My Pal Shell

You sound like the waves crashing at the shore
You feel pointy as a sea urchin in the sea
You smell like a waffle cone
I’m not going to taste you
My pal, Shell

Gavin Looram is a 3rd grader at Strawbridge Elementary in Haddon Township, NJ. He is 9 years old and has a brother, Graham, who is 7 and a sister, Sage, who is 5. He enjoys sports of all kinds and is currently playing outfield in the HTAA Little League Minors. He is an avid reader, an avowed carnivore, and is a huge fan of professional wrestling.

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco is the best quarterback I know
he can really throw
he’s the best quarterback that I know.

Ray Rice is an awesome running back
he can get a touchdown in a single second
he’s the awesomest!

They can both throw
They’re on the Baltimore Ravens!
Better than any athlete I know!

Somewhere Beneath My Curled Toes

My heart was beating,
My lips quivering from the chill,
My bones aching,
My breath coming in uneven gulps,
And a single tear rolled off
my lower eyelash
and onto,
the tightly packed,
autumn cooled,

It was done,
case closed,
Her body,
Cold and still
And gone
Lay somewhere
beneath my curled toes.
Her cheerful green eyes,
dull deep in their sockets.
Her rosy cheeks,
turned white.
And her smile,
a peaceful grimace.
All somewhere beneath my curled toes.

One more life ended,
by the twists
and turns
of mother nature.
One less giggle
on our saddening earth.

And as the days turn to weeks
And those weeks into
and those months into years
I think,
Of those light pair of eyes
That giggle now a
far away whisper,
Now somewhere beneath my curled toes.

Those who say memories never fade,
But are never forgotten,
Must have never
Had someone

For my brain finds itself loosening,
And the days I had spent
with her
so fragile
and easy
to forget
A soft fall to take.

That bright smile
now a shimmer
a reminder
of better

My feet wander back
to that spot
that place I last saw you,
some of the days
Come back
To me.

I wish that I could
have had,
A second chance
To say goodbye
To you,
For a brain that’s a loosening
can not seem to
One thing
about you-

Your cheerful green eyes,
dull deep in their sockets.
Your rosy cheeks,
turned white.
Your her smile,
a peaceful grimace.
All somewhere beneath my curled toes.



Laura Haskin is in the eighth grade at the Masterman School. She enjoys painting, drawing, writing, and reading (of course).


The evening train came speeding by
So again she lightly perched, a seldom rest from winded fly
The regrets and sighs that fain be sung
Sang freely in her lullaby

The secrets that I with you share
Are your burdens to shamely bare

Dark and tearful music laid
For haunting were my youngest days

So lean your head in, quickly, close!
And hear my screeching lullaby

With eyes half shut
Looking sadly on
Where the land of dreams might lay
Wishing she could go again

Awaits she, the dawning day
And in this morning she shall stay
The end of the dawning day

So again she may perch
And sing in grief
Her screeching, moaning story time
Her sadly tragic lullaby



Marcela is in sixth grade and loves writing, basketball, volleyball and track.  She aspires to be on Broadway, in the Olympics or a poet and her special talents include hula-hooping, wiggling her ears and doing long jump.

The Skeleton Girl

She dances on her piano
with her skeleton toes
cobwebs covering her clothes,
she smiles.

Her bones quake.
She touches her wasted face,
slips on the yellowed lace
that covers her piano.

Her bloody lips grimace
as she pulls herself up.
She reaches for her martini cup
and swallows, then repeats.

The martini burns her throat,
makes her moan.
But no one hears her, she’s all alone
Just a haunted, eroding pile of bone.

The skeleton girl,
all alone in the world
loving nothing but her piano.



Juliette is a ninth grade student at Hallahan High School who enjoys writing and playing sports in her free time.

Notebooks of Poetry

And so she filled her notebooks with poetry
Trying to make sense of this world of lies
Burning her bridges—
Severing her ties
With anyone who double-crossed her

And so she filled her notebooks with poetry
Trying to get lost in a world of rhyme,
And looking for one with reason.
If she had the guts and if she had the time,
She’d open her eyes and find one.

And so she filled her notebooks with poetry
Because poetry was beer.
It made her toes tingle, her toes tingle,
Made her troubles disappear.
Full and happy was she, when drinking poetry.

And so she filled her notebooks with poetry
because it was a glue, a connection, a fusion
It was her prince charming, her salvation
To her problems there was always one solution—
To crawl into poetry and just be.




Juliette is a ninth grade student at Hallahan High School who enjoys writing and playing sports in her free time.

Duality of the Universal Solvent

Burning, freezing, melting, cold and hot and tepid,

                Rolling, falling, rising, rushing, pounding, dripping, slithering.

                                One drop is tiny, insignificant.

                Yet it is these drops that level stone, drown man and beast, and wear down mountains.

Always moving, completely placid.

                Life-giving, life-taking

                                The great and terrible beneficial destroyer.

                Colorless material of the rainbow.

Deep and shallow, it takes any shape but has none itself.

                Cloud and sky. lake and stream, man and ice and steam.

                                The river’s song, the melody of the pond sings and rushes and roars, gentle and powerful.

                Tsunami and rain droplet are the same, yet so very different.

Two-thirds of Earth’s surface, three-quarters of humanity.

This is the dichotomy of water.


I watch them everyday,
Never being seen nor heard

Like a million invisible flies on a wall

Doing nothing-only watching
Thinking…should I help?
it would save her from all the Hurt

But then,
will they come after ME?

should I tell someone?
just turn the other way


There are many flies out there
Just like me,
What do those flies do?
Do they continue watching…or…help?

Do I want to be a fly

They called her an ugly fat cow today
She looked at me then.

Asking for.
No! begging for help

I was silent.
Silent as a snowflake in the Dead of night
not Breathing
only Seeing.

seeing the Dread
the Terror.

Not moving
Could I move?
Begging. that’s what she was doing
Begging without words
Her eyes screaming Help Me!
I didn’t move
I couldn’t move
Only stare-stare into her teary pain filled eyes

following her eyes
they saw me
what to do-what to do

I ran

ran as fast as I could
leaving her
leaving them.

All Alone

Taylor Kroll lives in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania and is in 10th grade.

Richer Writing-Personification

We all know that animals can’t talk, right? Or can they? Have you ever found yourself having a conversation with your cat or dog, or another type of pet that you might own? In a way, your pet does talk to you, either through a look, a bark, a meow or whatever noise your particular pet may be able to make. I believe that  any people think their animals communicate with them without actually saying words. But what if animals could speak? What would they say? These are questions that have fired the imagination of writers for almost as long as there have been writers. Writer who have animals talk in their books and stories are using a literary technique called personification.

When I think of talking animals, two particular works come to mind: The Redwall books by Brian Jaques and Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh. I find the Redwall books interesting because, not only do the animals speak, they also have human characteristics. Some are good, some are bad.

Some are nice and some are mean, just like people. In the Martha books, I especially love the idea that Martha gains the ability to speak by eating alphabet soup. Children’s literature is filled with books and stories which use personification as a literary technique. But what about adult literature?

Celia Varady, Age 7, Homeschool Student © 2012

One of my favorite examples of personification in adult literature is a book called La Jument Vert, or The Green Pony. It was written by Marcel Ayme, a humorous French writer. The entire book is told from the point of view of a painting of a green pony that hangs on the wall in the living room of a French farmhouse. The pony tells us all about the family who lives in the farmhouse. Most of it is pretty embarrassing because the family doesn’t know the pony is watching them, and many of their family secrets are revealed. This particular novel also goes to show you that when using the technique of personification, it is not only animals that can tell a story. A painting can be the protagonist (or main character) of the story and give the main point of view. A tree could tell a story, or a rock, or even a cloud. When I was a kid I once wrote a story told from the point of view of a pair of sneakers. They had gotten separated in the locker room after gym class, and, alas, they despaired of ever finding each other again! I think it all worked out in the end, but really, I wrote it so long ago I can’t actually remember.

How about you? Have you ever written a story using personification? If you haven’t, you might want to give it a try. It can be a wonderful way to make your writing richer. If your pet were to tell a story, what story would it tell? How about the computer in your house? If it could report on what it sees every day, what would that tory be? Give it a try. Until next time, I wish you richer writing.

Teresa Sari FitzPatrick is a writer and board member of Philadelphia Stories, Jr.

A Thin Sheet of Glass

Miriam Rose, Age 10, Wyncote Elementary © 2012

A bone-chilling gust of wind swept over my cheeks as the door to the store jingled. I looked up from the cash register as a short, thin, and rather ashen-looking woman stepped onto the threshold of the Wawa. She wore a long, dark, down winter jacket, with a purple little scarf fastened up to her nose. Her dirty blonde hair fell in waves over her shoulders. I placed a handful of change into the hands of a customer, closed the register with my hip and chimed, as was customary:

“Hello! Welcome to Wawa!” The lady looked up and noticed me. She smiled, or, more accurately, grimaced, a little distractedly. Outside, a Chevrolet Camaro hummed in the parking lot – smoke furling out of its exhaust pipes and emitting loud, earsplitting music whose bass made the floor tremor and the windows rattle. She walked over to the coffee and began pouring herself a regular. She cast an anxious look out the window, standing on her toes in an effort to see over the shelves. The coffee flowed over the brim of her cup, splashing onto the counter. She let out a bit of a yelp as the hot, brown liquid stained her fingers. She glanced over at me, but I pretended not to have noticed. She mopped it up with a handful of napkins. Then she added sugar – and lots of it. She tried on every lid until she found the right size. She then approached the cashier counter, teetering unstably on her heels. The unmistakable smell of smoke wafted from off her jacket
“Will this be all?” I asked as she placed her coffee on the counter and pulled out her credit card.
“Yes…yes this will be all, Miss,” She cast an anxious glance out the window again. The car window was now open, with a trail of smoke curling out of it. A hand appeared as the source was dropped, smoking, onto the pavement. The lady snapped her attention back to me and stammered:
“On second thought, some nicotine patches please,” she directed my attention to brand. I rung her up and handed her the bag.
“Have a nice day.”
“Th-thanks,” she stammered. As she shuffled to the door, the driver-side door of the Camaro popped open. A tall, stocky, and rather scruffy middle-aged man stepped out impatiently. As she walked out the door, the man approached her angrily. As the hydraulic door began to shut, only the first few of the man’s words managed to reach my ears;
“What the hell took you so long, woman? I have things to do and places to be!” The doors clicked shut, muting his lips – yet they continued to talk vehemently. Through the one-way glass of the windowpanes, I saw the woman cower, shaking like a leaf in a storm, anticipating the gust of wind that would separate her from her branch. It was the woman, now, who was talking. Based on her lips, I could tell she was talking, or, more likely stammering, very quickly. I stood still at the register – the store completely unoccupied. The manager had gone to the back room to take account of the stock, and the lanky deli boy had stepped out to take a quick, five-minute break.

Ani Varady, Age 9, Homeschool Student © 2012

I turned back toward the window, aware that they could not see me watching their quarrel. The lady reached into the little plastic bag, still trembling. She pulled out the nicotine patches, thrusted them at the man, and looked anxiously up into his eyes. In a flash of fury, the man knocked the box out of the woman’s hands. They landed in a puddle next to his car that still vibrated with loud music. She recoiled, anticipating an aftershock. It came fast and relentlessly to her cheek. I dug my nails into the counter, looking frantically around the store for anybody who could help. What could I do? I recalled Benjamin Franklin’s famous advice: “Those who in quarrels interpose, often must wipe a bloody nose.” I looked again at the people outside. The man’s face had turned beet-red, and the woman had begun to whimper and cry, her cheek stained pink. She turned and looked straight at me through the window. While she could not see me, she managed to find my eyes. My nails dug deeper into the counter. I knew what I should do, but I was also aware of what I could do. The man was still yelling mercilessly as I disappeared into the back room to get the manager.
When I returned with him, the Camaro was gone, along with the man and the woman. The manager looked at me and shrugged. He returned back to the storage room. Yet I remained standing, motionless in the middle of a vacant Wawa, wondering why I hadn’t tried to do something sooner, why I had not stepped in, and how things might have been different, were it not for the thin sheet of glass that had separated me from the couple.

Madeline Bowne has won two C-Span awards for her documentary videos. In 2011, she won 3rd place for her Math Education in the Crossroads. In 2012, she won 2nd place for her documentary on the 19th Amendment. She also won 3rd place in the WHYY Youth Media Awards for her video Perfect Child. Her first poem, “Waiting for Autumn,” was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer when she was in 4th grade. She created her school newspaper for Clearview Middle School in Mullica Hill, and then moved to Cherry Hill and joined the newspaper staff. A pianist and clarinetist, she made All South Jersey band for 2012. An Honors student, she plans to attend Cherry Hill East in the fall.