Free Day

Posted September 18, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


I am from spaghetti and meatballs and a place where you can sit with your family and talk without feeling uncomfortable. I am from a house that stays with Clorox, detergent, Tide, and everything you can think that helps keep a house clean. I am from the sun, because when you are in my bedroom, it seems as if you are in light. I am from a calm place that I like to call

by Jasmine, age 12
Texas Children’s Hospital
[photo by guas via flickr]

Writing in Nature

Posted September 17, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I feel surroundedrobin-bird-by-webted-via-flickr.jpg
I feel relaxed
because the forest is

very silent. The sight
is beautiful. The trees

are big. I feel as
if I shrunk.

I see a bird. It
lands on my arm.
I touch it and

I realize that
this is the

perfect place
to be yourself
and to feel freedom.
I feel relaxed
and peaceful.

by Erika, Neff Elementary

*Meeting* Your Favorite Author

Posted September 12, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

roald-dahl-day-logo-2007.jpgOne of the cool things about being a kid these days is that your can find your favorite writers on the web. Roald Dahl’s site is filled with funny surprises, including a selection of revolting recipes and even a glass elevator.

It’s not all fun and games. There’s real information available on author websites as well. For example, did you know that Roald Dahl was 6 feet 5 and three-quarter inches tall? But that’s not all. Today (yes, today!) is officially Roald Dahl Day. Celebrate it!

Land to Ocean

Posted September 11, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Dear Ocean,

You hit me all the time with all your natural strength Most of the times when my friends come over, you steal their sandals or their jewelry and take ’em with you. After dawn, your bones are scattered everywhere. Seems like you work hard overnight. People seem to think about you as pleasant, but they wouldn’t be able to recognize you when it rains. You let all your fury and at times cause disasters.

by Sylvia, 11th grade

Wash it all away – Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight
Originally uploaded  to flickr by s0ulsurfing

A Poem by Nikita

Posted September 10, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Voices from my Past

Scream my name and bring back all my pain.
Waters of truth flow through my mind.
Open your eyes, I’m not fine.
The glitter of danger has caught my eye and
the voices of my past continue to scream and cry.
Look at me, I’m fighting to be free.
Desperate and damaged, I still manage
to attempt to hurry to the light
but as always the voices of my past continue
to hold me in such a tight grasp.
Lost time, a blocked heart, secrets burning
deep inside. I’m searching, I’m running,
I’m praying for that light to remove all my strife.
But the voices of my past continue to rule my life.
A mixture of panic and faith increased day by day
from the words they say haunting me in every way.

But I know that this too will come to an end.
Maybe all I need is just a friend to help all the
voices somehow end, the numbness I feel,
I’ll feel again…the time lost…I’ll regain 10 x 10.
Instead of desperate and damaged, I’ll be centered
and whole. I’m gonna stomp forward with the voices of
my past buzzing in my ear, with optimism in my heart.

by Nikita, 12th grade

photograph by deborah lattimore
via flickr

Contest for High Schoolers

Posted & filed under Notebook.

Rider University is sponsoring its 28th Annual High School Writing Contest. Here are the details.


  • 1st-$100
  • 2nd-$50
  • 3rd-$25
  • All Finalists will receive a Certificate of Honorable Mention
  • All winners will be considered for publication in Venture, Rider’s literary magazine


  • ESSAY: Write a personal essay, labeled ESSAY, on a topic of your choice of no more than five double-spaced, typed pages.
  • FICTION: Write a short story, labeled FICTION, of no more than five double-spaced, typed pages.
  • POETRY: Write a poem of no more than 50 lines.


  1. Type on the entry:
    Your Name and Address
    Teacher’s Name
    School Name and Address
  2. Include a letter from a teacher stating that the work is original and by you.
  3. Entries must be typed. Handwritten entries will not be read. Stories and essays must be double-spaced. Single-spaced prose will not be read. Please give your story, essay, and or poem a title.
  4. Only one entry per category will be considered. Choose your best writing and send only one.
  5. Mail your entry postmarked no later than December 14, 2007 to:
    Dr. Robbie Clipper Sethi
    English Department
    Rider University
    2083 Lawrenceville Road
    Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Entries cannot be returned.
Winners will be announced in April, 2008.
Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you wish to receive a list of winners.

Lions Born Out of Trees

Posted September 6, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Lions come from Africa. People
Around the world like to venture
The world and see lions. Lions
Are one of the strongest
Large cats in the world. Lions
Also have great night vision
And sometimes eat elephants
When there is no food and
When they are very hungry.
I think when I am older that
I will get the chance to venture
The world and see lions and other
Wild large cats. Male lions are
Very protective over their territory.
Most males pee to mark their
Territory and when another
Comes they will smell and know
That there is another lion
Living there. Lions were created
Out of trees.

by Frank, Boys & Girls Country

On Family Values

Posted September 4, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Two parents, two kids: the average, American family.
Grandma has a stroke and moves in.
Dad gets fed up and moves out.
Mom meets Rick, a systems analyst for a large corporation.
Dad meets Candy, the lingerie model with the large…never mind.
Grandma meets Abe. He likes to soak his teeth in your science project.
Rick is average too. Randy and Jack move in.
Candy (who’s above average—wink, wink) has five kids with Dad.
Tootsie, Hershey, Sweetie, and the twins, Mark and Mindy, M & M.
The average, American family:
Approximately two parents, two kids, two stepparents, two step siblings,
Two and a half whole siblings, a grandma, and Abe,
Who likes to soak his teeth in your science project.

by Scott, 10th Grade


When I Write

Posted August 31, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

When I write,
I imagine.
I use my heart.
I listen to my soul-mind.
When I use my hands,
I smell your pencil.
When I touch the tip of the pencil,
I write words.
I imagine things I want to do.
I can write a story.
I listen to myself.
I feel free.
by Nathan,  3rd Grade
Helms Community Learning Center

Poetry Contest For High School Girls

Posted & filed under Notebook.

What is the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest?
Since 1962, this contest has been sponsored by Hollins University and awards prizes for the best poems submitted by girls who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school.

What are the prizes?
First place (one winner)

$200 cash prize
Free tuition for the two-week creative writing class in the university’s Hollins summer program
Publication in Cargoes, the Hollins’ student literary magazine
Ten copies of Cargoescargoes_04.jpg
Second place (six winners)

$25 cash prize
Publication in Cargoes
Two copies of Cargoes
What are the requirements?

All entries must be typewritten and be submitted by a member of the faculty or administration of the student’s school. No more than two poems by any one student may be submitted, and manuscripts cannot be returned. Each entry must be on a separate sheet and each sheet must include the following information in the upper right corner:
–Author’s name and gender
–Author’s mailing address
–Author’s phone no. and/or e-mail address
–Year of author’s high school graduation
–Faculty sponsor’s name and e-mail address
–Author’s school
–Address and phone no. of author’s school
If the poem is more than one page in length, label each page with author’s name, title of poem, and page number.

What is the deadline for entries?
November 15, 2007

Who chooses the winning poems?
Winners are chosen by students and faculty members in the creative writing program at Hollins.

When are winners notified?
By mid April, 2008

Where should entries be mailed?
Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest
Hollins University
P.O. Box 9677
Roanoke, VA 24020-1677


Posted August 30, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I am little.
When I die
I will come
Back like that!
I have
My mouth is like
A beak.
I can fly up
To space.
I have less
My ears can hear
Around the world.
I’m the
Most strongest of

Even if I’m small, I can
Carry 100 trees.
Even if I
Look mean, I’m nice.
And I
Am a Dragon.
My name is
Dragon Kenya.
I can turn into

by Kenya, 3rd grade


In my Head

Posted August 29, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

travis-art-305-003-1.jpgIt is a royal palace with stone

walls hiding such admirable
beauty, you could watch it all day long.
It is a horrible fire that absolutely
no one could put out.
It is the agitated wasp stinging
all the furry little animals in the forest.
It is the little mice playing around
in the great big field.

by Ivy, 3rd grade

Phone Number Music

Posted August 28, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Going down the trumpet vines
Swirling, music whirling in
My ears like a butterfly flying
Through soft melodies, soaring
In the skies from violins, sweet
String and a playful dog
Jumping happily away.

by Isabelle, 3rd grade

See the WITS Kids on TV

Posted August 24, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

The 2007 Writers in the Schools Young Writers Reading will be televised by Houston MediaSource next week. The program will air at the following times on Comcast 17, TV Max 95, and Kingwood 98:

Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 4:30 PM

Saturday, August 25, 2007 at 2:00 PM

Thursday, August 30, 2007 at 4:30 PM

Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 12:30 PM

For a list of the students who were chosen to perform at these events held in May at The Menil Collection, click here and here.

My Dog

Posted August 23, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

My dog is cool to have for a pet.
Dogs come in many sizes.
They are big and small.
I like to have a big dog.
My dog is brown, and her eyes are baby blue
I will remember when my dog was small.
Now she is big and strong,
and she’s older too.
I think she’s 21 years old.
My dog is a faithful friend.

by Crystal, Boys & Girls Country

Two Minutes

Posted August 22, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Two minutes
Me and my boys
Two minutes
in the hood
Two minutes
seen the haters
Two minutes
seen the colors of the rags
Two minutes
heard the buck shots
Two minutes
ran like fire ants
Two minutes
My boys buck back
Two minutes
Lil Frank was gone

by Frank, 9th grade

Note: This poem was written by a student in a juvenile probation facility. Writers in the Schools (WITS) offers programs to young people in detention centers, boot camps, and rehabilitation programs. Writing, and creative expression in general, can offer these kids a chance to “have their say,” and they often have a great deal to say.

It’s Tough Being A Kid

Posted August 21, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

It’s tough being a kid now days. For example,
being in fourth grade is more than enough to say.
It’s like being in a masquerade.

Taking tests almost every hour of the day. When
I take tests I develop some special kind of power.
Even though my brother torments me day and night
while I’m trying to study.

It’s tough being a kid now days.

Stacey, 4th grade


Posted August 20, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I wish I could take abig-cloud.jpg
fluffy cloud home
and feel the softness.
I wish I could take
a cloud home and bounce
on it like a trampoline.
I wish I could go home,
lie on my bed, and
use a white fluffy
cloud as a pillow.
I wish I could keep
a cloud forever.

by Marden, 2nd grade

Silver and Gold

Posted August 17, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Can we meet at the bridge?golden-gate-bridge.jpg
Will you promise to be there?
Your eyes are like diamonds
shining in the sun.
Clouds drift away, and
raindrops stop.
You rise like a flame
on the mountaintop.
I am like silver, and
you are like gold.

I am like silver, and
you are like gold.
On the mountaintop
you rise like a flame
and the raindrops stop and
clouds drift away.
You shine like the sun.
Your eyes are like diamonds.
Will you promise to be there?
Can we meet at the bridge?

by Javier, 9th grade

How I Get My Ideas

Posted August 16, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Sometimes you just have to change
the things of the real world
into another story. Sometimes
you have to walk back and forth
then all of a sudden you hear
the ants talking to you.
When you look at the sky
the birds ask, “How are you today?”
Since no one is the ruler
of the world, start drawing yourself
holding the earth. Draw
yourself at the top of the earth.
and seeing other planets. Look
at the mirror and see
your reflection: you will go
through the mirror
and you will be at a throne.
You will have a long beautiful red cape.
All the animals are together,
and there are stars inside.

by Amy, 6th grade


digital collage by Robin Madden