Amazing Beauty

Posted August 15, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

Inspired by Cy Twombly’s painting, Triumph of Galatea

I went away, into a dark
tunnel and could not get out.
I was calling for help,
trying to find someone
who would guide me to
find my way out. I was
trying to go over to the bright
side and find someone
who would lead me
and love me for who I was
in real life. Someone to take me
out of this tunnel
and lead me up to the real world.
I would let them see the other side
of me, a side that they’ve never seen
before, the amazing beauty in me.

By Emely, 3rd grade

Writing Contest Based Vincent van Gogh’s Paintings

Posted June 10, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

At Writers in the Schools (WITS), we encourage students to use art as inspiration for their writing.  Here is a wonderful contest where young people, ages 9-14, choose their favorite Vincent van Gogh painting and write a creative story based on it.  Carol Sabbeth, author of several lovely art history books for children, is sponsoring this special contest for young writers.

Here is some information from the website:

A personally dedicated copy of Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids for each winner in addition to a copy for his or her school library. Winning stories will be published on

Your entry should be in the form of a short story and contain 1000 words or less. Be as descriptive and imaginative as you can.

The contest is open to children ages 9 to 11 and 12 to 14. Each age group will have a winner. All contest entries must be your own, original work.

All contest entries must be submitted by midnight EST on Saturday, October 1st, 2011.

How winners will be picked
Carol Sabbeth, along with select judges, will choose one entry in each age group that they feel best meets the topic of the contest. Winning entries will be clever, well-written, and insightful.

To see the complete guidelines, click here.

by Marcia Chamberlain, Writers in the Schools

A Brighter Day

Posted February 8, 2011 & filed under Notebook.

An artist is a forest,

coloring the trees,

thinking of the perfect pattern,

painting what he sees to brighten

the dull day,

sketching the sun to beam

on the hidden dullies,

drawing forest animals

over the unwanted,

creating the picture

to enlighten his depressed day,

visualizing the happiness

that brings out his love.

By Parris, 16

Photo by Mindful One via Flickr

Reflections on a Cy Tombly Painting

Posted January 12, 2011 & filed under Notebook.


It is an explosion of colors.

It has marks and words.

He wrote a poem saying

Goodbye to a country.

Goodbye, beautiful colors.

By Sydney, 6th grade

How I Get My Ideas

Posted November 13, 2007 & filed under Notebook.

Sometimes you just have to stare
at the sky to let the wind blow ideas
into your head. If this fails,
remember the last time you went ice skating.
The slippery, shaky feeling of being on ice.
You fall, you get back up.

Think of what would happen if you were
surrounded by sharks in an ocean.
Think, think of what to do to escape.
Wish that you were sitting next to a
fountain throwing pennies, staring at
Honest Abe’s face. Start to think about
the President who tried to stop the spread of
slavery, African-Americans, mistreated, chained,
from Africa, home of the great safari,
animals, trying to take their territory.
Some of these animals are shipped to the zoo,
children holding cotton candy, pure sugar, the sugar
cane is its origin, plants that look like bamboo, which
brings luck. Speaking of luck, lay down, dream about
finding a four-leaf clover, meeting a leprechaun, finding
a rainbow, colors shining brightly. Follow me
rainbow to a pot of gold, like
the jewelry on your neck, glittering in
diamonds, found in coal.

I am reminded of soot in a chimney from the fireplace.
In the fire is wood from a tree which
I used to climb, branches shaded by
evergreen leaves. Paper is made from
trees, put into notebooks,
which you are supposed to fill with words right now.

Do you have any idea what you
will write? You cannot control the amount of
ideas in your head. You cannot control
frustration. You do not know how
to stop yourself from falling on the ice,
but you hold out your arms anyway.
You fall down
but keep skating.

Monique, 7th Grade
(photo by Kira Girl via Flickr

Going Inside a Painting

Posted November 9, 2007 & filed under Notebook.


What do I see
when I go into
a painting? I
feel like going
through water
with fishes
and birds flying
around me saying
what’s your name?
When I go into
the painting I
feel like I’m
going into a
green valley
playing with
my sister saying
Where are we
going and why
are we going so
far? I tell
her that the trees
are made of money
and the sky is
made of dreams
of people who are
beautiful and kind in one way.

by Sa’sha, 6th Grade

(art by Rene Magritte)