• Jenny has a valentine for Grandpa that fits in her pocket and will change completely in a few weeks. - 09/01/2011

    It was Valentine’s Day. Jenny went to Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment. She gave Grandma a big red valentine. It said I LOVE YOU. “Where’s my valentine?” asked Grandpa with a smile. “It’s in my pocket. It’s the world’s smallest valentine,” said Jenny. “The world’s smallest valentine!” said Grandpa....

  • Has Lily's flag decoration ruined Mom's cake? - 09/01/2011

    On the Fourth of July, Lily looked out the kitchen window. Up and down the street, American flags rippled in the summer breeze. Everyone was celebrating America’s birthday—everyone except Lily. Usually Lily helped Dad hang the flag on the front porch while Mom fixed a picnic dinner. Later on they...

  • Simon Rodia spent years creating fantastic towering structures that are now considered works of art. - 09/01/2011

    It must have been a strange sight for the children of the Watts section of Los Angeles, California. Their neighbor was building towers in his yard. They could see him every day after he returned from work—a small man, strapped into a window-washer’s harness, hoisting himself up the metal bars. Some...

  • Family fishing trips are fun--if you're not seasick. - 09/01/2011

    There’s a fishing rod hanging up in the shed. I suppose one of these days Dad will put it in a garage sale or give it away. But to take it down and deal with it, well, that would be to think about fishing again and about that fishing trip Dad had the great idea to take us on. We’d never been an outdoor,...

  • Two girls aren't happy about being forced to become friends, until they find something in common. - 09/01/2011

    “Show Georgina your room,” Mom said to me. “Connie and I will have some tea.” Connie is my mother’s new friend. Georgina is her daughter. “Let’s play racetrack,” I said to Georgina, pulling out my miniature cars. Georgina shook her head. “I’d rather play cards,” Georgina said. “Old Maid is my favorite...

  • The princess couldn't make up her mind until she started listening to her heart. - 09/01/2011

    Long, long ago there lived a princess who was almost everything a princess should be—kind, brave, and intelligent. Princess Deva had only one flaw. She could never, ever, make up her mind. One morning Deva and her mother were sipping tea in the Great Hall. “My dear daughter,” the queen said, “try...

  • When it comes to potato farming, the eyes have it. - 09/01/2011

    Mother woke us early on a chilly Saturday in May. “Get up, sleepyheads. Potato eyes need to be cut and planted before the moon changes. That’s our job for today.” We didn’t argue. We knew next year’s potato crop and meals of “smashed” potatoes depended on us. “Got to get those eyes in the ground,...

  • Nat is all set to ride in a chaser truck at the hot-air balloon festival until he meets a killdeer f - 09/01/2011

    The day of the balloon festival, I felt as light and giddy as a hot-air balloon. This year, I wouldn’t just be watching. I’d be riding in Mr. J.’s “chaser” truck, following the flight of the balloon and meeting it when it came down. It was a perfect day. Dad and I drove down the road, looped around...

  • The true story of a Native American artist who added color to his Oklahoma hometown. - 09/01/2011

    One day a man named Cha´ (CHAY) Tullis read an advertisement in his hometown newspaper. The ad said that a muralist was needed to paint a small mural on the front of a downtown store. A muralist is an artist who paints pictures on walls. Cha´, an artist who is part Blackfoot Indian, lives in Hominy,...

  • Rachel prepares for the most exciting day of her life. - 09/01/2011

    Tomorrow is my bat mitzvah. “You should go to bed early,” says my mother. “It will be a big day, Rachel. You want to be at your best.” Of course I want to be at my best, I think. But how can I sleep when I’m this nervous? After all, I’ve been preparing for this day for six months. I go to my room...

  • Rachel's Sabbath visitor becomes part of the family. - 09/01/2011

    When Rachel woke up on Friday morning, the first thing she thought of was her new baby brother. His name was Benjamin, and she hadn’t seen him yet. But today Rachel’s mother and Benjamin were coming home from the hospital where Benjamin had been born. Rachel had waited a long time for a baby brother...

  • Is Mary really as confident as she says she is? - 09/01/2011

    “Let me help, Mama,” Mary urged. “It’s almost time to go.” Hannah watched her older sister skillfully fasten the pearl necklace around Mama’s neck. Next to Mary, Hannah sometimes felt small and stupid. “Hannah?” Mama said, bending down near her. “Do you feel all right?” Hannah nodded her head yes....

  • Jeremy finds out what makes a gift truly special. - 09/01/2011

    The minute Jeremy woke up, he raced through the living room, out the front door, and onto the porch. There it was, exactly where he had left it the night before—his brand-new shiny red wagon! His mother looked out the door. She smiled when she saw Jeremy sitting in the wagon. “You really love that...

  • On a cold, snowy day, Darcy finds a way to make it seem like spring. - 09/01/2011

    “Not again!” Darcy complained as she opened the drapes at the living-room window. She glared out at the fresh layer of snow blanketing the front yard. “It has been a long winter,” said Mom. “I’m hungry for fresh rhubarb.” “I’ll be so glad to see green grass that I won’t even mind mowing it,” said...

  • Will worries about his sister, Tillie. When will she learn to read and write? - 09/01/2011

    There was a baby named Tillie who did not do all the things other babies did. “When will Tillie crawl?” her brother, Will, asked their mother. “In due time,” she replied. And Tillie did crawl, in a way all her own, not quite the way most everyone else crawled. There was a child named Tillie who...

  • Toby finally finds the best place to read his new book. - 09/01/2011

    “Here’s a new book for you,” said Toby Martin’s dad at breakfast. Toby opened it. He saw colorful pictures and lots of words. “Not at the table, please,” said Mama. “You’ll spill your milk.” Toby Martin licked his milk mustache and looked for a cozy spot to read his new book. Mama’s laundry basket...

  • A family pulls together to make Thanksgiving special in spite of their mother's illness. - 09/01/2011

    Mom is in bed. And she isn’t getting out. Not even for Thanksgiving. Mom’s operation was three days ago, and she says she’s feeling much better. But she’s staying in bed. And she isn’t getting out. Not even for Thanksgiving. I’m the oldest. David is in the middle, or should I say in the muddle....

  • When Casee wants to be in a play, she has to use some creative time management skills to get there. - 09/01/2011

    Starring Casee Buck! I could see my name in lights. “Mom, can you believe it?” I said, waving the letter. “They picked me to be one of the kids in the new play at the Arts Center.” Mom was happy, too, until she read the letter more closely. “But, Casee,” she said, “I don’t have time to drive you...

  • Sarah needs a new coat. Does it have to be one that makes her look like a barnyard? - 09/01/2011

    One winter-thawing morning in March, Sarah put on her old spring coat to go out and play. “These buttons don’t work,” Sarah said to Mama. “Why, Sarah, you’ve sprouted up like a primrose in spring!” Mama said. “After your sisters leave for school, we’ll check the hand-me-downs for a coat that fits.” When...

  • Astonish your friends with these surprising stunts! - 09/01/2011

    Astonish your friends with these surprising stunts! Jumping forward is easy, but could you do it while holding your toes? Before you answer yes, try it. Keeping your knees slightly bent, hold your toes with your hands. Try to jump forward while in this position. Then try to jump backward. You’ll...