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  • Carolyn Cohagan

Central Austin Kids With Pens Writing Camp


I'm not sure I could have found a livelier bunch of young writers if I'd tried. These campers were inexhaustible in their enthusiasm and came up with wilder and more inventive ideas each day. In their work below, you will discover evil wizards, peanut butter obsessed knights and a tour of the mind that includes a trip to Hamster Island. Enjoy!

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My Name

by Kailen Cohagan

My name smells like the bitter and salty ocean.

My name means ocean in Hawaiian.

My name means keeper of the keys in Gaelic but my name is Irish.

My name tastes like butter and salt, the extras to life.

My name sounds like the soft but sometimes harsh wind.

My name feels warm like hot chocolate.

My name looks like an ordinary Irish name.

I am like a snake, harmless if not bothered, but if bothered, it will strike.

When I cry, it’s like my name and identity are slipped out of me.

When I laugh hard, I get more joy and it sucks all the misery out of me.

My name is Kailen.

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Doing the Dirty Work

by Liam Cohagan

I am being followed by 3 men right now. One is a bodyguard, one is a man in nicer clothes, and one is a man who seems to be a mercenary. I decide to talk to the second man, who I think I could outrun. I say, “Hello.”

He says,” I have been following you for weeks and I have a business proposal.”

“What?” I say.

“There is a ship carrying a gang of mercenaries that leaves on Wednesday. Today is Monday. I need you to hijack the ship and bring it back to the port, but bring them back alive,” says the man.

“What do you have against them?” I say.

He says, “They killed my brother.”

“Sorry to hear about it,” I say.

“Before you do that I need you to kill somebody.”

“Who is this somebody?” I ask.

“He is the only other gang member left,” he says. “His name is Chris Kenny.”

“I know him,” I say. “He is out to get me.”

“I’ll pay you a hundred pounds,” he says.

I think for a little bit. “You got a deal,” I say.

The next day I am off to do some scouting. I found out that he is away from his house most of the day, but he comes back at noon until about 1pm.

My plan is to wait at my spot until 1 or whenever he comes next. I will go in through a window. He always keeps one window open. Lastly I will wait until he comes back and kill him. He just came out. Great. Now I will sneak in the window. Done. Now I have to wait. It is about 3pm when he comes back in. I’m surprised it is so early he comes in. I knock him out and stab him in the heart with a knife. It is done.

Now I am looking for the man who I later learn his name is Darrell. I find him and tell him that the job is done. I tell him the details and he seemed surprised that it worked. Today is Thursday, the day that my ship leaves and I am really anxious about going on. I have to hide with the cargo and once every night I will knock two of the gang members out and kill them. I realize that I actually have to kill every one in one night so we don’t get too far out.

We leave at about 6 o’clock and every one except for the skipper is asleep. I take out all of their knives and kill everyone. Next I walk up to the poop deck where the skipper is steering the ship. I hit him in the back of his head and throw him overboard. I start steering back to shore. When I get there I tell the police that it was all the skipper who did it and I threw him overboard. I find the man and collect my money. Man, that was fun!

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My Name

by Hazel Esterak

My name smells like fresh flowers on a summer’s day.

It tastes like delicious, soft hazelnuts.

It sounds like soft, graceful letters slipping out into the fresh, clean air.

My name feels like warm cookies fresh from the oven with soft gooey chocolate chips in the middle, with crunchy but soft edges.

My name looks like life on the smooth, crisp paper, with beautiful ink spelling it out.

I am a soft gentle piece of decadent cake with homemade icing.

When I cry it feels like the world is ending around me but nobody else notices my pain and misery.

When I laugh it feels like a soft but very strong wind blowing happiness into my life but nobody else’s. It feels like it is just me and my happiness in the world.

My name is Hazel Delaney Esterak.

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An End to Waiting

by Sylvie Florence Liss

I slowly draw back the curtains, flooding my room with light, and I squint at the busy landscape around me. I look at the docks, looking for something interesting. Sighing, I turn away from the open curtain and stride out of the room, the dust from the curtain still fresh on my fingers and the musty smell in my nose. My footsteps echo on the hardwood floor, and any hope I have of secrecy is dashed.

Smelling food, I sit down at the breakfast table and prepare to ask my mother the question I have been asking for what feels like the millions of times. However, I pause, for I know the answer. But I have to know for sure. “Still no word from father?”

My mother frowns and gives me a disapproving gaze. I look at my shoes, embarrassed by my childish fantasy. “No, Anne, nothing.” She doesn’t need to say the end of the sentence. It’s clearly enough said in the silence that falls between us. We both know it, that there will never be news from Father. My father is (I refuse to use the word “was”) an explorer. But he left five years ago on a quest to find new land and never came back.

I yearn to be an explorer, but I know that wish will never come true. I have no future. Only that of a girl’s, which, to me, only amounts to the same thing.

“Posture, Anne,” my mother says warningly.

That means I’m slumping. I attempt to straighten my back. I’ve never been good at being a girl, never really cared about the things I’m supposed to.

When I finish breakfast, I retreat to my bedroom and gaze out the window to see a change of scenery. There is a glorious ship at the docks and I catch my breath. I’ve never seen anything so majestic and beautiful. Not knowing what overcomes me, I swiftly travel into Mother’s room and I make an excuse for leaving the house. As I walk out the door, I make room for myself, elbowing the crowd around me in a most “unladylike manner,” as my mother would call it. I look at the ship. Vast and looming, it seems to scrape the sky. A ship worthy of my father, I find myself thinking.

A guard comes up to me. “Not allowed here, ma’am. Crew only.”

I flush, cheeks turning scarlet.

I turn away, but I watch the ship begin to depart and know I can’t let it. I hitch up my long skirt and sprint. I hear the guard calling roughly for me to stop, but I grab a ladder hanging from the ship and pull myself up, unaware of the danger I have allowed myself into.

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Caroline Grace

by Caroline Nalle

My name Caroline Grace I love.

It tastes like Halloween candy because that’s the time I was born.

It smells like happiness and joy.

It sounds absolutely gorgeous.

It feels like I’m the only person with the name Caroline.

It looks very beautiful when it’s on paper.

I am like a princess because a princess has my name.

When I cry it’s like everyone can hear me.

When I laugh hard it’s like I never laughed so hard in my whole life.

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Ppppeanut Butter

by Garrett Nalle

There once was a man named Sir Bruce and he loved peanut butter but he got to a jar with peanut butter stuck at the bottom so he took his flat pug-like face in the jar and said pppppppeanut butter and jumped in the glass jar and got the peanut butter out now he is stuck. Weeks passed and he sat there not to be touched. He watched the peasants take his jars full of peanut butter. Here is the problem. His castle has no one to watch it. If you go to ye Scottish Tower you will hear pppppppeanut butter because he has been stuck there for 200 years.

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The Wizard

by Dean Tamayo

I am a wizard who can see anything and I saw some children make a plan. I saw as they walked out their parents said, “Beware children.” As they walked I said to myself, “They are coming for me.” I saw that they made friends during their journey to find me. I got nervous so I paid people to be my bodyguards but I realized the children made friends with strong people like the Archer of the forest and the Knight who protected the King. As the children made more friends, I got more bodyguards. When they got to my tower we had a 10 vs 10 battle. I summoned people as they went through my defenses we fought back, but my powers ran out. They had me in a corner with no powers no defense. I was hopeless. They all stepped closer and closer.

To be continued . . .

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Guide to Anika’s Mind

by Anika Villavicencio

  1. The first place to go is the Family Island. Don’t get too comfortable because my family can get really weird.

  2. The next place is the Sports Island: remember to bring a notebook & pen because all of the best sports players will be there.

  3. Next skip to the nearest narwal. Remember to watch out for the Kraken. The narwal will give you a ride to Starbucks Island. The is where you can get your lunch.

  4. Now catch a narwal to Sleep Island. When you get there, there will be gas masks. Put one on because there is a lots of sleeping gas.

  5. Take the boat the Animal Land. There will be all kinds of animals and dinosaurs so don’t spend too much time there.

  6. Then dance over to Minion Land and there will be millions of Minions. Don’t feed them bananas or they will follow you all day.

  7. Then head to imagination land. What you imagine will come true. Always think positive.

  8. Now you will roll over to the Hamster Island where lots of hamsters will greet you. Remember to feed them a carrot because they like to bite!

  9. Then sprint over to Art Land. There will be artwork that comes to life.

  10. Last of all, butt-scoot to Science. Just remember to stay away from radioactive liquids.

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The Lonely Wizard

by Patrick Zenteno

I am a wizard and I live in the forest all alone. I love being alone. I can do whatever I want. So that’s why there’s a sign near my house that says: “Beware, children and adults may die.” Every time someone sees my sign they get scared and they leave my land. There was once a man who thought he was brave. He ignored my sign and he came inside my house. When the man saw me he got scared, he tried to escape, but it was too late. Instead of killing the man, I cooked him in my oven because my dog was hungry and I had run out of dog food.


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