Read excerpts from the winners of The Bookworm of Edwards’ annual Children’s Writing Contest
From sloppy joes and hordes of tomatoes, to space travel and oppressive governments, the topics found within the stories submitted for the Bookworm’s annual Children’s Writing Contest are as varied as the squares on an old patchwork quilt.
There were more than 100 submissions; the winners were announced Friday evening at the Bookworm. The stories — all written by students from third through eighth grade — have been published in the second edition of “Ungoverned Children.”
“This is the most rewarding thing we do all year,” said Nicole Magistro, owner of the bookshop and café. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of the young writers sprouting up in the this community. Drafting a story and submitting it takes a severe dose of courage.”
The stories ranged from 750 to 3,000 words long, so we’re printing just the excerpts from the contest winners and honorable mentions. To read the full stories, you’ll have to nab your own copy of “Ungoverned Children” from the Bookworm.
It’s an exciting week for the Bookworm, and not just because of the contest. The Edwards bookstore was named one of the 43 recipients of James Patterson’s Indie Bookstore Grant. According to Magistro, the store will use the $7,000 grant to reinvest in growing programs, like the children’s writing contest, “to keep kids engaged in books and reading,” she said.
A total of 97 stores nationwide have been chosen so far to receive the gifts, which will total $1 million by the end of the year.
“The goals are to keep viable indie bookstore in forward motion, able to reinvest in programs, staff and improvements that benefit their communities,” Magistro said. “Keeping kids reading is paramount to Patterson.”
“The Colors of Life”
“There was love etched on the cherry popsicles and you could hear ringing of bicycle bells, and the tickle of grass on the bottom of your feet. Summer. Beautiful, elegant, childish summer. Mara Rose was enjoying such bliss on the day it happened. She had an advantage that only befalls a lucky few: the mix of sweet cake, the chorus of family, and the growing satisfaction from inside your soul that you are one year older. Yes, Mara Rose had a birthday in summer.”
Saroja Manickam, 6th grade; Winner, 6-8th grade category
“Lunch Lady Madness”
“I reached for my cup of water and when I grabbed it, it suddenly turned into a Sloppy Joe sandwich. “Eeee!” I screamed. I heard my mom marching up the stairs. I quickly hid the glass. Mom couldn’t know about this. She would take me to the doctor, and who knows what the doctor would do. Maybe he couldn’t do anything, and I would be sent to a secret research facility in Alaska, where I would be tested on every day. I ran to the closet door but when I touched the door handle, it turned into a Sloppy Joe sandwich.”
Katie Martin, grade 4; Winner, 4th-5th grade category
“Alex in the Future”
“One day, while his parents were gone at work, Alex was playing in the sand in his backyard. Jessie was working on her tan, talking on the phone. Alex had just got done reading The Time Machine series; it was all he could think about. It was a story about time machines buried in each biome on earth. One of the biomes was in the sand dunes. There was still a time machine left to be found. Alex got the bright idea to dig for that time machine! He wanted to find out what the future was like! He wanted to be like the characters in his book and live in the future!”
Blu Fernandez, grade 3; Winner, 3rd grade category
“Crossing the Rubicon”
“Julius mounts his horse and starts to speak. ‘We now stand at the Rubicon. The place where our province in Gaul is separated from the land where Pompey lives. We will cross the border with much pride,’ he looks at me now, ‘and if we do not succeed the first time, we will cross back with just as much pride.’ A roar comes from the crowd. I have all the confidence in the world that this war will go our way.”
Isabelle Richie, grade 6; Honorable mention, 6-8th grade category
“The Battle of Actium”
“I snap out of my thoughts as the dark shapes get closer and I can make out figures onboard the ships. The Egyptians are here, and they are ready to fight. A battle cry arises and I join in as our fleet moves in on our prey. They archers light their arrows and begin to fire. A few of our opponents’ ships go down in flames before they start to fire back. My comrades and I jump aboard a ship as it comes close to us. I cut down a few men before we take the ship. A soldier then lights it aflame after we climb back onto our ship. The flames lick up the mast before the sea swallows it whole. Roars of accomplishment and cries of defeat fill the air.”
Joslin Blair, grade 6; Honorable mention, 6-8th grade category
“Jonah came to stop at a small tree. But then, he saw something. Something new. Something strange. Something that would change the three orphans’ lives forever. He saw a tomato. And not just one tomato, but two tomatoes. And not just two tomatoes, but 10 tomatoes. And not just 100 tomatoes, BUT MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF TOMATOES! Jonah ran back to the shack, threw open the doors, woke Marie up, threw the jersey that Lauren was holding to the floor, and announced, “WE ARE GOING TO BE RICH!””
Harper Friel, grade 5; Honorable mention, 4th-5th grade category
“Setting the World Right”
“Our leader doesn’t like girls very much. He already made a law that prevents us from doing any ‘dirty work’ as he calls it. But I don’t think that’s the only reason he doesn’t like us going to school. I don’t think he wants us, boys included, getting educated, which I don’t get. At all. Learning has always been fun for me. I love learning about places that used to be places where the government actually treated the governed like true people, instead of like old scum. But that was in the past. People say that places like that still exist today, but I bet that’s just a myth.”
Jillian Guercio, grade 5; Honorable mention, 4th-5th grade category
“There was silence. Finally a crackling sound came from the cave. Then a large, sparkling, purple snout poked out of the cave. Soon enough, the whole head of a dragon poked out of the cave. Its eyes were a beautiful sapphire blue, his scales a lovely glowing purple, and his tail a dark sunset color. The dragon finally spoke. ‘Come in children.’ He had a deep voice that echoed through the forest as he spoke. At that very moment, his head disappeared into the darkness of the cave.”
Lucy Anderson, grade 4; Honorable mention, 4th-5th grade category
“The Rad Adventures: Greek Cruise”
“I skipped through all the pages for hours until I found something. It said that the only way to destroy the monsters was to throw the Golden Sea Urchin into the sea or cross the Bermuda Triangle. I immediately went to tell Felix. We knew we had to do something. We searched and searched for people to tell, but still, nobody believed us. That’s when the boat started to shudder. It slowed down and eventually came to a stop. We turned around and headed to the guard rail on the side of the ship. We noticed the lights starting to flicker. We looked over the end and saw a shark bite in the side of the ship.”
Dylan Cyrus Chaney, grade 3; Honorable mention, 3rd grade category
“On My Way to Jupiter”
“So, here I am in space having trouble entering orbit. It all started in Houston, as the Space Shuttle landed from a long journey to Mars. It was a record!! NASA had been able to send a space ship to Mars and back safely in 2046. The space ship carried six astronauts onboard. The news spread quickly. NASA’s officials started showing off to other smaller companies including mine! That was when I decided to build a space ship that would be able to go to Jupiter!”
Alessandro Cantele, grade 3; Honorable mention, 3rd grade category
“Stripes,” he muttered under his breath. There was a rustling in a bush and out popped a familiar tiger face. The face turned. Both human and animal faces lit up with delight as Stripes and Matt bonded once more. They played, ran, and jumped. Matt was so happy he could barely control himself. Matt moved back into his father’s old home. Stripes was alive, and living right next to Matt in the jungle. Now he had no neighbors to complain except the monkeys and other animals.”
Kate Faddick, grade 3; Honorable mention, 3rd grade category
This town’s most controversial issue in years may be resolved Tuesday.