4th of July

Posted July 3, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Ode to Watermelon

Juicy, melony, watery,
seedy, tasty, good to eat, cuttable, the red fire under
the green grass on the black rood.

by Treveon, 3rd grade, Nehemiah Center

Get Published!

Posted July 2, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

iandmymothersm-art-stonesoup.jpg Stone Soup is one of the top journals publishing writing by kids. They accept stories, poems, essays, book reviews, and art. All the work in this magazine is done by children ages 8-13. For more information about submitting your work to Stone Soup, click here.

Another Op

Posted June 27, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Speak Truth to Power
Opportunities for Poets 13-27 years old

For the second year, Youth Speaks is partnering with the Sundance
Summit: A Mayors’ Gathering on Climate Protection to host a spoken
word competition on global warming. Whether or not you’re thinking
about global warming, or even really care about it, we want to hear
from you. What we want to know is: Do you think about global warming?
And if you do, what do you think? And if you don’t, what’s in the
way? It’s a pressing issue and we’re convinced that smart young poets
from different cities, different backgrounds, and with different
perceptions about global warming, environmental injustice, and
poverty can provide important leadership. We’re looking for poets
from across the US to speak on this issue now in a way that will get
Mayors to listen and act.

We’re hosting an event as part of Brave New Voices in San Jose on
Saturday, July 21st, that will be filmed by the Sundance Channel, and
we’re accepting poems right now to choose the ten finalists who will
perform for the opportunity to be one of 3 winners who will take home
$500 and a free trip to the mountains of Utah to perform to Mayors
from across the country in September. Last year, George Watsky
received a ten-minute standing ovation from the group of Mayors
ranging from San Francisco and Anchorage, to Seattle, Minneapolis,
and rural Georgia.

Rarely do poets have the opportunity to speak directly to a group of
political leaders and lawmakers who are there to listen. Here’s your chance.

Send us your best spoken word pieces that will help hundreds of U.S.
mayors understand how young people think about global warming (or if
you don’t, why don’t you)

Tell them the stories that only you can tell- from your community,
your neighborhood, your family, your dreams & your perspective.

Tell them what you see, and what you don’t see happening.

Tell them what you want, and want you don’t want to inherit.

Tell them what you need them to do.

These may be pieces about air so dirty your friends have asthma or
about news reports that say someday your city may sink. Or, these may
be pieces about why global warming isn’t something you have the
luxury to think about or why it’s not an issue that you are
passionate about. And if that’s the case, tell us what is? And what
would need to happen to make global warming more of a priority for you?

Why is this a contest worth entering? Ten submissions will be
selected, and those poets will be invited to compete at a special
session during the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam
Festival on July 21, 2007, in front of hundreds of people and a panel
of judges, who will select three winners from the ten.

Then, the three winning poets will receive $500 in prize money, will
be featured on the Sundance Channel’s The Green, and will be flown to
Utah this September to perform their piece at the 2007 Sundance
Summit for the attending U.S. mayors.

This is truly a chance to speak truth to power- directly- and to
inspire Americas’ mayors to go home and take action. Help them
understand what you need them to do.

They are ready, and they are listening.

How You Can Enter:

Poets between the ages of 13-27 are welcome to submit up to three
pieces of original work (each piece should be a maximum of 3:30
minutes long when performed) along with a cover sheet that includes
your name, age, place of birth, current city of residence, contact
information, and title(s) of poem(s).

Submissions can be sent via email to this email address or by
regular mail to:

Youth Speaks – Global Warming Contest
290 Division Street, Suite 302
San Francisco, CA 94103

All submissions must be received by 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time,
July 8th, 2007.

What You Can Win:

On July 12th, 2007, 10 poets will be notified that they have been
selected to compete during the special Speak Truth to Power about
Global Warming session at the Brave New Voices International Youth
Poetry Slam Festival in San Jose, California, on July 21, 2007 where
three winners will be chosen by a panel of judges on stage.

The competition will be filmed and short 2-3 minute films will be
produced and aired on The Sundance Channel’s The Green. Additionally,
up to 5 entries may be included in a Global Warming Poetry collection
produced and distributed to the mayors attending the Sundance Summit
as well as to hundreds of others mayors engaged in a worldwide
movement to end global warming

All three winners will receive a prize of $500 and will be flown, all
expenses paid, to Sundance, Utah, to perform their work at the 2007
Sundance Summit, September 9-12, 2007 and will be invited to
participate in the event, and possibly travel to a handful of other
U.S. cities as part of the Sundance Summit art exhibition and tour.

Rules and Details: The goal of this contest is to inspire political
action and to speak to those who can make a difference. The judges
will seek out constructive and truthful messages that can lead to
hope. We are not looking for poems that bash the administration.
Instead, we are looking for the real stories and the real voices that
can tell these stories.

The Sundance Summit is about influential people coming together and
working together to solve a global problem that threatens humanity.

Submissions must adhere to PG-13 language guidelines.

Poets will retain rights to reproduce and perform their work any time,
anywhere, but the Sundance Summit will own the right to reproduce all
work submitted.

Click here for more information about the 2007 Sundance Summit.

(Graphic design above by Geoff McFetridge.)

What I Love by Tripp

Posted June 25, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I love to swim in
pools and play
Scooby Doo games
and dress up as
a dragon and draw
pictures of teddy
bears and play
baseball with my
daddy and eat
celery and carrots and
broccoli and do
stickers and sing songs
and color with markers
and make crafts and
ride bikes and 4-wheelers
and jump on
a trampoline and swing
really high.

by Tripp, age 5

I Am, a poem by Cecily

Posted June 21, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I am a snake slinking in the sky.
I am the blazing yellow of the sun.
I am a soldier wanting peace.

I am a time line traveling
in the night before dawn.
I am the spiky vine of a plant.

I am a shining pearl in a rough clam.
I am an electric guitar rumbling again.
I am the Milky Way in the world’s well.

by Cecily, 4th grade

(writing prompt = Delight Song by N. Scott Momaday)

One Op

Posted June 20, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

collage.jpgGirlspeak is a pro-women web-based literary and visual art magazine that seeks to provide a platform for those who identify as female. We aspire to enlighten our readers about self-love, healthy lifestyles, activism through art and awareness of the world around them. Girlspeak is a safe, diverse, tolerant and positive space.

Girls ages 12-22 are invited to submit original paintings, drawings, scripts, screenplays, lyrics, prose, fiction, non-fiction, plays, spoken word recordings, graffiti art, collages, short stories, monologues, or photographs.

E-mail your work to this address. Remember to include your name, age, school, home address and phone number, e-mail address, and a brief bio.

Deadline for Submissions is Saturday, July 21st, 2007.

Calabazas (Pumpkins)

Posted June 19, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

El hombre y la semilla

pumpkinseeds.jpgEl hombre siembra la semilla. La semilla le da el fruto, y con el fruto el hombre puede hacer dos cosas: comer y vender. Así vive el hombre; cuando come, se mantiene fuerte y saludable, y cuando vende, puede con el dinero darse gustos. Puede comprar cosas que lo hacen feliz, puede comprar ropas, comida para él y para sus animales. Puede comprar además semillas, abono, y tierra.

Con esa nueva tierra, el hombre puede cosechar y dejar a sus hijos una buena herencia. El hombre trabaja duro para ayudar a su familia. Siembra y cosecha todo el día hasta que llega la noche, después va a su casa y se da un baño de pies a cabeza, se limpia las uñas, y se sienta a la mesa para cenar. Lo que más le gusta es tomar café. Se levanta muy temprano, y antes de que cante el gallo, el hombre está en la cocina friendo un huevo y calentándose una taza de café fuerte. Luego cuenta las semillas que sembrará ese día, se viste y le da un beso en la frente a su mujer que todavía está durmiendo. La hija lo siente irse, y sale a despedirlo.

Todavía no amanece, y ya está el hombre sembrando semillas de calabaza. Esas calabazas darán de comer a su familia, servirán para hacer frituras y sopas y también para vender en el mercado.

The Man and the Seed (Translation)

The man plants the seed. The seed becomes the pulp. Then the man can either eat or sell the pulp. The man does both throughout his entire life. When the man eats the pulp, he keeps himself strong and healthy. When the man sells it, he can buy a lot of things with the money he earns. He can buy, for example, clothes and food. In addition, he can buy new seeds, fertilizers, and land. He can make himself as happy as any human on the earth can be.

The man works hard and takes care of the seeds all day long to help his family. After the sunset, he goes back to his house, takes a shower to relax, cleans his nails, and dines. Nothing is more enjoyable than drinking coffee, thinks the man. He wakes up very early, goes to the kitchen to fry an egg and heats a cup of very dark coffee. Then he counts the number of seeds he is going to harvest that day, puts on his clothes, and kisses his wife on her forehead while she is sleeping. His daughter hears the sound of the door and runs to say goodbye to her dad.

There is still the moon above the world when the man begins to work. He places the pumpkin seeds underground. The man will feed his family with those yellow pumpkins of the future. They will be used to prepare soups, to decorate the garden on Halloween, and to sell in the market.

by Alejandro, 6th grade

Rapping for the Dads

Posted June 17, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

This Father’s Day rap by Akeem and James is about teen dads who don’t get to see their children. (Time = 2 minutes, 30 seconds.)

The View

Posted June 15, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I was holding my father’s hand.
We lifted our necks high into the air.
The sculpture was so high.
We gasped in amazement.

We lifted our necks high into the air.
Your mother would have loved to see this, he said.
We gasped in amazement.
It was a breathtaking view.

Your mother would have loved to have seen this, he said.
My neck hurt.
It was a breathtaking view.
I looked down to ease the pain.

My neck hurt.
I was holding my father’s hand.
I looked down to ease the pain.
The sculpture was so high.

by Kadie, 6th grade

The Language of Flowers

Posted & filed under Notebook.

When somebody stomps on a flower, it will make a funny noise. And when someone waters it, it starts growing and singing. And every time it grows a leaf, it starts dancing. And every time it reads a book, it gets smarter. I will tell you how it talks. Every time it sees a bird, it talks like a baby.

by Sebastian, 4th grade

My Dog and her Secret

Posted June 14, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

dog_clipart_hunting.gifLast night I found out that my dog has a secret life. When we all went to bed, I saw my dog, Memory, get the car keys and drive off! When Memory came back, she had a big bag from Pappadeaux’s restaurant. She pulled out some hot bread, a seafood platter and a large Coke. She also had a bag from Funco Land full of video games.

I was shocked, but I kept quiet. I watched her jump into my dad’s chair and turn on the television. She turned on the Nintendo 64 and started to play NBC Basketball. But she wasn’t very good at it. It’s hard to play Nintendo games when you have paws instead of fingers. She turned the game off and watched the Cartoon channel. Finally, she fell asleep with the TV on.

I went into the garage to see if she had scratched my dad’s BMW when she was driving it. If she did, I was going to tell him I had nothing to do with it. But, thank goodness, the car wasn’t scratched. Relieved, but still shocked, I tried to get some sleep because I had school the next day.

When I got up in the morning, Memory was curled up in her basket asleep. To this day, Memory doesn’t know that I know she has a secret life. She doesn’t know that I know she can drive, speak, and have common sense. But her secret is safe with me.

by Alicia, 3rd grade

The writing prompt used is The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden.

Red Cheeks

Posted June 12, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

My mom’s cheeks get red when she falls in Love.
She fell in love with my dad when she first saw him.
This is how it happened:
First my dad saw another man bothering her,
So my dad went over there and said, “Stop bothering her!”
My mom said thank you and her cheeks got red.
My dad’s did too, and he told my mom,
“I will pick you up tomorrow between 5:00 pm and 6:30.”

by Paola, 3rd grade
(painting by Adrian Wallet, via flickr)


Posted June 11, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Sounds like people talking nicely, no bad words

Tastes like fresh fruit from a field
or cookies at the Gonzalez’s

and a cool drink when you are outside in the hot summer

Smells like roses when they first bloom in my garden
Feels like the soft smooth fur of my cat Tiger,

and that fuzzy feeling you get when you love someone special

Looks like a field where a war once was
but has more flowers
and happiness
than any other field.

by Madison, 2nd grade
Painting by Jordana Klein

Summer Camp for Young Writers

Posted June 7, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

The WITS Summer Camp programs begin on Monday, June 11. The camp, co-sponsored by Rice University, has been named the “Best Summer Program for Kids” by the Houston Press. The central campus at Annunciation Orthodox School is nearly full. There are still spaces available for children in grades K-5 on the north Houston campus, located at Aldine Academy. For more information, click here.

Hello my name is

Posted June 6, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


My name is Majeoxy.
1. I love my family because they love me.
2. I live in the South.
3. When I grow up, I want to be a nurse, cheerleader, teacher, singer, news reporter.


Aunt Ida’s House

Posted June 5, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

04.jpgI always like going to Aunt Ida’s house in the springtime, the zydeco music blasting from the living room, smells of the barbecue and German chocolate cake coming from the kitchen and the slapping of dominoes on the card table…grandma using her two fingers to eat her famous mustard greens while reminiscing about the old days when things were pure….

by Melissa, 8th grade


Posted June 4, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

I sit thinking

Thinking if I respect myself

If my temple is truly sacred

If I am filled with the strength of my ancestors

If I am a real woman, a woman of old

If I am the voice of my lost sisters

I sit thinking.

“My Thoughts,” by Ardella Williams, Southwestern High School, Detroit, published in Digging Up, Vol. 7

Check out the great story about our sister program, InsideOut, in this great article from the Detroit Free Press which concludes with a quote from Peter Markus:

“Every student in America — not only in Detroit — needs the kind of exposure to poetics that the InsideOut writers bring to the schools we currently serve. The imagination needs to be fed and fostered, or else it’ll simply dry up and fade away. If you ask a kid to dream, he’ll dream.”