Children Writing Letters

Children Writing Letters


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Here is my final reason why you should not drill in Alaska. There could be an oil spill

in the ocean. In the booklet Kids Discovery Facts About the Water, oil is found

under the ocean. Oil can make people sick. If oil can make people sick,

it can also do the same to animals. When some of the oil spills in the ocean,

sea creatures could die.



 Children’s Writings & Artwork

Waverly Elementary School

Awards Winning


My Uncle Died

Illustrated & written by John Featherstone (Grade 4)


I remember when my uncle died from cancer. This happened when I was 7. I saw my uncle’s dead body. He died on January 11, 1999. My uncle died in my basement and my Dad found my uncle’s body. His name was Matt. We played football and we always had a good time together.

When we went to his funeral I felt sad and mad. My family was upset. After the funeral we went home to change our clothes. I saw my uncle’s picture on the shelf with our family pictures. I could still smell the flowers from the graveyard..

Finally, I learned not to smoke because my uncle died from cancer. When I grow up I will not smoke.

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The Rain Forest

Illustrated & written by Nathan Pitts

Grade 3

The rainforest is a place where animals live. A rainforest is also a place where animals–like jaguars, katydids, macaws, and parrots–live. A rainforest is a big forest.

Some interesting facts I learned was that a jaguar is the biggest cat in the Amazon rainforest. Another fact that I learned was that a howler monkey has a special bone in its throat that acts like a trumpet when they call out.

I also learned that fungi are important in rainforest because they help kill dead leaves. Eagles are the most powerful birds in rainforest. I would read more books to find more facts about the rainforest. Nathan Pitts

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A Letter to the Assistant Principal

By Akasia Lawson

Grade 4

December 20, 2001

Dear Mrs. Terry,

     My name is Alassia Lawson. I am in Mr. Martin’s fourth grade class. I think that you should ask the School Board of Education to add more equipment to the playground. Read my reasons carefully and i am that I will convince you.

     First, you should add more equipment because there is not enough stuff for fourth and fifth graders to play on at the same time. Children might fight over a particular spot to get in and it might be so crowded that some might fall and hurt themselves. If you don’t want children getting hurt, add more and safer equipment to the playground.

     Another reason that you should add more equipment is that monkey bars are boring and dangerous. I witnessed a boy at my summer camp fall off the monkey bars and break his arm. He went to the hospital . . . If you don’t want parents complaining, get safer equipment.

     A final reason that you should add more equipment is that children will try to get their work done. They will also try to get it right because the teachers might let them go and play on the new equipment. This new equipment might even raise Waverly’s scores. I’m not picky so whatever you choose is fine. If you add more equipment, it will make me, you, and the whole class happy.


Akasia Lawson

Grade 4

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Embarrassing Fun

By Lance Randolph

Grade 5

I remember last summer when I was playing for the Northwood Baseball Team. It was one of my most embarrassing moments, but in the end it was fun

When I was playing baseball, it was a wet sunny day. It had just rained. The game was almost over. The score was tied. My coach said to me, “Lance all you have do is hit one home run, then we win. Lance did you get that?” I said, “Ha, oh, yeah right, I got cha.”

I was up to bat. All I had to do is hit a home run. The pitcher threw the ball at me. The ball hit me on my leg. I didn’t walk to first base. I swung again and hit the ball into the far end of right field.

So I ran to first and second base, but since I had no belt on, when I was on the way to third base, my pants fell down. I fell down and my face fell into some mud. When I looked up and around, everybody was laughing. I got up and pulled my pants up and ran, ran, ran.

But when I got to the chalk line between third and home plate, two fat boys came out of nowhere like fat blobs of doom. I couldn’t get past them, so instead I slid under them. The y looked like fat sumo wrestlers when they bashed into each other’s stomachs. Then they fell on their backs and I slid into home plate. What a game! Lance Randolph

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I Remember When

By Rhia McKissic 

Grade 5


I remember when I had my first doctor’s appointment. First, the doctor called my name. He led my mother and me into a room. The room was filled with all kinds of medicine. He told me sit down on an unusual bed. The doctors asked me all sorts of questions. He asked me my favorite subject in school and my favorite colors. When he finished, he asked me to take off all of my clothes except my T-shirt and underwear. He made me stand on a scale. Then he said I was 2 feet tall.

Next, he put a stick in the back of my mouth. Then he put a light in my ears and tried to guess my favorite food. He said pancakes. I said yes, you are right. When I saw the needle I cried. He told me to close my eyes and count to ten. He stuck me and gave me a rug rat Band-Aid and a blue lollipop.

I went to my house and felt real good. I came back the next time and got a scoobydoo Band-Aid and a red lollipop. Rhia McKissic

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Memories of Santa Claus

By Tina Ortiz

Grade 4


I remember when I believed in Santa Claus. It was such a happy feeling to receive presents every year. Every night on Christmas Eve my mother and I would bake cookies. Baking cookies is fun, especially when the cookies are for Santa. In the morning I would find the cookies gone and the room was filled with presents that Santa had left. I remember when I didn’t have any dough for cookies and Santa still brought me things. I also remember my first bike. It had pink and white lace draggling from the handlebars. And it was astonishing pink! I really did like Santa.

Then one Christmas Eve morning we were going to church. After a couple of minutes we were there. After one song our pastor settled down and started preaching. The church was quite colorful that day. There were red and green stripes and beautiful Christmas flowers all over the church. Our pastor started to preach about Santa Claus: she said he wasn’t real.

At first, I did not believe her. She had made me completely mad. I had proof of Santa Claus being real, he left me a dozen presents every year.

“Foolish girl,” she said. “At your age, you should know that the only people that put those presents under the tree are your parents.” I knew than that hse was telling the truth. The preacher interrupted that moment of silence.

“So who will you believe? Me or your childish, foolish Santa?” At that moment I was hurt, silent, motionless, but as I walked towards my bench, i wondered how she could be a preacher and she hurts people feelings? I was back to feeling sad at that point. I felt like a fool for believing in him.

When I got home, I had to get rid of everything in my room that had to do with him. Things such as posters, videos, and my Christmas list, especially my Christmas, list. Because if there wasn’t a Santa, what was the meaning of a Christmas list.

As I got older, I got into the habit of calling Santa Mr. C.” I don’t think he deserves a full name like Santa Claus because he is not real.

Now I know the truth and I’m better off with it/ When I grow up and have children, I will let them bake their cookies, and let them believe what they want, and let them have their fun and games, but only while they are young. As they get older, they will know the truth and do as I did when I when I was a child. Tina Ortiz

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from Brittany Pitts  (Grade 4)

May 22, 2002 

Dear President Bush:      

I was reading the Wednesday, May 7, Baltimore Sun newspaper. I happened to read in the section of planning that you are planning to drill in Alaska. Why would you want to do something like that? Alaska has s large number of exotic animals living there. Here are my best reasons why you should not drill in Alaska. Please read this, it might change your mind.      

First of all, if you drill in Alaska and put chemicals in the ground, they might explode. If that happens there could be avalanches. For example, on the Discovery Channel, I saw that avalanches can possibly occur because of loud noises. I say avalanches can occur when the sounds of the drilling machines start. There is a lot of snow in Alaska, so that means there could be a lot of avalanches. Avalanches can kill and also injure people badly.      

Next, you could decrease the number of animals living there. The lives of bears, wolves, and birds, just to name a few, will be ruined and gone. I know that you are drilling to see how much oil there is, but you are harming the wildlife, such as bears, wolves and birds. Likewise, moles live underground, and if you drill there they’ll be affected. Alaska does not need ill and infected animals. 

Another reason why you should not drill in Alaska is you’ll deplete the natural resources and deprive the number of animals in there habitats. People know that we can’t make trees, grass, and dirt. We know oil doesn’t have a very pleasant scent. Oil also pollutes our air. Similarly, oil would be everywhere. For instance, smoke from the flames at the World Trade Center polluted all of New York. If smoke pollutes the air so could oil.      

Here is my final reason why you should not drill in Alaska. There could be an oil spill in the ocean. In the booklet Kids Discovery Facts About the Water, oil is found under the ocean. Oil can make people sick. If oil can make people sick, it can also do the same to animals. When some of the oil spills in the ocean, sea creatures could die. That will make Alaska’s oceans go rotten because of the smell. For example, if the underwater plants go rotten and the fish eat them, that will kill them. I don’t want this to happen.      

Now that you know avalanches can occur because of loud noises, and can deplete the number of animals living there, kill all natural resources and could cause an oil spill, I hope you will stop your plans. I would really appreciate it. 


Brittany Pitts              

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Waverly Writing Fair

On Monday, June 10, 2002, Waverly Elementary School sponsored a school-wide writing fair. Students in grade pre-kindergarten through fifth grade participated in the fair. Writing was a major focus at the school during the 2001-2002 school year.

 In addition to participating in writing activities which involved responding to writing prompts, students were encouraged to be very creative in free write activities.

All students have daybooks or writing journals in which they were expected to record their seed ideas for writing topics.. the entire Waverly Family including administrators, teachers, staff, and students wrote in journals and had the “Writing Bug.”

Several professors, principals, librarians, and or authors were invited to the fair to judge the writings of the students. each homeroom class submitted three samples to be judged. three winners and one honorable mention were awarded. All Waverly students received pencils and other treats for participating in the Writing Fair.

Student writing was literally all over the building. Student work could be found in the classrooms, in hall displays, in the library and hanging from ceilings. All students and parents were enchanted by the musical production of RATS. Students were able to display their artistic talents and show the community that they were indeed awesome authors

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ChickenBones: A Journal sends out a tremendous thank-you to Assistant Principal Yvonne Terry for assisting us in pulling together this collection of student writings. The Journal would also like to thank the parents and their young authors for allowing their work to be submitted for publication. We hope this is not the first and only submission we receive from our youngest writers. Rudolph Lewis, Editor

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Mural crated by Youthful Artists at Eutaw Marshburn Elmentary School

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Sister Grief: Defined and Conquered in Jesus

By Yvonne Terry-Lewis

“Sister Grief: Defined and Conquered in Jesus” is an engaging book that confronts the universal experience of living with death and dying. The author personifies the personal loss of loved ones as “Sister Grief.” The book, partly autobiographical, provides a holistic plan for conquering grief through faith, through a special relationship with Jesus. This plan is designed to help navigate one through the grieving process. The book includes personal stories, poetry, testimonials, letters, practical suggestions, and strategies based on a love for the divinity in one’s life. Although the circumstances that cause grief may be sad, this book is filled with love, encouragement, and hope that lead one towards spiritual health and wholeness.

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The Last Holiday: A Memoir

By Gil Scott Heron

Shortly after we republished The Vulture and The Nigger Factory, Gil started to tell me about The Last Holiday, an account he was writing of a multi-city tour that he ended up doing with Stevie Wonder in late 1980 and early 1981. Originally Bob Marley was meant to be playing the tour that Stevie Wonder had conceived as a way of trying to force legislation to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a national holiday. At the time, Marley was dying of cancer, so Gil was asked to do the first six dates. He ended up doing all 41. And Dr King’s birthday ended up becoming a national holiday (“The Last Holiday because America can’t afford to have another national holiday”), but Gil always felt that Stevie never got the recognition he deserved and that his story needed to be told. The first chapters of this book were given to me in New York when Gil was living in the Chelsea Hotel. Among the pages was a chapter called Deadline that recounts the night they played Oakland, California, 8 December; it was also the night that John Lennon was murdered.

Gil uses Lennon’s violent end as a brilliant parallel to Dr King’s assassination and as a biting commentary on the constraints that sometimes lead to newspapers getting things wrong. —Jamie Byng, Guardian

Gil_reads_”Deadline” (audio)  / Gil Scott-Heron & His Music  Gil Scott Heron Blue Collar  Remember Gil Scott- Heron

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The Ditchdigger’s Daughters

By Yvonne Thornton

Dr. Yvonne Thornton’s memoir The Ditchdigger’s Daughters has captured the hearts of readers everywhere since it was first published in 1995. Translated into 19 languages, featured on Oprah, and made into a TV movie, this heart-warming and inspiring story chronicles Yvonne Thornton’s family; at its center is her beloved, unschooled but wise father Donald Thornton, who demanded that all five of his daughters not only excel in school, but go on to become doctors. Four of them did; the other found her calling in law and became a lawyer instead.—Dafina

Thornton’s frank, relaxed manner makes it accessible to general readers as well as students of women’s or African American memoir. Worth considering also for those looking for inspirational reads.—Library Journal

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake.

She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—


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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 1 June 2012




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