Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What If?

Poem by Gbemi O., 8th Grade
What if I was alone?
What if I wanted a warm home?
What if you didn't care?
What if I had lots to share?
What if I loved you?
What if this was the end?
What if I knew you hated me?
What if I knew deep down you had faith in me?
What if I didn't know?
What if I hadn't been shown?
What if I cried?
What if I had no pride?
What if my self- esteem was low?
What if I had no one to show?
What if i didn't know?
What if all i could do was write poems?
What if I didn't need him?
What if all of this was for a good reason?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Medieval Paper

By Brennan K., Grade 6

The Crusade is pointless. The Crusaders should be more Christian-like and ask politely if they could share the Holy Land. If they had thought about what they were going to do, like maybe killing many people, they would know they were breaking the commandment (Thou Shalt Not Kill) and will be sent to Hell.

The Crusade is happening because of greed. The Christians are forgetting all about their beliefs and practices and are going after the Holy Land. Greed is destroying their common sense and self control. Greed is also urging the Crusaders to conquer foreign lands. Its like kids and their toys: they forget about everything else and all they can think about is the new toy at the market. The Holy Land is just like that new toy. The greed is pulling the Crusaders to the Holy Land the same as the toy entices the child. The Crusade is pointless because it is a waste of time, men and money.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Operation: Cactus Trouble

By Edgebrook School's 3rd Grade with Ms. Sherwood
Illustrations by Jeni Crone (Noun Confused)

Once upon a time in the very dry and vast Desolate Singing Desert there lived a secret agent named Bob-Larry.  Bob-Larry was one of the most famous wormtle agents in all of the world.  (A wormtle is a very special creature which is part worm and part turtle, and it makes him very good at being a special agent because he can hide like a worm but still has a hard shell to protect him.)

Bob-Larry was way cooler than all of the other wormtle agents, because not only was he made out of chocolate, but also, he could disguise himself as a stick whenever he was in trouble.  

Every day, when Bob-Larry was not saving the world, he would spend his time racing rocket-equipped Volkswagens across the desert.  Everyone he drove by had to shout out, “Punch buggy tie-dye!” because his rocket-equipped Volkswagen was tie-dyed blue, pink, and orange with a black peace sign on the hood.

One day, as Bob-Larry was sitting in his kitchen, getting ready to start the day, his banana phone started flashing.  He answered the phone, which was his direct line to  Paul Bunyan, who was the head of the Secret Agent Wormtle Agency, which was also known as SAWA.

“Yes, Chief?” questioned Bob-Larry.

Paul Bunyan replied, “Your greatest enemy Chuck-Charles is on the loose and being helped by his assistant, Miles Davis.”

“What’s going on here?” asked Bob-Larry.

“Chuck-Charles is chopping down all the magic purple cacti in the Desolate Singing Desert.  You must stop them!”

What happens next?! Will Bob-Larry save the cacti? Why have Chuck-Charles and Miles Davis decided to chop down the cacti in the first place? Finish the story yourself, and send it to  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Iron Man With Fork

By Albatool S., Grade 6, Johann W Von Goethe Elementary

It was a very nice evening. The sun was about to set, and Iron Man was getting ready to go out with his girlfriend, Rosalie, to eat dinner at Olive Garden. As most people know, Iron Man is very huge, but Rosalie was very tiny compared to him. It was very hard for Rosalie to fit Iron Man in her Volkswagen Beetle. She also had to put him in the backseat. “Do I have to lie down?” asked Iron Man. Rosalie said yes. Iron Man tried to squeeze in so he could fit, but it didn’t work.
“Oh my gosh, Iron Man,” Rosalie said. “Maybe I should buy a new car that you could fit into."        
“Yeah, sure,” Iron Man replied. “Why not? But I’m not paying for it.”
“Never mind, then,” said Rosalie. Iron Man asked if they were there yet. They were. After 15 minutes, Rosalie finally got Iron Man out of the backseat of the car.
“Is this a special occasion?” asked Iron Man.
“No, duh,” Rosalie said. “It’s been a month since we have been dating. Plus, why should I take you out to dinner and waste my money on you if there’s no special occasion.”
“Aw, you’re bogus,” said Iron Man.

Then, Rosalie and Iron Man went inside to eat dinner. “Hello sir,” said the waitress. “What can I get you?”
“First of all, my name is Iron Man, not sir,” he replied. “And I want a steak, medium rare. And some salad, soup, and breadsticks.”
“Wow, sir…uh…I mean, Iron Man, you have a big appetite,” the waitress answered.
“No, I don’t,” Iron Man said. “It’s just that my girlfriend is paying for dinner. If I was paying, I would order only breadsticks and soup.” 

While they waited for their steak, Iron Man and Rosalie ate breadsticks and soup. After 10 minutes, the waitress served their steak. “Mmm,” Iron Man said. “That was good.”
“Yup,” replied his girlfriend. Iron Man was at his last bite when he accidentally ate his fork. “Are you okay?” asked Rosalie. “Should I call an ambulance?”
“No, I’m fine,” replied Iron Man. “This actually tastes good. Do you want some, Rosalie?”
“Yeah, sure,” replied Rosalie. Rosalie took a bite and then made a face. “It does taste good,” Rosalie lied. “You should open a restaurant.”
So, he did, but he got no customers.
Aww, poor Iron Man.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

826CHI celebrates the National!


In honour of our friends the National releasing their new album, High Violet, today we thought we'd post a couple excerpts from articles some 826CHI middle school students wrote last summer when they interviewed the band at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Enjoy!

From Mason Hammond's "Pitchfork Music Festival":

The National are headliners for Pitchfork this year. Their band name is a mistake of nature – they tried to make the name boring, so that it would be cool in a sense, yet in spite of the boring name they are known worldwide. They have played all over the US, as well as in Russia, Greece, Istanbul, and more. This is their second year at Pitchfork but they’ve been a band for ten years, while only vastly popular for two years.

Their most successful song is "Fake Empire," because of its wide use, being included in an Obama presidential campaign commercial. Their influences are Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, the Pixies, and Pavement. They think that music can be political and create political songs themselves sometimes, but they really just want their music to be fun.

From Jamari Brown's "Pitchfork Madness":

Last but not least I interviewed "The National." They tried to come up with a really boring name but at the same time make it "cooler than cool." This was the National's second year at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Their musical themes are romance, insecurity, and scaredness.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Fat, Hairless Hamster Hits the Waterpark

By: Ms. Venegas’ 2nd Grade Class from LaSalle Language Academy
Illustrator: Corinne Mucha
Storyteller: Libby Walker

Once upon a time, in the freezing cold city of Newer Mexico, there was an epic waterpark called Crocodile Palace. This waterpark had fifty million rides, including hamster rides, two-thousand foot tall water slides, and The Intergalactic Drop, which brings you all the way to Otter Space and back again. At Crocodile Palace, there was a superfan. His name was Chew-Cho, and he was a fat, hairless, green, scaredy hamster.

Chew-Cho was afraid of clowns, tomatoes, and giant bananas. But, miraculously, Chew-Cho was not afraid of water slides. In fact, he had bravely snuck onto an airplane headed for Newer Mexico so he could experience Crocodile Palace for himself. It was also easy for him to parachute out of the plane, because its cargo was clowns, tomatoes and giant bananas. But, he did not just ride the rides from top to bottom, he also loved to climb straight back up the tubes and tunnels.

His absolute number-one favorite ride in the whole park was the Devil Fire Slide. You rode upside down twenty million feet through walls of fire and ghoulish shadows. "Oh yeah, baby!" Chew-Cho would shout as he zipped through the water slide at one thousand miles per hour. When he reached the end, he would turn around and scamper right back up to the top again.

On Take Your Clown, Tomato, or Giant Banana to the Waterpark Day, Chew-Cho would normally hide underwater with his goggles and snorkle until all of the frightening guests left. This year, the day actually lasted for forty-eight hours. When he emerged from the jacuzzi he was hiding in, he was shocked to realize it was still his least favorite holiday!

What happens next?! Will Chew-Cho survive Take Your Clown, Tomato, or Giant Banana to the Waterpark Day? Will he get to ride his beloved Devil Fire Slide ever again? Finish the story yourself, and send it to

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Cup of Milk in Space and Cookies in a Girl’s Hand

This story is featured in Houston, We Have a Poem, now available in The Boring Store!
By Lee’nisha P., Grade 4

There was a girl who went to space because she had science homework. The girl went to space and the cookies said to the milk, “I hate it when we fight.”

The milk said, “I forgive you.”

Then the cookies went back to the milk, and they lived happily ever after. If you are in space and you eat cookies, you will float and your cookies will float too.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Black Holes

This poem is featured in Houston, We Have a Poem, our newest chapbook. The book celebrates Prom Hanks and National Poetry Month. Tevin Y. wrote this poem to commemorate both, combining poetry with Apollo 13. Stop into The Boring Store to pick up your copy. 

By Tevin Y., Grade 2

Black holes are
and not very
If I were
to meet
my mind
would go…


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Non-Stop Cake

By Brianca K., Randolph School, Grade 6

It was a Sunday afternoon. Lawar had just got through playing basketball at the court. He drove to the doctor’s in his Cadillac SRX. He had just gotten through eating his cake. His doctor had told his he wasn’t supposed to eat cake. So he drove home and started to have stomach problems. He went to the store to buy milk. But as he was buying milk, he noticed that he didn’t have his wallet. The he drove back to the doctor’s office to see if he left it there. He walked in and noticed that everyone was eating birthday cake, because it was his doctor’s birthday.    
He walked in and took the cake. Everybody dropped their plates and started chasing after him. He pulled off in an instant, before anybody could catch him. He was minutes away from his mansion, and he noticed his stomach starting to ache. He drove home and his wife has just got through making a birthday cake for him. He looked in the refrigerator and saw that his wife had made him a cake. He looked behind the cake and saw milk, and poured himself some. He got full and started to go to sleep. He woke up in the morning with frosting and dry milk on his lips, and laying on the floor. Then he remembered he forgot his wallet. He yelled out loud, “Oh man!”

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Van Pelt The Color Changing Ghost

By Horace Mann Elementary's 2nd Grade, with Ms. Pashos
Illustrations by Aaron Renier

Once upon a time in a spooky cobweb filled house, there lived sixteen regular ghosts and one very special color changing ghost named Van Pelt. Van Pelt could change into any color in the rainbow. He would go black to green to red in just one second. You could always tell Van Pelt's mood by what color he was. Green was if he was embarrassed. Red was if he was angry. Yellow was if he was happy, and black was if he was in love. Van Pelt spent his days scaring people who tried to come into his haunted house. "Get out of my mansion!" he would growl and, starting with his toes, he would change color until he was bright red.

Midnight, on April 26th, Van Pelt ran into a very serious problem at his house. He was minding his own business, just playing a great game of Ghostland when, all of a sudden, he heard some loud footsteps trumping up his stairs.

Creeeeeak went the door to his bedroom. "Hello. May I please play your game with you?" someone asked. Van Pelt looked away from his game with a skeptical look and saw in his doorway the biggest, baddest bully in town. It was Jake the Master. He had a bright red mohawk that was seven feet high.

"What do you want?" asked Van Pelt, "And most of all, why aren't you afraid of me?"

"Well," said Jake the Master, "I'm not afraid of you because I just want to be your friend."

"No way!" screamed Van Pelt, and he turned all of his darkest colors at once.

What happens next?! Will Jake and Van Pelt ever be friends? Who would win if they played Ghostland? How can Jake stand up straight with that much hair?
Finish the story yourself, and send it to

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Las Vegas Adventure of Buddy and Juju

By Erie Elementary Charter School's 3rd Grade with Ms. Osorto
Illustrations by Jeni Crone (Noun Confused)
Buddy, the alien from Mars, lived in a haunted house. He liked to collect things, like rocks, and he liked to eat chicken fingers. One of his favorite things to do was to invite friends over for slumber parties. Juju, the Prince from Saturn, was one of his best friends. One weekend, they jumped in their spaceship and went to Las Vegas.
“Let’s go swimming, and then we can go to the movies,” said Juju.
“Sure,” said Buddy. “That sounds like a great idea.”
As the spaceship came closer to Las Vegas, they looked down and saw that everyone was being very serious, even though there was a huge carnival in town.
“Wow, this carnival looks like fun,” said Juju. “I wonder why everyone is so serious.”

Buddy said, “Let’s put on our disguises so we can go down and talk to the people without scaring them.”
The disguises had spikey yellow hair with gel, gigantic black coats that went all the way down to their feet, sunglasses, and moustaches.
Since they each had four arms, it was hard for them to look human, but they tried anyway. As they walked downtown, they saw a scientist who was looking for aliens, but he didn’t notice them.

Juju walked up to a serious looking person who just got off the Coconut Coaster, which everyone knows is the most fun ride in the entire carnival.
“What’s up?” Juju asked the serious lady.
“They destroyed the Spider Coaster, which was way better than the Coconut Coaster,” said the lady.

What happens next?! Who destroyed the Spider Coaster? Will Juju and Buddy be able to fix the Spider Coaster? Why is everyone in Las Vegas so serious?
Finish the story yourself, and send it to

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Congratulations Sheila!

Sheila McIntosh's awesome story Wind and Rain has just received the National Golden Key Award after receiving a Regional Award in the National Art and Writing Awards. Sheila's story was written in 826CHI's Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better workshop. Congratulations, Sheila!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Taco That Ate Everything

By the students of Animation Station, one of 826CHI's amazing workshops. The Taco That Ate Everything is a terrifying reminder to eat healthy.

The Taco That Ate Everything from Awig Ifyouwantit on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wind and Rain

By Sheila McIntosh, Grade 8
This story was written by Sheila McIntosh in 826CHI's Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better workshop. She then took it home, polished it, and sent it along to the National Art and Writing Awards, and took home the Golden Key award in the Chicago Regional. Congratulations Sheila!

I hear the crashing rapids pounding in time with my heart. My sister’s hand is in mine, her eyes beseeching me. Suddenly, I feel her slip away. I close my eyes as she screams. Then all I can hear is the river.

I cannot remember a time when I was without Victoria. We were born but a year apart. My first memory is of her knocking into me as she played, sending my painstakingly crafted embroidery across the room to slam into the wall, ripping stitches. That was the first time I got angry, truly angry. It exploded out of me and I pushed her down, hard. As she lay there on the floor, holding her sprained wrist and sobbing, I calmly salvaged my sewing. Our nana found us there.
My temper stayed in a cold place inside myself most of the time. I was praised by my mother as being a perfect little lady, always composed and dignified, and that I was. It was Victoria who was flamboyant, energetic, and beautiful. If they had never heard us speak, many would say we were much alike: both with long black hair, though I kept mine pinned up and Victoria left hers down; blue eyes, though hers were big and sapphire while mine were light and icy. If she was warm, I was like a winter night -- bitter and freezing.

We quarreled because of our differences, but it never got bad enough for me to do something I would regret. As a child, I was moody and prone to fits of temper, but as I grew older I learned to hide my nature. It was expedient for me to be praised and trusted by the adults in my life, instead of treated as unstable and dangerous. I could get more places with false kindness than with screaming. My parents chose to forget my earlier misbehavior. It was their wish, to have the world see their daughters as perfect, and they got it. Victoria was more open and thus had many friends, but I had the respect and relative power that comes of being dignified and calm. My smooth veneer was without a crack, except for my history.

Only two people on the earth remembered my rages. Victoria knew but did not concern herself with it; she baited me carelessly and sometimes unknowingly. My nana, on the other hand, was always careful around me. I was a forest in a drought, and she was always watching for a spark. That was Victoria's one protection through my young years, as she did not grow wiser while she aged, and it made her reckless. Nana meant to help, but now I wonder whether Victoria would have been spared had she felt my anger more.

Nevertheless, our childhood passed smoothly, as we grew accomplished and knowledgeable in history, the arts, writing, and all the charms of society. Victoria blossomed into a beauty with an outgoing disposition, while I was striking and reserved. I grew immune to her small instigations, and she became merely irksome to me, and not rage-inducing, until I was fifteen and she fourteen.

That winter was brutal. It was cold and clear in the day, but in the night sleet and hail fell mercilessly, effectively blinding late-night travelers. On one such day, Victoria went out riding with her friends. As day turned to night and she had not returned, Nana became worried. She fretted in front of the window despite my assurances. Finally she wrapped herself in a shawl and went out into the deep night to find my sister, ordering me not to follow her, as I had a bad cold.

The clock struck nine, ten, eleven. At midnight I heard hoofbeats and stumbled out of bed. Victoria swept in, laughing, shaking snow out of her hair, on the arm of a baron's son, Frederick. Nana was not with her. I told Victoria what had happened and felt a rush of satisfaction as I saw the roses drain from her cheeks, leaving her white and shocked. Frederick offered to go and get her and rode off into the night again.

It was very silent in the manor as Victoria pulled off her riding habit and slipped into a nightgown. I stared out the window, boiling inside. Through the snow flurries, I saw my grandmother's face, lined with ice, and heard my sister laugh on the wind, oblivious. She had never cared like I had, never been considerate of anyone but herself. All her warmth and affection was as fake as my calmness. Her emotions were skin-deep, but mine were deeper.
 “Sister?" I did not turn around. "I am so sorry. I never meant for this to happen. I just lost track of time. I wish I had never gone out tonight." So do I, I thought, but did not say it.
 A moment later, tentatively, "I'm sure she will be alright. She isn't so old."

“How can you be sure of anything? You're not out there, are you? You're not looking for her!"

“But what if I got lost? If there was something I could do, I would do it. You know that!" I wanted to scream. Control your anger. Do not engage. I turned away.

At two in the morning we heard the sound of hooves in the yard. We ran to the door in time to see Frederick dismount and stagger to the house, Nana in his arms. Her face was bloodless and her breathing shallow. I had to look away. Next to me, Victoria was staring in horror, transfixed. “Go prepare a bed." I shoved her roughly into the next room, and then boiled some water for curing tea. "Call the doctor!"

Frederick jumped back on his horse. It seemed like centuries before he returned with the doctor, who fed the fire and ordered us out of the room.

Nana was deeply ill for a week, and the doctor came every day to bleed her. I didn't speak to Victoria for that length of time. Gradually, I hid my deep fury and tried to forget. Nana recovered some, but was sickly through that winter. She did not get out of bed most days, and I attended to her while Victoria hovered, although her guilt abated with the thaw and we saw her less and less.

That spring came late, and Nana never got to see it. In April she started coughing blood, and was soon delirious with pain no doctor could cure until the Lord took away her suffering. One morning, she did not wake up. Watching her death ripped me up from the inside out. I felt sick myself with fear and grief, but I was slightly consoled that Nana had gone to a place where she would feel no pain. In spite of this, I couldn't bear to attend her funeral. Instead I walked by the river while Victoria sobbed into our mother's shoulder. The river was low and lazy now, but I knew when the spring rains arrived it would be roaring, dashing any driftwood cruelly against the rocks. It calmed me.

Mother decided to take on our finishing herself, as she felt Victoria was too emotional and I heartless. She had none of the natural patience of the teacher though, so we were left alone most of the time. As Victoria was almost fifteen she spent most days in the company of giggling girls her age. I was left alone to wallow in my misery and anger.

In May, Mother decided to throw a ball. I spent my days cooped up inside with Victoria while we sewed our gowns. She was gossiping and insensitive, and didn't seem to notice how much her idle chatter bothered me. She bemoaned her lack of jewelry and talked endlessly about who would attend. I had no such worries. Nana had left me a beautiful pearl necklace, a family heirloom, and I did not care who came.

On the night of the ball, I searched in vain for the necklace. I left no surface untouched, but it was nowhere to be seen. Distraught, I descended to the ball unadorned, agonizing over losing Nana's prized pearls. I stood at the wall, dancing only when Mother demanded it. I caught only glimpses of Victoria.

When the music changed to a lethargic waltz, Victoria finally settled down next to me, catching her breath. The only this I registered about her appearance was the exquisite pearl necklace gracing her throat.

“Where did you get that?" I know my tone was accusing but, flushed with dancing, she didn't pick up on it.

“Oh, I found it in your jewelry box. It matches my dress perfectly, don't you think?" she said airily.

“I cannot believe you!" I was shouting now, drawing odd looks from the assembly. "Nana left that for me! I've been looking for it all day!"

She immediately looked abashed. "I'm sorry, I didn't know."

I ran away so I wouldn't hit her, down to the river. Its waters were swirling dangerously high, almost at the bank. I stared into its rolling depths, trying to control myself. The absolute rage I thought I controlled was back unbidden.

In minutes I heard footsteps. "I'm sorry!"

I ignored her, battling the beast that was my anger, so she slipped between me and the river. 

She tried to take my hand, but I pulled out of her grasp. The monster in my chest was screaming to get out. My head pounded. I couldn't take it any more. My hands moved of their own accord as they connected with her chest, pushing her backwards. The last I saw of her was her face, still pleading.

"Sister!" Then the river swallowed her. I looked away, my heart already cooling. I saw something caught on a branch sticking into the river. I reached down to grab the necklace and walked away, to tell the story of a sister who had fallen and drowned.

In a small village with a river flowing past, there was a miller who longed to be a great violinist. He had not enough money to buy a fiddle, so he was constructing one out of driftwood that floated past on the river. One day he went down to the river and was watching it idle by when he spotted a piece of gold fabric. He pulled on it (it was surprisingly heavy) and discovered that it was a dead maiden, with long black hair and a beautiful face, though the river had battered her body. He cut off her hair and used her bones to make his violin. It was distasteful work, but he would be rewarded with the beautiful music he would make.

When the fiddle finally was ready, he polished it until it shone and put the bow to the strings and played a song.

Wind and Rain
Two lovely sisters were a-walking side by side
Oh, the wind and rain
One pushed the other in the water so deep
And she cried a dreadful wind and rain 
She floated on down to the miller’s pond
Oh, the wind and rain
She floated on down to the miller’s pond
And she cried a dreadful wind and rain 
He hooked her up by the tail of her gown
Oh, the wind and rain
He hooked her up by the tail of her gown
And she cried a dreadful wind and rain 
He made fiddle strings of her long black hair
Oh, the wind and rain
He made fiddle strings of her long black hair
And she cried a dreadful wind and rain 
He made fiddle screws of her long fingerbones
Oh, the wind and rain
He made fiddle screws of her long fingerbones
And she cried a dreadful wind and rain 
And the only tune that the fiddle would play
Oh, the wind and rain
The only tune that the fiddle would play
Was oh, the dreadful wind and rain
Lyrics of “Wind and Rain”  from the Old Town School of Folk Music Songbook 50th anniversary edition.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Delicious Accident

By: Azana, Calise, Bailey & Iryna of Skinner Elementary's 5th Grade

Once, a long while ago, there was a very special chicken named George "Georgey" Bawkington. He was blue, wore glasses with lenses five inches thick, a blue leisure suit and a red George Washington wig. Georgey was the world's greatest hero, because he was super-smart and had a pure heart. He had one major fault: He was also very clumsy. To make up for this, he had a sidekick. His sidekick was a boy named T.J. Jackson, short for Tom James.

One day, Georgey and T.J. were doing somersaults down Main Street in their hometown, Fritochilidumplingtown. Georgey tripped over one of his wings and landed smack on his beak. Then, T.J. tripped over Georgey. They flew in the air, over the fire hydrant, and landed in someone's front yard.

Georgey stood up, shook his feathers, and looked around. The yard was covered in bones, and a cave stood at one end. "Hey, T.J., do you know whose house this is?" Georgey asked. "No, I don't, actually," T.J. whispered, trembling. "Let's go find out," Georgey replied.

T.J. eventually agreed, and the two started walking toward the cave. While they were walking, they heard the gates of the yard swing shut. T.J. jumped, but they were still curious.

After walking for five minutes, they got to the cave's entrance. The walls were dripping with something red, and stalactites hung everywhere. They were very afraid, but they kept going. "Is that blood?" T.J. asked. "I don't know," Georgey said. He bravely walked toward the wall, and touched a feather to the red liquid.

At that moment, a creepy, fanged, dark black vampire bat swooped into Georgey's face. "GRRR!" the bat growled, "My name is Mr. Vampy and this is my cave. Get out!" Mr. Vampy called for his minions, a porse (which had the legs of a pig and the body of a horse) and a wohorsbird (which has the head of a wolf, the body of a horse, and the wings of a bird).

The porse and the wohorsbird tried to run over to georgey and T.J., but they couldn't make it through the cave. The porse's legs were too short and the wohorsbird said "Sorry, I have to go run errands," and flew off.

"That was strange," Georgey said. "Why can't we come into your cave?"
Vampy looked very angry. "Because!" he shouted. "I'm getting ready for a date with my girlfriend Antoinette!"

"Then why are the walls covered in blood?" T.J. asked. "That's not blood!" Vampy replied. "That's red paint. I'm redecorating."

"Oh," Georgey replied. "It looks very nice.

"Would you like to stay for dinner?" Vampy asked. "What are you going to be having?" Georgey responded.

"We're having spaghetti and slime," Vampy said. "But I can make you two some chocolate ice cream pizza with chocolate chips."

"That sounds delicious," T.J. said. Antoinette, Vampy, T.J., and Georgey had a wonderful meal together, and grew to be very close friends.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How I Would Change 826

This superb piece is featured in George Washington Hopscotch, our newest chapbook. Stop into The Boring Store to pick up your copy.
By Josephine F., Grade 5
  1. Paint the room green and orange.
  2. Put a swirly slide in.
  3. An organizer (AKA file cabinet).
  4. Mini cards, for kids.
  5. A girls bathroom and boys bathroom.
  6. Lots of cookies and cakes.
  7. A homework machine.
  8. A spa for girls (maybe boys)
  9. A game room for boys. And girls.

New Chapbook: George Washington Hopscotch!

Find within: Lists of facts about presidents! Stories of what it means to be a Taurus! Descriptions of what 826CHI should look like! And, much, much more! The new chapbook will be available in The Boring Store starting today! This excellent new book features cover art by Brennan K. Pick up your copy now!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pony Kid

By Catherine G., 2nd Grade

Once upon a time there was a kid named Pony Kid. She is a pony and she is seven years old. Her favorite game is Outburst. She plays it in the backyard under an oak tree. The next morning, she went outside to play Outburst but the oak tree was knocked over! That was her favorite tree. She felt sad when her favorite tree got knocked down. When she was about to go in the house, a wizard appeared. He said: "You must go on a quest!" He gave her a map, and he said: "Remember to get away from the ogre."

She went to a river far from the house. The river was magical. She saw everything but the tree. She took a space ship to the moon, and then she had magic powers. And then she went home and she fixed the tree. She was very happy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Life History

By Gbemi O., Peabody Elementary School

My life....
This a pain all in one thing that i can't really experss how i feel
I wouldn't really say I'm stuck but that's how real it feels
I don't really know were I'll end up in another 10 to 15 years from now
I tried to understand why but it really hurts inside
I can't really discover why but it really hurts inside
Sorrow and pain, crying and dying
It's what it is, live your life I live mine
Death or happiness

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Revenge of the Hamburbirds

By Byrne Elementary's 3rd Grade with Mrs. Hansen. Illustrations by Julia Rice

Deep in The Shoelace Forest, where laces grow from the ground and reach 60 feet high, lived a tribe of bear-nanas led by their queen, Deevena. Like all bear-nanas, Queen Deevena had the front half of a black bear and a tail of a blue, polka-dot banana. Her claws were sharp bananas and she wore a furry banana crown on her head.

But all was not safe in The Shoelace Forest. Whenever Queen Deevena wanted to put on her Heelies and skate on her frozen pea soup lake, she had to bring along two of her applesauruses. The applesauruses were the finest, strongest, biggest, half-apple, half-dinosaurs in The Shoelace Forest. Their job was to protect the queen from the hamburbirds.

The hamburbirds were upset with Queen Deevena because seven years ago the bear-nanas had stolen the key to the hamburbirds' secret volcano. The volcano contained their lair. The lair was where the hamburbirds cooked their top secret pizza with sauce made out of ginger ale. Without the key, the hamburbirds could not cook.

One gloomy, tomato-rainy day, Queen Deevena insisted on going skating. Her applesauruses were not to be found. They were taking their yearly applesauce bath. Queen Deevena set out on her own to her pea soup lake.

She stepped onto the ice and was warming up for her figure-eight when...

What happens next?! Will Queen Deevena get to finish her figure-eight? What's an applesauce bath like? Can the hamburbirds ever return to their volcano lair?
Finish the story yourself, and send it to

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pablo the Talking Hamburger: Limousine Driver

By Byrne Elementary's 2nd Grade. Illustrations by Corinne Mucha

Once upon a time, in the very flashy and exciting city of Las Vegas, there lived a very special talking hamburger named Pablo. Pablo could talk only because he had very special ketchup that had very special powers. This ketchup let anyone who couldn't talk before, talk, as long as they were slathered in ketchup!

This put Pablo in very high demand for his limo service, called, "You Wanna Ham? You Get A Burger Driver." Pablo drove all of the rich and famous celebrities that came to Las Vegas. Brian Urlacher, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Justin Bieber were all Pablo's customers.

Everyday, Pablo would go to Hamburgerland, the high-end hamburger restaurant in Las Vegas. He would pick up orders for all of his customers, because they loved the hamburgers so much. His best, and most-loved customer, was Mr. Hot Potato, the inventor of the game Hot Potato. Pablo would drive him around every day, because Mr. Hot Potato had so much money that he had nothing better to do than be driven around by a hamburger in a limousine.

But, one day, the special magic ketchup that helped Pablo talk ran out. "Oh, no. I'm going to need to find some more ketchup," he thought to himself. The first place he tried was the local Jewel-Osco. He thought that maybe he could find it in the condiment aisle, with all the other ketchup. But there was none there!

What happens next?! Will Pablo find more ketchup? Will he ever be able to talk without it? Will Mr. Hot Potato ever get to ride in a limousine again?
Finish the story yourself, and send it to

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Never forget how much i loved you

By: Gbemi O. Peabody Elementary school
Never forget the time you told me you had feelings
You were always on my mind all this time i didn't know what to say i was... speechless
I tried to tell you how i feel but deep down i felt something real it was... you!
I saw you playing with my best friend and i asked" Who's that"? you told that's you're gurl
I got curious never knowing furious
I cried and tried i thought it was really understandable that probably we just don't belong
The next day you said hey i didn't say nothing hey again and i said i didn't wanna play this game because in the beginning you told me you had feelings but never knowing with reasons!

Monday, February 22, 2010

George Washington: Facts

By Brennan K., Grade 6
  • George Washington never had any hair
  • He is actually very short.
    • He wears stilts.
  • He wears brown lipstick.
  • He has a whole room full of wigs.
  • We can exclusively reveal: He never knew how to read.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boat the Amazing Tiger and the Flying Chickens

By Legacy's 2nd Grade class, with Mr. Hauser
Illustrations by Jeni Crone (Noun Confused)

Once upon a time in the far off and distant future, there was a planet called The Big Pants Planet. This planet was filled with big, fat chickens! The chickens were so big that they weighed one hundred pounds each and were six feet tall.

On The Big Pants Planet, there also lived a talking tiger, whose name was Boat. It was his job to take care of the chickens. Boat had a red body, with blue stripes, and a yellow tail. He was a really interesting looking tiger. Sometimes, the chickens would make fun of Boat, because he had bunny ears instead of regular tiger ears.

Luckily for Boat, he also had amazing powers. Not only could he talk, but he could make the chickens fly. It was important to make the chickens fly, because they needed to bring down food for the whole planet. All the chickens of The Big Pants Planet fed on special, floating popcorn that made up the clouds in the sky. Even though the chickens were six feet tall, they couldn't reach the clouds without flying. Sometimes, if they were lucky, there would be a huge popcorn rain, and food would come flooding down on the whole planet.

One day, there was a huge storm, and popcorn fell everywhere. All the chickens were really happy, because they had all the food they could want. But the storm kept coming.

Soon, butter and cheese were falling from the sky, covering all of the popcorn and all of the chickens. The storm was so bad that all of the popcorn was getting ruined and soggy from all of the butter and cheese.

What happens next?! Will Boat save the chickens? Will it ever stop raining butter? Will the chickens ever stop making fun of Boat's bunny ears?
Finish the story yourself, and send it to

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hello Rihanna

This superb collaboration is featured in Meauh Shakes & Milk Sharks, our newest chapbook. Stop into The Boring Store to pick up your copy.

By Clevonte H. (Grade 6), Bryan M. (Grade 4), and Dory Trimble (826CHI Intern)

I said, "Hello Rihanna, how are you?" She said, "Good, how about you?" "Fantastic," I said. Rihanna's new album Rated R is good; bad, because she has some curse words in the songs, but the vocals are personal. I wish she had her own show, a singing show. She could sing, play games, and let people come on stage. One day, Beyonce came to the show. Rihanna said, "OMG! She is going to be on my show. I'm so happy." At first I thought they did not get along. I found out I was wrong.
One day, Rihanna and Beyonce went to the park. Then they went for a walk and picked their favorite song. Rihanna chose "Diva." Beyonce liked "Wait Your Turn." They both argued about the songs. Beyonce said, "'Wait Your Turn' is better." Rihanna said, "'Diva' is better." Then they became friends again. (You can listen to both at home and the club.)

They talked and talked, and they finally decided that both songs were good in different ways. Beyonce went on Rihanna's TV show and explained their argument and how they resolved it. That's how I found out that Beyonce and Rihanna get along, and now everyone else knows too!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Graduation Day

Poem by Gbemi O., Peabody, 8th Grade
We all have tough and good times, remember soon we're all going to shine
Graduation is here, everybody cheer
We'll walk down the aisle and our parent's will say "WOW! we raised the best child"
We fought through some bad times while the time fades away
Like an orange sunset whiling through the day
We're in 8th grade, so we'll soon go our separate ways
It's Graduation Day!
It's hard for me to let go, but give it some time and it will flow
I could do it and i know you can too, because it's graduation day and I love it and we'll work it through
Graduation Day!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New Chapbook: Meauh Shakes & Milk Sharks!

Fun Fact: A chapbook is called a chapbook because they were sold by "chapmen," or merchants who dealt in small pamphlets, collections of songs, poems and the like.
To get this excellent chapbook, you won't need to travel to 17th Century England. Just come in to 826CHI and learn more about the dreaded Milk Shark, how to make Everything Soup, an excellent cover illustration by Emily Hutton, and much, much more!

Dylan Klezko's Search for Paint

Written by Brittany, Alexis, Martin, Atanacio and Brianna of Peabody's 6th Grade

Once, in 1951, there was a famous painter named Dylan Klezko. He liked to wear a backwards baseball cap and a striped shirt. He had blond hair and loved playing soccer.

Dylan made paintings of his feelings and sold them to the people of Mercury. Doing this made him very rich. The people of Mercury had lots of money, so he became a trillionaire.

One day, Dylan was painting a portrait of the King of Mercury, to give as a present for his birthday. After planning the next step of the painting, he tried to pick up some more paint with his brush, but there was none left. "What happened to all of my paint?" Dylan shouted to himself. "The King's birthday is tomorrow!"

Dylan saddled up his dragon and started searching around the neighborhood for paint. He looked at Digibor & Diaz, the local art store, but they were sold out. He went all the way to Asia on his dragon, but still couldn't find any paint.

After searching for three hours, Dylan decided to call his friend Miguel, who was a time-traveling Roman soldier. Miguel traveled through time, helping people. Once, Dylan helped Miguel find his magic marble, so Miguel owed him a favor.

"Can you help me find some paint?" asked Dylan. "Why?" replied Miguel. "I need to finish my portrait of the King," said Dylan. "If I don't, the King's going to put me in the dungeon and never let me out."

"I know just where to find some paint," Miguel replied happily. "We need to go to Mercury!"

So, Dylan grabbed his painting, and the two of them put on their space suits, got on Dylan's dragon and launched into the air. It took only one hour for the dragon to get all the way to Mercury, because it was the strongest dragon in the universe.

Once they landed on Mercury, Dylan only had three hours left to get the painting to the King. He tried running into the nearest Foolish Paint store, but some guards stopped him. "Halt!" they shouted. "You need a Mercury passport to get into the store."

"But I'm from Rome! I don't have a Mercury passport," cried Dylan. "Are you Dylan Klezko, the famous Roman painter?!" one guard asked, excitedly. "Why, yes," he replied. "I just need some more paint to finish this portrait of the King."

Once they heard this, the guards opened the door right away and helped Dylan find the paint that he needed. He grabbed one bottle of each color paint and finished the painting on the spot. Next, the guards rushed him through the streets to the King's birthday party.
Once the King saw his birthday gift, he gasped. "That is the nicest painting of me that I've ever seen!" he exclaimed. "Thank you so much," Dylan answered.

Dylan, Miguel and the King celebrated until two o'clock in the morning, eating the favorite foods of Mercury, pig feet tacos and root beer.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dog in a Gingerbread House

Story by Tania S., Grade 6
Illustration by Tadzio K., Grade 6

Who I would like to live in my gingerbread house is a dog. I would like a dog because I would like to see if I could have a smart dog. My dog's name is Susie. Or, if that dog is not smart, I will sell it and give it to another person and try to get a smart dog. I don't want to train it because I want to see which dog is smarter. I want a smart dog so it won't eat my gingerbread house.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ron and the Chocolate Man

By Jonathan B., 6th Grade
Illustration by Mikey H., 5th Grade

One day there was a big, huge, gigantic, enormous man made out of chocolate, named Willy. Everyone was scared of the chocolate man. Everyone, except a little baby called Ron. Ron was a very fat baby. He was so fat that he could eat ten times more than a normal person.

OK, back to the big chocolate man: He destroyed everything he saw. He ate everything in sight, too! Well, the people of the town were mad at Willy and decided to destroy him. So, they did.

Well, they were going to, but first they needed to find someone to destroy him. The fattest of the people of the town decided to eat him. They all failed. Then, they thought of Ron, the little fat baby!!!

They sent Ron to Willy. Ron didn't do anything to the big chocolate man. Then he pooped and started crying. His mom got him, changed his diapers and put him next to Willy again. This time, Ron ate him in one bite!!!

After he was done, he burped and started sucking his thumb.
The End.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Candy's Search for the Magic Gold Sweater

By CICS-Basil's 3rd Grade class, with Mrs. Reynolds
Illustrations by Lisa See Kim (Lisa See Kim)

In the city of Calcapoo, in the desert of Calcapooey, there lived a little girl tarantula by the name of Candy. Candy liked to walk around the sewers underneath Calcapoo, looking for a magical sweater. The magical sweater was gold with purple polka-dots, and if she put it on, she could fly anywhere she wanted!

Candy wanted to fly all the way to Candyland, because she wanted to get out of the sewer and visit Mr. Candyman. Mr. Candyman was made out of chocolate and would give you whatever candy you wanted.
One day, Candy was out strolling through the sewers, looking for the sweater. She had been looking for the sweater for five weeks.

She was fed up walking around in the slimy, icky green goo. All off a sudden, Candy saw something coming out of the goo. At first, she thought it was a fat monster, but it was really just a fat grantula (half grandma, half tarantula). Much to Candy's surprise, the fat grantula was wearing the magic sweater.

"Why did you take my sweater?" asked Candy. "Finders keepers, losers weepers!" shrieked the grantula, as she flew away into a greasy pool, and disappeared.

"Oh, Calcapoo, there goes my sweater!" screamed Candy, right before jumping into the greasy pool. She swam and swam for thirty minutes, and then came out somewhere, covered in red polka-dots.

What happens next?! Will Candy defeat the grantula? Will she ever get the magic sweater? Why is she covered in red polka-dots?
Finish the story yourself, and send it to

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vanilla Milkshake

by B.J. A., Grade 3

O, vanilla milkshake, you are sweet and salty
and you have chunks of lava in you.
But I drank you anyway.
You burn my mouth and all of my teeth.
My teeth melted and it tastes gross and the lava mixed with my acid and the lava went out of my body and I hurled really bad.

Happy Birthday Milkshake

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ashley Saved the World From Talking Candy

By Jayda V., Keilani F., Emily P., Abigail S. and Crystal O., 5th grade

Ashley, the one-thousand-eyed squid, walked through the soft and sticky cotton candy streets of Candylantis. She was headed to the underwater mall, which was made out of lollipops and surrounded by chocolate trees.

But since she wasn't paying attention to where she was going, she ran right into a talking, orange candy cane. "I'm sorry!" Ashley exclaimed.

"Hi, I'm Harold, the leader of Candylantis," Harold announced. Candylantis was the underwater world just off the coast of Costa Rica that was home to a group of one-eyed squids and talking, rainbow-striped candy canes. The candy canes and the squids existed peacefully.

"I've never seen you before. But I'm Ashley," Ashley replied. "I've seen you before," said Harold. "You stand out, with your thousand eyes. I've also seen you visiting dry land, and flying." Ashley was unique in her ability to both fly, and live on land. This is why Harold wanted Ashley to help him keep his New Year's resolution, which was to finally get off his pink marshmallow couch, and take over the world.

"I need you to teach me how to breathe the air of Costa Rica, and fly," Harold demanded, waving his arms. "Why do you want to fly?" Ashley asked. "So the candy cane people can take over the world, obviously," Harold shouted, with a crazy, evil laugh.

"That's insane," Ashley thought to herself. "How can I stop Harold from trying to take over the world?" Ashley decided that there must be a way she could use her one thousand eyes and her special abilities to trick Harold. "Sure," Ashley agreed, "I can help with your plan of world domination."

She tried not to sound suspicious. Ashley agreed to take Harold on his first flying lesson immediately. She picked Harold up in her tentacles and shot out of the water. Harold giggled because the tentacles tickled, and it felt awesome to fly. Harold noticed that he was breathing air, which he hadn't realized he could do.

"If I can breathe, then surely I can fly, too!" Harold said with excitement.

"Do you want to try it?" Ashley asked, guessing that flying was not one of Harold's abilities.

"Yes!" Harold screamed. So, Ashley let go of Harold. "I'm flying!" he shouted. But then he realized he was plummeting toward Costa Rica. "I'm falling!" he cried in terror.

But, luckily for Harold, when he got very close to the ground, a little girl reached out and caught him. She had never seen a candy cane like Harold, but she liked candy canes, so she licked him. "Gross!" Harold exclaimed, as he grew smaller and smaller.

Ashley went back to Candylantis, since she was late for dinner with her family. The world would never know how close it had come to being taken over by a talking candy cane named Harold.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hat

Beginning by Kaitlyn R., Middle by Catherine G., End by Tevin Y.

Once upon a time, there was a magical hat that could do everything that is hard to do and easy stuff too. The hard stuff was to make a robot and play a game called Rachel. To play Rachel, you need to land on a Rachel and build the first letter in Rachel. It is R. Whoever finishes her name wins.

One day, the hat got lost. "I want to go home," the hat said. Someone kidnapped him. "My name is Wild Star," she said. Wild Star kidnapped the hat because she wanted to steal the hat's magic powers. "Why do you want to steal my magic powers?" the hat asked.

"I don't want to steal your powers," Wild Star said. "I have my own."
"You do?" the hat said.
"Yes, and I'm going to help you get to your own present," Wild Star said. "My powers include wormholes and teleporting, so we can get home easily. I only said I wanted to steal your powers since they're so cool."
While Wild Star was teleporting there were flashes of light. Suddenly, they were at the hat's owner!
"Yay!" shouted the hat.
"You're welcome," said Wild Star.

Eating Sushi in Japan

By Marvin G.
Grade 3

When I went to Japan, I ate so much sushi that I turned into a big piece of sushi. So people wouldn't eat me, I threw myself into the garbage and was stinky and people wouldn't eat me. If I wanted to turn back into a person, I would have to kiss a monkey and then my family wouldn't eat me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Justin Cooper Windigo Finds A New Friend

By Nicolaus D., Gaby S., B.J. S., Ryan W. and Keyaira H. of Alcott Elementary's 5th grade

Once there was a hurtle (a combination horse and turtle) named Justin Cooper Windigo, who lived in a tree and wore a bedazzled tutu and was twenty-two years old. He didn't have any eyes, so he had hyper-sensitive nose and ears. One day in his tree, he heard a heavy thumping from afar. He made a loud "cawww" to signal his friends for help.

His friends appeared immediately. The friends are a srog (combination snake and frog) named Goofer, and a gouse (goat mouse) named Goosey. "What's the matter?" They asked Justin Cooper Windigo.

"I think there is a giant dragonfly in the pond," Justin said. "I think it's going to eat me."

Goofer and Goosey didn't believe him and laughed at what they thought was a joke. "Oh stop, JCW, with all your foolishness," Goosey said. "It's 6 a.m.!"

So, Justin Cooper Windigo decided to track the giant dragonfly on his own, using his keen sense of smell and hearing. Upon his search, he felt a pair of giant slippery feet which smelled like unwashed socks and spoiled milk. He jumped back in fear and yelled, "What are you?!"

The giant feet replied, "I am king of the dragonflies!" Now, everyone normally ran from the dragonfly, which makes the dragonfly king very mad and emotional, but the hurtle did not.

"I have no friends," the dragonfly said. "They always run away because of my putrid smell."

They became friends because they share one thing in common: neither of them have a sense of sight. Justin Cooper Windigo told Goosey, Goofer, and all of his other friends that the Dragonfly King is not scary, and is rather friendly. Justin planned a party for the next day and invited the Dragonfly King.

Justin guided him to the party. It was a dance party, with hip hop music and ballet dancing. The Dragonfly King met new friends, and Goosey and Goofer now believed Justin. They all became friends forever.