Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Freddy's Home Run By Maura. Z

Freddy's Home RunBy Maura Zindler

The fireflies buzzed in loopy circles around the gnarled oak tree that late July evening. Freddy nestled himself inside the hole in the trunk, feeling cozy surrounded by all the crinkling leaves. Just as the tiny squirrel was drifting asleep, he was startled by a loud crack, and he felt the tree shake around him.

"What could that be?" Freddy thought in surprise. He scurried out of his nest to figure out what was the matter. Dusk was falling thicker around him, but the lights from the small stadium, which actually seemed rather enormous to Freddy, cast a yellow glow on the grass. To Freddy's surprise, he did discover what had hit the ancient tree - it was a baseball. But of course he didn't know that it was a baseball! To him it looked like a giant, white walnut practically the size of him (Fred had always been small for his age!).

Something else now caught Freddy's attention and he was entranced by a thick salty scent that no squirrel could resist: roasted peanuts. Freddy's dark eyes widened as he thought of the wonderful crunchy taste. He just had to have one peanut! Although he had tasty acorns to snack on inside the tree, he scampered off following the scent.

It wasn't long before Freddy reached the tall fence. Even though he was always warned never to jump over it, he climbed up onto the bush and leapt across. He seemed to have tossed aside everything he had learned in Squirrel School. All he wanted was roasted peanuts. Soon he would learn he had made a huge mistake.

Strong lights stared down on tiny Freddy as he realized his surroundings. He was standing timidly on a grassy field; he could see people standing out there, crouching down as if ready to pounce upon something. Suddenly, with a crack of a bat, he was startled as people began to run around much too fast for his eyes to follow. This wasn't what Freddy had expected- he'd find a peanut, and leave before anyone noticed him. The plan had been risky, and he had thought he could do it...until just now.

A voice echoed through the stadium that made Freddy nearly jump out of his skin. "Hold on folks, there seems to be an issue- we have a squirrel on the field, but give us a few moments and we can play ball!"

Freddy bolted across the brightly lit field as all eyes seemed to be following him, and now people with nets had appeared and were puffing after him. This was not what he had planned- all he had wished for was a peanut, and there was no turning back now. The crowd let out a cheer every time Freddy dodged a net in fright. Just in time, he spied just the peanut he was looking for. He leaped into the bleachers and frantically shoved the peanut under his arm. His heart beat wildly as he scanned the enormous ball park for a way out towards the wall that started this whole mess.

Freddy let out a squeak of terror as he saw a net, or atleast that's what Freddy thought it was, swoop over him. "It's all over", he thought to himself, "I should have never come". But the little squirrel didn't know he was about to meet his new friend. Before he knew it, Freddy found himself in a baseball mitt looking up at a smiling face glistening with sweat and a cap dusty from the field.

"Come on little guy, let's get you back to the forest," the baseball player said tenderly. So Freddy stared up at the man, still clutching his peanut to his chest, and watched as the big man walked them across the field. Once they reached the wall, he gently placed Freddy back onto the bush and grinned, "All because you wanted one peanut" and with that he turned around and headed towards the cheering crowd.

Freddy sat on the edge of his small nook in the tree and looked out towards the little baseball field that had seemed so gigantic to him. He sunk his teeth into the roasted peanut. His smiled faded as he realized it wasn't as good as it should have been. He sighed and then began to understand that maybe he should have been happy with all the acorns he had, and he was greedy to have broken the rules for just one peanut. "Never again will I take more than I need," Freddy said to himself and nodded in determination. Since then Freddy's life took a turn for the best.

Once in a while, the baseball player would put a bag of peanuts at the base of the tree that he imagined the tiny squirrel might live in. Freddy would invite all the squirrels in the park to share his gift. Life was ever different for the little squirrel with a big story, and he couldn't be happier.

The River By Maura Z., Age 14

Carved into the rock,
A crevice for every hundred years,
It hardly stands still,
Smooth deep shaded pebbles against your face,
The silent strength of the green water below,
It's pulse; so strong and clear is lost in the echoing forest around,
And it keeps moving,
On towards the dip in the land,
where the water swells and spins,
Blowing kisses to the weeds that bloom in the shadows,
Never ceasing to flow,
Acorns dance in the water,
My toe dips timidly into the coolness,
The slow waves that tickle my skin as I walk into the current,
Plunging underneath before all sense reaches me,
And I can only see the murky green,
all shapes foggy and indistinct,
Inside another world,
But our eyes can't adjust to the light.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

By Kathrine C.

The sun was shining through the leaves warming Nutty’s body. He heard the sound of children laughing
from below his nest in the tree. Nutty began to wake up. He stretched until he felt like he could touch the sun. He
shook out his fur and washed his face with a drop of rain from last night. He scampered down the endless tree.
When he finally reached the soft dewy grass, he was thrilled with what he saw. It was one of those big white
tents again. He couldn’t wait to see what left over treats there were today!
He scurried under the giant white tarp and smelled a sweet, strawberry smell. He found what looked like a
pink cloud only it was small and on the ground. He realized that the delicious smell was coming from the pink
cloud. He picked it up with his tiny hands and put it in his mouth. Instantly, he was filled with happiness as the
pink cloud disappeared on his tongue. Just then, a tiny person came waddling into the tent. He was crying out,
“Momma, where are you?” Nutty remembered times when he was little and he was lost and looking for
his mom. He decided to help. He ran across the tall damp grass until he reached the little boy. The boy seemed
frightened. His eyes widened and he shied away. He calmed down after Nutty gave him his best “puppy eyes”.
The boy asked,
“Have you seen my mom?” Nutty nodded yes, even though he hadn’t, just so the boy would let him help.
The boy made a gesture and set his hand on the ground so Nutty could climb on. Nutty scrambled on and went
up and up into the air as if he was flying! The boy started to move. Nutty had to balance himself or he would fall
off the hand. The boy then talked on and on about how he got lost. Nutty tried his best to understand “toddler
talk” but could only make out that Jared, that was his name, got separated from his mom at the fountain by the
rose bushes. Nutty nodded throughout the story until Jared stopped walking. Nutty looked around and then
looked at Jared's eyes to see where they were looking.
“I cant remember where the fountain is!” Jared whined as his lip began to tremble. I looked once more at
the endless park. I found, not the fountain, but a map! I was so excited that I squeaked with joy. Jared asked me if
I saw something. I nodded and as he gently set me down on the stone path, I ran over to the map. Jared wobbled
as quickly as he could. We both stared at the map and soon realized that neither of us could read. Then, Jared
came up with a great idea.
He said, “We should look for things around us to see where we are on the map!” I squeaked with excitement.
As we looked around, we saw a hot dog stand, a small blue bathroom, and a gift shop.
“A gift shop!” Jared shouted. “Lets try to find it on the map!” I squeaked again and looked for a gift shop
marking on the map. As soon as I saw one, Jared did too. So we had established where we were.
“Now we should look for a picture of a fountain.” Jared said. I smiled up at him and yipped “Good job!” I
don’t think he heard me, he was busy looking for a fountain. When he found the fountain marking, he set down
his hand and not so carefully picked me up. I could tell he was excited by the speed of his little legs. I didn’t
know where we were going, but Jared did. He turned corners like a soldier; precise and quick. He was a boy on a
mission. I just hoped I wouldn’t fall. It was a long way down. When we saw the fountain, Jared started running. I
was bouncing up and down and losing my balance as his feet leapt towards the fountain. When we got there, we
walked around and looked for his mom.
Then I heard, “Jared, Jared.” At first I thought I was mistaken, and that I was just day dreaming.
“Did you hear that?” Jared asked. I nodded excitedly. Now I knew that the voice was coming from him
mom. He knew that too as he started jumping up and down. I was thrown into the air and did an accidental flip,
which was very fun, but very scary. Right then, his mom came running towards us and grabbed Jared in a giant
hug. I was thrown to the ground with a thud as Jared returned the hug, which apparently I was not included in. I
landed on the ground with a bump as I did a summersault into a Pepsi can. As Jared’s mom kissed him all over
his face, Jared pulled away and walked over to me. He scooped me up, thanked me for my help, and gave me my
very own pink cloud! I was so excited to show my squirrel friends. As I watched Jared and his mom walk away,
I told myself that this was a day I’d never forget.

Peace by By: Kathrine C.

Bright spring morning,
Crystal clear sky,
Crisp fresh air,
Gentle clement breeze,
Glistening emerald leaves,
Swaying ticklish grass.
Pure trickling water
Smooth glassy stones,
Soft silky sand,
Peaceful river beneath my feet.

Calm River By: Genevieve C.

As the water trickles down the river, I smell nothing but crisp, fresh, air. I see tall trees and blooming plants, puffy, white clouds and the mountains in the horizon- a barrier. The river is calm and pure. I sauntered down the rocky hills and sandy shores and finally into the river. It feels just like I imagined, silky and smooth as I glide through the thin, calm river.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

At the River

By Madline S.

I sit on a rock,
Hard and warm beneath me,
And I stare at the river ahead.
The earth beneath my feet is moist,
And I feel a soft breeze fly by me and around my shoulders,
As I dip my feet into the stream,
The coolness soothes my hot skin.
The river is like little ribbons lying across the earth,
It is like warm tender love flowing around the fish,
The waterfall ahead is my mother’s spilt tea falling off the edge of the table back at home,
Or millions of marbles crashing out of a jar and splashing onto the floor.
All of the sudden rain starts to fall,
Dripping down, down my face and body,
The droplets of the rain splash along the rushing river,
Making it move quicker and quicker.
The river now looks like a glittering piece of jewelry,
Rushing along toward the waterfall ahead.
As the day starts to become night,
I slip on my shoes and begin to walk home.
And I know that tomorrow I will come back to,
My Favorite place to be,
At the river.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Waves By: Bailey B.

The surf rolls on to the sand
Bringing its sun burnt cargo in tow.
Then it slides back in to the sea,
Only to repeat again, and again.

The Sea

By: Bailey B.

Where breezes fly though my hair,
Where the sand tickle my feet,
Where cool waves wash over my ankles,
Where the sun keeps me warm in her heat.

Where seagulls shriek at our kites,
Where there are plenty of shells for me,
Where dolphins say hi from the water,
That's where I want to be.

Reflections By: Bailey B.

I know someone
A friend of mine
She kind of looks like me
And every time the lake is still
She always there for me I smile at her
She smiles at me
I wave to her
She waves back at me
When I talk
She listens
When I cry
She does too
And every once-in-a-while
I look at her and see
That that is exactly how Our friendship was meant to be.

Morning Water

By: Bailey B.

A misty morn,
A foggy dawn,
The perfect beginning
For a stroll to the pond.

A splash, a ripple.
The silence breaks.
Deer come to drink
In this hazy morning place.

The sun starts to climb
Into the soft pink sky.
So I bid my farewells,
And say my good-byes.

A misty morn,
A foggy dawn,
The perfect ending
For a stroll to the pond.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


By Caitlin S. Age 12

Blue cold water- icy pleasure in the mountains
Warm furry critters,
Munching on fish, nibbling weeds and scarfing down
Sliding down mud. Plunging,
Ripples wash over their heads,
Bubbles tickle their bellies,
Churning the water as they twirl
Playful otters
Playground rivers
Freedom's little astronauts, weightless in the water

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bountiful River

By Faisal Khurshid

Water flows like the drizzle of bliss that falls from the sky,
the water that brings a smile upon the faces of you and I.

The peaceful blessing of water that comes from cotton candy clouds when
they turn sour,
flows into the river and gives the fish a cool shower.

The blessing of life that makes man’s golden smile dandy,
blesses the plants with vibrant colors like multi-colored candy.

The drizzle of water that the prosperous ignore,
makes the farmer on the other side of the world celebrate and thank the Lord.

The river that makes the young play outside with faces of glee,
makes the adults with stern faces flee.

The drizzle of water brings much happiness to some,
makes the young run and have fun.

The water that gives the fish life,
ends the hungry’s suffer and strife.

© 2008. Faisal Khurshid.

Nature’s Treasure by Katy E., Age 14

Liquid diamonds,
Slipping down a ribbon of sunshine.
Finned jewels weave in and out of the rippled light.
Creating prisms of luminescence
dark petite thieves warble around the crystal surface.
They dip and descend
Attempting to embezzle the glittering diamonds.

Emerald beds lie close to the ridge of the train of glittering silk
On hard stony silver crumbs.
As strong breaths ripple the calm surface
They break upon the silver and scattered themselves
Along the sprouting green limbs.
As the drops of light slip down the slim stalk
Into the copper earth below.

Heavy footfalls fall gently on their tender tips
Slightly dipping them back, scattering the drops of crystal light
Into a sweeping bracelet of color.
Bursting red and greens
Are beaded against hues of blues and yellows.
Brilliantly coming forth with all their shine
They kiss the drifting rays of light
As it disappears into the velvet case of Nuit.

Luna brushes over the drips of diamonds with a practiced hand.
She drenches their shine with her subtle glow.
Her gentle breath calms the gently flowing silk surface
scattering its tamed waves with crystals.
Dressing the mother in its evening jewels.
A crown of pearls fall from the heavens
Lacing golden beds in glitter.

Slowly light slips into the faint elegance.
Delicate creatures arrayed in bright hues of red, blue, and yellow
Flock hither and thither.
With dainty feathered gloves, they dip into the liquid silk.
Ripples swirl in the looking glass,
Reawakening the silent finned sapphires.
Crystalized pearls rest on the green satin and light the day
In a brilliant radiance.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My River By Anna S. 14

My River
By: Anna Soane 14
Whirling, swirling, twirling
Delicately reaching out to my soul
Its beautiful ripples each embodies a dream
A dream waiting to come alive
Dwindling towards mother natures arms
Slivers of hope following the gentle crests and peeks
Swimming, swimming along the side
The scent of the water creeps into my soul
Making me feel alive
As the frigid water splashes against my rock it kisses
my rosy cheeks
The howling winds reaching out towards me
As the sunsets and the stars align
and as I walk home
I hear the gentle crests and peaks,
pintsize splashesand the roar of the crickets
Then I realize that all I will ever need
And all I will ever want is
My River

Journey Through The Seasons

By Taskeen K. Age 10, Grade 4

I can feel your chilly waters
Quietly rushing against my toes.
I taste and smell your misty air.
Through your clear blue waters I see
your nimble fish, quick as clouds,
and your smooth, cool, pebbles.

Your guards are the gray, jagged, snowcapped mountains
which keep you going.
For company you have the talkative Maples
And you respond with your swishing waves.
Before they shed their leaves
they glance in your shimmering waters
looking for their reflection
making sure they look their best.

In Winter, when the Maples hibernate
You gossip with the whispering grass.

And with Spring, the beavers come to help
carve out your meandering shape.

Oh River, who could have a more adventourous journey than you?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


By Sana K. Grade 3, age 8

Once upon a time, there was a squirrel named Rachel. She hated sounds. When Rachel was born she heard a BOOM and a BANG and she started to cry. Ever since that incident, Rachel has never ever liked sounds. Whenever she heard a sound, she would run away or cover her ears.

One day Rachel saw a little squirrel who knew she hated sounds. He was a bully and he made a screeching sound, yelled and slammed a door. Rachel got very upset and ran away home. Her mother said, “ Rachel dear, why don’t you overcome your fear?” Rachel thought for a moment and then she said “But Mommy what should I do when I hear loud sounds? I always get so scared and all the other squirrels laugh at me.”
“No, they wouldn’t” said Mom
“Do I have to be brave?” asked Rachel.
“Yes” said her mother

The next day when Rachel went to school she was feeling very nervous about being brave because she didn’t know what types of sounds she would hear. During the day she heard a locker slamming, a door closing, the school bell ringing, students screaming and each time she heard a noise she reminded herself to be brave. It was really hard the first day but each day Rachel became braver and braver until she overcame her fear. Then the sounds didn’t bother her and she lived happily ever after.



By Sana K., Grade 3, Age 8

Little rock, little rock
I sit upon you day and night.
I sit upon you hearing
the streams and waves crashing by.

When I feel you
You seem like a pool of silk rushing past me.
I watch you and it feels like
You go right through me.

I love seeing the animals
I love hearing the birds
I love seeing the fish
I watch the water winding past me
Like a snake.
The croaking of the frogs
The chirping of the birds
Make me feel
Like I am at home.

All the nature is in me
I can feel it
Can’t you see.

I see the reflection of you
Like a mirror
In my heart.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

River By Ajmal A. Age 9

In the river water flows
Sometimes fast, sometimes slow
Starts small then it grows
wider, wider every mile
Blue like sky
Fish like rainbows
On the banks, trees and houses
People fishing
boats floating
In the river
water flows

Saturday, February 2, 2008

River of Words Contest Deadline Feb 15

Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of WATERSHEDS. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live, and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover.The contest is open to any child in the world, from 5-19 years of age. Older students must have not yet completed high school. There is no charge to enter. (See entry form.)Students may enter on their own, or as part of a group (classroom, Girl Scout troop, 4-H, etc.). All entrants are receive acknowledgement in the form of a "Watershed Explorer" certificate. (See complete rules.)Poetry submissions are judged by River of Words co-founders Robert Hass, who served as US Poet Laureate from 1995-1997, and writer Pamela Michael. Art entries are judged by children's book writer and illustrator, Thacher Hurd.About 100 poems and artworks from both US and international entries are selected as finalists each year. All winners receive ribbons, books and/or art supplies, t-shirts and other prizes.Eight Grand Prize winners—four in poetry and four in art, in four different age categories—are chosen from the US entries.
Category I — Kindergarten-Grade 2Category II — Grades 3-6Category III — Grades 7-9Category IV — Grades 10-12
We also award an International Prize each year to a student from outside the United States. The International Prize may be awarded for either poetry or art.In addition, RoW and The Library of Congress Center for the Book honor two students who live in our respective watersheds: River of Words´ Shasta Bioregion Prize and The Library of Congress´ Anacostia Watershed Prize. The winning works may be either poetry or art.Winners are announced each April at a gala event at the San Francisco Library. The Grand Prize and International winners win an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to attend the RoW Award Ceremony at The Library of Congress.

Yearly Contest Deadlines:USA: February 15Foreign: March 1
Entry Form
Complete Contest Rules (Please Read!)

Sour as a Lemon by Michael S. Age 7

I tasted an orange
and I thought it would be as sweet as a mango,
but it was as sour as a lemon.