Inklings Book Finalist: Rhea Jain


Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Rhea Jain! Rhea finished 4th grade this past school year. She wrote a short story about three girls and a haunted house. We especially enjoyed Rhea’s use of detailed descriptions in her tale.  Enjoy!


The Haunted House

by Rhea Jain



Chapter 1

Once there were three sisters named Anna, the calm one, Rhea, the talkative one, and Luisa, the cool one. Luisa was the oldest, Anna was the middle child, and Rhea was the youngest. Soon it was Rhea’s birthday and also Halloween, so she decided her birthday party could be a Halloween party. That night they were all going to be rock stars for Halloween. But when they went in the store they could only find two rock star costumes.


“What should we do?” Anna asked.

“Maybe we can buy two costumes and then go to a different store and buy one more,” Rhea replied.

“I know, I know!” Luisa screamed, “We can make our own costumes.”


All the girls liked that idea so they went home and started to make three rock star costumes. They made one black costume for Luisa, a blue costume for Rhea, and a pink costume for Anna. That one night they all dressed as rock stars for Halloween. Then, they went for trick-or-treating.



Chapter 2

After going to a few houses, the girls noticed a very strange house. It had blood stains on the walls, there were no lights on, and there were creepy sounds coming from the back yard. Anna, Luisa, and Rhea were very scared. Suddenly, it was extremely quiet.


Luisa finally asked, “Should we go in the house?”


Rhea and Anna were very scared, but they said, “Okay.”



Chapter 3

They carefully stepped on the path that lead to the house. When they arrived at the door, Rhea put her hand out and knocked. Just then the door opened by itself. There was nobody. The three girls stepped in. They tried not to make a sound but every step made a loud echo. The house was huge and scary. Then the door slowly closed behind them. All the girls froze, they looked behind them, the door was closed. At first, they did not notice but then when they tried to get out, they found that the door was locked!



Chapter 4

Rhea and Anna began to cry. Luisa was trying to figure out a way to get out instead of giving up. But soon they all begin to cry, there was no way out of the house. Then they heard a loud bang from the back yard, Anna carefully went to the cracked window and didn’t see anyone outside. They heard it again a little bit louder but there was nobody outside.


They all checked the window and there was still nobody there. The noise seemed to get louder by every second. Soon, the noise was as loud as drums banging together. Rhea noticed a tall shadow coming closer to the window. All the girls screamed. They noticed the tall shadow was not from a person, it was only a shadow.



Chapter 5

Soon the shadow was in the house. Rhea, Anna, and Luisa were hiding from the shadow. The shadow seemed like it had been here before. All the girls were very scared but didn’t say a word. Somehow, even though the shadow was see-through it could eat, drink, and move things around. The shadow was very unusual.



Chapter 6

Luisa screamed! The scream got the shadow’s attention. Soon the shadow was coming towards the girls. The girls didn’t move at all, but they were very scared.


Then as soon as the shadow came close enough he asked politely, “Who are you?”


All the girls were relieved that the shadow didn’t do anything bad.



Chapter 7


Rhea quickly said, “I am Rhea,”

Then, Anna and Luisa introduced themselves.


The shadow told the girls that it was under a spell and how it got trapped in the house.

Rhea told the shadow how they got locked in they house.

Then Anna asked, “Who had put you under this spell?”


Chapter 8

The shadow slowly answered, “There is somebody living in this house.”


The shadow began, “It is a witch. One day, I was lost in the house. I heard something was coming from the bottom floor. Just then, the door opened and I was very scared. I carefully peeked from the second floor. An old lady came in the house. I tried to hide from the old lady but eventually she found me, then she said some words I didn’t understand. Then some blue colored thing that looked like sand came floating towards me. At first, I had no idea what she was doing but then I realized that it was a spell. Just then I saw my body disappearing and soon all that was left of me was a shadow. I have been trapped here ever since,” the shadow said.


Chapter 9

Just then, the shadow and the girls heard a screechy noise coming from the bottom floor. Luisa peeked from above, an old lady came in the house. She had short black hair. The shadow seemed like nothing happened but the girls were very scared.


Just then Luisa screamed, ”Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!” That got witch’s attention.


The girls tried to hide but it was of no help, the witch found them.


Chapter 10

Then the lady said, “Stay here” in a polite voice.


The girls were very surprised that the old lady was nice. The girls did as they were told because they were scared that the lady might put a bad spell on them like she did to the shadow.


When the old lady came out she looked like an old, green-skinned, lady wearing a witch hat. She was not nice anymore and she had a low and grumpy voice. The witch was holding a big, rusty, old, huge pot. Inside the pot, there was a green bubbling liquid.


She put Rhea’s left hand in the pot, and her hand turned green. Then the witch put Rhea’s whole body in the huge pot. When Rhea came out she was all green like the witch, and not only did she look like the witch, she acted like the witch! Rhea and the witch together put Anna into the pot, the same thing happened to Anna she also looked and acted like the witch, but Luisa managed to escaped Anna, Rhea, and the witch.


Chapter 11

Luisa quietly and quickly ran to the third floor of the house. But on her way up, she tripped on a rotten banana peel. Luisa fell hard on the concrete floor which made a huge bang that echoed. The witches and the girls saw Luisa and got her too! But just when haunted Rhea was about to put Luisa in the huge pot, the shadow pushed Rhea away. Rhea fell on the floor with Luisa on top of her. Rhea was so mad at the shadow she got up and pushed the shadow into the huge pot. The shadow turned green and was soon also a witch. Now, it was up to Luisa to save everybody.


Chapter 12

Luisa ran and hid before any of the witches could see her. She ran in a room on the second floor. She tried to think of something to save everybody but she just couldn’t concentrate.


Suddenly, she had a thought, “when the witch came in the house she looked like a regular old lady. Then when she told us, stay here she came back as a witch.”


Luisa kept wondering things about the witch. Just then she heard footsteps coming her way. She quietly ran to the little dusty room where the witch kept and stored everything. She looked around for sometime and found the potions in one small corner. She saw potions of all different colors. Then something bright red caught her attention. It was a bright red potion. Luisa didn’t know why, but for some reason she thought that was the potion to undo the spell.


Chapter 13

Luisa kept staring at the potion. She kept asking questions to herself like, “Should I try if the potion works?” “How should I see if the potion works?” and “Maybe I should just give up.”


These questions just exploded in Luisa’s brain. She just didn’t know what to do!


Then Luisa made her decision. “Maybe I should just try the potion?”


Chapter 14

Luisa ran with the potion in her hands to where the witch, haunted Anna, and haunted Rhea were. When she got there, she hid behind the wall. She bumped into the wall not that hard, but it still made a little noise that echoed.


Then the witch and haunted Anna and haunted Rhea came to Luisa. The witch said, “What do you think you are doing?” in a high pitch.


Luisa was to scared to talk or run, so she just stood there. Then finally she mumbled, “Uuuuuuuuhhhhhh, nnnnooootttthhhhiiiinnnnnnnnggg.”


Then the witch asked, “Where did you get that potion?”


Chapter 15

Luisa was so scared that she accidentally dropped the whole potion on the witches feet. Right away, the witch started to shake. She shook for about 5 seconds. Luisa, haunted Rhea, and haunted Anna just watched. When the witch stopped shaking, she looked like a regular old woman with short black hair. By then, Luisa had figured out what happened.


Then the lady asked, “Where am I?” and “What are we doing?” in a nice voice. Now all Luisa had to do was to save haunted Anna and haunted Rhea.


Chapter 16

But then Luisa wondered how to get some more of the bright red potion because all of it had spilled on the witch. Luisa ran to the room with all the potions.


But on her way the kind lady asked, “Where are you going?” but still in a nice voice.

Luisa didn’t know what to say so she just lied, “I am just getting some exercise by running.”

“Oh,” the lady said, “Don’t let me stop you.”


Luisa ran to the little room. She looked around for the bright red potion. Luisa found lots of potions, some were bright green or orange some were pale colors, but she could not find the bright red one.


Then she had an idea. “Maybe I can pick up the potion and reuse it.”


Chapter 17

So, Luisa went back to the potion. Over there, she found the lady.


The lady asked, “What are you doing now?”

“Uuh, I was just going to clean up this mess over there,” Luisa lied pointing at the spilled potion. “It’s just fruit juice,” Luisa added.


Then Luisa got the pot and tried to get some of the red liquid into the pot. She ended up with very little, but enough to turn haunted Rhea and haunted Anna back to good.


Chapter 18

Luisa slowly walked towards haunted Rhea first. Then she poured a little bit of the potion on Rhea’s head. The same thing happened to Rhea, she shook for about 5 seconds and then turned back to normal. Luisa was so happy that it was working! Then she did the same thing to haunted Anna.


Soon, everyone was back to normal except the shadow. So Luisa, Anna, and Rhea worked together to turn the shadow back to normal. After all that chaos, everything worked out just fine.


Chapter 19

Soon Luisa was shouting, “Let’s go, let’s go!”


Suddenly, I opened my eyes and I saw that I was in my room and not in a haunted house.

My little sister was shouting, “Let’s go, let’s go, we are getting late for school!”

Then I realized it was all just a dream – rather, a very unusual and scary dream.

Inklings Book Finalist: Reece Sharp


Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Reece Sharp! Reece finished 4th grade this past school year. She wrote a set of two lovely poems for us. We loved how Reece’s word choices were simple, beautiful, and clear. Enjoy!


The Moon’s Little Friend
by Reece Sharp


The moon has risen
the moon has set


the moon has brought
out a friend while its left


the moon’s friend
is as bright as a light


the moon’s friend
says good night


the moon has come
at exactly the time


when the moon’s friend
has left us behind




When it Happens
by Reece Sharp


When it happens
the sun will be bright


When it happens
you’ll say goodnight


When it happens
there’ll be no trees
and the smell of the wind
will be like bees


When it happens
the moon will be bright


When it happens
you’ll be tucked in tight


When it happens
the stars are not there


When it happens
there’ll be unicorns in the air


When it happens
it’s called a dream


Sleep tight little girl
you’re about to see

Inklings Book Finalist: Aubrey Turner


Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Aubrey Turner! Aubrey finished 8th grade this past school year. She wrote a dramatic and touching story about a young soccer player named Karina. We loved Aubrey’s use of sensory details and the feeling of immediacy she created in her story by using the present tense. As part of her revisions, Aubrey chose to change her story from third-person point of view to first-person point of view in order to create an even stronger sense of immediacy for her readers. Enjoy!


Not Won, But Two
by Aubrey Turner



7am. It’s the beginning of my day. I sit upright on my bed and start nibbling away at my nails. This isn’t a typical, ordinary day. Today is what I have been dreaming about for the past 8 years.


I give myself a pep talk. “I’ll be okay. I’ll do fine. I will absolutely, positively do just fine.”


With googly-cartoon eyes I look down at my uniform. My name is printed in big, black letters on the back of my team’s shirt. Seeing my name reminds me of something I said to my father during the early days of my soccer training.


“Daddy! Daddy! Did you see that goal she scored from midfield?!?! When I get older I wanna be that good. And I’ll have my name printed on the back of my shirt just like hers.”


As I join my teammates and walk downstairs in pink, fuzzy, bunny slippers and a messy bun on top of my head, I smell melted cheese, flaky, golden, buttery croissants, and French toast that I can picture covered with juicy, bright red strawberries. I can’t wait to pile my plate with cheese that I will eat with the olives I’ve stashed in a jar in the pocket of my sweatshirt. Man, I love olives with cheese and can’t live without them!


Mmm, it smells so good it gives me a warm feeling, the kind I might feel if I were playing soccer, getting a back massage, and knitting all at the same time, I think to myself. I grab another plate and fill it with two pieces of toast, eggs and pepper, and about 20 Nutella snack-packs.


When I get back to my room from the breakfast buffet I take a steaming shower, floss my teeth (because the dentist has shown me pictures of what can happen if I don’t floss), and then throw my hair into a pony tail. I grab my cleats and another memory comes to mind.


“Open it, sweetheart!” the two of them sing.

“Brand new Nike cleats!” I say and tears brim my eyes. “Mom, Dad, you didn’t need to do this for me!”

“Honey, your mother and I know how much you love soccer and we want you to have a decent pair of cleats. Go on, try them on,” my father says.

I slip the cleats on and take practice kicks. “These feel great! Thank you, guys.”


The memory fades away and I grab my bag, reach into it, and pull out the right shoe of my first pair of cleats. The inside of my shoe is worn away at the heel and the top of the shoe where the Nike swoosh used to be has a hole poked through from so much playing.


“Karina, ready to go!” Hope, our goalkeeper yells from the adjoining room.

“Yep, be there in a second,” I holler back.


Vroom-vroom-pop! The bus pulls away from our hotel.


“Guys, I see the field!” Alex, one of the attackers screams.

“Alright, guys. This is a very important game today. It will determine if we go to the quarter finals. So we are gonna go out there, do our best, and never quit until the whistle blows at the end of the game,” my coach says with a mountain of enthusiasm.

“Alright, here’s your stop. Good luck in the game. I hope you guys do great!” the bus driver says.


Click-snap-click-click-snap. I’m biting at my nails again.


“Um, excuse me Mr. Driver, did you happen to drop off a man who is about 6’2” tall? He has a navy blue suitcase with the words Forfia in sliver at the top. The bag rolls on four wheels instead of two?” I ask hesitantly.

“No, sorry I haven’t seen him,” the bus driver answers in a strict voice. He seems upset about being stopped in the road.

“Where’s my dad? He said he’d be here?” I whisper to myself.


“Everyone, huddle in!” my coach, Laura, yells from the bench. “Alex, you’re going up top center forward, Christen left wing, and Clara right wing. In the middle we’ll have Aubrey and Grace as attacking mids, and Karina you’ll be holding mid. Center backs will be Ava and Sofia, outside wings Peri and Laila. Hope, you’re obvisouly in goal and the rest of you on the bench.”

“Okay guys, this has to be our loudest cheer possible. We need to be so loud that the other team crashes to the ground crying!” I holler loud enough to get the team pumped but not so loud that the other team hears me.


I… I!

I believe… I believe!

I believe that we… I believe that we!

I believe that we can win … I believe that we can win!

1,2,3 US!


Fweeeep! The game begins. Alex passes it to Grace who then passes me the ball.


Kerplunk! The defender falls to the ground and I dribble down the field. After I commit the defender I play the ball to Clara who dribbles to the corner of the 18-yard box and crosses the ball.




“Ugh! Nice try, Christen! You got the next one,” Clara tells her.


There are two minutes left in the first half and it’s still a tie. I have the ball, Aubrey yells that she’s open but I keep dribbling. As I’m about to shoot the ball a defender comes out of nowhere and crashes into me.


I fall to the ground.




I scream in pain.


“Ref, stop the game! Ref!” Laila yells.

The ref can’t hear her.

“Ref! A player is injured!” Ava shouts across the field to the ref.


Once the game is stopped, Laila and Ava dash over to me. “Oh my gosh … Coach, come quick!”

“Karina, what happened?”

Between sobs I try to explain. “I … I drib… sniff-sniff… ling and the gi… girl kicked my an…kle then I lan…ded wrong.”

“Let’s get you off the field. Grab my arm, Karina,” Coach says.

“Can someone get ice?!”

“Here’s an ice pack,” Sabrina says softly and hands it to me.

“Can you sit here and ice your ankle?” Coach asks.


Tweet-tweet. The game’s over.


“Darn, we lost,” I say as my team exits the field into the locker room.

“Okay guys, huddle around. We came this far and blew it. But I’m not mad, just disappointed,” Coach says as she always does when our team loses. “Karina, we need to get you to the hospital now,” Coach says.

“Wait, I need to talk to my dad,” I say faintly.

“Okay, we’ll find your family.”


“Hi, we’re just coming from a World Cup game and a player has been injured. Are you able to get her into a room as soon as possible please?” my mom says nervously.

“Mom, where’s Dad?”

“Honey, not now. We have to get you into a room,” my mother says.

“Karina? Karina? Sorry to wake you but a room is now ready for you. We had many people from a plane crash come in today,” the doctor says and takes me to a room.


As we head to my room I notice something. A navy blue suitcase with the word Forfia in sliver at the top. It has four wheels instead of two wheels.

Inklings Book Finalist: Aditi Biswas


Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Aditi Biswas! Aditi is going to start 5th grade next year. Today, she is giving us the gift of Christmas in July with her short story all about a Christmas tree named Holly. We were especially impressed by Aditi’s skillful descriptions of her main character’s thoughts and feelings. Enjoy!

Holly, The Christmas Tree
by Aditi Biswas

“Oofh!” groaned Holly, a Christmas tree. She was being tossed around in a truck like a pancake in the air. Mr. and Mrs. Nimh had bought Holly from Mr. Frisby’s Christmas Tree Nursery. Holly was confused when Mrs. Nimh said, “Let’s buy that tree. It’s just the perfect size for our living room.” And with that, Holly was picked up and loaded onto a white truck. Holly replayed this moment in her mind over and over again. She still couldn’t understand why Mrs. Nimh said, “It’s just the perfect size…”. All of a sudden, there was a jolt, as if an earthquake had happened for two seconds. Holly didn’t know this, but the “mini earthquake” was actually a speed bump, indicating they were in a parking lot. Struggling, Holly got a glimpse of her surroundings. There was a supermarket called, “Betsy’s Groceries”. A while ago, Holly was waiting for someone to buy her. Now, things were different. At last, she was going somewhere.


After this long and boring supermarket visit, the Nimhs and Holly reached their destination, the Nimhs’ home. When Holly got unloaded from the truck, she was carried into their living room. The living room had a rich red and gold carpet that covered the entire floor. There was a black leather sofa with striped and embroidered pillows. Next to the couch, was a small side table. There was also a TV. The dining room was right next to the living room, so they could see the dining table. Mr. and Mrs. Nimh were whispering about something. Holly could barely hear what they were saying over the chirps of the birds and the wind.


“Let’s move that flower pot near the side table,” suggested Mr. Nimh.
“The flower pot looks just fine where it is.” protested Mrs. Nimh.
“Don’t worry, it’s only for 3 days,” Mr. Nimh said, “After that we’ll throw the tree out anyway. Then you can put the flower pot back there.”
“Fine.” Mrs. Nimh said angrily.


Holly was placed near the entrance door and the flower pot was moved next to the side table. Standing upright, she was six feet tall. She had dark green leaves. A string of Christmas light was draped around her. Then another string. Then, another followed. Soon, there were ten strings on Holly. She wondered if the lights would ever be comfortable. But by “lights out” time, Holly had grown used to them. She felt homesick, even though she never actually had a home. She had always been moved from one place to another. However, Holly had a feeling that she would never be moved again. She wondered if she would ever get accustomed to her new life. Holly thought and thought throughout the night. Finally, after she thought for five minutes, she fell fast asleep (she was tired from all that thinking).


The next morning when Holly woke up, she saw two girls surrounding her. “What on Earth are those girls doing?” pondered Holly. Turns out, the girls, named Lavender Nimh and Matilda Nimh, were hanging ornaments on Holly. The ornaments were gold and silver with glitter, and red and green. Holly felt a rush of happiness washing over her trunk and leaves. It was actually Christmas Eve, so in the evening, the whole Nimh family gathered around Holly and sang Christmas carols. Some of the songs they sang were “Jingle Bells,” “Let it Snow,” and “Joy to the World.” After dinner and singing, Lavender and Matilda wrote their wish lists to Santa.


Lavender’s wish list said she wanted…
1. The Complete Guide to Flowers
2. Lavender scented candles
3. A rainbow bracelet


Matilda’s wish list said that she wanted…
1. Matilda by Roald Dahl
2. A photo frame
3. A rainbow ink pen




After writing their wish lists, the girls hung their red and green stockings. For some reason that night, Holly could not sleep. Every time she was about to doze off, something would catch her attention and snap her back into alert. Holly predicted this was happening because she was not used to being in the dark without any other trees. Then, at midnight, Holly heard a strange noise. It sounded like bells, one of Holly’s favorite sounds. Suddenly, a big fat man with a white beard, red coat, and red cap came into the room! He was carrying a brown sack. Then, he walked towards Holly and put gifts underneath her. Holly didn’t have the foggiest idea of what was going on, so she just stared at him. The mysterious man waddled over to the stockings hanging by the fireplace. He read the wish lists, opened his brown sack, and filled the stockings with presents. Then, the man ate the cookies and drank the milk that was on the dining table. How did he know it was his? Because there was a name tag next to the cookies and milk! Since Holly knew how to read, she read the name tag. It said, “ Santa Claus”. Holly inferred that the funny dressed man was called Santa Claus. She thought that the name was as weird as being draped with lights that glowed red, green, blue, and many other colors.


When Santa left, Holly could smell lavender. “It’s probably Lavender’s lavender scented candle,” Holly told herself.


But still, Holly was scared to the bone. Also, chilled to the bone. It was freezing cold outside. After all, it was winter. Finally, after what felt like 99 million hours, Holly fell “fast” asleep. Except it didn’t happen quickly. When Holly woke up the next morning, the sun was already up. She checked the clock. 7:30, it read. Holly knew that the Nimhs woke up at 8:00, so she had to wait for half an hour. Although Holly had been here for a day, she hadn’t bothered to look around, which was strange. Holly decided this was the perfect time to explore her vicinity. The only change to the room were the presents placed below her. Surprisingly, looking around took 30 minutes. Holly saw Lavender and Matilda climb down the stairs and rush to see their stockings. They were super excited. Finally, Christmas had
arrived! Merry Christmas! After a few seconds, she heard squeals of delight as the 10-­year-­old girls opened their gifts. Then, they ran to Holly to unwrap their presents. Mr. and Mrs. Nimh got presents too. Mrs. Nimh got a charm bracelet and Mr. Nimh got an iPhone 6S.




Later that afternoon, the Nimh family got dressed and headed out the door. They were invited for a Christmas dinner at Lavender and Matilda’s aunt and uncle’s house. When they were gone, Holly tried to remember all the things that made her cheerful. All of a sudden, Holly remembered the grim conversation Mr. and Mrs. Nimh had discussed two days ago. Holly recalled Mr. Nimh saying after Christmas she would be thrown away. Holly could feel it echoing through her mind.


“No,” she whispered. “It can’t be true.” Holly shivered at the thought of it. But even as she reassured herself, she knew what was coming. All she could do is wait.


Around 11 o’clock that night, the Nimhs came back home excited but drowsy. They went upstairs and fell asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. Holly did the same despite her worries. The next morning, Holly saw the family gather around her. They were removing the Christmas lights from her. Holly’s fear started to turn into reality as each string came off. Finally, when they had taken off every string and decoration from Holly, they picked her up and carried her to the white truck. As the truck started to move, Holly became more and more scared. Suddenly, the truck jerked and came to a halt, as if a giant had stepped in front of it! Then Holly got unloaded. She had expected to see some dumpster with dead trees, but instead, she saw a friendly­ looking woman.


Out of all the things Holly didn’t know, one of them was this woman named Jessica Stevens, an artist. She had called the Nimh family in the morning to ask if they would give her their tree. Though they were curious to know what she would do with the tree, they happily agreed to this offer because they wouldn’t need the tree anymore. But why did Miss Jessica want Holly? To snip Holly into a… tree! Holly was very happy and relieved when she realized she wouldn’t be thrown away.


At the city park, Holly was placed on a marble podium. On it, were engraved the words, “Here stands a Christmas tree to remind us how much nature gives us.” Ever since, Holly has been living happily with lots of tourists visiting her.



Inklings Book Finalist: Julie Shi


Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Julie Shi! Julie finished 4th grade this year and submitted a poem called “The Tree of Happiness” We loved Julie’s use of details in her poem. Enjoy!


The Tree of Happiness
By Julie Shi

There is a Tree of Happiness,
Happiness it brings.
It can calm down angry dinosaurs,
It can make the lovebirds sing.
There are actually more than one of these trees,
And they all can be anything.
A cookie or a crumb,
Or lots of diamonds rings.
Different objects, different styles,
Humans from different races.
Different cultures, different ways,
From our planet’s many faces.
These trees are found in every hole,
Every crevice, every nook.
In fact, they are everywhere,
If you care to look.
These happy trees are ‘round the world,
Or in a person full of mirth.
From a solid, black stone,
To a baby at its birth.
Every leaf, boulder, stream,
Every bubble, horse, grape.
Every little, little pebble,
To a big, great ape.
These are all trees of happiness,
Whether you recognize it or not.
They all radiate happiness,
Even a simple flower pot.
The leaves on happy trees
Never ever droop,
The birds around these trees are free,
They’re never kept in coops.
The flowers on these special trees
Are very, very colorful.
The sound that these trees radiate
Are never monotonous, never dull.
When you are with these awesome trees,
Nothing ever can go wrong.
There is sunshine, rainbows, excitement,
Lots of laughter, and so on.
These trees bring peace
Wherever they go,
Leaving trails of joy,
But never sorrow.
They correct ancient wrongs,
Make everything right.
They turn on our lights,
Leave us in the bright.
If you’re optimistic and observant,
And you work so very hard,
You will find these trees, step by step,
Foot by foot, yard by yard.

Inklings Book Finalist: Hailey Fiske


Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Hailey Fiske! Hailey finished 2nd grade this year and submitted a story called “The Saint Gabriel Knights and the Dinosaurs’ Time Invasion” We loved Hailey’s humor and use of dialogue between her characters. Enjoy!

The Saint Gabriel Knights and the Dinosaurs’ Time Invasion
by Hailey Fiske

One day, the Saint Gabriel Knight Super Heroes — Daniel the Imaginative Tall Tale Teller, Haley the Cunning, Ian the Brave, Henry the Smart, Veronica the Clever Fun Girl, and Dominic the Intelligent Archaeologist — were reading super hero books by the bookstore window. Suddenly, they felt the ground tremble. They thought it was their imagination. They heard deep roars. They thought they were hearing things. Then out of concern, they looked up from their books.They saw huge shadows that darkened the library window. They realized that this was all real.


Daniel said, ”DINOSAURS!!!”


Dom rolled his eyes and said, ”Dinosaaaws” in a mimicking voice. “It’s just your imagination again, Daniel.”


Veronica said, ”One minute!” and ran outside. Veronica came back inside screaming.


“What’s the matter?” asked Haley.


“DA-DA-DA-dinosaurs!” shouted Veronica.


For a moment everyone was quiet, then suddenly, they all started panicking.


Henry said, “Okay, everyone try to calm down.


Ian said, “Yeah, let me go out there and stop them!” starting to go towards the door.


Henry said, “NO! We have to do this together.”


Ian said, “You’re right, It’ll take all of us to withstand that awful rotting fish smell.”


Sniffing the air, everyone held their noses in agreement.


Then out of nowhere, a tall thin, nervous-looking lady with purple glasses appeared, she looked angry.


“Shhh!” She hissed.


That lady was clearly the librarian. The Super Heroes looked around the area and noticed everyone was looking at them. Clearly, they and the dinosaurs had been making too much noise.


“Sorry,“ said Ian.


They decided it was best if they discussed the matter outside. There they were allowed to talk freely, and besides, there was a jungle gym! They thought the dinosaurs wouldn’t be there.


They were wrong. Looming over them were long brown, grey and green necks, attached to large heads with jaws filled with pointy teeth. Luckily the Super Heroes could hide between the play structures. There, they drew up a plan.


Henry said, ”Listen here! We’ll outsmart them. The dinosaurs will come towards us and Daniel, will you tell them a tall tale?”


“Yes, but why?” Daniel asked.


“You’ll see. Just make it fantastic,” replied Henry.


“What will I do?” asked Veronica.


Haley said, “Just be your regular old fun and clever self.”


“Yippee!” exclaimed Veronica.


“What about me?” chirped Ian? He was smaller than the rest, but very brave.


“You are courageous. We’re counting on you to know what to do when you’re needed, right everybody?“ Haley said


“That’s right, Haley.” Henry replied as he nodded.


Dominic said, “I’ll discover where they came from, what they need, and where to put them back! And when it’s my turn to add something else, I’ll just pitch in.”


“Okay! Let’s do this!” said everyone together.


“Wait a minute… what am I going to do?” Haley asked impatiently.


“You’re the cunning one. You figure it out,” Daniel piped in.


“Don’t worry, Haley. You can do it!” Veronica added, encouragingly.


Soon enough, the dinosaurs came charging at them. Daniel told them a really good tall tale about how his friend cooked a dinosaur meal. The dinosaurs were worried because they thought the tall tale was real.


“Did he really?” they asked, their large bodies shaking in fear.


“Yes. He just barbecued the dinosaur and put him between two giant loafs of French bread and then invited us all over for a big Dinosaur dinner. It was the most delicious meal I ever ate. I never knew anything tasted as good as Dinosaur meat!”


The dinosaurs started to look more scared than scary.


The Super Heroes snickered quietly.


Meanwhile, Veronica and Ian planned what to do next.


Veronica whispered “Psst…. Let me at ‘em. I’ll make them have so much fun and laugh so hard that they’ll get dizzy.”


“Then I’ll be able to tie them up in ropes!’ interjected Ian.


“Can you really do that with those humongous dinosaurs?” asked Veronica.


“Yes, I am brave!” Ian proudly said.


Dominic wisely warned, “These creatures are very dangerous. Even for someone that is very brave. I know about these beasts from my studies. You must be careful, and we must all be intelligent in how we handle them.


Haley had been quietly listening in and thinking.


All of a sudden everyone exclaimed at once, “Then what are we going to do with a bunch of dinosaurs that are not supposed to be here?!”


“That’s where I come in!” Haley burst out, holding up a tape measure, a clock and a circuit board she had made with her Super Hero Friends.


Everyone looked confused as they asked, “How are we going to use those things to send them back in time? We made them, but how do we use them?“


Then Henry said, “I think I figured it out.”


Henry whispered in Haley’s ear.


“That’s right, “ Haley replied. ”That’s exactly what I was thinking, Henry! We can measure back in time. If they could measure forwards, we can measure backwards. ”


Everyone said, “Wow!”


“I didn’t know that, but I get it now,” said Ian.


“That’s brilliant! I get it too,” said Veronica.


Dominic said, “I wasn’t thinking that way, but now I am.”


Daniel added, “That’s amazing science! I thought that kind of science only existed in my incredible imagination.”


“Okay, you guys…” Haley said. “Veronica, you tell your clever riddles and make them laugh really hard. Henry and Daniel, you connect the circuit board, measuring tape and clock together. Ian, you tie the dinosaurs to it and wrap this wire around them. Dom, you find the exact place in time where they have to go back to.”


Haley handed Ian a red wire. “Connect the wire to the circuit board once you have them tied up.”


“Then we’re all going to turn the clock back as fast as possible, over and over again,” Henry explained.


“Dominic, you find the date!” said Daniel.


“I’ll entertain them and tell clever riddles and make them laugh so hard they’ll get dizzy again,” offered Veronica, “so they don’t know what’s going on.”


“Just thinking about that makes me dizzy!” said Ian.


Sure enough, the Super Heroes performed as planned. When it was time for them to be tied up, Veronica kept swooping around them in circles while telling them clever riddles. It made them laugh so hard and get so dizzy that they fell back onto the circuit board. Then Ian got a rope and tied the dinosaurs to the clock, circuit board and the measuring tape and wrapped the red wire around them. Daniel and Henry connected the circuit board, clock and measuring tape together.


Dominic said, “I need to quickly find their place in history… I got it!!! They died 65.5 million years ago!”


Haley smiled at Dominic glowingly.


Daniel and Henry quickly adjusted the clock to 65.5 millions ago. Ian was ready to connect the red wire to the circuit board.


Then Daniel told the tied-up Dinosaurs (that were trying to get loose) that they (the Dinosaurs) were going back to a time where there was no one that ate Dinosaurs. They seemed happy about that.


Veronica told them, if they went back, no one would make them woozie from riddles and running around them. They sighed in relief.


Ian told them no one would tie them up or be stronger than they were.


Henry and Haley said… well, they actually just looked at the Dinosaurs in the eyes and said “HAH! Go back!!”


Then Dominic pulled out an ancient calendar and adjusted the clock and circuit board to it and Ian inserted the red wire and…




The Dinosaurs started spinning around and around in a whirlwind, as they gradually rose from the ground and became smaller and smaller.


The Saint Gabriel Knight Super Hero Kids watched in astonishment as the Dinosaurs gradually disappeared into the sky, and the last fleck vanished forever.


The Dinosaurs were gone and the St. Gabriel Knight Super Hero Kids saved the day!


…As they celebrated with lemonade and cookies, they noticed a mysterious little wooden door on the side of a brick wall…

Inklings Book Finalist: Lauren Meier


Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Lauren Meier! Lauren finished 5th grade this year and submitted a poem called “The Train to Nowhere.” We loved how she used line breaks and formatting to emphasize the rhythm and pacing of her poem. Enjoy!

The Train to Nowhere
by Lauren Meier

Time, slow down.
I beg of you.
Slow    your      train.   For me.


We all ride the train of time;
the train,
the, second,
we, want, it,
hurry up.
The train’s wheels run-like-an-Olympian-the-second-we-wish-the train- would-slow-down;the-second-we-long-for-the-wheels-to-trot.


All we want is to be the Conductor;
quicken the turtle-like pace when we want to,


slow the train’s cheetah-like speed when we want to.


We are all passengers.
When we board,we are infants,
infants at life,
infants at everything.


When we get off,
we are aged;
we are old;
for time has not been kind to us.


When we disembark,


we are ready to be dust again.


Why do we ride the train?


Because,dear,the train is our life.


We are forever riding the train


To nowhere.

Inklings Book Finalist: Anjuli Turner



Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Anjuli Turner! Anjuli was in 7th grade this year and submitted a short story about the life of a Medieval peasant girl. Enjoy!

A Day in the Life of a Medieval Peasant
by Anjuli Turner

Being at the bottom of the social pyramid isn’t all that bad. No, frankly, it is terrible, miserable shall I say. Working sunrise to sunset is simply exhausting!


I am twelve years old and the eldest child of my family. I have two little brothers. They are both six with not a lot of responsibility, which only adds to my never-ending list of challenging chores.


Yes, my brothers are young but why shan’t they each have at least one of my chores? If only I had a wee bit more time to write in my journal each day, especially with the summer months and longer days fast approaching.


16 June 1422
Nottingham, England

Summer is really such a perfect time of the year. All of the divine, beauteous flowers bud into fruits, the very ones we shall savor over the cold, winter months. And the smell of freshly baked bread from Mother’s oven makes my tummy growl with hunger! I also love …


“Lilli, come hither and help prepare for supper!” My mother shouts.

“Coming!” I holler back and stash my journal in a secret hiding place in the privy and push away my thoughts of summer until perchance the next free moment.


While setting the table, I hear my parents talking amongst each other in hushed voices. They sound pitchkettled and worried, something about past due taxes. Mother reluctantly hands my father her favorite brooch, the one that belonged to her great-grandmother.


“Don’t be such a quidnunc!” Mother barks at me. “Fetch your brothers and be sure they wash their hands.”


At once my family is settled at the table, for not a soul wishes to kiss the hare’s foot and mayhap starve waiting for morrow’s next meal. As Mother offers a prayer, we patiently bow our heads and fold our hands together.


Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Almighty, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life.


“Grammarcy,” we say in unison.


We have hardly picked up our forks to start eating when Mother asks, “Boys, did you scythe the hay?”

“Yepperdoodle!” Both answer in a hufty-tufty tone with chests puffed out like roosters.
I giggle a bit. We all know my brothers dilly-dallied the day away and played hide-and-seek in the woods instead. Still my brothers are dear even if a tad lazy.

Mother raises her eyebrows at them, but the rest of her face is blooming smiles. My brothers are off the hook yet again. Where is the justice?

“And you, Lilli, did you plow the fields, trample the grapes, shear the sheep, herd the pigs, and gather up firewood?” Mother asks.

“With not a moment wasted,” I answer.

“Good girl, then you won’t have a problem scything the hay in the morrow,” she says.
My brothers hoot and keak like hens.

“BUT MOTHER!” I protest.

“No buts, Lilli! This is not a question, it’s an order!”

“Prithee, dear Father, surely you have something to say about this?” I plead.

He is wordless! Sometimes he has such a nose of wax!

“This is woodness!” I wolf down the last bite of bellytimber and excuse myself from the table. I don’t wait for Mother’s permission and storm off.


In my escape I let my parents know just how upset I am by slamming the door behind me. I make a mad dash to my favorite tree in the apple fields and flop to the ground. I lie there gazing up at the dusky sky through the branches and green leaves.


And thither under the tree I dream about another life.


Wind-sucker thoughts creep into my heart and imaginings of a new world emerge. I hardly recognize myself dressed in an elegant, velvet dress clutching a bubble-bow filled with gold coins in one hand and a small lap dog in the other. I am even wearing a matching hat with many feathers and lace-covered gloves. My face is washed and powdered. The dirt underneath my nails is a thing of the past along with my calloused, often bruised hands. I am no longer slouching, but standing especially tall in brand new boots made of leather instead of the usual felt. And the blisters that once lived on my feet are also long gone. Words like plow, grapes, sheep, pigs, firewood, and most certainly hay will one day be words from my past, for one day I dream of becoming a Lady and the fairest flower of the field.


Flowers, that’s it! I can make a tiara out of daisies. I gather up all of the prettiest daisies and start weaving my crown.


“Lilli Madison Rolfe,” my mother hollers, “come here this instant.”

“I’m a bit busy.”

“Well, stop being busy and come to me now!”


I hear nothing in response. I guess I have won this battle, or have I?


In the time that the sun has fallen and the moon has risen, I have finished making my crown out of grasses and daisies. I look in the mirror to see a Lady, and see a peasant girl staring back at me. I tiptoe into the kitchen where Mother is washing the dishes.


“Mother, I have something to show you.”

She turns around slowly and the scowl on her face blooms into a smile. “Lilli, you look beautiful.”

Wow, I was not expecting that.

“I’m sorry you have more chores than your brothers, and that they get off the hook sometimes.”

I chuckle a bit.

“You have a big imagination and I want all of your dreams to come true!”

My eyes start to water.

“I just want you to be…” Mother starts to say.

But I cut her off with a big hug. “I know, Mother.”

Inklings Book Finalist: Sanika Datar




Today we are featuring Inklings Book Contest 2016 finalist, Sanika Datar! Sanika is wrapping up the third grade this year and submitted an ode to a recent beach vacation.  In honor of Summer vacation, Sanika is helping us kick off our blog series featuring this year’s IBC finalists with her poem, “My Beach Vacation.”  

P. S. – If you’re still looking for something to do this Summer, we’ve got Summer Camps

My Beach Vacation
by Sanika Datar

Ocean waves are my favorite,
The sandy beach, not a far reach.
The sun on the horizon, shiny and bright,
Oh! A perfect beach day. What a delight!
The place we’ll stay, not far away,
With beautiful palms, that swing and sway,
To the ocean breeze, what a nice feel!
And the colorful birds give such an appeal.
Perfect hotels with colorful beds,
And many couches with small pouches.
The kitchen smells so very well.
“Welcome everyone!” greeted the Maitre d’hotel.
I’ve sunscreen, towels, and toys, oh what a joy!
And my swimming suit packed in a little loop.
The tropical ocean breeze calling out, “Come join us please!”
It’s time to hit the beach, come on, and say cheese!
Warm beach sand and crisp sun rays
Reflecting and dancing to the blue ocean waves.
Kids run, kites fly, guitars play,
Oh how I wish I was here every day.

While dad is taking a warm dip,
Mom is relaxing with her favorite tea to sip.
Dad sees some bright fish along the shore
As mom picks some seashells that she adores.
I build my sand castle, tall and firm,
And make designs that twist and turn.
“Look what I made!” I exclaimed.
“A masterpiece indeed”, said Ma and Pa pleased.
I’m now hungry for lunch.
I can’t wait for grilled cheese and pineapple punch.
“Care for some watermelon or ice-cream?” mom said.
But I wish I could have both instead.
I want to go for a swim before the day gets dim.
With my snorkel gear and paddle feet.
Here I come for a visual treat.
So many colorful fish,
Swimming together in a swish.
Rainbow fish, clown fish, and manta ray,
All moving in an array.
It’s time to head back,
Toys, towels, and gears in a sack.
What a fun day we had!
I wish we could do this all over again, mom and dad.

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