Ode to Clementines

Posted July 30, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Oh, have you ever trifled with
a juicy tree treasure?
Oh, have you owned
an orange orb?
Oh, have you conjured
a clementine,
With all its juicy jumble?
The delicate flavors
tango on the tongue,
spraying their
supple sweetness.
Tangy but tart
tree treasure from
the earth—
the Courageous Clementine!

by Jacob, 3rd grade

Baseball: Last Year and Now

Posted July 27, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Last year
I used to get dirt in my eyes.
I used to miss the ball.
I used to get hit by the ball.
I used to fall down.
I used to hit my head.
I used to go the wrong way.
I used to stare at people.
I used to run out of breath.
I was five.

I don’t get dirt in my eyes.
I don’t miss the ball.
I don’t get hit by the ball.
I don’t fall down.
I don’t hit my head.
I don’t go the wrong way.
I don’t stare at people now.
I have my own jersey.

by Randolphus, 2nd grade

Photgraph by Krug Photography, via flickr

WITS in the News

Posted July 25, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

In this feature article, The Houston Chronicle spotlights the WITS Summer Camp.

Five-year-old Isabella’s writing assignment, hanging on the classroom wall for the world to see, vividly described how angry the little girl was when her mother threw out some toys at the start of the summer.
Her mom, Jonett Miniel, couldn’t have been prouder.
After explaining that she was actually donating the items to charity, Miniel beamed about her daughter’s progress during the Summer Creative Writing Workshop at Aldine Academy.
“This is the most wonderful thing. I can’t believe she did any of this,”
Miniel said. “This is letting the kids have a voice and letting them write what they want.”

To read more, click here.



Posted July 24, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I will put in my box
A giant greenish-blackish tree
Sparks from a pistol
The cries of thousands of people
I will put in my box
The founder of Pakistan
The books of the year
The uniforms of people who died in wars
I will put in my box
A beautiful day of Independence
A taste of victory
Sounds of firecrackers
I will put in my box
Celebration of our heroes
Sights of our people happy
A view of my grandfather’s garden–he died studying those books
My box is made of brown, old papers, papers of Independence
I will celebrate my country in my box with my family.
I will play cricket in my box forever!

by Mahid, 5th grade

Elephant Wishes

Posted July 23, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


I always wanted to go somewhere
where there were no poachers
and we could rest more
and not get eaten by lions.
I always wanted to be the Emperor of China
and I would banish all of the poachers
and send them to Madagascar.

by Sydney Katherine, 2nd grade


Posted July 19, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

During the summer I would ride my bike every day. As I got on my bike I enjoyed riding my bike down the streets. The wind was a small detail of my daily bike rides. I thought of it as a refreshment. The breeze on my face was calming and nice. As I rode my bike, I heard my surroundings: a dog barking or someone mowing their lawn. The twists and turns were so much fun to ride! It made me feel like a rocket bursting out with energy. I said to myself, “Hop on, or you might miss out on the ride of a lifetime.”


by Paul, 5th grade

Inside a Raindrop

Posted July 18, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Go inside a raindrop
where it is cold. I see a rainbow down
the smooth side. As the rain falls,
I jump
up and down
inside the raindrop
As the rain falls,
I hear loud thunder.
I jump rope to calm myself down.
As I scream,
I hear my loud echo answering back to me.

by Samantha, 4th grade
J.R. Harris Elementary School

writing prompt = “Stone” by Charles Simic

Por la Puerta (Through the Door)

Posted July 17, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Si te metes por la puerta,
las flores están hechas de paletas,
y los árboles son como
conos de color rosa.
Si te metes por la puerta,
las nubes están pintadas de color
negro, y hay un arcoiris entre ellas,
la montaña es de dulce, y
de color rosa.
Si te metes por la puerta,
hay una casa hecha de nieve,
con las sillas hechas de galletas,
los vasos hechos de naranjas,
y los platos hechos de fresas.
Si te metes por las puerta,
los papeles están hechos de manzana,
y los zapatos hechos de cereza.
Si te metes por la puerta,
verás todo esto.

Through the Door (Translation)

If you go through the door,
the flowers are made of lollipops,
and the trees are like
cones that are pink.
If you go through the door,
the clouds are painted black,
and there is a rainbow in between,
the mountain is made of candy,
and it is pink.
If you go through the door,
there is a house made out of snow
with the chairs made out of cookies,
and the cups are made of oranges,
and the plates, made out of strawberries.
If you go through the door,
the papers are made out of apples,
and shoes are made out of cherries.
If you go through the door, you will see all of this.

by Jeanette, 1st grade

I Walk Alone

Posted July 16, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Wynton’s eyes see the night in a whole different dawn,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.
Listening to the music that takes his mind away,
Not into the night, but a whole new day.

Ignoring the world that continues to die,
Sad-hearted people harmoniously cry,
But not Wynton Macklin in a world all his own,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

X-girlfriend’s shoulder colder than an igloo.
His best friend is dating who?
It won’t matter to Wynton unless it’s lyrics to a song,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

As the world falls apart, Wynton is left alone.
Keep calling but reality won’t answer the phone.
So Wynton stays proud as he grows alone,
Walking his dog with his headphones on.

by Wynton, 9th grade
Westbury High School


Posted July 13, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

frida_kahlo_self_portrait.jpgShe is bleeding.
It looks like she’s angry.

She’s probably mad at her husband.
She doesn’t look like she’s in pain.
She’s letting the bird hang on her neck.
She looks like she got out of a wreck.
The thorn branches represent her anger.
The monkey is messing with one of the branches.
The cat is hiding behind her neck.
The cat might represent her anger too.
It’s a black cat.
She looks serious.
She looks like if anything gets in her way,
She would mess something up.
The flowers represent her sensitivity
And the butterfly.
She feels like nobody respects her or
Pays attention to her.

by Victor, age 17, Texas Children’s Hospital – Renal Division

HISD Applauds the WITS Summer Camp

Posted & filed under Notebook.

The Houston public school district (HISD) recently showcased the WITS Summer Camp on its site. Here’s how the story begins:

A blank page is not exciting to most people, but to a writer it signifies that anything is possible. Writers in the Schools (WITS) is a private, nonprofit organization in Houston that offers creative writing programs to students in grades K–12. In a classroom setting, writers teach students to transform thoughts and feelings into powerful words that take readers to new places.

To read more, click here.


Jennie Kolter Elementary third-grader Payton Campbell(left)and West University Elementary third-grader Celeste Debnam took a summer writing course from WITS Senior Writer Amy Lin (center).

Hope That Makes Me Strong

Posted July 12, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Hope is like a perfect day to have a picnic. sunburst.jpg

Hope is like an ice cream sundae.
Hope is like a milk chocolate bear that
melts in your mouth.
Hope is like having a good secret waiting to burst.
Hope can be a good thing gone bad.
Hope can be something bad turned good.
Hope is like when something bad goes
wrong and out of something bad,
something great comes, like a bright light coming out of gray and misery.
Hope, to me, is something I hold on to patiently for the day that my hope comes true.
My hope keeps me going on days when I want to lay down and die.
My hope keeps me going.
It’s like a passage,
a choice.
Do I want to give up or go on?
Without hope, I would have given up already.
Hope keeps me sane.
Without hope, it would be tragic and miserable.

by Amber, age 18, Renal Division of Texas Children’s Hospital.
(graphic art by Shawn Lewis, via flickr)

Beep, Beep!

Posted July 9, 2007 & filed under Notebook.



Unable to speak, except
For the occasional, “beep, beep!”
watch others as they watch me.
Escaping Wile E. Coyote’s futile
attempts to catch me,
and backfiring his plans, with all
the perilously placed boulder, and exploding dynamite.
Too bad he never calculates correctly.
Listening to the children’s and a few adult’s
Laughter, while Coyote runs off cliffs or
Stars form around his head after head-on
Collisions. The laughter gives me strength,
Humiliates Wile E., and gives an invigorating
Energy off. I am proud to be able to help
Give off fun and be a reliever of stress.
And now as Wile E. Coyote is trying to
Capture me with another ridiculous trap
Doomed to fail, I run close to Mach 2,
Never breaking a sweat, foiling his plans
Once again.

by Kevin, 7th grade, WITS Summer Camp


Posted July 6, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

The Scent of this City

I am just a stranger walking in different directions.
I go up, I go down, whichever way. My reflection is lost and clouded by urban smog
The scent of this city is sticking to my skin.
I fight to take clean breaths and realize I am sinking to my surroundings.
I hear her shoes splashing on the wet concrete.
The anxiety pulls me apart.
It goes into my veins and sticks into every part of my body.
Where does this end and do I begin? Why is my future in her hands like this?
She keeps it dangling on a string; she pulls and winds it around to keep me on my feet.
He looks into my eyes and asks me what’s the matter.
I don’t answer because he reads me like a book.
I became a collection of the thoughts and memories of what I did wrong.
I am a pile of broken bones and a mistake I once made.
But I am admitting that I messed up.
I’m begging and pleading for your forgiveness:
“Please don’t leave me, I need you,” I say.
If only I had a way to make this fly faster than I am falling for him.
What drives me insane is having no control.
I have no choice but to wait it out and leave it all behind.
I have to trust in his empathy to forgive,
And her vanity to forget.
I have to find myself in this mess.

by Gaby, 12th grade, WITS Summer Camp

The Siren

Posted July 5, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


Her face is soft, but worn to bone
From years of salt and sea.
Her eyes, the hue of crystal ice,
She never can be free.
All day, she lies upon her throne,
Dreams of formless sands.
The pearls she catches in her hair
She clasps within her hands.
Her smile, cold, her teeth, pale white,
A soul of liquid steel.
The freezing waves, the sunlight’s warmth,
Her heart would never feel.
And though she waits for time to end,
She swims beneath the moon.
With crimson tears and lost regrets,
She sings the Clair de Lune.

by Alexander, 9th grade, WITS Summer Camp
(Art collage by Jupiter Designs, via Flickr)

I Am Like a Flower

Posted & filed under Notebook.

I am like a flower that grows into what it becomes and moves on. I like to play, run, and all kinds of things. I am like Benjamin Franklin fulfilling his dream and doing what I want to do and being what I want to be. I am not an empty blank page that no one cares about. I am not like a pen that is forced into being. I am a woman and I am saved. I am not a crayon that gets put in a box. I am like a bird being free in the air. I’m like a caterpillar that flies into a beautiful creature. I am a spirit that goes through the world.

by Bryanna, 5th grade, Nehemiah Center