Hey, did you know something? Well, I'm very nice and I like to teach people stuff, so I'm going to tell you. Boys are aliens! Yeah, I know, crazy, right? My BFF Mia Danderson told me last week while we were doing jumping jacks in gym class.

1st Place

Kyra Lesmerises

Boys Are Aliens

Hey, did you know something? Well, I'm very nice and I like to teach people stuff, so I'm going to tell you. Boys are aliens! Yeah, I know, crazy, right? My BFF Mia Danderson told me last week while we were doing jumping jacks in gym class.

She was like, "Boys (pant) are ali(pant)ens!" And I was like, "How do you know?"

"Look around," she replied. The boys were already on the next exercise, push-ups.

"But we just started five seconds ago and we're supposed to do 15 jumping jacks," I said breathlessly.

"Only an alien could exercise that fast," Mia said to me.

"OMG!" I exclaimed.

"Um, Lisa, we should probably go onto the next exercise, 'cause Ms. Bellner is coming around and everybody else is on their second exercise," Mia said, looking around. Mikey Cosen and his twin brother, Liam, were already on their fifth exercise, jogging.

"Yeesh, let's just skip to our sixth exercise," I said.

So anyway, that's my big announcement. By the way, my name is Lisa Norkeny, my birthday is June 6th, and I'm 8 years old. I'm in third grade, and my teacher is Mr. Lenk. My favorite color is lime green, and I love giraffes. My mom's name is Ally, my dad's name is Nolan. Tina is my big sister, and she is 14. My baby brother Nathan is 6 months old. Sheriff is our 5-year-old beagle, but we also have two goldfish named Bugs Bunny and Lola. (I always write facts about myself when I start a new diary.)

Please tell us we're going to move seats, I thought as Mr. Lenk entered our classroom. I sit next to Owen Parren. He's nice and smart and he doesn't bug me or anything, but I just don't want to sit next to an alien. Mia always has better luck than me. She sits next to Jessica Kerson. Jessica always gives Mia glittery pencils. And because Mia's an only child, she doesn't have any buggish siblings. That means more presents at holidays and her cat, Fishy, is all hers.

After school, I asked Mia if I could go over to her house, but she said no because she had a dentist appointment. So I just trudged home.

When I got home, my mom, dad, and Tina were at the kitchen table. Uh-oh, I thought. When people are at the table for no apparent reason, it means something bad is going to happen.

"Honey, we need to talk," my mom said. "Tina looked in your diary, and well, do you really think boys are aliens?"

I was about to kill Tina, but that wouldn't help anything. "Yes, but Mia told me!"

My mom picked up her phone. When she hung up, she shook her head. "I just called Mia's mom and she said Mia said she never told you that."

Just then, my heart sank like the Titanic. What were BFFs even for? Betraying each other? I couldn't believe Mia! Plus, if she was at the dentist, she couldn't talk to her mom because she had all that stuff in her mouth. LIAR! "I swear, Mia told me that boys are aliens!" I exclaimed to my parents -- mostly my mom because my dad is pretty much useless when it comes to best friends.

"I'm going to go soak my head," my mom said while rubbing her temples. Then she disappeared upstairs. Tina had wandered off, probably texting her annoying boyfriend, Garrick. Still sitting at the table, with Nathan on his lap, my dad gave me a mysterious wink. Then I noticed that the full bag of chips my dad had been munching on a couple minutes ago was COMPLETELY empty! He told me that I had to take care of Nathan while he ran to the market to get more chips (my dad has a strange craving for Tostitos tortilla chips).

Juggling my adorable baby brother in my arms, I raced up to my room. As soon as I sat down on my bed, Nathan, who is only 6 months old, said a whole sentence! "You forgot my bottle," he said. "Oh my goodness," I said. Then I screamed my loudest outdoor scream.

Tina came rushing in and so did my mom, who looked a little dazed. I think I heard her mumble, "Why in the world did I have three kids?"

"What is it?" Tina asked.

"Nathan just said, 'You forgot my bottle,'" I explained.

After I said that my mom sat down next to me and had a long, motherly talk. She explained to me that there is no such thing as aliens and Nathan can't talk yet. I talked myself into the fact that it might have been a hallucination but I know what I heard, and .... BOYS ARE ALIENS!!!


2nd Place

Ted Lau

Odd, exciting and Terrible

Oddie Hi. my name is Oddie. I am 11 years old and going to 6th grade next year. My life hasn't been so great, but the amazing thing is that I am going to have a baby brother soon! It's April so it's sport season, but the thing is that I am terrible at sports. You might think why I should do a sport. Well, everyone has to do a sport which is terrible. Anyway, I decided to do a random sport and do you know what 1 got? 1 got cheerleading! This is terrible: everyone is going to laugh at me. Oh yeah, there are two more things that are terrible: 1) I was born with 3 eyes. 2 mouths. 2 ears, and 0 noses. 2) We're moving to Maine in July because my mom found a job there as an accountant. My mom is very good at Math! That means a new school, new people and especially new bullies which is terrible.

Narrator Oddie was always a good kid in class, but he was always absent because he had to do surgeries on his face all the time. Oddie's mom wanted him to be like every other child, but she knew that Oddie would always be Oddie and would never be popular. As a matter of fact, Oddie was always the opposite of popular. He would always get bullied and his mom knew she would do something about it.

Oddie I walk to my bus stop every day. It's terrible because of bullies and I have to walk to my bus stop even in the winter. I am just lucky that Fredrick, the top bully, does not ride my bus. He always makes fun of me, takes my lunch, and does other mean things to me. When I arrive at school, I always try not to show people my face. The only thing that is good about me is that I can scare some people. Next I go to class and we do 1st grade stuff when we're in 5th grade. The terrible thing is that our teacher Mrs. Shedd never calls on me to answer a problem or question. I think she is one of the people who are scared of me. Finally after 9 hours of east 1st grade work we can go home! And by the way we had cheerleading class today and it was terrible. After it, everyone was laughing at me and Fredrick laughed the most at me.

Narrator After days of struggling it was the final and last day of school. It was also the day my mom would give birth to a baby and the day the cheerleaders would cheer for the school's football team. Oddie knew it would probably be an odd and terrible day. After Oddie got to school, he walked to class like normal. But on this particular day, the fire alarm rang!!! Everyone ran to the front doors to get out but they were locked! Oddie looked behind him and saw the glowing fire get closer each second! He knew he had to do something about it. Oddie looked around with his 3 eyes and saw a crow bar in the gym. He quickly ran over and picked it up. Oddie then ran through the group of people and used the crow bar to open the front door and everyone rushed out. He did it!!! Oddie had saved everyone in the school.

Oddie The next day I got invited to tell everyone on TV about saving the whole school from the fire. I also was the front headline in the newspaper. It was an odd day and an exciting day, but it definitely was not a terrible day


3rd Place

Elena Parks

Tar' and Isalena-The Beginning of Their Adventure

Isalena is about a young girl who is going to be 12 years old in a day. She has been having dreams of a great white wolf named Tar'. What Isalena gets for her birthday is an adventure that is greater than her dreams.

Isalena is a name that my mom calls my older sister Isabelle and I put together when she calls for the both of us, and yes, we both give her an answer of, "we are coming."

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Isalena that lived in a cottage with her mom, dad, older brother John, and older sister Elizabeth.

Isalena's birthday was in one day and she would be turning 12 years old. All Isalena wanted for her birthday was to go on a real adventure, but they were poor and her parents couldn't afford for her to take a trip anywhere.

Isalena knew this and understood, but she was still sad. No birthday party and no adventure. Why even wake up tomorrow if her day would seem like today? Deep inside of Isalena she wished tomorrow would never come, but who can do that?

Tomorrow did come and Isalena was now 12 years old and she still felt like she was 11; everything felt the same. She got dressed, got ready for school and ate her breakfast, and that too felt the same, until she opened the front door of their cottage.

There in front of her she saw five feet of snow. SNOW! OMG! SO MUCH SNOW! Isalena yelled. She barely could see over the top and how would she be able to get to school?

She ran upstairs to tell her family, but at the top of the stairs stood her family yelling "Surprise!"

There in her mom's hands was a beautiful cake, her dad held a pair of wool winter boots, John held in his hands a pair of gloves and a wrapped present, and Elizabeth held a very cozy hat that came past the ears and was also holding another gift for her. But the most surprising gift of all stood between her parents and her siblings.

It was the most beautiful white wolf she had ever seen with her eyes in her 12 years of life; Isalena only had dreamed of him. This one looked just like the one in her dream, but when she heard him say, "Hi Isalena, I am so happy to finally meet you. Happy Birthday and are you ready for the winter adventure you have been dreaming of?" With a loud yes, and her arms wrapped around Tar', Isalena was so happy.

The winter adventure began with five feet of snow and the cold after she ate and dressed in the warm things her family gave her.

Isalena gave hugs and kisses goodbye, looked at her mom and sister and understood this was something that they knew was going to happen.

Isalena smiled hard, hugged hard and was ready to go on the great winter adventure she had been dreaming of and just knew she had to go on.

She opened the door, saw the snow and asked Tar', "how are we to travel in so much snow?" Tar' smiled with a grin, not sure if he was going to eat her or not. He said, "Get on my back."

Isalena gave him a silly look and just said, "NO! I am way too big for your back!" Tar' said again to her, "GET ON MY BACK!!" with a strong tone and she knew she better do it so she did.

Tar' began to grow and grow. He grew bigger than a full size polar bear and off they went. He leaped right out the door, over the snow, and their winter adventure began, but that's another story.


Honorable Mention

Maya Rothchild

The Lost Last Chapter of Pedro's Journal

Assignment: Create primary source documents from the point of view of a character from Pedro's Journal, a historical fiction novel by Pam Conrad that tells the story of Christopher Columbus from the point of view of a ship's boy.

February 14th, 1493

I cannot believe that I will have to toss away all of my memories to the crashing waves of the ocean. The next time I journal it will not be with my favorite book. The captain, at the very least, has decided to send it back "first class." It shall be wrapped in wax cloth, sealed into a wooden barrel, and thrown into the Atlantic. I cannot bear to see it go. Goodbye old friend.

If somebody finds this message before I return to Palos, tell my mother that I long for her every night. I want her to know that I am praying for her on my knees, pleading that she is well. Send my love, affection, and gratitude to her.

February 23rd, 1493

We have made it through the storm. We are still trapped on the Nina with bored, stiff looks upon our faces. I have grown tired of carrying papers instead of my beloved journal. I continue to turn the timer every hour and call to the crew. I wish to be home. Each day my faith in ever returning is fading like a sunset in the distance. Hold on, did someone just yell? Land? Land! I see land dead ahead! I can't believe I have made it home and will see my family again.

Written by Pedro Salcedo

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