2015 Journal of Literary Arts

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2015 Journal of Literary Arts
2015 Shelby County Journal of Literary Arts
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Through the combined efforts of many students, teachers, and Literary Magazine School Representatives, a system-wide Literary Magazine of
short stories, essays, and poetry has been assembled
At each school, a Literary Magazine School Representative chaired a
committee that selected entries to be considered for the system publication.
The entries were then anonymously judged by a committee of all the school
representatives from each elementary, middle, & high school in the system
and selected for the county publication.
Special thanks to Lacy Shannon who organized & did the layout for this
publication and Dee Patterson for publishing the online version of this literary magazine.
Grade Level Chairpersons:
Vickey Bailey, Elementary School
Jason Mayfield, Middle School
Sherri Trippeer, High School
The views & ideas expressed or implied in this publication are those of the individual author/artist and do not
necessarily represent the views of the Board of Education or it’s employees
School
2015 Lit Mag Rep
Calera Elementary School
Joyce Lyle
Calera Intermediate School
Lindsey Irvin
Chelsea Park Elementary School
Vickey Bailey
Elvin Hill Elementary School
Courtney Dudley
Forest Oaks Elementary School
Leigh McLemore/JoBeth Robbins
Helena Elementary School
Misty Floyd
Helena Intermediate School
Amanda Miller
Inverness Elementary School
Janice Lamb
Montevallo Elementary School
Trivisha Dawson
Mount Laurel Elementary School
Melissa Smith
Oak Mountain Elementary School
Rosalyn Dixon
Oak Mountain Intermediate School
Jenny Wood
Shelby Elementary School
Michelle Griswold
Vincent Elementary School
Deb Owsley
Wilsonville Elementary School
Stephen Kearley
Calera Middle School
Dottie Moore
Chelsea Middle School
Alicia Frye
Columbiana Middle School
Jason Mayfield
Helena Middle School
Stacey Mosley
Montevallo Middle School
Evelyn Moore
Oak Mountain Middle School
Lauren Cole
Vincent Middle School
Allison Davison
Calera High School
Laura Efford
Chelsea High School
Sherri Trippeer
Helena High School
Jennifer Culver
Montevallo High School
Erma Hinton
Oak Mountain High School
Stacey Blakemore
Shelby County High School
Chris Baker
Vincent High School
Allison Davison
Linda Nolen Learning Center
Todd Crenshaw
Author/Artist
Grade
School Title
Page
Lola M.
4
CAIS
Recess is Cool
39
Sean C.
4
CAIS
Memories
18
Lena R.
5
CAIS
The Phoenix of the Forest
13
Avery I.
5
CAIS
Unique
38
Christopher G.
4
CPES
What is Under the Cap?
37
Pratul D.
1
CPES
Crayons
1
Emma G.
5
CPES
Fun in the Snow of West Virginia
4
Melodi C.
5
CPES
Forgotten in the Trail of Sorrow
3
Zac H.
3
CPES
Love Is
36
Luke D.
1
CPES
The Scary Pumpkin
36
Krista O.
3
CPES
Letter from a Glue Stick
39
Natalie B.
1
EHES
Lucy
23
Michael F.
1
EHES
The Merman
26
Lorelei Y.
3
EHES
Hermit Crabs in My Brain
40
Campbell K.
3
EHES
Emily's Story
19
Luke M.
1
FOES
Once Upon a…Stop!
22
Joshua B.
5
FOES
Civil Rights
40
Joshua J.
1
HLES
Kid President
37
Jackson D.
1
HLES
Winter
1
Evan D.
5
HLIS
My Horrible Christmas Break
14
Ava C.
5
HLIS
The Pledge of Allegiance
38
Abigail C.
3
HLIS
The Selfish Wizard
32
Anya R.
2
INES
Grandma
26
Cate T.
2
INES
Eagles Acrostic
36
Kate C.
3
INES
Birds Poem
31
Erin B.
1
INES
The Art Chant
35
Nailah P.
2
IVES
Chocolate
28
Sarah J.
4
MLES
How to Stretch the Rules
20
Allie K.
1
MLES
Sweetie
18
Helen J.
3
MLES
All the Little Things
40
Anna Cate R.
2
MLES
Artic Foxes
34
Author/Artist
Grade
School Title
Page
Wesley S.
5
MLES
Hope for Shawn
1
Ella H.
5
MLES
My Pet
23
Wren W.
1
MLES
Dolphin
30
Naomi H.
K
MES
Sick
15
Taryn W.
5
MES
Sun and Sky
20
Maggie R.
K
OMES The 100th Day of School
35
Charlotte H.
3
OMES You Should Try This
31
Sai K.
4
OMIS
Coconut Crab
11
Mary Jayne Olivia H.
5
OMIS
Little White Tiny Tooth
29
Colin M.
5
OMIS
My Angel
12
Mina W.
5
OMIS
Birthday Diary
24
Elizabeth S.
5
OMIS
Hope
15
Emily L.
4
OMIS
Dust Storm
31
Emily K.
5
OMIS
Dust Bowl
21
Ethan F.
5
OMIS
Loud and Rough
15
Grace H.
5
OMIS
Messy Room Style
9
Evan S.
3
SBES
The Cookie Crusade
10
Alexia C.
4
SBES
What Am I?
9
Jade P.
5
SBES
Roses
22
Jordynne G.
1
VNES
Cheese Puffs
39
Morgan S.
2
VNES
Inside a Snow Globe
35
Lauren A.
4
VNES
Inspired by the Book Wonder
28
Emily H.
5
VNES
A Lonely Life
16
Campbell L.
2
VNES
The Three Ants and the Beetle
27
Rylee Brall W.
5
WVES About My Life
10
Sawyer H.
3
WVES All About Chickens
12
Becky W.
3
WVES Pete
8
Abigail H.
3
WVES Books
21
Madi J.
2
WVES Rainbows
2
Abbey W.
5
WVES Clogger
8
Catelynn D.
2
WVES Friends
2
Author/Artist
Grade
School
Title
Page
Laura Jane S.
8
CAMS
Illusions
52
Kali M.
8
CHMS
Star
50
Andrew H.
8
CHMS
Life & Rest
50
Kaila P.
8
CHMS
The Struggle of Being a Perfectionist
52
Anonymous
8
CHMS
Eternal Wood
42
Sarah M.
8
CHMS
Into the Silence
41
Marissa R.
8
CHMS
A New Life
53
Sara B.
8
CHMS
Total Abandonment
51
Carrie N.
6
CMS
Lost One
44
Rachael R.
7
CMS
The Fairies of Terrestria
48
Caleb J.
8
CMS
Infection
44
Fred B.
8
CMS
The Well
47
Amanda V.
8
CMS
Beatrice, An Early Start
43
Lydia E.
7
HMS
Shaken
46
Lauren M.
7
HMS
Trees & Snow
42
Elizabeth T.
8
HMS
Parrot in Flight
41
Jazmine W.
6
MMS
Heaven on Earth
47
Evan J.
6
OMMS
Mom Graduating
53
Paisley A.
7
VMS
Catastrophic
49
Allyson M.
8
VMS
The Boy Who Loved Flowers
45
Author/Artist
Grade
School
Title
Page
Shalese W.
10
CAHS
Kids
56
David S.
11
CAHS
The Rain
73
Charlie H.
10
CHHS
Wanderlust
74
Charlie H.
10
CHHS
Little Women
63
Jennifer H.
11
CHHS
photo of girl on sand
74
Sarah L.
12
CHHS
Who Knew?
59
Cameron M.
12
CHHS
The Unloved
70
Aaron R.
12
CHHS
Fire
66
Katlyn C.
12
CHHS
painting
66
Vanessa F.
12
CHHS
Acceptance
58
CHHS
self portrait
63
Joy K.
Hannah C.
10
HHS
My Father Took Me Swimming
76
Hannah C.
10
HHS
Not on the Color Wheel
71
Rachel W.
11
HHS
Shoes of Courage
79
Rachel W.
11
HHS
A Yellow Car
67
Devin W.
12
HHS
Little Riley
78
Maddie C.
12
HHS
Deranged
75
Samuel R.
10
MHS
Soon, the Trees will Turn
64
Samuel R.
10
MHS
He Didn't Sing About His Girl
60
Emily T.
10
MHS
The Last Day
69
Emily T.
10
MHS
I am an Artist
72
Kelli S.
11
MHS
The Japanese Soldier
68
Emma C.
11
OMHS
My Crucible
77
William M.
11
OMHS
Once Dreamed Upon
73
Hayden D.
11
OMHS
thoughts
77
Libi J.
12
OMHS
Pyromaniac
71
Margeaux S.
12
SCHS
Remembering Sunday
54
Adrienne S.
9
VHS
No One's Perfect
55
Breanna S.
9
VHS
Sunday
57
Crayons
Pratul D.
1st Grade
Chelsea Park Elementary
Hope for Shawn
A poem written to a homeless man.
Crayons
Sharp, New
Wesley S. 5th Grade
Mt Laurel Elementary
Buying, Using, Making
Drawing stuff with crayons,
Twistables.
You will soon find hope in many places,
In wide open spaces, and many faces.
You will soon take flight,
And rise to a great height.
Laughter shall roll from the hills,
And thy cup shall always refill.
Jackson D.
1st Grade
Helena Elementary School
Winter
A plate never empty,
The joy of so many.
Joy and happiness shall roll like smoke,
From you and others, like a thick warm coat.
No one left in a shadow,
Winter, Winter
No heart left hollow.
Snow falls down,
Down deep into the ground.
Relief and joy will hang in the air,
Where you will melt into a stream,
As will soft, gentle prayer.
That I play in, in my dreams.
For you will be
the hallowed one.
Hope is in many places,
Keep searching, Shawn.
1
Friends
Catelynn D. 2nd Grade
Wilsonville Elementary School
Friends are…
nice,
trustful,
helpful,
and very loyal.
They are always by your side.
If you feel alone they are always kind.
Rainbows
You can…
Play with them,
Madi J.
2nd Grade
Wilsonville Elementary School
Count on them,
Have fun with them,
Rainbows are…
And ride in a car with them.
colorful,
Friends are awesome!
beautiful,
and really long.
They make your day shine.
Rain and sun makes a rainbow.
The rainbow’s colors are…
Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue
Purple
Chasing them can be fun.
I wish unicorns were jumping over all rainbows.
I love rainbows!
2
Forgotten in the Trail of Sorrow
Melodi C.
5th Grade
Chelsea Park Elementary
“Come on guys, keep up! We’re almost there!” My brother called to Jacob and me who were lagging behind.
“We are going as fast as we can Peter!” Jacob hollered back.
“Could you guys at least try to be quiet?” I asked as calm as I could so they wouldn’t start yelling again. I
love my brothers to death but sometimes they can be huge pains.
We were all biking through the woods on one of the many trails that ran through it. This trail in particular
always grabbed my attention with its name. It was called the Trail of Sorrow because of its cold, twisting, neverending darkness. The fact that it was the only way home was what drove us to always take it.
We pedaled as hard as we could home. We were still a few feet away but despite that I could
still faintly smell the sweet and spicy aromas of what Mom was probably cooking for our supper. None of us had
eaten all day because our father wanted us to get a head start on our chores and it was pretty obvious that all the
growling was coming from our stomachs and not some wolves that lurked about.
“Just keep going!” encouraged Jacob, who was twelve at the time.
I guess we were all pretty young to be out by ourselves. I was currently fourteen and Peter was the oldest at sixteen. But there was work that had to be done and places to be.
Molly, our little sister was more than likely helping out in the kitchen. Lucky, her getting to do chores and
help out right by the fireplace made her less likely to catch a cold. Meanwhile, we are out here catching colds.
Then again in her defense she was only eight years old at the time.
“Look there is our house!” I half yelled half whispered scared to cause another commotion between my
brothers.
As soon as I said that, my bike slipped off the path flying into a huge ditch. But my brothers kept riding. I
think it was an effect of the darkness rendering anyone blind.
“Help me! Please!” I screamed clamping my eyes shut scared to open them to find the dark, closed space
around me.
I didn’t have a watch so I can’t be exactly correct when I say it felt like I spent hours in that ditch. I was petrified to think of what might become of me if I never got out. I would never see my family again. As I sat there
waiting to be rescued I could still faintly smell what was cooking meaning I wasn’t far from the house. I hoped that
when my brothers got home they would realize I was no longer with them.
“He’s in here!” I heard a deep grumbling voice yell.
I couldn’t help but notice the worry in the voice. Then I was pulled out of the ditch by my brothers. I wanted to open my eyes but I just couldn’t. It hurt to open my eyes with all the pain and fear still coursing through my
body.
When we got home Mom & Molly bandaged up all the bruises and cuts on my arms I think came from a
broken shard of glass in the ditch. After that we went on with the rest of the night like nothing happened. But, for
some reason, I couldn’t help but think of the past events of the day over and over. I was still a little shaken by the
“What if?” questions and racing thoughts left for me to ponder over.
Now, I’m aware that this story I told was not the perfect fairy tale you’re used to hearing about. Actually I
feel like those stories hide the actual reality of things. Don’t get me wrong; I love to get lost in a good book about
wizards and robots as much as the next guy. But they just make the perfect life look possible when we all know it’s
not.
I can still remember the day it happened. It was the type of day that started out like a regular day but took
an unexpected turn. Let’s just say I learned a very important lesson: when you’re biking through the woods always
bring a flashlight.
3
Fun in the Snow of West Virginia
Emma G.
5th Grade
Chelsea Elementary School
Mike and his older brother, Rob, were eating breakfast in the morning getting ready for school. It was
cold outside in Princeton, West Virginia. Mike was eating delicious homemade pancakes along with Rob.
He was super excited to go to school because Mike, Rob, and their friends were in the middle of a
good game of cops and robbers when the weather broadcast on television said it was probably going to
snow. Mike’s parents said they could tell he was excited because he would never get out of a game of cops
and robbers for the news. Although he was used to the snow, he still loved it.
When Mike was finished with his food he was excused and he went to his room to get dressed. He
was getting super excited. Mike really liked school. He got good grades and he liked to talk with his friends,
but sometimes he got a little too talkative.
When Mike was putting on his coat he heard the school bus outside his house. He ran into the living
room and he told his parents goodbye. His dog, Trouble started barking and Mike gave him a pat on the head.
As Mike got to the door he said to Rob, “Last one to the bus is a rotten egg!”
“I’m coming!” Rob yelled.
Mike ran outside to the bus with Rob behind him, and climbed on. In the back of the bus he saw his
friend Tyler, and he went to go sit down. Mike turned around and told his brother, “Rotten egg.”
Rob laughed.
Mike then sat down with Tyler.
“Tyler, did you hear it’s supposed to snow today?” asked Mike.
“Yes, and do you want to come over today? I asked Don and his parents yesterday and they
said yes.” said Tyler.
“That sounds good I just have to ask my parents first.” Mike replied.
Tyler and Mike talked the rest of the way out of the small neighborhood. When they were talking
about the newest superheroes, Mike got distracted by a flurry outside the window falling to the ground.
“Look!” exclaimed Mike pointing out the window.
Tyler looked out the window as more flurries fell.
“Yes! It’s snowing!” Tyler exclaimed, with a big smile on his face." I really want you to come over today! It would be so much fun in the snow!”
Mike nodded.
The bus then stopped at their school, and they had to get off. By then the ground was covered in
snow.
Mike was the first one off the bus. He was excited to run through the snow. When he was in the
schoolyard, he saw Tyler running behind him. Mike thought it was really cool with all the white specks flying
through the air. They both dove to the ground and started making a snow angel.
Mike and Tyler heard a whistle and they quickly hopped up. They saw Miss Terry motioning for them
to go inside.
“Oops,” said Tyler.
Mike started to turn around and go to his classroom.
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4
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“Bye, Tyler!” said Mike.
“Bye, Mike!” said Tyler.
Mike then made his way to his classroom. When he got in the classroom, his teacher, Mrs. Brown
greeted him as he entered the room.
“Ok, class,” Mrs. Brown started. “Most of you may know it is snowing outside, and we want to tell
you we will be getting out of school early!”
Everyone, especially Mike, was excited to hear the good news. The only other time Mike got out of
school early because of snow was the year before when it was -15 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, and the
worst part was he couldn’t play outside!
The whole class was super excited they were all talking about the snow.
“Ok, ok, quiet everybody,” Mrs. Brown said. “Because we don’t have much to do today, I would
like for you to write about your favorite things to do in the snow.” Mrs. Brown smiled and everyone began to write.
Mike got his pencil and began to write: When it is snowing outside, my favorite thing to do is play
in the snow with my friends, Tyler and Don. Sometimes my big brother Rob likes to play too. We like to
build snowmen and make snow angels. Sometimes we have a snowball fight. My dog Trouble likes to play in the snow too. I
love the snow!
Mike grinned at his work. He was very proud of himself. He looked out the window and saw the pretty snow in the
sky.
When the class went to lunch everyone was talking about the snow.
“I’m going to build a snowman!” said Molly.
“I’m going to make snow angels!” said Jay.
The class got back from lunch and the school bell rang. Everyone got up from their seats and ran
out the door.
“Bye class!” Mrs. Brown said.
Mike saw Tyler and Don in the schoolyard and yelled “Hi, Tyler. Hi, Don!”
“Hi Mike!” they yelled.
Mike was really excited and he hoped his parents would say yes. He really wanted to play in the
snow with Tyler and Don. Don walked onto his bus, and Mike exclaimed “Bye Don! I hope I see you later!”
“Me too!” Don replied.
Tyler and Mike got on the bus and rode home.
When Mike got home, he ran to his parents and asked “Can I go to Tyler’s house?”
“Well, its okay with me,” replied his dad.
“I’m fine with it,” said his mom.
“Thank you!” replied Mike.
“Make sure you’re warm!” said his mom.
“Okay, bye!”
Mike ran outside and rode his bike to Tyler’s house.
Tyler and Don were sitting on the steps of Tyler’s house waiting for Mike to get there. When they
noticed Mike they jumped up ready to play.
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5
Continued from previous page
“Tyler, what do you want to do?” asked Mike. When he turned around Tyler and Don were not there anymore. “Tyler? Don?” he asked. A few seconds later Mike got hit with two freezing feelings hit his back.
Mike turned around and saw Tyler and Don with snowballs in hand ready to attack! “No!”
Mike grabbed a few snowballs and threw them at both Tyler and Don. “Ah!” they yelled.
Don was facing the house on the sidewalk as Mike tried to hit him with a snowball but a car passed
and he accidently hit it instead.
“Oops,” Mike said.
“Wait that could be a fun game,” Tyler said.
“What?” Mike and Don said.
“Whenever a car passes you hit it with a snowball. The bigger your snowball is the more points you
get,” Tyler explained.
“Okay,” said Mike and Don.
Mike and Tyler started to throw snowballs at every passing car. Mike hoped they wouldn’t get
caught although they were having a lot of fun. “Look! I think that was my mom coming home from work;
but she passed the house,” said Tyler.
“She’s probably going to the market,” said Mike.
Mike started to wonder were Don was. He looked behind him and saw Don rolling up a HUGE snowball.
“Don, are you going to throw that at a car?” asked Mike.
“Yes,” said Don.
“I would not do that. That could break a window,” said Mike.
“Okay,” said Don. Don dropped the snowball and said “I’m bored. Want to do something else?”
“Okay,” replied Tyler. “Are you guys’ hungry? I can ask my dad for some food. He’s taking care of my
baby brother Alex. He’s sick.”
“No thank you. We are good,” said Don and Mike.
Mike saw something weird in the corner of his eye. He walked over to it and picked it up. He saw it
was a dead bird.
“Guys, Look at this!” said Mike.
Tyler and Don came over to investigate the bird.
“What do you want to do with it?” asked Don.
Mike thought about it for a second and said, “Follow me!”
Tyler and Don followed until they reached Tyler’s mailbox.
“You’re going to put it in my mailbox?” asked Tyler.
“Yes!” said Mike.
“Well at least let me do it,” Tyler said.
“Okay,” Mike sighed.
Tyler opened up the mailbox and placed the bird inside.
“That’s gross,” said Don
“Done,” said Tyler.
6
Continued on next page
Continued from previous page
Mike peeked into the mailbox. “That looks cool,” said Mike.
“Don, Tyler, do you want to come to my house for some hot chocolate real quick?” asked Mike.
“Okay!” said Don and Tyler.
Mike, Don, and Tyler rode their bikes to Mike’s house. When they got inside, Don was happy to
see his parents. Tyler saw his mom.
“Mom?” Tyler said.
Mike went up to his dad and asked “Why are they here?”
“Food,” replied his dad.
Tyler and Don came over to Mike.
“Mike you have to come see this,” they said.
Mike, Don, and Tyler walked over to the television. Trouble and Rob followed them. Everyone
was looking at the television. It was on the weather channel with news that was not the greatest.
“Oh no a blizzard,” said Mike’s mom.
“How are we all going to get home?” asked Don’s parents and Tyler’s mom.
“You can stay here tonight,” said Mike’s mom.
“Are you sure?” they replied.
“Yes!” said Mike mom.
“What about my husband and Alex?” asked Tyler’s mom.
“You can call them from our telephone,” replied Mike’s mom.
“Mom, does that mean Tyler and Don can stay too?” asked Mike.
“Yes!” said Mikes mom.
“Can we have some food?” asked Mike.
“Dig in. We also have chicken!” said his mom
Mike, Don, and Tyler got their hot chocolate and chicken. Mike and Don’s parents and Tyler’s
mom asked “What did you guys do today?”
“Stuff,” they all said, knowing they would be taking a dead bird out of a mailbox in their future,
and they had a lot of fun in the snow of West Virginia.
7
Clogger
Abbey W.
5th Grade
Wilsonville Elementary School
On the stage
Spotlights in your eyes
The audience you can’t see
Clogging to the music
In time with the beat
Judges, no emotion show while they watch your feet.
Finally, you walk off stage you can’t believe you’re done
Your teammates huddle together
…waiting...
...for the...
...score...
Pete
Becky W.
3rd grade
Wilsonville Elementary School
I have a really big dog. His name is Pete. Pete is black with brown eyes. He is a Lab. He has a red collar, red leash, and a choke collar. When you pet him on the back he starts to flick one of his hind legs. He
gets really rowdy.
He is like a service dog. If you can’t bend down and pick something up he will pick it up for you.
During the winter at night, he will get on the bed and curl up at my feet. But, when you want him to
move he will growl at you. He barks at my cats, but he is my pet; he loves me so I should love him back.
8
Messy Room Style
Gracie H.
5th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
Whatever’s room this is should be ashamed!
Her underwear is hanging on the lamp,
There is a raincoat in the overstuffed chair,
And it is becoming quite yucky and damp,
A workbook is wedged in under the window,
Her sweater has been thrown on the floor,
A scarf and mitten are beneath the T.V.,
And her pants have been carelessly hung on the door,
There are books all jammed in the closet,
A lizard named E.D. is under the bed,
Whoever’s room this is should be ashamed!
Millie or Lillie or … Huh? You say it’s mine?
Oh dear,
I knew it looked familiar!
What Am I?
Alexia C.
4th Grade
Shelby Elementary
I fly with the wind.
I scratch the ground when I land.
I was first hanging in a group with friends.
I die with my friends and turn brown.
I might end up in your yard.
I join the party anywhere.
And if you step on me you will hear a loud CRUNCH.
What am I?
I am a leaf.
9
The Cookie Crusade
Evan S.
3rd Grade
Shelby Elementary
I rummage and ramble through the kitchen longing for food. I find a faithful pack of Oreos on
the counter. I can’t open them. I feel like a caged tiger ready to pounce with my eyes blazing with fury.
I pull with the strength of ten men. It finally comes open. I take one Oreo. It’s a flavor roller coaster for
my taste buds. I am as full as my toy box. The raging storm in my stomach is calm.
About My Life: When I Was Adopted
Rylee Grace W.
5th Grade
Wilsonville Elementary School
My name is Rylee Grace Watkins. My nick name is Goosey!! I was born in UAB hospital on
September 21, 2003 at 4:40 pm. I was 9 lbs. 2oz and 20.5 inches long. I was a fat baby with a lot of hair!
I was adopted by Kayce and Owen Watkins. They knew they were going to adopt me before I
was even born. They had gotten to know my biological mom a few months before I was born. My mom
had even gotten to go to the doctor’s appointment with her to hear my heartbeat. When she went into
labor, my mom and dad got a call from one of her friends to let them know that she was at the hospital.
So, Mom and Dad went to the hospital to wait in the waiting room. They were there for a couple of
hours when a friend of my biological mom walked out into the hall with a beautiful baby (ME) in her
arms.
My parents took me home from the hospital and we were one big happy family. When the day
came for us to go to the courthouse my mom said it was a very sweet hearing. I was dressed up in a cute
purple outfit. Mommy, Daddy, my sister Hannah, my grandparents, Moe (my grandmother) and my
Aunt Tori were all there. It only took about 30 or 40 minutes. We were all very excited. We all got to
take pictures with the judge and our attorney, Drew Whitmire.
The sad part about me being adopted is never being able to see my biological mom. If I wasn’t
adopted my last name would have been Stewart. After my birth mother had me, she made many bad decisions and got involved in drugs. I am not exactly sure why she ended up in prison or if she is still there.
I do know, however, she made a very wise choice for me. She loved me very much, and she wanted to
give me the very best life she could. She made sure she found a family that would love me very much,
take care of me, and give me a good life.
Something cool about me is I have six half siblings, and I was the fifth child born in my biological family. I don’t know any of my biological family. I want to meet my biological family one day. I am
very special because my mom and dad chose me!
10
Coconut Crab
Sai K.
4th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
CrabFirst photo credit: Rebecca Dominguez - Flickr ID: bluebec
http://www.hoax-slayer.com/coconut-crab.shtml
Dear Coconut Crab: How old are you? You are HUGE!
I am actually pretty young. We Coconut Crabs grow faster than you can say computer 10 times.
Coconut Crabs
You and you tour group are walking on an Indonesian island. You’re enjoying it when suddenly a
coconut falls. Then another and another. Then the coconuts start falling like crazy. You yell, “Take cover!
It’s raining coconuts!” The tour guide looks confused. Then he says, “It’s not raining coconuts! It’s a herd
of Coconut Crabs!”
If you’ve never seen a Coconut Crab visualize it here. Coconut Crabs are terrestrial hermit crabs.
They can go orange-red and blue-purple. Unlike other crabs, Coconut Crabs have 10 legs and can live 40-60
years. Their leg span is 1 meter long. Their body span is also 1 meter.
11
My Angel
Colin M.
5th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
It was a very sad and unforgettable day when my grandmother was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer on January 13, 2011. Immediately after her diagnosis, she had a very complex surgery to try
to get rid of the cancer. The doctors were not able to completely get rid of all the cancer, so she started
her first round of chemotherapy. She got very sick while recovering from her surgery and first round of
chemotherapy. “I hate being like this”, she always said.
During 2011, 2012, and 2013, my grandma continued her battle and showed her strength and
willingness to fight the disease. May 2013, when school was out for summer, my entire family rented a
huge house in Greyton Beach, because my grand mom wanted to have a fun family vacation. We spent
seven great days playing on the beach, laughing, and making a lot of memories. Also, that summer my
mom and dad surprised my grand mom and granddad with a three week vacation trip throughout California, something she had always wished to do. Fortunately, she was well enough to go and have a wonderful time. “That was the best vacation ever”, she said.
Up to the date, my grandmother has had three rounds of chemo, an experimental radiation treatment, and numerous surgeries. She has made it through all of this because she is very strong and a fighter. Her favorite time of the year is Christmas and that is why she started collecting angels, which is why
I always gave her angels as gifts. One of my favorite things to do is to go over to her house and spend
the night on New Year’s Eve with all of my cousins. We eat lots of junk food, wear party hats, and she
drives us around the neighborhood while we yell, “Happy New Years!” out the windows. “Hey try to
wake up the whole universe,” she said.
My grandma’s birthday was Monday, August 25, and she turned 73 years old. Unfortunately, she
had to spend it in the hospital, because she was very sick.
My Angel earned her wings on August 31, 2014 at 5:50am.
All About Chickens
Sawyer H.
3rd Grade
Wilsonville Elementary School
Chickens are nice cuddly pets. They will love you, but you will have to love them first. Most of them
lay eggs every day. They have to be older than 18 weeks to eat chicken food. The chicks eat Start and
Grow. They live in a pen, field, pasture, or a barn. Those are just some of the environments. Some chickens start laying eggs at 21 weeks. It takes about 21 days for a chick to hatch. Chickens sometimes lay double-yolk eggs. This means the chicken produced two eggs at different times and they were formed together in a shell. The boy chicken is called a rooster, and the girl is called a hen. Most people keep chickens
for pets and eggs. All chickens have combs that look like spikes on their head. They also have waddles
hanging from their face and mouth. The longest flight of a chicken was 11 seconds. There are 50 different
kinds of chickens. Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and Wyandottes are show chickens. They are the most
common bird in America. Chickens that are 1-2 years old lay more eggs than a grown up chicken. A
chicken’s life span is 5-10 years.
12
The Phoenix of the Forest
Lena R.
5th Grade
Calera Intermediate
The sunset dipped under the black hills. The bird’s songs slowly died down. Soon the forest was in
deep silence, not even a cricket was chirping.
Deep in the forest was a hummingbird. The hummingbird shifted his weight to one side. Slowly he
spread his tiny wings and took flight. His small wings started to make a soft hum. Overhead a bright
light whizzed by. The hummingbird opened his eyes wide in astonishment. Wind trailed behind the
bright light, a soft whisper followed in the wind,
“Flowers scream for water, clouds yearn for wind, animals wonder for sun, while the earth is
greedy for rich soil. But what wants a fire? The fire that burns a delicate finger, the fire that
quenches water, the fire that builds off of wind, and the fire that ruins rich soil. Who wants a fire?”
The wondering whisper trailed off, leaving the humming bird pondering about the question.
“Yes, yes. The truth was spoken about fire. But, who would get to see its beauty and all it’s worth?
A soul would wonder without warmth and comfort without your beauty. Your place in this world
will be missed greatly…” responded the humming bird. His eyes sparkled slightly.
“Oh, young one, you do not carry my burden. It’s as if a thousand earths have been pressed on
me, the fire of this world. Would you carry this burden, young one? Would you for me?”
The humming bird was silent for a moment.
“Yes. Together we can shine brightly for this world.”
Almost immediately, a light engulfed the small humming bird. A glorious light surrounded him.
Roaring flames licked at his body. Animals started to come out of their homes, staring at the humming bird. They looked stunned. “Together we will give comfort and beauty to earth.” He smiled
and set off with his quest. Knowing his story would be carried all across the land.
That, little ones, was how the Phoenix was born.
13
My Horrible Christmas Break
Evan D. 5th Grade
Helena Intermediate
One horrible night on Christmas break, I woke up in pain. My stomach hurt like a knife
stabbing into me. I yelled for my mom, and she came in my bedroom. She asked me what
was wrong. I said, “My stomach hurts really bad like a knife!” My dad figured out that it was
appendicitis. We rushed to the hospital.
When we got to the hospital, a nurse sent me to a room. They took my temp and weighed me.
Next they sent me to another room. There was a nice comfy bed where they stuck a very
small IV needle into my arm. They put fluids through the needle. Then it was time for my
surgery.
A doctor
came in and
asked me what
smell I wanted
to fall asleep
with. I said,
“Sprite.” After
that we went to
the surgery
room. The doctor counted
back from 10. I
made it to 8 and
then fell asleep
with the smell
of Sprite in my
nose.
During the surgery they opened my bellybutton and cut my appendix out. When it was over, I
woke up in blur. I got wheeled on a stretcher to my hospital room where I stayed for 3 days.
My family came to see through those days. It was a horrible adventure that I’m glad is over!
14
HOPE
Loud and Rough
Elizabeth S. 5th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
Ethan F.
5th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
As the dust blows by,
Hope
Building up and going past,
A simple little word
Roaring so loud, and so rough,
But it means so much to the whole wide world.
Choking, don’t breathe it in.
1930’s
Building up and going past,
Was a time of need.
No peace until it quiets,
Hope got them all the way through.
Choking don’t breathe it in,
Death is in its hands.
Having hope is important.
Without it, what would we be?
No peace until it quiets,
The world needs hope just like you and me.
Roaring so loud, and so rough,
Death is its hands,
Such a small word
As the dust blows by.
But, yet it means so much to the world.
Dust Bowl
Sick
Naomi H.
Kindergarten
Montevallo Elementary
One day I woke up. I did not feel well either. I knew I had to go to the doctor. He gave me four
shots. When I got home I felt well. I was a lot better.
15
A Lonely Life
Emily H.
5th Grade
Vincent Elementary
Chapter 1
I was adopted. I had no home, no family, and I was left on the streets to die. My real family didn't care
for me, they hated me from the start, and for the past week I've been living with my new family. So far so
good, but I know they are going to leave me just like the others did. Welcome to my life.
I have been living in foster homes for the past 5 years, but no one has even kept me for three weeks.
Ever since I was 4 years old I've been making trouble to stay away from different families, only to see if I
could find my real parents. Each time someone would adopt me, I hoped that it was my parents, but each
adoption brought another disappointment. I didn't have anyone to talk to. Even if I made a friend, they would
have left me the next day. “ Life always gets better,” I reminded myself, but it never really seemed to get better. Growing up always seemed to be the biggest mistake in life because the smaller you are, the better chance
you have at being adopted and being kept by someone who would care for you.
Chapter 2
Have you ever been starving or in the condition where you’re so sick that you don't feel like eating because you're so depressed, or you’re homeless? No, because you don't live the life I do, otherwise everyone
would be starving or homeless. Even though I have a family and home right now do you think I’m happy?.....
Well do you!!! That's what I thought you would say. I'm not happy and I'm not staying! I'm leaving….. tonight!
Chapter 3
As I'm running, I feel free. I don’t have to worry about anyone or anything but myself. I don’t need a foster
home, I'm finding my real home, where I belong, to see if I have a sibling or two, or if… or if I will still have
my parents in my life. After running and catching my breath I find myself a place for shelter. I sleep and am
awakened by police sirens going by. I immediately jump up, worried my foster parents sent them to find me.
So, I start running, running for my freedom.
16
Continued on next page
Continued from previous page
Chapter 4
The next day, I came across a library, so I went in and I saw that they had computers. I look up my
name and information, and found my background history along with my parents. It was unbelievable. I
found their names and I kept repeating their names in my head: Mark Riece and Mary Riece. I was also
able to find their address. I got so excited that I jumped in the air and felt as if I was flying. I was so excited that I was going to meet my family for the first time, but then doubts came into my head like, would
they want to meet me? I put the negative thoughts behind and think of the positive, and hope they want me
to stay.
Chapter 5
As I'm on my way I think of questions like, why did they leave me, do I have siblings, and will I get to stay
or will I have to go. Night comes and I finally reach their house. As I approach the door, I take a deep
breath, and knock. When they answer the door I instantly give them a hug and say “mom, dad.” They didn't know who I was at first but who would, I'm only nine, and they haven't seen me in years. When they
looked at me more, I told them my name, which is Jake, then they quickly realized it was me. They invited
me and in and I couldn't wait any longer. I had only been in the house a minute and started to ask them
questions. I ask why did they leave me, but they didn't respond, so instead I asked did they still love me
and they said yes. I was so relieved, it felt like a million pounds had been raised off my back. So then my
final question, could I stay, and they responded with……..
To Be Continued
summary
A kid is left by his family on the streets,
and does anything even run away,
to find them.
17
Sweetie
Allie K.
1st Grade
Mt Laurel Elementary
This is Sweetie the Boho bird. She has a craving for sweets. She also has a craving for gooey worms.
When she flies her wings flutter. She exclaims when she tweets. Her feathers are super fluffy and bright.
She lands on a bumpy branch. She disappears into the tree. She is very perky. I love her!
Sean C.
Memories
4th grade
Calera Intermediate
A memory is something wonderful. Many memories are emotional. A few memories are unforgettable.
Memories are always special. A few of my special memories are me at Lego Land Atlanta, me having a
Nerf war with my cousins, and me and my cousins at a Florida aquarium. I am reminded of these memories by three things, a key chain from LEGOLAND Atlanta, a Nerf bullet and a picture of me and my
cousins.
The LEGOLAND keychain reminds me of the time I went to LEGOLAND Atlanta. At LEGOLAND Atlanta I went on tons of cool rides and did so many fun things. On one of the rides a camera was hidden in a
sign I couldn't see that said "SMILE". The picture was printed out four times wallet sized and put into wallet sized key chains and it also had the scores from the game. It was my best birthday ever.
The Nerf bullet reminds me of the time I had a Nerf war with my cousins. I was thinking about war when I
remembered they have a lot of Nerf guns so I said " Let's have a Nerf war." We had two wars. The first
one was short. He second one lasted until I had to go but it was epic. I had a great time.
The picture of me and my cousins reminds me of the time me and my cousins went to a Florida aquarium.
I saw lots of cool fish. I got to play with my cousins a little. I saw a few sharks. I had a great time.
I will always cherish these memories. I will never forget them. We all have special memories. We all have
memories of our past. They will always be there waiting to be remembered.
18
Emily’s Story
Campbell K.
3rd Grade
Elvin Hill Elementary School
Once there was a girl who could talk to animals, and her name was Emily.
She was so sweet, so kind so energetic and just so beautiful. There is a lot of ways to describe
her, like she has brown hair, blue eyes, white teeth, and is honest, always happy, grateful, imaginative, very hopeful and always helpful. All of the forest animals were her friends.
She lived in a small house on a hill in the woods. She lived with her greedy stepmother,
Margret, and her two stepsisters Avery and Alice, who would tell her what to do and keep her working all day long. But still she was sweet and grateful to Margret, Avery, and Alice. But soon 10
years passed by, and then she was 16. 10 years of work, work, work, work, and work is hard, you
know? She kept on, because she kept hope, and she thought that if she kept on working, then things
would be better.
Then two years passed by and she was 18. She was sick of it, so she stuffed biscuits and
bread into her apron with some marbles. She also brought a wooden bucket filled with water. Then,
she ran away far into the woods. When she got hungry, she would eat a piece of bread or a biscuit.
When she wanted water, she would drink from the bucket.
Soon it was fall, and Emily had run 6 miles and walked 10 miles. But then she saw a horse!
It was black, and fuzzy, and of course hairy. She named her Sandy. She rode Sandy 56 miles.
Then she saw a little house on a hill, but it did not look like the one she lived in before. But
just in case, she rode on. She rode Sandy all the way to Georgia. Then she met a woman who gave
her an apartment to live in for free! Then she left the apartment for 6 hours trying to get a job. Then
she got a job at Fro-Fro-Yo, and it was better than doing work for Margret, Avery, and Alice. Plus,
she got paid to taste it to make sure it was good! Every day she’d head down to Fro-Fro-Yo the Frozen Yogurt Store (but not on week-ends).
Her life was awesome! Soon a royal ball came up so Emily wanted to go to it, and so she did.
But she knew she’d have to go in costume, but she did not have one. So she’d have to buy one with
the money from Fro-Fro-Yo to pay for one. So she did. It was shimmery and sparkly. She did very
much like it…she loved it, but she needed something else. But she did not have that much money
left so she sold her marbles for 1,058 dollars. So, she could go!
Soon the ball came and Emily was the fourth person there! She was so excited! It was her
first ball! Then it started. Then the prince came over to her, and asked to dance with her. So she
said “yes”! So, they danced and danced all night long. Then the next day they got married and lived
happily ever after.
19
How to Stretch the Rules
Sarah J.
4th Grade
Mt Laurel Elementary
You see signs every day like “Stop,” or “Animal crossing”. I bet what you don’t know is, simple rules
like that can be stretched. Here are the rules you can stretch and how to stretch them.
Number One: If a sign says “No walking your dog,” you can walk your cat or any other animal. If you
walk your cat or any other animal, you’re not walking your dog.
Number Two: If someone says “No swimming,” don’t swim, just get in the water and walk around.
Number Three: If a sign says “No running,” fast walk. You are not running when you fast walk.
Well, those are just a few ways to stretch the rules. There are billions of other ways to stretch them.
Don’t close the book yet. I have a couple more rules to stretch.
Number 4: If someone says, “Don’t eat,” just put food in your mouth and suck on it.
Number 5: If your mom or dad says not to hang the picture on the wall with a nail, tape it instead.
Number 6: If someone says, “Don’t walk to your neighbor’s,” run to your neighbors.
Those are only six ways to stretch the rules. I think I could think of 4 more ways to stretch the rules.
Number 7: If your bedtime is 8:30, go to bed and read a book.
Number 8: If the bus driver says, “Don’t stand on the bus,” just squat.
Number 9: If someone says, “Walk in the road,” but you don’t want to, run in the road.
Number 10: If someone says, “Read this book,” READ IT!
Sun and Sky
Taryn W.
5th Grade
Montevallo Elementary
You are the sun
And I am the sky
You are the one that taught me to fly
I am the trees
And you are the wind
I am the one that helped you give in
You are the river flowing
I am the waves that keep you going
Together we make a beautiful sky
I am the plant
And you are the roots
When I’m with you I can’t lose
20
Dust Bowl
Emily K.
5th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
The roses were red
The violets were blue
Until this dust storm blew
It all came in one shower
Who knew dirt had such power
The cows don’t produce like they could
Books
Abigail H.
3rd Grade
Wilsonville Elementary School
I have a bunch of awesome books
Some about hooks, and some about cooks.
Mother Nature is not as she should
On my shelf I have a ton
Now birds no longer cry
Most are books about the sun.
Farmers heave with a sigh
When my reading is all done
I should go out for a run.
All my clothes are covered in dust
I read books to everyone
But we do as we must
Try it…it is so much fun!
In my heart there is a hole
Cause by the dust bowl.
21
Once Upon a …STOP!
1st Grade
Forest Oaks Elementary School
Luke M.
A girl named Lucy invited friends to her house. Her friends’ names were Hana, Sally, and Teddy. The girls
decided to tell stories.
Lucy went first, “Once upon a…” “STOP!” said Hana. “I need to go to the bathroom.”
After Hana went to the bathroom, Lucy told her story, “Once upon a…” “STOP!” said Sally. “I’m hungry.
Let’s get a snack.”
After the girls got a snack, Lucy told her story, “Once upon a…” “Stop!” said Teddy. “I’m cold. I need a
blanket.”
After Teddy got a blanket, Lucy told her story, “Once upon a time there were four girls who had a sleepover. They played and played until they got super tired. Then they went to bed. The end!” said Lucy.
Afterward, Lucy’s mom called the girls, “Girls, time for bed!” The girls put on their pajamas, got into bed,
and they fell asleep. Lucy finally got to tell her story.
Roses
Jade P.
5th Grade
Shelby Elementary
Roses are sometimes pink
And I like to think
If they had eyes then they could blink
Then whoever got one would get a wink.
22
My Pet
Ella H.
5th Grade
Mt Laurel Elementary
Parrots, kittens, ferrets, and more
My pet doesn’t fetch,
A pet is a gift that makes spirits soar.
Like a young puppy dog.
I have a pet, but he’s a little different
My pet doesn’t stretch,
He’s giant and noisy and makes a huge racket!
Like your old black cat.
My pet has a nose,
My pet can’t talk,
That’s used as a hose.
How a little parrot squawks.
And his great big ears,
Because you see…
Whatever I say he overhears!
My pet is an elephant!
Unlike other pets,
My pet stays outside.
He has a HUGE bed,
And it’s perfect for his size.
Lucy
Natalie B.
1st Grade
Elvin Hill Elementary School
I got a dog when I was 3 or 4. I named her Lucy. She grew up and had some puppies. I think she
had 8. Then one day my dad said that we had to give my puppies away, but I got to keep one of my puppies. Her name is Brownie. She grew and grew. My dad took her to the vet to get surgery so she could
not get some puppies. She is a very nice dog. I am trying to train her. She comes to me and sits, and then
she will put her paw up in my hand and we shake hands. I am also trying to teach her to play fetch. I
taught her so well that I do not have to say sit. She will just sit and I will give her one of her favorite
treats. She loves to play with me and my sister so much. I love my dog.
23
Imogene Diary
Mina W.
5th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
February 15th 193o
Today is my 10th birthday. I despise having a birthday during the stock market crash, there is no
fluffy pink cake. It is all stale cornbread and even that is considered rare. The presents were little, but
meant a lot. Mama and Papa saved up for five years and bought me a Flossy Flirt doll. My little brother
Milton gave me an orange ( even though he had eaten half of it ). My parents said my final present was a
trip to the city to feed the homeless in a soup kitchen, Mama called it, “keeping the world alive”. Mama put
me in charge of cooking the soup. When I got there the line for soup was about five blocks long. I thought
of what it would be like if the stock market hadn’t crashed. I still remember when it happened, I was 7
years old. Papa came home a horrified look on his face. He told us we had to move out of our city
“mansion” and move to the country. My siblings were frantic, my little brother Milton and my older sister
Genevieve started screaming and saying that they had to say goodbye to their friends. By the next day we
were in the middle of no where, Papa set right to work building a log cabin which is the very house I am in
right now.
love, Imogene Wilbur Rocklyn
February 22, 1931
My 11th birthday was a week ago. Our family has been repairing damage done to our cottage.
About four days ago a huge dust storm swept through America, wiping out lots of farms and tents around
most the U.S. including our cottage. The dust piled up all the way to the top of the windows. Barely breathing we escaped out the attic and begun digging out our house. The only problem was that the storm got
worse at night so we were in our night gowns. My mother said that I could use the fact that we were still
alive as a birthday present but I fail to see how this could have been a “Happy” Birthday when it caused so
much distress. I suppose that now that I am eleven that I should say something like, "Oh well it could have
been worse” but I’m not that kind of 11 year old, if I get a scrape on my knee I declare it the worst day ever. I don’t know if I’m ready to take on the challenges of being 11. Hopefully next year will be better.
P.S remember to shake sand out of new shoes
love, Imogene Wilbur Rocklyn
April 5th 1932
Mama and Papa have been excited the past few months. A new president has been elected, his name
is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Papa keeps rambling on about how Franklin will be the turning point of the
Great Depression. I didn’t believe that one man could turn things around so Mama and me went to the market. We loaded into our splintery wood wagon (if it were not for distance we would own an automobile)
and rode to the city. I didn’t know what the prices were before but Mama said they were really high. Work
gloves-39 cents. Wool dress-$1.95. Work pants-$1.25. Pullover sweater-$1.95. Kodak brownie-$3.00(for
Mama’s photographing business), blue leather diary-60 cents (for me of course).Bedsheets-74 cents, you
get the idea. Now that Mama said the prices are higher I don’t think FDR is doing his job, Papa says that it
wasn’t Franklin’s fault but I still fail to believe him. Mama says now we definitely are not getting a car at
least its better than last year.
P.S. Happy uncelebrated 12th birthday to me
love Imogene Wilbur Rocklyn
24
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Continued from previous page
February 16th 1933
Now that I’m thirteen Mama and Papa have saved up to send me to school. They are especially excited about it because it would give people jobs and me an education. Today was my first day of
school, the sign in front of the facility said “one of the finest schools in the country” when it was just a
bunch of logs stacked together with benches inside. It made me flinch to think of the other schools that
were worse than this one. But looks can be deceiving, the teacher Miss Edna was really funny. She went
through the regular curriculum then afterward we had a special class called “foresight” Miss Edna said
we had to think of people of our time that inspired us and write a sentence or a couple of sentences that
explain why. This is what mine looked like: “A person that inspires me is the Wright Brothers. They invented the airplane. After all of their backfires they did not give up and eventually they achieved their
goal” Then like every other person I also did Franklin Roosevelt. “ Franklin Roosevelt is the 32nd president of the United States. At first I myself didn’t trust him because I thought he was raising the prices but
that was just that the market we went to was running out of business. Now thanks to him people are beginning to suffer less and less through the depression. My parents listen to him on the radio all the time
hoping for the glorious announcement that the depression has ended.” Miss Edna read mine aloud and
said that I was the best pupil she had had in a long time. I’m pretty proud of myself considering that I’ve
been home-schooled my entire life. I know I’m going to like school. Papa says it is a privilege to go to
school because Genevieve and Milton still had to be homeschooled, I don’t get how me the middle child
gets to go to school but others don’t. Miss Edna said that since I was such a good student she would let
me write in my journal during the day. I am going to do that to write notes during class. Milton came
home crying, he said that while he was outside playing a boy that lived next door came over and wrestled
him until he cried. We went to the doctor, we could only afford minimal help since it was so costly. The
doctor said that Milton had a pulled muscle so bad it would take years to heal. So Milton receives a wrap
he would have to wear for a long time. He even got to take off school for his leg.
love Imogene Wilbur Rocklyn
March 4th 1934
Remember a couple of years ago when I said we were definitely not getting a car? Well
the car prices have gone down ( probably because of gas prices ) so my family has gotten a new
39 Chevy Bob. Milton insisted so we named our car Matilda, courtesy of our long-deceased saint
Bernard Matilda. She swallowed too much dust during the Dust Bowl and we had to cut her open.
It was disgusting. I’m so glad we bought our Chevy Bob this year because rubber was just invented so we are one of the only ones that has rubber tires. Franklin Roosevelt is having more and
more fireside chats on the radio. America is beginning to believe that the depression is coming to
an end even if it is over a lengthy period of time. My fourteenth birthday was a couple of months
ago and Mama gave me a shortwave radio so I could listen to music, but only twice a month because of bills, my absolute favorite song is “It’s Been Good to Know You” by Woodie Guthrie.
Most of the time I use my radio to sing in the scarce amount of water that we pay for. It saddens
me to say that in a month we are moving to Europe to get away from all of this activity. So I am
going to have to leave my diary here so this is the last journal entry I will ever write. Adios!
love, Imogene Wilbur Rocklyn
25
The Merman
Michael F.
1st Grade
Elvin Hill Elementary School
One day a little merman was born and his name was J.T. J.T. was a happy merman. His favorite thing to do was to watch the bigger merman play. J.T. wanted to play with them too. The other mermen played sea catch and sea race, but there was one problem. J.T.’s dad said he couldn’t play with the
bigger mermen because he was too small. J.T. was mad and sad.
One day he snuck out and played with the bigger merman in the sea. The merman’s dad saw
him playing. His dad was furious. He yelled at J.T. “Why did you do that?” He brought J.T. back to
their home.
Then they had to talk. J.T.’s dad said “You can’t play with the bigger mermen until you are
bigger.”
Then J.T. cried and swam to his room. As J.T. was crying, a magic fish came out of nowhere. It
had a sparkly wand and sparkly skin. The magic fish said, “What is wrong?”
“I can’t play with the bigger merman until I get bigger,” said J.T.
“I will make your wish happen,” said the magic fish. He said, “Abracadabra,” and waved his
wand and disappeared.
J.T. grew bigger magically over night. J.T. was so happy and his dad said he could play with
the bigger mermen.
“Thank you!” the big merman said to his dad.
Then the big mermen played sea catch and sea race and sea football and sea ball. J.T. was so
happy. The magic fish came out of nowhere again. J.T. said “Thank you magic fish,” and they all lived
happily ever after.
Grandma
Anya R.
2nd Grade
Inverness Elementary School
It was a long trip to Roanoke, but my parents, my brother, and I got through it anyway. When we got
to the nursing home my grandma did not even remember us. Once there, we quickly refreshed her
mind, and indeed we did. We talked about what her mom was like, what happened in Alabama, and
more. Soon it was time to go and we left. We came back the very next morning. When she saw us, it
was the same story, because she didn’t remember us. My grandma has Alzheimer’s. We talked and
left again, but for good that time. At least until next December, and we began our long trip home. I
think it’s kind of sad that she doesn’t remember us. I hope the best for her.
26
The Three Ants and the Beetle
Campbell L.
2nd Grade
Vincent Elementary
Once upon a time there were three ants and a beetle. The beetle was mean and wicked.
So the mother of the three ants said, “It’s about time to go out and get your own stuff and
build your own house.” So they did. The first ant built his house out of metal. The second
ant built her house out of flowers. Remember she is a girl. The third ant built his house out
of concrete. So, a little while later the big bad beetle came. The first thing he did was
knocked on the first ant’s door. The beetle said, “Let me
in.” The ant said, “Not by my head or my abdomen.”
The beetle did not care so he flew right into the house.
His huge ferocious wings made the house fall right
down. The beetle ate the little ant. He was delicious. So
he went to the next
ant’s house. The beetle said, “Let me in.”
“Not by my head or my abdomen.” said the little ant. So
he flew right into the house. His huge ferocious wings
made the house fall right down. So he gobbled up the little ant. The beetle went to the next ant’s house he said,
“Let me in.” The little ant said, “Not by my head or my abdomen.” The beetle did not care
so he flew into the house and it did not fall down. So the ant came out and smacked the beetle, he died. So he cut the beetle open and out jumped his brother and sister and they all lived
happily ever after. The End.
27
Inspired by the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Lauren A.
4th grade
Vincent Elementary
I wonder what price you’ll pay, when you look at me then turn away. I wonder what I did wrong, so I’ll write
about it in my song. Wonder why you can’t see that I am only me.
Wonder what I could do just so you can see me through. You judge me by my hair, but I don’t really care. I
wonder. Wonder why you can’t see that I am only me.
Born this way no changing now, I can get through life somehow. Breaking these chains, got my head spinning
round. I gotta turn my frown upside down. Wonder why you can’t see that I am only me.
Wonder what I could do just so you can see me through. You judge me, but I swear that I don’t really care. I
wonder. Wonder why I am living somewhere no one else see’s. Wonder why you can’t see that I am only me.
Wondering why I don’t have the keys to someone’s heart, so they can see how they tear me apart. I walk
down this road, should I go left or right? Maybe I can wonder when I dream at night?
Chocolate
Nailah P.
2nd Grade
Inverness Elementary School
Chocolate is the best candy existing! It goes with everything from yogurt to chili. For example, a junior
chef put dark chocolate in chili! I put chocolate in Greek yogurt. The luscious taste is running through
my teeth, even better on the tongue. If I have chocolate, someone will beg for it! It smells as if Cacao
trees in heaven fall to earth as edible morsels. It also has a lot of caffeine, very energizing. So you see,
chocolate is wonderful!
28
Little White Tiny Tooth
Mary Jayne Olivia H.
5th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
Once upon a time there was a town called Toothbrush, U.S.A. In that town there was a tomato cottage,
and in that cottage lived a little tooth family. The family has a momma, a papa, and a little tooth named
Little White Tiny Tooth. Well, his real name was Derick, but let’s get back to the story! Everybody
called him Little White Tiny Tooth because he was as short as a pebble and very clean. Everybody loved
Tiny Tooth!
One day Tiny Tooth’s mother told him to go visit Granny Molar, because she was to wear a brace.
“Here, take her these mints!” said Tiny Tooth’s mother. “Remember to watch out for the big bad
cavity!” she called after him.
Tiny Tooth did not hear his mother. He was already in the candy forest. About half a mile into the forest, Tiny Tooth ran into the Big Bad Cavity! Tiny Tooth did not know it was him because he was wearing
a disguise!
“Hello”, said Tiny Tooth.
“Good evening”, said the cavity loudly. “Where are you going with those tasty mints?”
“To Grandmother’s house, she lives just under the crest tree.” said Tiny Tooth excitedly.
The cavity thought about it and created a plan. If I could stall the little tooth, I could get there first, eat
granny, and then have the little one for dessert!
“Why don’t you cool off your feet in the mouth wash stream?” said the cavity politely.
“That’s a great idea!” yelled Tiny Tooth.
As Tiny Tooth was cooling off, the cavity hurried to Granny’s. When the cavity got there the door was
open! Granny was down stairs visiting the dentist. The cavity waited till the dentist went to the bathroom. Then, he quietly gobbled up Granny! Soon, Tiny Tooth arrived drenched. He had fallen into the
stream! Tiny Tooth walked down the stairs. There he found the cavity dressed in Granny’s clothes.
“Oh, Granny Molar, what a big mouth you have!” squeaked Tiny Tooth.
“The better to gobble you up with!” yelled the cavity.
And with that, the cavity gobbled up Tiny Tooth. After a couple seconds the cavity spit out Tiny Tooth!
“Yuck”, said the cavity, “mouth wash!”
The cavity did not realize he spit out Tiny Tooth. The cavity decided to take a nap. Meanwhile, the dentist came out, and saw the cavity! He immediately got out his tools, saved Tiny Tooth and Granny. Then
he filled the cavity. When Tiny Tooth got home, his mother was there waiting on him. But, he never
told her about that crazy day. Tiny Tooth learned his lesson, and so did the cavity. He had a happily
never after!
29
Dolphin
Graceful swimmer
Long snout
Like a tornado
Powerful tail
Very playful
Jumps like a ballerina
Meat eater
EEK! EEK! EEK!
Wren W.
30
1st grade
Mt. Laurel Elementary
You Should Try This
Charlotte H.
3rd Grade
Oak Mountain Elementary School
I believe you should try camping. The best place to go camping is at Oak Mountain State Park. You can
also go to Kamp Ground Owners Assoc. and Sleepy Hollers camp Ground. You could learn about animals and plants. You could get good exercise and could do fun activities.
As you camp, you could learn about animals and plants. You could learn how plants grow or how gigantic they can get. You can see animals eat or hear what sounds they make and the sounds might make you
feel like you are in a zoo.
As you are camping, you will also get good exercise. You can swim in a lake or go running on a trail as
big as the campground. You can take a walk. Also, you can ride a bike up, down, and all around.
As you camp, there will be amazing activities for you to do. You can build a tent as long as the
campground. Also, you can ride a bike or hike. You can even roast marshmallows!
When you camp, you need to pack things. You need to pack a tent, sleeping bags, food, water, drinks, and
just in case—a first aid kit. Make sure you bring a bike! As you camp you will learn about animals and
plants and get good exercise. There are awesome activities for you to do with friends and family. You
should try this!!
Dust Storm
Emily L.
4th Grade
Oak Mtn. Intermediate
Dust.
Storm.
Birds Poem
Kate C.
3rd Grade
Inverness Elementary School
Top Soil. Farmers.
Big. Monster. Destroys.
Birds can be small, birds can be sweet.
Everyone runs for cover.
Some birds have small, little feet.
Feel it in the air. Dark.
Scary. Tie yourself to a rope.
Killer of cows. Destroyer of crops.
Run for the West. Farmers lose money.
Harms the economy.
Need Plants! Drought. No Water.
Birds of all colors fly in the blue sky.
Sometimes I wonder
How do birds fly with their wings out wide?
They fly in the sky.
I like to see birds fly across the green grass.
It is so pretty to see them go fast!
Top Soil. Monster. Big.
Dust.
Storm.
31
The Selfish Wizard
Abigail C.
3rd Grade
Helena Intermediate
Once there lived a selfish wizard named Jack. He used magic for everything no
matter who he tricked. One day he received a wizard book. The book contained all of the
rules set by the wizard master. The most important rule was written in dark red, it was,
“No using magic to trick anyone into loving you.” Jack said, “ That is ridiculous, I should be
able to use magic for anything I want!”
The next day, Jack went to lunch with his best friend Emma. Jack and Emma had
been friends forever. Jack loved Emma, but Emma did not feel the same way. Jack was so
mad that Emma did not love him, the he broke the most important rule and used magic to
make Emma love him.
After Jack used magic on Emma something happened, blue smoke circled around
him and he was in a different place and when he looked up he saw the wizard master. Jack
said, “Why did you take me away from Emma and bring me to your castle?” The wizard
master said, “SILENCE! You are here because you broke the most important rule. You
used magic for selfish reasons and tricked Emma into loving you. For being such a selfish
wizard, I curse you. Every time you are selfish you will be transported to another place
away from Emma. The only way to break the curse is to learn to be unselfish.” Poof the
wizard master was gone and Jack was back with Emma.
Jack looked at Emma and thought, “I am not selfish, I am a wizard and should have
anything I want including Emma’s love. How is that selfish?” So Jack and Emma ordered
their lunch. They ordered a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese. The waiter said, “I am
sorry sir, we are really busy and the cook is a little behind, it will be a little while before
we can get your pizza to you.” Jack said, “I don’t care how busy the cook is – I want my
pizza now!” POOF, Emma was gone and Jack was in another place.
“Where am I?” Jack said. Looking around he saw the ocean and a young girl. He
32
Continued on next page
Continued from previous page
asked the young girl as she passed him where he was and she said, “You are in Florida.”
“Oh, wow, Emma loves Florida,” Jack said. And then he remembered the curse and
that he was in Florida without Emma. Jack was sad that he had been selfish about the pizza
and that he was without Emma. All of a sudden Jack heard a loud yell from the girl that had
gotten into the water, he looked over to where she was and she was yelling “SHARK!”
Jack hurried down to the ocean and saw there was a shark headed straight for the young
girl. Jack used his magic and swooped the young girl up just before the shark got there. He
set the young girl down on the beach and her parents quickly came to her and thanked Jack
for saving her. POOF, Jack was back with Emma.
Wow, Jack thought. I saved someone and used my magic to do it. It feels really good
to use my magic to help people. I am starting to understand what the wizard master was
telling me about being selfish. I need to use my magic to help people and not just to get
what I want. He looked at Emma and although he loved love her, he couldn’t be selfish anymore and he reversed the magic on Emma. Blue smoke circled around him and once again he
found himself in the wizard master’s castle.
The wizard master said, “Jack, I believe you have learned your lesson, you were unselfish when you saved the young girl’s life and you were unselfish when you reversed the
magic on Emma. I am going to take away the curse. Just remember, to not use your magic
for selfish reasons.” POOF, the wizard master was gone and Jack was back with Emma.
Jack and Emma enjoyed the rest of their lunch and laughed and talked. Jack was so
happy that he had broken his curse and was able to stay with Emma. Jack told himself that
from this day on I will never be selfish again.
33
Arctic Foxes
Anna Cate R.
2nd Grade
Mt Laurel Elementary
Arctic Foxes here and there,
Searching for prey everywhere.
Covered in blubber
With a white tail and hair,
Trying to stay warm in the cold, frigid air.
Quivering all day and night,
Startling people and getting out of sight,
Training their cubs in the daylight.
34
The 100th Day of School
Maggie R.
Kindergarten
Oak Mountain Elementary School
On the 100th day of school we decorated crowns with 100s on them. We learned the 100th day of school
song. Then we made trail mix. At snack time, we had cake shaped like a 100. It was good and brown.
We ate the trail mix. The trail mix had 100 pieces. Mrs. Horton read to us.
We made 100 books all about 100 with a picture of us like an old person. Ha ha…it was funny!
We marched around the school singing the 100th day song. “We’ve been in school 100 days hoorah!”
Inside A Snow Globe
Morgan S.
2nd Grade
Vincent Elementary
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit the inside of a snow globe? I would want to visit
the inside of a snow globe. First, someone would shake me and I would bounce everywhere. Second, I
would not have to go to school. Last, I would love to hear the music playing from inside the snow globe
because I like to listen to music. Visiting the inside of a snow globe would be amazing!
The Art Chant
Erin B.
1st Grade
Inverness Elementary School
A-B-C-D E the art room is the place for me,
F-G-H-I-J in the art room you can play with clay,
K-L-M-N-O you can draw ornaments and snow,
P-Q-R-S-T you can draw a turtle and a tree,
U-V-W-X-Y you will like it if you try,
Z-Z-Z-Z-Z
35
Love Is
Zac H.
3rd Grade
Chelsea Park Elementary
Everyone thinks they know what love is but they don’t. First, it is an attachment. You feel like
this is the one person you want to spend your time with and maybe for the rest of your life. Next, you
adore someone when they laugh and joke around. Last, you treasure someone so deeply you want to be
with them forever. Everyone thinks they know what love is, but they don’t. The attachment, adoration
and treasure must be there for you to feel true love.
The Scary Pumpkin
Luke D.
1st Grade
Chelsea Park Elementary
There once was a pumpkin family that lived all in a pumpkin patch. The pumpkin family had one
pumpkin that was different. When the moon shined on this particular pumpkin, his shadow appeared.
The shadow looked scary and spooky. When the kids came to the patch they became scared and yelled.
“Ahhhh, the kids screamed.” The pumpkin was amazed. He loved scaring the kids. He was the scariest
pumpkin with the greatest shadow. Even the grownups were scared. The shadow was perfectly scary and
he knew it was going to be a fun harvest.
Eagle Acrostic
Cate T.
2nd Grade
Inverness Elementary School
Expertly building a twiggy nest
Acrobats of the sky
Gracefully sneaking up on a snake
Lightning fast, the eagle swoops down to catch a fish
Ever soaring through the sky
Symbol of America
36
What is Under the Cap?
Christopher G.
4th Grade
Chelsea Park Elementary
One day I got a concussion from falling from a six foot bunk bed with my lucky cap on. I thought
the cap gave me good luck but this time it did not. As I was lying on my bunk bed thinking about my
“lucky cap,” I began to fall, fast. When my Mother heard my head pound on the ground, she ran as fast
as she could to my room. I was in front of the trash can thinking I should throw this cap away. My mother nervously scooped me up and took me to the car. I had my unlucky cap on I thought all the way to the
hospital. The nurses took my cap off to see the damage done to my head. There was a large bruise on the
side of it.
“That bruise is quite harsh looking,” said my Mother.
“We better take him to the X-ray room,” responded the doctor.
My arms were shaking and I was trying hard not to shake my head because I did not want to do
double damage. My skull had a scratch on it. It was under the big bruise. They checked my brain, (not
by surgery).
“Nothing bad about the brain,” said the doctor. With no brain damage, I guess it was a lucky cap.
Kid President
Joshua J.
1st Grade
Helena Elementary
It is hard being a kid president. It will be hard especially if your dad’s a pastor. That means you have to
travel to Texas and Florida because he has meetings. Plus, when your mom has relatives in Missouri and
Maryland you have to travel through Virginia, Mississippi, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
all the other states when visiting. When you are a kid president you need to study about people who
changed the world like Harriet Tubman and Dr. King. You can’t look bad as kid president. You need to
wear a suit like President Obama. As kid president one thing you would need to do is have fun like playing fetch on the front lawn of the White House. You will also have interviews with famous people. Plus to
be kid president you have to change the world. You will need to feed the poor. Being kid president means
being rich. You get paid $40 a month, then $50 a month, and then $60 a month. By the time you get $60 a
month bud you are rich. To be kid president you need to have Secret Service to protect you from harm. I
have a secret tip for being kid president. To be kid president you will need to learn a lot of languages like,
Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, and Swahili. All my teachers would agree with me that the kid president
will need to learn how to write and speak. If you want to be a kid president of the United States of America people will have to vote for you. I hope I am kid president one day. If I am I will lower taxes and provide jobs.
37
Unique
5th Grade
Avery I.
Calera Intermediate
Unique is majestic
Unique is real
Unique is something you can really feel
Unique is my home
It’s what I am
It’s what I believe
It’s where I stand
If you don’t believe me
Just know
Unique is something that should show
The Pledge of Allegiance
Ava C.
5th Grade
Helena Intermediate
When did I learn the Pledge of Allegiance? It must have been at least preschool. I was so
proud to be able to recite the famous poem. I can see it as if it were yesterday, me placing my
chubby, miniature hand over my heart. But over time, the hand over my chest and the hand that
gripped the true meaning of this pinkie promise to our nation’s future, slipped away. Some people
are like that nowadays, they see our flag and hear our pledge, but the meaning has been lost. To
those people I say, know that the flag is not just a piece of fabric with no purpose. And that the
pledge is not just hollow words strung together. Our flag and the pledge mean mine, and all of
America’s freedom.
What does this pledge mean to me? Liberty, Justice, Freedom, Independence, Sacrifice,
Love, and HOPE. This pledge is the definition of our country. Let us not make the meaning of this
pledge “Once Upon a Time.” I hope that forever, as long as our country thrives, that men, women,
and children of all ages would stand in unison and recite this gift to our country. And praise to
every American, who takes off his or her hat and places their hearts at the words “You may now
stand for the pledge.”
This Pledge should stand as a shining light to all of America. It stands as a promising future
that will never let this nation down. That is exactly what the pledge of allegiance means to me.
38
Letter from a Glue Stick
Krista O.
3rd Grade
`
Chelsea Park Elementary
Dear Teacher,
I am your very, very worn out friend, the glue stick. We need to talk! A few weeks ago you made
elves and you used me over one hundred times. I am tired of the over use, you could use squeezable glue
once in a while. Oh, also, how would you like to be trapped inside a crayon box with strange crayons?
Why were we kept inside the crayon box anyway? When we are at the end of our stick almost out of
glue we get thrown away into that disgusting trash can. Isn’t there something else we could be? I love
doing crafts, but not when you use all the glue right out of us.
Sincerely,
The almost all gone glue stick
Cheese Puffs
Jordynne G.
1st Grade
Vincent Elementary School
I think Cheese Puffs are the best snack food. They are so cheesy. They are crunchy. They are scrumptious. I like to lick my fingers after I eat them. That is why I like to eat Cheese Puffs.
Recess Is Cool
Lola M.
4th grade
Calera Intermediate
Recess is a wonderful thing that saves time and teacher's energy. A lot of teachers don't give kids recess. That is not good. I think that all children should have tons of recess or at least a little bit.
Recess saves teacher's energy because when kids play they clear their brains so therefore teachers benefit from recess too. Teachers also don't have to put so much effort into discipline because the kids aren't
very jumpy anymore. This is good.
Recess is fun for kids. At recess kids can laugh, talk and play. Most importantly they can let off some
pressure. Recess is also a time for teachers to relax and discuss grown up stuff and that is a good thing.
I think that The Shelby County Board of Education should make recess a requirement.
39
CIVIL RIGHTS
Joshua B.
5th Grade
Forest Oaks Elementary School
Hermit Crabs in My Brain
Lorelei Y.
Commanding slaves
Interruptions in the street
Vile scenes
Into Montgomery
Led by Martin Luther King, Jr.
3rd Grade
Elvin Hill Elementary School
I know I could write about anything
In the whole entire universe
But it is like my brain is a beach,
And the ideas are hermit crabs,
And they won’t come out of their shells.
Rosa Parks
In a bus boycott
Giving up is not an option
Helping each other get their rights
Tired of mistreatment
Selma is left behind
All the Little Things
Helen J.
3rd Grade
Mt Laurel Elementary
Oh, all the little things in life
Oh, the butterflies, the flowers, the bugs
All the little things that no one cares about
Love the little things that don’t do much.
They try to survive their little lives.
But they can’t without help.
They try but they struggle.
So love the little things in life
And they will love you.
40
Into The Silence
Sarah M.
8th Grade
Chelsea Middle
Out of the silence,
the fog that floats above the coast
masks the beautiful evergreen forests.
The fog flies above the city,
a place full of people.
People here, people there.
The same could be said of me.
Stuck in the never-ending noise of New York,
Stuck in the chaos of the city.
I want to fly above the trees,
I want to soar
and never return.
Play traitor to my soul,
and tie me down like a balloon.
Tie me to this place I’ve learned to hate.
But my rope will soon be cut,
and I’ll fly away.
I’ll soar through these evergreen trees.
Art by Elizabeth T.
8th Grade
Helena Middle School
41
Total Abandonment
Sara B.
8th Grade
Chelsea Middle
flower petals
floating by
one by one
swallows
crossing the sky above me
the breeze
rustling through
the field
of forgotten memories
retracing steps
from my once
wayward imagination
the feeling of flight
overpowering
suddenly
feet leaving
earth
my sun kissed face
turned towards the sun
brightness all
around
all consuming
my soul is now
one with the sun
a bright ball of meaning
shining outward
closed eyes but I still
see
one word
falling towards the ground
from my mouth
letters
dropping
one
by
one
free…...free
42
Beatrice, An Early Start (Adapted from William Shakespeare's: Much Ado About Nothing)
Amanda V.
8th Grade
Columbiana Middle School
There once was a little girl named Beatrice. All of her friends called her 'Bea.' She was starting 6th
grade in the fall, and was very excited. She was getting a new lunch box, back pack, pencils, pens, and lots
of colors. Bea knew one thing she had to keep in mind: BOYS ARE DISGUSTING! Every time she saw
her parents hug or kiss, she gagged. "Ew!" she thought. She vowed to herself that she would never like
boys.
One thing about Bea that she had a good chance of getting in trouble for, was her sassiness. She is
a sass-master! If someone said something she didn't like or didn't agree with, she had a snappy comment to
shoot right back at them. She had never met anyone to be her match on a sass-level. She and her cousin,
Hero, were starting middle school together.
BIG DAY: Bea and Hero walk into school and some weird guy named Claudio follows Hero around.
"Great," Bea thought, "There goes Hero with a boy... GROSS!" Bea then walked around to find a mean
high-schooler named Don John. "There's someone I'll have to avoid. He looks like trouble," thought Bea.
She walked around until she stumbled upon a quiet spot in the library to read... or so she thought. Soon a
talkative boy her age named Benedick, (called Ben) came up and talked her ear off. "This boy's gonna get
some lip if he doesn't hush soon!" were Beatrice's only thoughts. She was gonna blow it.
Benedick, An Early Start (Adapted from William Shakespeare's: Much Ado About Nothing)
Benedick, (Ben) is a bubbly 6th grader who talks, A LOT. His favorite thing to talk about is evidently food and himself. "Girls are so bratty and gross! They could never compete with ME in a sassbattle," Ben chants. Ben is the sassiest person he knows. He is sassier than all of the girls, (not for long)
and quite often gets in trouble for it.
Ben vows never to fall in love because girls are not worthy of an amazing man like he. Benedick's best bud, Claudio, also known as Claud, walks into school with the same vow, which is soon destroyed when Claud lays his eyes on the fair Hero. "Well, no more Claud," says Ben. "No matter, I am not
of the weak kind... No ladies for me!" Ben walks into his favorite spot to spend time, the library! As he
walks in, he is quickly pulled aside by Don Pedro, a popular senior who is honored in his age by 6th graders like Ben. "W-Why me? Why do you want to talk to a lowly 6th grader like me?" Ben asks with a
gleam in his eye. Now Don Pedro was ready for some fun, so he soon replied," That girl, the one in the
corner reading a book, she is MADLY in love with you!" Now Ben will listen to anything Don Pedro says
because Don Pedro is practically worshipped among 6th grade boys. "She is!" Ben shouts. "Sshhhhh!"
goes the librarian. "She is," Ben now whispers. "Go get her tiger," says Don Pedro. So now our young Ben
is talking poor Bea's ear off just because of an elder's tale.
THE END
43
Infection
Caleb J.
8th Grade
Columbiana Middle School
With zest, fellow fan of literature,
I urge you, read, heed this poem’s warning.
Said warning is this: to keep your joy, deter;
From this poem, despite how alluring.
Lost One
Obey me, you will be protected,
From my contagious, poet-depression;
Yet, you’ve made it this far: you’re infected.
Carrie N.
6th Grade
Columbiana Middle
Now, we’re family in sickness. My confession:
I look at your case and I remember,
I knew you would read this. Shame? I have none.
In my head with my silent lonely thoughts.
For you are now an artist. Saddened? Sick?
Thoughts of you and the cold Decembers,
Sure, but this disease is a healthy one,
Your gloom fuels joy, your sickness cures the sick.
I am going crazy as my heart rots.
My love you were the sun and moon to me,
How much I miss you well I cannot say.
Sibling in poetry, be proud. Don’t cry;
For with your sacrifice, sadness may die.
You should know to my heart you were the key,
I will love you till the end of my day.
You were modest, bright like the suns eye,
What I would do to see you one more time.
With me and you there was never one lie,
All the mountains and obstacle we climbed.
I will raise my grade from D to a C,
Oh my very sweet phone come back to me!
44
The Boy Who Loved Flowers
Allyson M.
8th Grade
Vincent Middle School
There was a boy who loved flowers;
He would sit all day just watching, and waiting for something.
Everyone thought he was crazy… A gapeseed, they said,
But he just loved flowers.
There was a girl who liked mischief.
She’d skip classes, causing discord for everyone in her path.
Everyone thought she was crazy… Chaos, they said,
But she just liked mischief.
Now, the girl did not love flowers.
She absolutely loathed them.
In the peaceful courtyard she’d step on them,
Not caring if someone did love them.
She did love the boy, however.
He was the only one who could stop her devious ways.
And she found a love for flowers,
When she placed them at the stone
That marked his remembrance.
45
Shaken
Lydia E.
7th Grade
Helena Middle
“Wake up, wake up. Say hello to morning!”
“Boom! Clap!”
The clock chimes its welcome,
The thunder threatens
Standing with great posture
And cars collide below.
In the fog of morning.
No sun for days.
People stroll to shops,
People in nearby cafes drink tea and eat fish ‘n’ chips.
I try to sing the people to sleep again.
The clock towers over London,
For some reason it does not work.
Keeping a sharp eye on the people below.
My joy ticks away,
For how much hope and faith
Will this terrible weather take from me?
“Go to sleep, go to sleep,”
The sight of crumbled buildings are all I behold.
The clock sings a soft lullaby,
Putting all the people into a wonder of peace.
I shall not sing anymore
For I have lost a piece of me.
My responsibility was to watch over London,
The clock sings,
But now
The queen’s cue to get up and ready
I am the only thing standing.
For today is her daughter’s wedding.
The sky is blue
The ground in half,
With birds dancing in the distance.
The bright lights of sirens blinding all in their path,
Filling the street below the clock
Clouds of smoke in the air.
Are tourists astonished by
The sound of cries is all I hear.
All the delicacies in the city.
Children run through the freshly cut grass
This isn’t real.
With kites in their tiny hands.
My eyes cannot believe what they see.
Someone wake me up.
My posture is hobbled.
“Tip tap, tippity tap, go inside.”
The quiet noise of the rain tapping on the sidewalk is calming.
The tower clock screams
All the house lights in London
Like a train racing down railroad tracks
Give a beautiful glow to
For there is one last shake.
The sky, a dark tint of grey.
The tower topples,
Sending it into a deep sleep.
46
The Well
Fred B.
8th Grade
Columbiana Middle
It is a wonder, I would say,
to feel the
bitter greeting of the water
as I fall down into the well,
the stone walls enclosing me
in its despicable grasp.
At first, Death threatens
to cross the threshold,
but then the water lessens its attack,
and suddenly everything becomes numb.
An endless drone of nothingness,
buzzing throughout the small space.
The isolation should be nerve-racking.
But the only bother is the constant lingering
of the final request, teasing me
to accept, but never pushing when I refuse.
Just waiting. For the perfect moment,
which will never come.
Heaven on Earth
Jazmine Williams
6th Grade
Montevallo Middle
The cool breeze stood the neck hairs up.
Walking, I could hear the sticks and twigs crunching under my feet.
Passing the majestic, green trees, the smell of dew filling my nose, soon
Exhaling the misty air.
Then I saw a marvelous, crystal-clear waterfall.
Looking up, beautiful birds, creating a rainbow of vivid feathers, gently fell.
Frogs croaked in rhythm and crickets chirped, too.
Listening to the orchestra of nature play brought joy to my ears.
This was paradise.
This was heaven on Earth.
47
The Fairies of Terrestria
Rachael R.
7th Grade
Columbiana Middle
"There was something I forgot to mention." Twig said suddenly.
"What is it?" Molly looked at her expectantly.
"Your names. We had to give you both human names."
Molly was confused for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.
"So...the names we are called aren't our real names?"
Twig nodded slowly. "You wouldn't expect the fairies to accept their queen with a human name, would you?"
"What are our names, then?"
She turned to Allison, or...whatever her name was. "Your Majesty, your name is Daylily Noblejust."
Allison nodded, whispering Daylily to herself, as if trying to get used to it.
Twig smiled and looked at Molly. "Moonlace."
Oliver looked at Molly curiously. "Moonlace?" He glanced at Twig.
"As in, the Moonlace? Moonlace Whistlebird?"
Twig nodded. Molly crossed her arms, waiting for someone to explain.
Oliver looked awestruck. "That's impossible. Moonlace...she disappeared years ago."
"In same year the queen was transported here. At the same time of year, too." Twig smiled.
"What's so important about me being Moonlace?" Molly asked impatiently.
Oliver closed his eyes as if remembering something. "There was something...one thing she told me before she
disappeared. She said that if I ever saw her again, I needed to say this."
"Who is Moonlace and what's so special?" Molly was getting frustrated.
Twig touched her arm softly. "Quiet, dear. I'll explain soon." Molly sighed. Twig ignored that. "Oliver, what
did she say?"
"Meministi." Oliver said, opening his eyes and looking directly at Molly.
The moment he said it, Molly's head felt as if it were being split in two. She cried out pain and sank to her
knees.
Oliver started to help her, but Twig held him back. "Wait," she muttered.
Daylilly watched Molly, her eyes wide with fear.
"What's...happening...?" Molly gasped, glancing at Twig.
She was watching her in fascination. "You're remembering."
48
Catastrophic
Paisley A.
7th grade
Vincent Middle School
The sun gloomy,
the water murky,
The sky a pale grey color.
The children inconsolable
with their eyes in a dense red,
calm but with fire as words.
The families dishonest to the others,
their conundrums hard to tell,
the town would never understand.
The rage of the earth blasting,
the vitality of the sun rushing into the sky,
the Volcanic Ash falls vastly from the lost ruins.
The panic of the Village runs ferociously,
trying to find shelter for their loved ones,
children scream with might of living.
Mother nature fights against the mobs,
thrashing her fists of fire into the air,
She darts her hand into the land with one swipe.
The earth is a whirling pet,
mother nature,
the authority.
The world is calm,
it spins around its axis,
the day was atrocious.
The world is vile but dead,
unconstrained,
nobody left to ruin the world.
Will she start over with her work,
or
leave it alone for now until eternity?
49
Star
Kali M.
8th Grade
Chelsea Middle School
A star itself is a story,
Almost asking to be told.
And it is the very nature of man,
to find these little thoughts of gold.
A floating, wisp of an idea simply drifts into your head,
and where it came from may you ask?
There is no single ideal to capture the nature
of space and time.
So to answer where the stray thought came from,
can only be riddled
with a truthful lie.
And what a riddle would this be,
with colorful strands and a feeling impossible to describe,
almost like a dream.
Perhaps a dream it may be,
with colors brighter than life itself,
but then again this is just another story sitting
on your shelf.
Life and Rest
Andrew H.
8th Grade
Chelsea Middle
Living and breathing,
Resting in peace,
enduring trials and hardships,
living in a deep pool of certainty,
working towards an unforeseeable goal,
calmly waiting for something I know is coming,
I want to be
I want to be
calmly waiting for something I know is coming,
working towards an unforeseeable goal,
living in a deep pool of certainty,
enduring trials and hardships,
resting in peace.
living and breathing.
50
Eternal Wood
By Anonymous
Once upon a time…
In a forest far away,
where foxgloves grow and fairies play,
there lived a girl with long dark hair and freckled
skin so very fair.
Haunting melodies she played on her harp,
surrounded by thorns, narrow and sharp.
Friends she was with all forest creatures,
each with its own views and features.
Fairies, dryads, goblins, too.
Pixies, foxes, and mermaids blue.
Leave the trees she never could,
trapped forever in the Eternal Wood.
Art by Lauren M.
7th Grade
Helena Middle School
51
The Struggle of Being a Perfectionist
Kaila P.
8th Grade
Chelsea Middle School
I never was good at writing or speaking,
I was good at observing and listening,
I sat and stared at blank pages that should have been
filled with jet black inked words;
words that conveyed the warmth of happiness,
the icy daggers of hurt and jealousy,
the satisfaction of fulfillment,
the sounds of joyful laughter,
or even the simple serenity of the spirit,
I craved only to piece together words that leave you with a wave of calamity,
so powerful that it causes rips in the cosmos,
But I still sit here,
left with irritation and standards so high that I fell into the sea of my own pretentiousness - whatever that means.
Illusions
Laura Jane S.
8th Grade
Calera Middle
The dark clouds dominate the once blue and calm sky selfishly hoarding it with their old and ancient power.
Run--the word echoes in my head, I shake my imagination off and look ahead of me, some would ask if I am
reckless, others would ask if I am too cautious. The answer is that I am neither, but I am both at the same time.
I know that I left you with many questions, but my only reply to that is, I am only human. I have my secrets as
you have yours. Keeping our secrets away from others so that we may indulge in their ways as they poison us
from the inside out. For you see, humanity is a parasite as well as a host because we are the greatest contradiction in existence. “We are what we are, but know not what we may be.” I say over again in my head as I remember the old saying. Though I do not know who uttered this quote first, I do understand its importance; its
meaning.
As I race through the old fields of a deserted farm I ponder upon that phrase. We are a simple and intelligent
race--old and ancient, with a power to enslave humanity with its imagination and secrecy. Though our poison
spreads through time and space as our ships now dominate the skies with their dark and foreboding power. The
clouds are a mere illusion, as our humanity is, an illusion to hide the darkness inside, the greatest magician is
the human parasite. For to search for a quarrel with the darkness inside us all is to fight with the light of life.
Even as time changes and slowly fades, taking us with it, the world, the universe, will not end with a burst of
light and purity, but rather with a dull, whimpering darkness. Run, run, run.
52
Mom Graduating
Evan J.
6th Grade
Oak Mountain, Middle
When I watch you
A New Life
Marissa R.
With such big smiles
th
8 Grade
Chelsea Middle School
As a child is born,
In your blue cap and gown
As you walk across the stage like a blue bird
Or
a flower begins to bloom.
When I see you
The child’s first steps,
Get your diploma
the flower in its most beautiful form.
And shake the dean’s hand
Spring.
Or
When I hear you
Daddy’s little princess driving her first car,
sweet, sweet flower standing tall.
Graduating from high school,
other flowers begin to fade away.
Summer.
Hammering the diploma in the wall
And crying tears of joy
While everyone cheers for you
I stand up
Through your pride
Mom calls her every day while she’s away,
I stand up
leaves fall all around.
She finds the one she gives her heart to,
the changing colors of the leaves surround the flower.
Autumn.
A family gathered all around the tree,
harsh winds bending the flower.
She cries to see her dad again,
suddenly the flower breaks and is dead.
Winter.
53
Remembering Sunday
Margeaux S.
12th Grade
Shelby County High
My mother was regal. A proper queen. Beautiful with dark hair and soft olive skin and bright
eyes, so full of life. My younger sister looks just like her. She takes this blessing for granted. She will
always have a piece of mother staring back at her through the mirror. I used to envy her for this, but now
it is the only thing that she has of her. She was so young at the time, she barely remembers mother, while
I have hundreds of memories.
I remember the way she smelled, like the deep dark earth and the flowers of her summer garden.
I remember the way her skin felt, warm through the fabric of her dress as she rocked me to sleep. I can
still hear her voice, melodic and beautiful, she sang like a bird. And I remember her dancing. My god
how she danced. Her feet carried her to the rhythm of silent melodies playing in her head. They played
constantly in her mind, causing her to sing and dance at the strangest times. While cooking or cleaning
or while she was simply walking.
But now her feet are still. Now her voice is lost beneath the earth, now her skin is cold.
People say that the worst thing in the world is the death of a child. My mother feared this more
than anything else in the world, more than her own death. So I suppose the accident was a blessing. She
was able to mend my broken body with her own. She freed me from the tubes and wires that had become
my shackles and chains.
I talk to her every day, even now that I have grown. I tell her everything, though I know she already knows. I get frustrated sometimes, that our talks are so one-sided, but then I remind myself that it
wasn’t her fault, and that she is doing the best that she can from where she is.
I still see her in my sister, I hear her in the bird’s songs, I smell her when I tend my garden, I remember her when I dance. I feel her coursing through my body, I feel her pulse pumping through my
veins. She is with me though she is not. My sister may have my mother’s face, but I have her heart.
54
No One's Perfect
Adrienne S.
9th Grade
Vincent High School
She works hard at everything.
But she hides what she loves to do,
For the fear of being judged for messing up.
No one's perfect.
No one's perfect.
No one's perfect.
She continues to tell her self,
But her head keeps telling her she is nothing.
No one's perfect.
No one's perfect.
No one's perfect.
She needs help but she tells her self,
No one's perfect, so she don't need anyone else.
55
Calera High School
56
10th Grade
Sunday
Breanna S.
9th Grade
Vincent High School
The wind on a Sunday puts a smile on my face
While in the church window singing my grace
the wonders that I have exploring my mind
Telling me telling me what a wonderful time
I hear the bells ring as they sing a great song
Pulling me in as I sing along
waiting and watching for something to appear
a little blue bird whispers in my ear
as people get close he flies away
in the blue sky like any other day
as the little babies cried and hungered for love
they seem to remind me of little white doves
as the day gets shorter and the wind dies down
it whispers to me and says it will be back around
for this was the greatest time there's no spot of gray
because there is nothing like a wonderful Sunday
57
Acceptance
Vanessa F.
12th Grade
Chelsea High School
We gaze upon the fall trees with thoughts of beauty and bliss.
All the leaves’ colors and textures submerged on lands’ natural canvas
Seeming unsystematic
But in the same moment methodical
Appearing as one singular body
But in actuality is crowded with individualism
Why can we appreciate the colors of the fall leaves
But not the colors of human beings
We detest parts of our own kind
Our own anatomy
Our own history
So why are we not repelling expectancy of all colors in our world
That differ from one singular color
Because denying the importance of color is impossible
A color can be pleasing alone
But in multiple variations it becomes a masterpiece
We should not fixate on discrimination
But on learning how to appreciate all colors of humans
Like we learned how to appreciate the colors of the fall leaves
58
Who Knew?
Sarah L.
12th Grade
Chelsea High School
Who knew that in a split second
Things could change
That maybe I could chance it.
Who knew that in a split second
You’d forget what you said.
I probably could have guessed it.
But who do I kid?
You never forgot,
The laughter left a feeling
Of something we’re not.
Of something we were
And never will be.
You told a taller lie,
Then that tree
We never climbed
You told a truth farther,
Than those stars we never found
When you believed in thirty-three
Lying together on the ground.
Yet I always knew you were an artist,
But I never knew you could erase
Every last smile
I’ve had on my face.
But who do I kid?
I never knew you
Not even for a little while.
Committing a common crime
Leaving only the scent of you
That will soon fade with time,
Just like the ink on the letters
You no longer have of mine.
Who knew?
That no matter what you do
Or what you say
That artist that loved you
Erased each and every day.
59
He Didn’t Sing About His Girl
Samuel R.
10th Grade
Montevallo High School
The Beatles were number one on the charts for three straight weeks in 1965.
Help! Won’t you please, please help me?
Deep in the jungles of Vietnam,
American soldiers began to march.
In Selma they had a Bloody Sunday.
In 1965 we were all listening to the Beatles.
Barry McGuire, sounding just a tad like Dylan,
managed to do the impossible on a late summer night.
Somewhere the tide turned and Barry beat the Fab Four.
He didn’t sing about his girl.
Barry sang about Vietnam
and terror
and the eve of everything coming down on our heads.
Barry sang about Red China.
Barry sang about Selma, Alabama.
Selma is really only about an hour away from where I come from.
The story of the civil rights movement is built into me.
I have stood on the spot where
Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech.
I have been to his house in Montgomery.
I have seen his jail cell.
I am from Montevallo,
just a little south from Birmingham and we are very small, but we were all there when
everything came crashing down in 1965.
I was born in the Magic City.
I was born here and I was raised in the place where the air smells like barbeque
and the last trailing fingerprints of the Appalachians come into focus.
The Vulcan watches over us.
His arm is raised high and his rusted, bronzed pupils look at all our secrets
and our victories.
Continued on next page
60
Continued from previous page
He watched,
I’m sure he watched,
as those hoses and those dogs and those police marched against the
protesters in Birmingham.
I think, that if the Vulcan is still watching us today he is shedding an iron tear.
I believe, that if the Vulcan is still watching us, if he’s watching any kind of television,
then maybe he is seeing what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri and Syria and Liberia.
Maybe he is crying.
Maybe that is why it has been raining in Birmingham again.
CONTAGION! The headlines scream it.
WAR! The politicians worship it.
THE END IS NIGH! Maybe I believe it.
The Vulcan’s tears are shed for the death of innocents.
Here and abroad.
The Vulcan is crying because things never change.
The Vulcan is crying because people are dying just like people have always died,
since he was built in 1904 for the World’s Fair.
Back when we had World Fairs.
Barry McGuire beat the Beatles by singing about what he was afraid of.
He sang about the Eve of Destruction.
Somehow, now, we still live.
Somehow we were not destroyed.
But in 1965 we were the edge of war.
In 1965 everything was changing.
I feel a sort of kinship to the people from 1965.
I feel like I know them and their world because their world is our world, deep down.
I watch the nightly news and
I know the darkness that is inside the cavernous iron shell of the Vulcan.
1965.
We were listening to the Beatles.
Until one day we weren’t anymore.
We were learning about how we are all on the
Eve of Destruction.
WAR! CONTAGION! THE END IS NIGH!
We’re on the eve won’t you please, please, help me, help me, help me we’re on the eve of destruction…
Continued on next page
61
Continued from previous page
I'm walking down the snowy path away from the Radley Institution, and who knew I'd find my Bella.
Lovely Bella. We stand, and walk leisurely through the snow. Bella chases snowflakes so I do too. It's the
most fun I've had in ages. I pet her lovingly--I forgot the heat of her skin, the soft brush of her fur coat on my
palm, her chest heaving under my hands from the playing. The way her breath puffs up into the air. The
warm sound of floppy ears on muzzle as she shakes her head fiercely to ward off the cold, accompanied by
the clinking of her collar. Her salty dog food smell. Bella! We play for hours, jumping in leaves and running through trees and digging in the snow.
I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy! Only normal people play with their dogs in the snow! Not sick little
girls running away from the Institute. I'm normal. And so is Bella. Bella makes me normal. I haven't heard
the voices since I escaped.
We rest a while and she checks on me, sniffing carefully. I still have little bruises on my temples
from the Lightning Table, and my hair there is a little singed. My ribs stick out because I don't get hungry.
My hands shake, because I haven't had my chill pill. Isn't that funny? My nurses told me that joke, haha! But
Bella doesn't care. Bella doesn't see dark circles under bulging eyes or my Institution standard issue blue
gown or my too red lips because I chew them bloody or dirty torn fingernails. She sees into me.
Suddenly, sirens everywhere. I hold Bella close in my lap, where she lays contentedly, unaware. I
pet her, and close my eyes. They're coming for me. I bury my face in her fur, and decide to wait for my fate,
the inevitable. The men. Coming for me.
****
"Miss Cora?"
Crazy. She is sitting in this 19 degree weather in the wet snow, rocking back and forth gently. Those
big innocent eyes are wide, brimmed with tears. How she knocked out May, her nurse, I will never know.
She's been missing for hours. I stop my van, and my men and I climb out. She's singing something about a
dog, holding her knees, shaking and rocking. An attendant reaches out, taking advantage of her dreamy state,
and grabs her.
"No!" she screams. We have awakened her.
"God no! Please Jesus," she begs. Tears are streaming down her face as she kicks and claws, grasping
at the chilled empty air.
"Bella! Bella! My dog, Bella!" she shrieks. The girl is howling in pain. I don't understand. Is
that what this is about? A dog?
"Hold her still," I command. I walk the narrow pathway of snow. She is still sobbing, although her shrill cries no longer pierce the evening. Hot tears flow, leaving white trails on her cheeks, as she
gulps and gasps loudly for air.
"Miss Cora," I say softly, staring into her empty, hollow eyes, "There are no animal tracks
here, Cora. Only yours."
62
Little Women
Charlie H.
10th Grade
Chelsea High School
Despite illness and death
Heartbreak and loneliness
We sisters march on
Till the bleakness of hope glimmers in the morning sun
A friend’s love not returned
Nevertheless there is still a love
But tis I am not in love
Nor ever will be with you
I see your pale face
Suffering etched in your young yet old wrinkles
The twinkle of your eyes still shines in the moonlight
I will return to you dear sister
Death takes a whimsical soul
A sister that cannot be replaced
No dreams made, as though you knew the end were coming
And you were so strong through it all
From a young little girl
I am now a Little Woman
Thanks to you dear hardships
I know pain and blessings alike
A friend off in the world
Left me behind with his heartbreak
With my own heart hung heavily in the shadows
A life not of my own choosing, but tis my own living
I found my love for you surprising
But I caught it with my heart and held fast to it
I settled down into a merry happiness
And there I found contentment, with my Little Women.
63
Soon, the Trees Will Turn
Samuel R.
10th Grade
Montevallo High School
The trees haven’t turned yet. They won’t do that for a while.
This is autumn. This is the chill that
bites and breaks in darkness but recedes in the sun.
This is the time that things crawl up from other worlds.
Spring is not the time to fall in love;
spring is birth and rebirth.
But newness all on its own is not love.
Love is old and ageless,
maybe older than autumn itself,
maybe older than the things that crawl up from the ground,
and those things?
Those things are very, very old.
Summer is not the time to fall in love.
Summer is the time to play at love, but not to embrace it.
Summer is the stars and the heart,
but not the love that comes from the chill.
The days are like taffy, the heat like a suffocating pillow held over a
screaming, squirming maw.
We grew accustomed to the heat.
No more.
No more.
Winter is cold and broken.
You cannot fall in love when your breath turns to steam before your eyes.
Breath is secret and sacred and winter takes it from us.
The cold is not love; it is the snowy colored bones that litter the earth beneath us.
No.
Fall is the chill that is on its way.
Fall is limbo.
Fall is fleeting;
fall is the beating,
strumming,
rhythmic heart of the Earth
fighting to live.
Continued on next page
64
continued from previous page
Fall is the only time to fall in love.
Fall is the only time to live.
When the things claw at us from beneath, that is the time for love.
When the air is just a little chilly.
When the leaves turn a brilliant shade of
red brown yellow deep bloody purple
that is the beauty of a world that has been alive
and will be alive
and is showing its last burst of life
before it goes into the dusk.
Love is old and autumn is old and everything is old and dying in autumn.
It is from the dim light that love bursts free and alive and real towards us.
The walls between life and death are thin.
Everything is out of sync.
Everything is gray
except for the ground which is littered with color and last breaths.
Leaves build up in piles and we burn them,
offerings to the silent gods,
offerings to things below us that crawl in the autumn air to embrace the death
and the chill.
In autumn we have no future, only the present and the staleness of the breath passed.
Fall is the only time to fall in love.
The ghosts are coming.
We are all falling.
Soon, the trees will turn.
65
Fire
Aaron R.
12th Grade
Chelsea High School
The fire
Burning inside
My fists clench around my fury
But not around my prize
Its desire
To see you fall
It used to be a secret
But now I’m letting it all free
Because you have no power over me
Anymore
There’s not much patience in me to stare
But you
You haven’t paid
You’ve destroyed too many lives
Now you’ll see another
Shade of me
The darkest one
This is the fire
Of the broken son.
Painting by Katlyn C.
12th Grade Chelsea High
66
A Yellow Car
Rachel W.
11th Grade
Helena High
A yellow car,
broken down,
sitting vigilant
in the front yard,
a grass skirt
complementing the
dirty windshield.
A yellow car,
a vault of memories,
back seats
covered in dust
and nostalgia.
A yellow car,
the radio,
now static,
singing a
faint, broken
hallelujah,
A yellow car,
a sentimental
a dreamcatcher,
anthem to
capturing the
all of the road trips
long nights after
and midnight secrets.
football games,
laying away
the laughs and
unforgettable
moments
propping them up
A yellow car,
broken down,
sitting vigilant
in the front yard.
in the seats
like they are
still alive,
buckling their
seatbelts to
keep them secure.
67
The Japanese Soldier
Kelli S.
11th Grade
Montevallo High School
This story is based on a true event.
“Come on, Barr! Move it! Move it!” Sergeant Jones, my forty year old sergeant, yelled at me as I hurried to catch up with
my comrades. He had given me a hard time since I joined the army, but this time, it was my fault that I was lagging behind because
of my day dreaming…again. I imagined about being home in my hometown of McCalla, Alabama on the wooden front porch swing
with my beautiful wife, Barbra, laughing and cutting up as we always did.
“Sir, yes, sir,” I responded, embarrassed, as I noticed a few of my comrades looked back at me. Their stares made me realize that day dreaming was not for war.
“Carl, I warned you that your day dreaming would get you in trouble,” whispered Ben, a friend about my age that I have
made since we both joined the army.
“I know,” I, knowing that he was right, whispered back. “I cannot help myself. I have always been a day dreamer.”
“Holt!” Sergeant Jones commanded as we all came to a complete stop. “Men, over this hill is a small village. Your duty is
to clear all the houses of any civilians so we can take them to safety. Be on alert for anything. Understood?”
“Sir, yes, sir,” we all answered in unison.
“All right then. March!” Doing as told, we marched over the hill to see the abandoned-like village. As we got closer, we
went our separate ways to search all the houses. I tagged along with Ben as we approached the first house to search. I leaned
against the wall by the door behind where he was, preparing to go in with our guns in our hands and our minds focused on the
mission.
“Watch my back, Carl,” he told me.
“You do the same for me,” I replied as he busted through the door. We stormed into the house and looked around for any
people who may have been in there. The house was disastrous, as several pieces of furniture were flipped over, papers were
scattered among the room, and several precious, glass, family memorabilia were shattered into several pieces all over the place. I
noticed that the door that lead to a basement was ajar, thinking that someone may have been down there. “You stay up here and
search. I will go down to the basement,” I told him as I headed towards the basement.
“Be careful.”
“I will.” When I crept slowly down the stairs, I glanced around the dark, muggy concrete room. I kept looking around as I
reached the bottom of the staircase when I saw several cardboard boxes around the room, covered in dust and cob webs. I noticed
an old picture of a young couple, around early twenty years of age, on top of one of the boxes. The man’s appearance was similar
to mine: dark slicked back hair with ocean blues eyes and muscular built. I could not help myself but to think of my wife as I studied the image of the young woman: dirty blond hair with hazelnut colored eyes with a radiant smile.
As I was studying the picture, I heard a noise from behind me. Before I could turn around, I felt a sharp pain in the back of
my leg as I screamed bloody murder and fell to the cold, concrete floor as a saw a tall and muscular Japanese soldier underneath
the staircase with a gun slowly creeping towards me. At that moment, I thought I was going to die. All that soldier had to do was
pull the trigger again and kill me. My heart felt like it was pounding a thousand beats a second as we both stared into each other’s
eyes. I knew he wanted to pull the trigger once more, but it seemed like he was debating with himself whether to kill me or not.
“Freeze!” Ben commanded the Japanese soldier as he, along with Sergeant Jones and two other comrades, made their
way down the stairs and continued to point their gun towards him. The soldier eased his gun to the floor and raised his arms into
the air to surrender as two of my comrades approached the soldier to take him away as Ben and another comrade knelt by me. I
watched the Japanese man being taken up the stairs. His facial expression is one I would never forget. He glanced at me with an
apologetic look on his face. I gave him a nod, forgiving him for what he did. He turned his head back as he was lead up the stairs,
and I never saw him again.
“Barr, are you all right?” Sargent Jones asked me.
“Well, besides being shot in the leg…I am all right.”
I never forgot that Japanese that soldier. I realized that he, even though he shot me, saved my life in a sense. If he would
have pulled that trigger again, I would have been dead and would not be able to achieve the life I lived.
When I returned home, I became a pastor at a local church, and I would often share the story of the Japanese soldier to
the congregation when I had the chance. One Sunday after morning service, I was standing by the front door of the church,
greeting members as they left for lunch. All of a sudden, a little boy, around four or five years of age, approached me.
“Pastor Barr, you were really lucky that the soldier didn’t kill you,” he told me, “but if you met that soldier again, would
you get back at him for what he did to you?” I knelt down beside him and put my arm on his shoulder.
“Son,” I responded, “If I came face to face with that soldier, I would thank him for shooting my leg and not my heart.”
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The Last Day
Emily T.
10th Grade
Montevallo High School
Today is the last day.
Happiness and sorrow,
elation and grief,
laughter and tears,
all meld together as one.
Triumphs and defeats
mean nothing now;
It is over, and the past
is no longer relevant.
Laughter and tears swirl together
and are abruptly snatched away
by the greedy, icy fingers of
the October air.
Now it is cold,
and winter is almost here.
The days are becoming shorter
and the sun is losing its warmth.
The chill is upon us,
sinking into our bones,
making us slower and more somber
with every passing day.
Today is the last day.
The bitter, unyielding, unforgiving night
holds dreams and secrets
and fears and hopes
that have been long forgotten.
New love and old love
and shy smiles all seem to fade away,
for it is hard to love when
the October chill has settled into your soul.
It is very hard to believe something
as insubstantial as love could survive
when ragged breath burns lungs
and is transformed into vapor before watering eyes.
It is hard to believe in tomorrow
when the biting cold grips
and the silence is so loud that
thoughts cannot be heard.
Today is the last day.
No more.
There will be
no more laughter,
no more tears,
no more elation,
no more grief;
for the end has come,
as it always must.
As the chilly October air swirls
the fallen leaves across the ground,
we mourn for what
should have been,
would have been,
could have been,
and was.
Today is the last day.
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The Unloved
Cameron M.
12th Grade
Chelsea High School
The more he asked about her
The less human she became
She was a beast
Muddled and riddled with shame.
She grew up like a stray dog
Never a part of a family
Always wandering alone
Mistakes hidden by light that glowed dimly.
The only time they showed interest
She had to fail or fight
And even then it was fleeting
Her always fighting for that dim light.
Deep down she was this stray dog
Unwanted, unwelcome, dazed, wandering the fog.
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Not on the Color Wheel
Hannah C.
10th Grade
Helena High School
I am feeling brown today.
Not the color that clings underneath your fingernails,
Or the medicine you choke down when you forget to wear a scarf outside,
But the color of the boots that stomp through the forest,
Claiming the earth and overpowering the land.
I feel the color of skin
After a long day of exploring and working and being with the world.
More importantly,
I am feeling brown
Like the deep pools in your eyes
And I wonder why people hate the color.
Libi J.
Pyromaniac
12th Grade
Oak Mtn. High
Free to roam. Free to burn. Your army of heat has struck me cold.
I reach for you, but pull back half-heartedly.
The outside forces attempt to give aid to my confusing enjoyment, but
I don’t listen.
I’m too entranced by your dancing flame.
Oh your sweet orange flame!
I am at the strangest fascination by your beauty.
I am in the untarnished, zany solitude.
I reach farther for you, but
Without any notice, your flame dims increasingly.
My perfect world is fading
Slowly.
Splash! I feel water. It’s frozen and sad with reality.
I wake up, and I realize the truth.
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I am an Artist
Emily T.
10th Grade
Montevallo High School
I am an artist.
Painting words onto a page
with a pen;
using intricate, twisting, twirling phrases
to paint pictures in minds.
Using words however deemed worthy,
for they are subject to the will of the person
lacing them into
uniform lines on paper.
Words have power
to create beautiful images of
bliss, love, happiness, and elation
in the void of imagination.
Words are powerful,
if the author knows just the
right way to brush them
onto a page.
But I am no author.
I am an artist.
Painting serenity and calm with a pen;
sharing love with this amazing world
and its beautiful people
is my dream.
Liquid light is spilling from the pen
that is gently clasped in hand,
bringing to life the awe and wonder
of so many sleepless nights.
This pen
gives life to thoughts,
brings meaning to whirlwinds
of color and beauty and
adds light into this darkening world.
My words are colors.
My paper is canvas.
My pen is a brush.
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I am an artist.
Once Dreamed Upon
William M.
11th Grade
Oak Mtn. High
Reveries are the hidden domains of an unconscious mind, and remain the worlds that trap people as
they dwell. Dreams are fantasies that individuals long to be a reality, only to unearth the nightmares that lurk
in their shadows. Dreams lie in the protected vault of the human brain, and transpire into seeds of love or
hate, which is decided upon by that person’s faith. Whether a dream is of malice or good will, it is a decision
that affects all that sees its seal. Dreams are the architects of a person’s life, and build upon their foundations
of hopes and beliefs. Dreams weld people into who they are today, but what will become of those people not
many can say. Dreams are the drivers who taxi a person when he or she is stranded in the middle of the road,
but they do not steer that person where to go. All dreams can do is collect their fare and wait for the person
to gaze into tomorrow’s stare.
The Rain
David S.
11th Grade
Calera High
Gentle and beautiful
like a summer kiss
upon your cheek.
The smell of earth’s-blood
enveloping your soul.
The downpour light
upon this ashy soil,
breathing fulfilling life
into what once
was dead.
Change is coming
and it is brought
by the rain.
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Wanderlust
Charlie H.
10th Grade
Chelsea High School
She wanders aimlessly across the sand
Looking for the happiness
That she can find in another man
But alas she falls sharp
Upon the pain of despair
And she roves the ocean
Looking for her single tear
A wanderlust for the impossible
Searching for the hidden
A smile trapped in a cave
A breeze already blown away
The wanderlust of a lost soul
Has come and gone
The stars have burned brightly
Her journey has come to an end
For happiness is a fortune itself
And life is your banker
And your mind is your vault
That my lost woman, is wanderlust.
Photo by Jennifer H.
11th Grade
Chelsea High School
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Deranged
Maddie C.
12th Grade
Helena High School
I'm not crazy. I'm not crazy. I'm not. How dare you even ask. I'm not.
Trees are whispering. Do you hear them? They are whipping and frothing in the icy air, calling. I
like the snowfall. Crunchy and soft and wet on my tongue when I bend down to scoop up a taste, fingertips burning against the cold. Water! Real water! No bowls or glasses for me, no ma'am, because I might
try to drown. So they gave me water from the little sponge, but not now! Snow turned to water tastes like
cold freedom.
I ran away. I told mother I was not crazy and to prove it, I ran away. I stole an intern's hat and
stuffed up all my hair inside. I took her big fluffy coat, too. I have the jeans and shoes from when mother
put me here. The cold is getting in though. It blows into cracks and folds, splinters into my flesh, sucks
on my bones. So cold.
Is that a dog? Puppy! I used to have a dog. Her name was Bella. In fact, that looks just like Bella.
Hound dog, black fur, brown eyes.
"Bella?"
Although my voice is swirled away in the winter wind, she hears me. Her ears perk up, her tail
wags. She bounds towards me on her big puppy paws and I sit on the crunchy freedom tasting snow, curl
up, and feel her hot, wet tongue on my face. I laugh, pulling her close.
Bella. My Bella. The way things used to be. Pancakes and homemade whipped cream on
Sunday, with real maple syrup. Cartoons and school and crayons. Bella resting her head in my lap when I
cry because of the voices I hear in my head. My Bella.
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My Father Took Me Swimming
Hannah C.
10th Grade
Helena High School
When my mother went away, my father took me swimming.
I don't know if it was to wash away my misery
or to allow me to drown in my sorrows,
but I always missed my mother and I hoped that she missed me.
Dad lathered all of his bare skin with creamy lotion as I waited,
then he would ease me into the frigid waters
before giving me the chance to object.
He said I didn't complain like most daughters.
Before I was born, my mother and father were married.
They liked to hike and camp and decide on a whim
because my mother was very "unpredictable"
but he swears that this was her favorite place to swim.
I liked to sit on his shoulders and he would throw me back.
While I played in the water with flips and turns,
he relaxed on his back with his eyes closed
and he never felt sorry when my shoulders were burned.
We would swim until dark, then pack up our things.
Then he shut his door and turned out all the lights,
so I put myself into bed and tucked my own sheets
because he needed to be alone for the night.
I wish I knew what my mother was like.
My father says she was always something new.
So I guess that when the seasons changed,
she needed a change too.
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My Crucible
Emma C.
11th Grade
Oak Mtn. High
For the majority of my young life my family struggled with money. It got as serious as almost
losing our home, and even affected seemingly trivial things like getting new clothes, or going out to eat.
It was hard to get by, just on a day to day basis. Somehow we ended up being able to manage, but I still
can’t figure out how.
Growing up, I can’t recall more than maybe 3 times I ever got new clothes. I usually got my older sister’s hand-me-downs, mostly covered in stains, holes, or whatever memory of an adventure she
had permanently planted in her clothing. My teachers used to send home notes telling my mother that
my clothes either needed to be replaced, or thoroughly cleaned. I was always embarrassed to tell them
(my teachers) that there was nothing I could do. As much as I hated the fact that I could never get the
new Vera Bradley everything, I still felt grateful for what I did have.
At an especially hard time in our lives, we almost lost the very roof over our heads. My dad’s
business was slowly and painfully going under, my mom couldn’t find a job and my siblings and I were
all too young to even look for a job. I didn’t understand why lights or water wouldn’t work, or why my
parents were always stressed and panicking. We had become the dirty family, standing on the side of
the road asking for money. Some people were generous, and others shamed us. Though we were convinced it was over for us, everything began to turn around. Soon enough we were back on our feet, and
practically running.
After going through a life-changing period like that, I feel I’ve gained a sense of humbleness. I
enjoy the little things in life, and am grateful for what I have. My dad made a promise to God, that if we
got through that mess and began to make more money, that we would be the generous ones to those who
need it. we always are now, and it’s the best feeling in the world.
thoughts
Hayden D.
11th Grade
Oak Mtn. High
I think that thunderstorms are beautiful
in the same way as fire
and that fall is doing something
on a Sunday afternoon
I think that making friends is hard,
but keeping them is harder
and I constantly remind myself that there is no such thing
as a perfect friend
I think that we are all just beings
in this mysterious and expanding universe
and that the trees and the stars yearn to be somebody, too
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Little Riley
Devin W.
12th Grade
Helena High School
I was eleven years old when I met my little sister.
My father and I finally reached Pop's house at the end of our three hour drive.
The sun had set ages ago and a cold wind filled the starlit night.
Winter only just began and already the Virginian mountain chill was
numbing my hands and chattering my teeth.
Once in the house the battle between warm and cold caused
a foggy battlefield to cover my Harry Potter-influenced glasses.
Setting my overly large suitcase aside I looked around the room to find
A pair of giant brown eyes looking back at me.
She never looked away as I sat in front of her in her little stroller seat.
Not old enough to talk yet strong enough to turn her head.
Anytime she met someone new, she would look up and down as if
sizing them up.
She did this to me, looking me over with her big, deep, brown eyes.
I moved my hand through her curly brown hair.
All I did was simply say, "Hi." And saw a small smile rise behind her pink pacifier.
That moment told me that this was MY little sister.
My little Riley.
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Shoes of Courage
Rachel W.
11th Grade
Helena High School
I remember when I first donned my shoes of courage.
My mother told me they would cause me nothing but trouble.
But I noticed how she would always draw attention to her naked left hand
and how she always sang a bit off key on Sunday mornings
in hopes that the man in front of her may possibly turn around and exchange a glance.
She told me the nasty bums on the street would
chirp and whistle at me like caged birds.
I responded that I shouldn't have to sacrifice what I think is beautiful
because a bigoted man lacks some self-control and common decency.
She nodded and assured me that she knows, she knows.
"But that's just the way things are, sweetie."
I wondered why it always seems we can't change that.
I know we can.
And I know my mother has fifty pairs of heels buried in the closet
like dead dreams she pulls out on Friday nights.
They make me feel like a skyscraper, tall, powerful, and strong,
the stiletto like a knife, piercing like my stare on the subway
when I notice an older man look me up and down twice.
"It doesn't have to be that way,"
I tell my mother as she rolls up her sleeves to wash the dirty dishes,
the stains on her sleeves crinkling in the crevices of her elbows.
"I know, I know," she says as she wipes away the filth on the plate
and sees her reflection.
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