Westerville writing contest 2021: Category grades 3-5

Compiled by Linda Wilkins
Arts Council of Westerville

First place: “Horseshoe” by Lucy Elliott

Second place: “Addy’s Tropical Adventure” by Lydia Purdy

Third place: “Little Fire’s Rising” by Madeline Tracy

Honorable mention: “A Diamante” by Analeise Grant

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First place

"Horseshoe"

By Lucy Elliott

Lucy Elliott

“Warren! Stop! Remember what Mom said about jumping off the loft into a pile of hay! You’ll get hurt!” Kylie called. “Besides, we’re supposed to be mucking out the barn, not breaking our necks!”

“It’s not that high,” responded Warren.

Kylie retorted, “Do I have to come up there and tickle you to death before you’ll agree to stop your wacko jumping stunts that land you in the hospital and Mom and Dad in the middle of a financial crisis?”

“If you don’t want me to jump, yes,” Warren said matter-of-factly.

“Fine,” Kylie answered as she climbed the ladder to the hay loft. When she reached the top, Kylie grabbed her brother’s shirtsleeve and marched him to the corner of the loft where she tackled him to the floor.

“Ouch!” he cried. “My head hit something metal!”

“Huh?”

“There,” he said, pointing toward a glint beneath the hay. “I think it’s a box.”

“Open it,” Kylie commanded when her brother had cleared the hay away, revealing a rectangular metal box. Inside, they discovered a leather book with a horseshoe print on its cover and the name “Lillian Grace” in gold lettering.

“I think it’s a journal,” Warren said, dumbfounded. Inscribed on the front page was Diary of Elisabeth Lillian Grace. Warren turned the page to the first entry. It read:

Dear Diary,

I’ve just bought this journal and had inscribed on its front cover, Lillian Grace. I chose my middle and last names, as I think that Elisabeth is so old fashioned. It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since we moved to Horseshoe Ranch. I believe by next year, in 1970, I will be accustomed to my “new” life, but for now I still miss Colorado. Mother is calling me, but I will write again tomorrow. –L.G.

Kylie grabbed the journal from Warren and found the next entry.

Dear Diary,

I’ve heard the most incredible news! Men have walked on the moon! It’s revolutionary! And two great things in one day! I’ll explain about the second. Mama is pregnant! A boy, she says. His name will be Michael, which means “warrior.”  –L.G.

Kylie heard a voice calling. “Kids, dinner!” Carefully, Kylie placed the journal in its box and climbed down from the loft, Warren at her heels.

The next morning, Kylie and Warren stepped outside into the freezing winter air. “I checked the calendar,” Kylie broke the silence, steam puffing from her mouth as she spoke. “We’ll need to hurry if we want to read more today. We’re booked all afternoon with farm tours.” Warren groaned. He hated farm tours, mainly because he had to lead them. They reached the barn and climbed to the loft where they found the box exactly as they had left it. Kylie opened the box and brought out the musty journal, flipping to where they had left off. She read aloud:

Dear Diary,

It has been weeks since I last wrote, but I have good news. Little Michael was born yesterday! I was asleep when he came. I must go now, as there are cows to be milked and eggs to be collected. I’ll write again soon, though I don’t know when I’ll have time. –L.G.

Kylie continued reading.

Dear Diary,

I’ve not written in over a month.  My whole life is falling apart. Mother took ill and died a week ago. Thank the Lord that little Michael survived. Papa says we’ll move back to Colorado. I’ll leave this journal and a note hidden in the barn. The note holds the key. –L.G.

Kylie turned to the next page. Empty. A piece of frayed paper fell out. “What do you think she meant by ‘the note holds the key’?” she asked.

“I dunno,” Warren answered. They heard a “clink” as something shiny hit the floor. Warren and Kylie exchanged a glance. They’d seen a lock with that design before. Snatching the key off the ground, they raced back to the house. Stomping their boots on the mat, they ran into Kylie’s room. There was a locked window seat that opened up, presumably into a storage compartment. She slid the key into the lock. “Click!” A perfect fit! Lifting the lid, Kylie grabbed a small box and opened it. Inside was a horseshoe-shaped locket with a note attached. The note read:

My grandmother, Hazel Grace’s locket. It contains a picture of her and my grandfather, founders of Horseshoe Ranch. –L.G.

Kylie opened the locket and gazed at the picture of Hazel Grace and her husband. Smiling, she placed the locket and key on top of her dresser. Realizing that he was still in her room, Kylie herded Warren out. She sat down on her bed, satisfied that she had learned the history of her home, Horseshoe Ranch.

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Second place

"Addy's Tropical Adventure"

By Lydia Purdy

Lydia Purdy

One, dreary, November day, a girl named Addy was in her room reading a book. Suddenly, she heard a high-pitched voice.

"Addy, come! Follow me!"

Addy assumed it was just one of her brothers trying to bother her. But she checked anyways. No one was outside her door. She looked inside her closet. Strangely, her clothes weren't there. Instead, she saw a tropical rainforest and in front of her was a fairy.

"Hi! I'm Hallie, a Hibiscus Fairy," she said.

"Wow! What are you doing here?" asked Addy.

"I'm here to take you on an adventure!" Hallie explained.

"Really? Okay!" exclaimed Addy.

"Well, what are you waiting for? Let's go!" said Hallie.

Hallie led Addy down a path when they came to a waterfall. Hallie said, "This is a magic waterfall! Don't worry, it's fun!"

Hallie grabbed a raft made out of logs and moss, and sprinkled fairy dust on it so it grew bigger and Addy could ride on it. Addy and Hallie strapped on seat belts that were made of bendy pieces of grass. Addy got the jitters. What if they drowned?

As if Hallie could read her mind, she said, "Don't worry. We fairies always take human girls on adventures here and each one of them has survived. And you won't even get wet!"          

Addy felt better. Hallie started to paddle with a long stick. Addy held her breath as the waterfall took them away. Hallie waved her fairy wand and a big bubble surrounded the raft. When they went down, the raft kept a steady pace. Addy took that time to look around. She saw fairies and humans frolicking together in the woods. It looked like a lot of fun! When they got to the end of the waterfall, Hallie said, "Come! It's time for the party!"

Addy followed Hallie into a circle surrounded by trees. She saw a table made out of old stumps set with tea and cookies. She was so surprised when she saw her best friend, Renée.

"Addy! You're here too?" exclaimed Renée when she saw her there.

"Yeah! Now that you're here, I'm starting to realize this isn't a dream," Addy replied.

Just then, a fairy rang a bell. "Attention!" she said. "It's now time for the party to begin!"

Music started to play. "I guess I might as well try a cookie." Addy said, making her way towards the table.  

"Good idea!" agreed Renée.

Day turned to night, and then Addy realized something. "Hallie! My family is probably worrying about me. I've been gone so long!" she said.

"Addy, have you ever read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?" Hallie asked.

"Well, yes. But what does that have to do with anything?" Addy asked.

"It's the time. No time has passed in your world," Hallie explained. "But you're right, you should be getting home soon. I'll lead the way."

Hallie led Addy back to a tree at the edge of the forest. She waved her fairy wand and Addy's closet appeared.

"Thank you so much! I had a lot of fun" said Addy. "Can you take me on an adventure another time?" she asked.

"Sure!" And with that, Hallie disappeared.

Wow, thought Addy. As she closed the closet door and turned around, she noticed a hibiscus flower on her pillow. So cool!

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Third place

"Little Fire's Rising"

By Madeline Tracy

Madeline Tracy

Egan was in his little mountainside home. He lived with his brother, Blaze. His brother was out trying to find some food for them, Egan was content with the little food he had, but Blaze ate too much food, so he had to go and hunt for more.

Egan walked to the opening of the cave. He flew to the nearby lake, bent his head down to the water, and drank. A minute later a bluish green creature came bursting out of the water, screeching.

¨AHHHH,¨ Egan yelled as water splashed on his scales.

¨Ha ha!¨ The creature laughed. When Egan got a better look at it, he recognized who it was.

“AQUA, WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!” He asked her angrily. Aqua looked at him pretending to feel guilty. “Sorry,” she said, still laughing.

“Where is Ocean?” Egan asked. Aqua looked at the lake and whistled. Ocean came bursting out of the water as well.

“Do all water dragons do that now?” Egan asked. Ocean and Aqua looked at him. Egan went to call Blaze. He was already hurtling towards them. Everyone moved, and Blaze fell into the water.

Blaze shrieked!  He hurried to land because he hated water. The others giggled. When Blaze finally got out of the water, he glared at them. Immediately, they stopped laughing. The sound of a fish flapping caught everyone’s attention. Their eyes fell on Blaze’s tail. A fish was stuck on the tip of his tail. Egan swung his tail around, grabbed the fish, and ate it. Blaze stared.

“What? The fish was yummy!” Egan said while chewing.

Ocean spoke, “I’m glad you’re all here. I have discovered that someone is trying to steal the treasure that we have been sworn to protect.

“We should go check on it,” Aqua said.

“Egan, you stay here.” Blaze said.

“Wait, why?” Egan asked, upset. Aqua looked at him, spit out a wave of water, and shook her head. Egan knew what she was talking about. He could not spit fire like other dragons. At best, he could light a small campfire. He wasn’t sure why, but he was determined to find out. Egan was sad he couldn’t go, but it gave him more time to read his scrolls.  He hoped the scrolls would reveal to him how to spit fire, but they didn’t.

An hour later, he saw his friends in the distance. “Guys what are you doing back here?” He asked Aqua as they arrived at the cliff bottom.

“We came back for you!” Blaze said as he came up to hug Egan. Egan pushed him away.

“We want to help you get your fire back.” Ocean said joyfully.

He could not believe it. Was he going to get his fire? He hoped. He gulped, and looked at them.

“I’m ready,” he said.

They flew to the Elemental Center, where dragons learn to use their powers. When they walked in, they saw four banners hanging over four different doors, red for fire, blue for water, green for earth, and white with hints of light blue for wind and air.  Egan made his way to the door labeled fire. The others waited. When he entered, Egan saw so many scrolls. Another dragon was reading one. Egan walked up and looked at him.

“Hi. I am Egan. Are you a teacher?” Egan looked at him hopeful.

“Yes. My name is Cadmus,” Cadmus replied.

Egan tried to hide all of his excitement. “Okay Cadmus, I need your help,” Egan said. “I’m struggling to make fire, and I don't know why. I came here to find out why.”

“That's interesting. I think I know why.” Cadmus said as he looked at the scrolls labeled fire breathing. His eyes gleamed, and he pulled one out. Egan wasn't close enough to see what it said, but he saw one sentence, hydrogen and methane-rich gas. “Here it is,” Cadmus said. “Dragons have hydrogen and methane-rich gas in their mouths that when mixed with oxygen creates fire.”

Egan knew that. He just never thought that was the problem.  “Is there any way to fix this?” Egan was desperate for an answer. Cadmus looked at him and shook his head.

“I am sorry, Egan,” Cadmus said. Egan’s head drooped, and he began sulking. As he made his way to the door, Cadmus came up to him.

“Hey, it will be okay, Egan. Even if you can’t produce fire, you possess other gifts that make you awesome.”

“Thanks, Cadmus,” Egan said. When he left, he saw Ocean, Aqua, and Blaze waiting for him. “Let's go. I can’t fix my fire,” Egan sadly said to his friends.

Blaze opened his mouth to talk but didn't say anything.

“I didn’t find my fire, but I still have plenty to give.” Egan said.

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Honorable mention

"A Diamante"

By Analeise Grant

Analeise Grant

Girl

Pretty, Kind

Flowers, Dresses, Dolls

Makeup, Fashion, Pants, Cars

Sports, Joking, Action

Handsome, Strong

Boy