whip and the ring of a bell. It is the creed I live by, the carrot or the stick. Each rosy dawn I awaken to greet a new day, a new challenge, and always [...]

The Road Home

The sky outside is a blood-red color. Slowly, I close my eyes and let a mercifully cool breeze blow on my face through the open car window. I open my eyes and stare out at the landscape spread out around me. Vast green plains and tall grasses are spread out in front of my vision. [...]

Inhaling the Scent of the Wind

The scent of apples whispers through the air Reminding me of our lazy days in the orchard Lying in a bed of violet morning glories Inhaling the scent of the wind Remember the day we held a butterfly funeral in grandma’s backyard? You found it in the dirt beneath the bougainvillea bush With only one [...]

Bird Circle

Two birds spiral, Then one races after another, And they dart through the air. When their chase is done, One stretches its slender neck and dives, The other pumps its strong wings and rises. In one acrobatic movement, a circle forms. Yet the miracle lasts only for a moment. They circle once more and land, [...]


Speaking of sorrow and happiness. Telling a short story with a new voice. Speaking with a mouth of words. Soft as a baby’s cheek. Poem.

Calvin Coconut: Rocket Ride

Calvin Coconut: Rocket Ride, by Graham Salisbury; Wendy Lamb Books: New York, 2012; $12.99 This book is about a kid named Calvin who is getting bullied to give the bully a ticket to his dad’s concert. Calvin lives in Hawaii. His dad is coming there for his band performance. His dad is a famous rock [...]

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua; Penguin Books: New York, 2011; $16 Sophia and Louisa Chua are perfect kids. They get straight A’s and are the best at everything. Sophia played piano at Carnegie Hall when she was fourteen; Louisa was accepted as a student of the world-famous violinist Naoko Tanaka. This [...]