Yak’s Corner
A print and online children’s news magazine published on 32 Thursdays from September through May for Michigan kids ages 6-13. Each eight-page issue is filled with educational and entertaining stories about places, people and events in Michigan and around the world. The Yak’s Corner online page also includes “Yaktivities” for each issue, a Yak Art Gallery, student writing and more.
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Yak readers share Winter Tales
and what they are thankful for

One Christmas

My uncle made an ice rink. First, he had to put up wood in the shape of an ice rink. Then he had to fill it up with water every day. We all had to wait until it froze. It took a few weeks for it to freeze.

We had a huge party after it froze! All of my cousins were there. Even my cousins from Connecticut were there. The party began. First, we went on the ice rink. It was so fun! Next, we played a real hockey game, it was awesome! Then we went inside and got some hot cocoa.

Then, we played some video games like Pac-Man and Mappy. We saw a lot of Christmas pageants, like when Jesus was born, and The Nutcracker. They were a lot of fun, especially The Nutcracker. All of the cousins were in the play. All of the parents gathered around.

When it was done we all went back to the ice rink and made a penalty box. It was made out of snow. My godfather came, and he gave me a new hockey stick. It was made of wood. It was awesome! Then we all played some hockey games.

Then, we went inside and and we opened all of the presents that were for all of the cousins. My present was a new toy. We had an awesome time at the McNulty's. I wish I could go there again.

--Nathan Grobbel, 8

Bloomfield Hills
December 10, 2012

Skating in the North Pole

Here in the North Pole, all of the elves in the Middle School Academy of Toy Making are drowning out the teacher's voice and staring at the clock. This is the last day of school before Christmas break, so the time is going by at an excruciatingly slow pace. At last, the bell rang and all the elves darted out the door like reindeer.

My friend Anna Candycane stayed behind with me though. "Hey Wanda! Does your wrist feel any better?" she asked. "Yeah, a little. I can't believe they won't let me skate in the Christmas Competition. I didn't break my leg. I only sprained my wrist." I exclaimed. Anna and I were both figure skates but I couldn't skate at the competition because of an injury. The competition would be on Christmas Day.

The week went by and my parents wouldn't even let me play in the snow. It was not turning out to be a very good Christmas at all. But somewhere deep inside me I still had Christmas cheer.

On Christmas morning I decided that I was going to skate in the competition. I loved to skate, and I wasn't going to let a sprained wrist keep me from doing what I loved. I grabbed my purple dress from our last recital and my ice skates, and slipped a white glove over my brace so that no one would see it. I walked over to the door, hesitated, and turned the knob. "Here I go." I took a few steps and closed the door behind me. "I'm going to win first place!" And I left for the ice rink.

At the ice rink the sweet aroma of popcorn and apples filled the air. I heard the cheerful laughter of everyone around me. I saw beautiful performances by amazing skaters. The announcer called my number and I stood right outside of the rink. I felt super nervous, but I was still pretty confident. I saw my parents and Anna mixed in with the crowd.

"Next up, we have a solo being performed by Wanda Gumdrop." The announcer finished and I skated to the middle of the ice rink. The son "Light Years" came on and I started with a twirl. I skated half way around the rink in an arabesque. I turned around and skated the rest of the way backwards. I did a big split jump, and another jump where I spun around and landed backwards holding an arabesque position. As I finished up my performance, the crowd's cheering was like booming thunder during a storm.

I waited anxiously and finally the announcer's voice boomed. "In third place, with a score of 72.1, Amy Marshmallows! In second place, with a score of 75.4, Chrissie Bubblegum! Lastly, in first place, with an amazing score of 80.3 ... Wanda Gumdrop!" I skated out to the center of the ice rink with Amy and Chrissie. Pictures were taken and my parents came over to me.

"Wanda," my mother said. I was afraid my mom was about to ground me. "That was your best performance ever!" She wasn't angry at all.

This was definitely the best Christmas ever, and I learned that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

--Emily Dekosk, 10

Troy
December 10, 2012

X-mas Surprise

One cold X-mas Eve, all of my relatives came over to sleep at our house for X-mas. All of the girls were in my room. My mom and aunts were there, too! The boys were in my parent's room. My grandparents were in the guest room.

In the basement we had a X-mas party. We drank from snowman cups. We ate from Santa plates. I set up some X-mas games! I played Santa Toss! We had to throw Santa into holes. Next, I set up Snowman Make. We had to make a winter set, including snowmen. We had fun!

For dinner, we ate Santa shaped pizza. While we ate we watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. At bed time, we all picked where we would sleep. Mom was on a sleeping bag. I was on my bed. My closest cousins were on my bed, too. The rest of the girls slept on the huge mattress. All the boys slept on my parent's bed.

The next day, we were so surprised! The tree was full of presents but there were a lot more presents elsewhere. There were some on the couches, in the playroom, even in the kitchen. We were so happy! I got an American girl doll. My closest cousins got all the stuff for their dollhouse. My mom got a Santa phone case. My dad got the same thing, but his was a reindeer. My aunts all got I-Phone chargers with Santa on it! All the presents were for the children except the ones on the couches were for the adults. That was the best day of my life!

--Maya, 7
Kinloch School
Dearborn Heights
December 10, 2012

An Indoor Day

This is about a time when my little brother and I were having an indoor winter day together. My five sisters and two stepbrothers and I were home and we were all watching my big sister play on her computer and then we went outside, except for my little brother, big sister and me. We didn't have any gloves so we stayed inside. Then my mom came downstairs and said, "Why are you not outside?" Then I replied, " Because we don't have any gloves." Then my mom said, " Oh, that is why." Then my mom went to the kitchen and we followed after her. She had a blue bowl in her hand and she said, " I am going to get some snow for you so you play with it in the house while the others play outside." Then my mom put the blue bowl on the table and put on her coat and got the bowl and went to get some snow. She dumped it on the carpet and we played with it. My little brother and I were making a big mountain with four carved smiley faces. It was great. My mom even said, " I will bring in some more snow for you to play with." We said, "Thank you so very much mother." My mother said, "You're very welcome you guys." Then we put that snow on the top of the first mountain and made and even bigger mountain. That was the best indoor winter day my little brother and I ever had in our whole entire life because we got to play in the house snow.

--Taj’Shanay Culver, 9

Detroit
December 10, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am grateful for my family because they take real good care of me. Another reason I'm grateful is because they help me when I need help.

--Malik Bishop, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mom and dad because they give me food to eat. I feel bad for the people who don't have food to eat.

--Ashley Diaz, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for having a mom and dad because some people do not have a mom or dad.

--Ceirra Parker, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mom and dad because they give me food to eat every single day.

--Karen I Campos Hernandez, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mom, my brother and my dad. My mom gives me food and shelter. I love my family.

--Serenity Thomas, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mom and dad because some children don't have a mom and dad. I'm thankful for food, too.

--Jimena Sanchez, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family because they help me, feed me and take care of me every day.

--Latosha Leggett, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family. My family is special to me.

--Alexa Patino, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family because they're important to me.

-- Joseph Rocha, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mom because my mom gave birth to me. I love my cousins because they cheer me up when I'm sad. I love my life because I have wonderful family.

--Shaylen Shealey, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for the life I have because I love my life and my mom gave me birth.

--Johnny Flores-Lopez, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for living. Living can be good because I have food and shelter.

--Marshall Castanesa and Jesus Lemuz, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for living. Living can be good because I have food and shelter.

--Ricardo Morales, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I'm thankful for God because he is so smart and cool. He's my friend and he is awesome.

--Antonio DeLacruz, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for Jesus and God.

--Marcus Debrowsky, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for God dying for us. I am also thankful because I'm not on the streets. And I'm thankful for still being alive for 8 years.

--Julian Rice, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my God because he takes care of me. I am also thankful for my family because they take care of me. I am also thankful for my school because I learn.

--Patrick Bonilla, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for all the people that joined the army because they sacrifice themselves for all of us. That's why I am thankful for all of them.

--Nayeli Alvarado, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for the army because the army saves us.

--Margarita Lupercio, 8

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for giving money to homeless people because they might die from the cold.

--Ibrahim Labak, 10

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for helping people when they fall or get hurt. I want to be kind and good to people.

--Jimena Luna, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my bed and my food, my baby sister, and my puppy.

--Mariah Wilson, 9

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mom and dad because if they weren't here right now I'd be an orphan.

--Mazen, 8
Kinloch Elementary
Dearborn Heights
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for God. If it were not for God I would not be on this planet. I love this planet.

--Dolan, 8
Kinloch Elementary
Dearborn Heights
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I'm thankful for my parents because if I didn't have parents who would take care of me? I can't take care of myself. It is so hard! I don't have money to buy clothes and food. I can't even make food! I would starve! Thank God I have parents!!

--Hiba, 8
Kinloch Elementary
Dearborn Heights
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mother and my father and my family because they love and help me. I am thankful for my parents because they sent me to a Catholic school.

--Morgan Bryant,

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for God making all of us and everything we asked for. Thank You for Everything We Needed.

--Marc Alexander, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my life and the Earth that God created for us. I am also thankful for being able to live for another day.

--Aysia Yanish, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for having a home and a school to go to. I'm also thankful for letting me be able to talk to God.p>

--Kaleb, 13

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for being able to have a better education at Gesu School than I did at another school. I'm also thankful for people in my life who care about me and help me, including my teachers and my family.

--Sha'kiya Money, 13

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family. I am also thankful for a good education at Gesu Catholic School.

--James Hall, 13

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family, friends and my parents for putting me in Gesu Catholic School. I am thankful I have the life I have.

--Jaida Hicks, 13

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family, especially my dogs and my parents. I am especially thankful for Jesus.

--Ellis Cox, 13

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my life because everyone doesn't wake up the next day and I cherish every moment I have on Earth until God says it's time. I am also thankful for my family and shelter because not everyone can have what I have. And I am so grateful for everyone in my life.

--Czaria Wright, 13

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my life and all that God has done for me. I'm also thankful for my wonderful school, teachers and peers.

--Kyle McBeth, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for Jesus because when Adam and Eve ate the apple from the tree where God told them not to, Jesus allowed us to be forgiven when our ancestors did wrong. So I'm thankful for Jesus because now we are forgiven for our ancestors' misdeeds.

--Ryan Reid, 11

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my parents who sent me to Gesu Catholic School. I am thankful for Mrs. Lauren our wonderful principal who is taking care of this antique of a school.

--Ciere F. Turner II, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my mom, dad, a house, and a family. I am also thankful for God, Jesus, family passed away, and everything in the world.

--Jamar Sanders, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I'm thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family because they all love and care about me. I'm also thankful for God cause he made me who I am now.

--Destiny Riggins, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I’m thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family because they all love and care about me. I'm also thankful for God cause he made me who I am now.

--Destiny Riggins, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

I’m thankful for ...

I am thankful for my family that is in my life. I am thankful for the food on my table, and God on my side when I need him. I am thankful for education, and to go to Catholic school, and for parents that love me.

--Raejha Harris,, 12

Detroit
November 19, 2012

A Dog Way's Home
By Regan Phillips, 10, Troy

It was windy and cold; the snow was practically burying us. My name is Alpha, and I'm a dog. I'm here with Sierra, my owner, the only person I trust, the only person who cares. That one person is now dying on me.

It all started one day when Sierra and I were taking our Christmas morning walk. Sierra saw an open field and ran to it. Reluctantly, I followed. We had great time but we didn't even notice that daylight was slipping away, and very fast. We decided to come home, but we ran in circles for about an hour. We need a plan B. So, we stood in one place and waited for someone to come find us. Only, no one did. We tried walking home again, but nothing looked familiar. We were hopelessly lost.

Staying in one place until morning would have killed us, wouldn't it? Thanks to our excellent plan A, we ended up miles and miles from civilization. We've been out here for about a month, maybe two months? Hey, I'm a dog, I can't tell time. Anyway, the world was spitting snow at us. We were trudging along looking for shelter when I heard a sickening SNAP CRACK and then a scream of pain. I turned. Sierra was on the ground and her hair was almost white. She was freezing and her fingertips were almost blue but that wasn't the worst part. Half of a tree had fallen on her leg, which was bent at a weird angle. She started to cry. I panicked and grabbed hold of her blue vest with my canines. I pulled as hard as I could but it was no use. "Go get help…" her voice cracked. I understood and I turned and ran.

I didn't know what I was doing. I couldn't even see my paws as I ran. I didn't know which way to go, but I just keep running. All I saw was white. I was cold, and I thought I was going to collapse. I didn't understand. How do I get help if no one will listen to a dog? I thought, "How long have I been out here?" It had to be at least a human hour. I turned back. I'll have to help Sierra myself. I followed the last dents of my paw prints back, but mostly I followed my nose. The world was so dark. I kept sniffing and walking; the cold wind was biting my fur. I walked and walked until I heard a familiar sound, CRACK! Except, this time it wasn't a human or a tree, this was ice.

It took me a moment to realize that I was in deep trouble, but everything else was fine. I tried to run but it made it worse, the ice broke and I fell through. I was doused with freezing water; the world was spinning. I clawed breathlessly at the ice. I wasn't going to drown. I forced all my strength into my front paws. Then… "Gotcha!" I was quickly heaved out of the ice. I looked up and saw wavy brown hair and a blue vest. Sierra! "What happened to you? " she cried. " I thought you were getting help?" I wanted to tell her that I was getting help, but as a dog. I couldn't do that. "While you were gone, I slipped myself out from the log and crawled around looking for you," she exclaimed. She grabbed my collar. "Do you mind? I can't walk well." I just opened my mouth in a doggy kind of smile. We stood shakily and trudged along. Then, I aw the light, a light shimmering with new hope, a light that would lead us home, a dog's way home.

--Regan Phillips, 10
Larson Middle School
Troy
December 12, 2011

Winter Wonderland
By Morgan Burt, 9, Novi

Wind is going at the speed of sound,
Blizzards flowing round and round,
Different snowflakes lost and found,
Landing safely on the ground.

Snowdrifts piling everywhere,
Temperature chilling in the cold, cold air,
Angels dotting here and there,
Ice crystals caught in my hair.

The boundary of the warm and cold,
Hides a glimmering tree that has been sold,
For every warming story told,
An added ornament,
Gleaming or old!

So happy holidays,
To one and all,
Make it count,
For the season after fall!

--Morgan Burt, 9
Orchard Hills Elementary
Novi
December 12, 2011

The Search for Santa Clause
By Megan Champine, 11, St. Clair Shores

It was December 24, 2011, and all of us were doing last minute shopping. My name is Kelsey and I'm eleven years old. Outside the snow sparkled in the sunlight. As we walked outside to the car, my brother Dylan threw snowballs at all of us. We were just driving along the road normally, when all of a sudden something happened that I couldn't believe I saw.

What I saw was very strange; it was five candy canes blocking the road. We all looked at the candy canes, and were shocked. But we soon got out to see. They each had exactly nine white stripes and ten red stripes. They had eyes the size of buttons and they were as green as our Christmas tree. But it appeared they had no noses. As we walked toward them, they all screeched in terror. But we didn't mean to scare them.

In a couple of minutes, when they finally calmed down, we asked them if they would move out of the middle of the road because we needed to shop. They said in their little squeaky voices, "We are on a mission and we need help!" We decided to help them find Santa Claus. They were on a mission to get to the North Pole, I should've known.

After two hours passed, we eventually got the candy canes where they needed to be. They couldn't thank us enough for all our hard work and taking time out of our Christmas shopping. We even got to meet Santa Claus - how exciting! After that, we were on our way to the stores to do some last minute shopping.

I went to bed that night still shaken up about the candy canes. But I do have to admit it was an adventure I will never forget.

--Megan Champine, 11
Kennedy Middle School
St. Clair Shores
December 12, 2011

The Worst Snowstorm Once there was a bad, bad snowstorm. It was so bad there was over five feet of snow on the ground. My mom had to go out and left the house about 8:00 p.m. leaving me all alone. The snow kept coming down as the night went on. I started getting worried because my mom was nowhere to be found and the snow was piling up. I soon realized that I was trapped inside! I started to dig and dig to get myself out. Soon enough I was finally out and I found my mom. When we were headed back to our our house I saw a snowman come to life and he started to break dance. It was so funny that we couldn't stop laughing! We all lived happily ever after.

--De'Quan Johnson, 8
Brenda Scott Academy for Theatre Arts
Detroit
December 16, 2010

My Special Christmas Once upon a time in a far, far way place, I wanted a bike for Christmas from Santa Claus. I got a bike! I was trying to ride it and then the bike took off on me. So I shook my head and rubbed my eyes to make sure I was seeing right. This bike was awesome! It was an orange and white bike, but this bike was not just an ordinary bike. I went and read the box that it came in. It said that this bike had a MOTOR! I rode this bike when it wasnt too hot or too cold. I loved this bike so much that I took very good care of it. One day I was out riding it and it took me off into the future, off into the clouds. I lived happily ever after with my new bike!

--Cameron Love, 7
Brenda Scott Academy for Theatre Arts
Detroit
December 16, 2010

Holiday Memory On Christmas Eve morning I woke up and my mom and dad were setting up the Christmas tree. I noticed that the angel was missing. We were at my house and the Christmas tree was not finished. So my mom and dad got out the ornaments down from the attic and we started to decorate the tree. We had four boxes of ornaments waiting for us to put them on the tree. We had a blast jut putting them on. When it was time for me to put the angel on top we looked all around for the angel but we could not find it. It was nowhere we looked. So after that we went off to my Grandma Donnas house for brunch and we opened our presents that our family brought us. Then, we went home and got ready for my other grandmas house. When we got there we ate dinner and when we finished we waited for everyone else to finish their food. My brother and I said, Everyone please go in the living room, and we opened all the presents that were ours. I got a lot of presents that I wanted but when we got home my dad was really mad because we still didnt have the angel. So my dad and I went in the attic and we looked in all the boxes and we finally opened a Halloween box and in that box I found the Christmas angel. It was such a relief. So that night my family finally went to bed and we had an amazing Christmas the next day. Merry Christmas!!!!!

--Emily Brossia, 10
Dundee Middle School
Dundee
December 16, 2010

The Cold, Snowy Night It was a cold, snowy night. The white dog and the penguin were running across the frozen lake to get to the school. While they were on the ice, the ice broke and the dog fell into the lake. Oh no, said the penguin as he watched the dog fall into the water. I know. I will save the dog and then we can start running to the school again. The penguin then pulled the dog to safety. Yay! I saved the dog and now we can continue to the school. We have to get there to get our homework that we forgot to bring home. The dog was so glad that the penguin pulled him out of the water because he did not like the freezing water one bit. The penguin and the white dog made it to school, but then they got lost within the walls of the school. Boom! They ran into a teacher and told her the whole story. After they got their homework, the teacher led them out of the school.

--Alissa Dart, 10
Dundee Middle School
Dundee
December 16, 2010

The Upper Peninsula Troll By Gabe Plattenberg, 11, Larson Middle School, Troy In a faraway land, over eight hours from Troy, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, was a small village called Bodieville. Everyone lived in small tents, and ate deer meat all day. Their most fearful thing is the troll living under the frozen bridge, named the Bodienator! He comes out during the winter months to find and gobble up the tiny squirrels that the villagers love. Every squirrel they saw, they gave them a pair of mittens to keep them warm during the winter. But, they usually get gobbled up the next day by the Bodienator. The villagers have to do something about it. One snowy day, a brave village decided to go out and destroy the troll once and for all. Eight month passed and then another two months passed, and they finally gave up on him because he never returned. Then a child went to find him. He traveled for days and then he found a frozen village. It was the brave villager that went to kill the troll! The childs kind, loving and warm heart unfroze the village when he touched the man on his shoulders. Then a giant troll hit them from right behind them. The child then touched the trolls feet and then the troll melted for good. They returned to the village and everyone cheered them on and the squirrels were safe.

--Gabe Plattenberg, 11
Larson Middle School
Troy
December 16, 2010

Winter Fun Music blared through the speakers at Mulligans Hollow Ski Bowl. Just as a new song begins, I poise myself at the top of the hill, ready to go down. I glance at the jump placed perfectly in the middle of the hill. Im going to do it, I tell myself confidently. I start down the hill, slow at first, then faster and faster until Im swerving, back and forth, so I can maintain my speed and balance. The jump approaches quickly, and I draw in a deep breath just before I fly off the edge. I embrace the familiar feeling of soaring through the air, as Ive been practicing this same jump for hours. The jump itself looks easy to tackle from the top of the hill, but it isnt. If you happen to catch a side view, it looks more like a two-pronged fork, harder than most jumps. You have to be able to get enough speed to make it to the other side, because both sides are pretty spaced out. Not enough speed gets you a painful fall, so be sure to wear a helmet. If you get too much speed, you might fall before you get to the jump, and it hurts if you smack your head against the hill, so again, be sure to wear a helmet. I almost make it to the other side of the jump, but only the front of my snowboard catches, and I topple backwards. Dang, not enough speed, I mutter under my breath. Dragging myself to the tow rope, I decide that its time to give this jump a break. The tow rope is a super long rope that is hooked up to a machine that will pull people up the hill. But make sure you keep your balance, because youll fall, and the teenagers at Mulligans dont wait for kids like me to get out of the way. Anyway, I was waiting for my turn on the tow rope when I noticed there was a worker there repeatedly telling us to stay spaced out, which I totally agree with. Theres nothing worse than a creepy teenager right directly behind you while hes talking to his creepy friends and swinging the rope around trying to get you to fall so he can run you over. When it was my turn, I slowly slipped my hands around the tow rope (of course I was wearing gloves.) I waited for the right moment to tighten my grip, and when I did, I felt a jerk in my hands and I was being pulled up the hill, with the occasional uneven tug. Theres another jump on this hill, too, which Ive mastered weeks ago. Its small, and its wedged in a corner along a line of trees. When I reach the top of the hill, I drop the rope like its a poisonous snake. Quickly and quietly I cross the hill to the small jump. Dropping! I yelled, letting everyone know Im going next. Were required to say that so there arent any collisions. I heard the familiar slap! Of my snowboard hitting the ground as I landed the jump, and I took off like a bullet. I cut through a clearing leading to the Bunny Hill and hit some of the amateur jumps that little kids make, and made a quick stop at the tow rope. I clasped my gloved hands over the rope and made my way up the hill (the rope is slower here because of the tiny size of the hill and so little kids dont fall and cry.) When I finally got to the top of the hill, I went down as fast as the little hill would let me and sped through some trees towards another jump (easy as pie.) After I perfectly landed that jump, I noticed my mom in the parking lot. Already? I thought. I looked up at the sky; nothing but inky blackness. I hadnt even noticed it was getting dark. Did you have fun? asked my mom. You have no idea, I replied. And we went home.

--Kennedy Deverney, 13
Spring Lake Middle School
Spring Lake
December 16, 2010

The Elfs Side of the Story Twas the night before Christmas and & OK, weve heard this story countless times before and it always leaves out a whole point of view, ours! Yes, we are the elves. We are the ones who build the toys. Do you know how hard and how much time it takes to build toys for kids all over the world?! All of the Christmas stories are about Santa, but there arent any stories about us elves! Every toy has a story, THE ELF WHO MADE IT! All we want in return is some credit. Please think about this as you open your Christmas presents. We will appreciate it dearly! THE END

--Dustin Kellerman, 11
Larson Middle School
Troy
December 16, 2010

The Greatest Gift Early one winter a snow turtle hatched in Winter Wally Swamp Park, she was named Sparkle. She had two sisters, Tara and Sugar Puff and three brothers, Tommy, Tetum and T-Sam. Winter Wally Swamp Park is an unusual place for magical animals. These animals are special and have enchanting powers and must live The Greatest Gift where its cold, they also GLOW! Sparkle loved her family and she became best friends with a water bird named Nancy. Sparkle also loved Christmas because she gets lots and lots of gifts! A week before Christmas, when Sparkle was 5 years old, she found out terrible news. She was being transported to Neon Zoo, because as you know snow turtles GLOW and they thought it would be festive for the season. Two others animals were also taken, her best Nancy and sister Tara! Hours went by and finally they opened the crates and let them out into heated pens. The zookeeper thought this would make them comfortable but it was way too hot there and they all started getting ill. Nancy, who was enormous for a bird, started shrinking and now was down to the size of a humming bird. They also lost their GLOW! Sparkle was glad she wasnt alone but wanted to go home. Therefore, when night fell they decided the only thing they could do is to break out and escape! When they got out, they were thrilled because it was snowing! Everyones GLOW came back and Nancy started returning to her normal size. When Nancy got large enough she picked them up with her claws and carried them back home to Winter Wally Swamp Park. Sparkle didnt really care that year what presents she got for Christmas because she had already had the best gift ever, her family and friends.

--Sasha Reynolds, 8
Home school
Chesterfield Township
December 16, 2010

Snow Sparkling like crystal, it fills the land. As if a giant sheet of magic fell on us. The grass is buried, the trees are frozen. The streets and houses were covered. Everything is white, but the sky stayed a harsh gray. Then a quick wind comes and knocks things around, But then the wind calms down. The sky began to twinkle, then from the sky came snowflakes. Falling like sparkles in the sky, Gently falling, gracefully like feathers, Snowflakes are a wonderful part of winter. I think this is a magnificent time of the year.

--Keean Reynolds, 13
Home school
Chesterfield Twp.
December 16, 2010

My parents prepare the turkey with mashed potatoes, soup, corn, and salad. Each orange cup get placed on the table getting ready to have cold apple cider poured inside. The dessert is fresh pumpkin pie with soft, fluffy, white whipped cream. The lavish tablecloth is placed on the table. The tall chairs are neatly tucked in and three candles flicker in the middle of the table. It's chilly outside but I see my whole family and their cars parked outside. They have scarves and coats on, then all come to my door. They come in and sit around the table. The warm house makes everyone smile and we turn on the t.v. to watch a family movie. I give thanks that my whole family is there with me on that day. For the yummy food we have, for our house, and clothes too. For us to all have fun together as we all share our thanks. We pass small presents around and watch a good movie all night. I give thanks for never having to worry about anything. Smiles and laughter fill the room. This is my family tradition and that is what I am thankful for!!!

--Daniella Sahourieh, 11
Larson Middle School
Troy
November 17, 2010

I am NOT thankful for ... The ending of summer and the heat The fire like colored leaves The cold hearted snakes and mongoose The beginning of school Waking up early The hard test at the beginning of the year And the worst of all - winter

--Mahdi Muhib, 11
Larson Middle School
Troy
November 17, 2010

I am thankful for everything that is good to us, not just food, games and video games. I am thankful for family and friends. I am also thankful for the wonderful, bully free school I go to and the free country I live in. I am also thankful that my mom has not been laid off and for the people who have I pray they find a new one and have a great Thanksgiving this year. I also am thankful for God, Jesus his son and how they watch over us all. I pray that everyone has a good Thanksgiving, happy holidays, and I hope that everyone has the best time with their families this Thanksgiving and Christmas. And for the homeless, I hope they are not cold and they find food and a warm place this cold, cold winter.

--Joshua Kemp, 11
Larson Middle School
Troy
November 17, 2010

I'm thankful for my family because they take care of me and always make me happy. They buy me toys and games, and I always have fun with them. On Thanksgiving we get together and have a big feast. On Christmas we get up early to open presents and play with them and on Halloween we walk together in costumes and collect our delicious candy. They fill all my days with happiness and humor and I wish they could stay with me forever. Throughout the seasons I have fun with them, winter, spring, summer and fall. Unfortunately, I don't get to see them during school. I'm looking forward to the holiday season.

--Ryan Cindric, 11
Larson Middle School
Troy
November 17, 2010

I am thankful for many, many things! I am thankful for the roof over my head, the food I have to eat and my caring family. Those are just a few things I am thankful for. One of the things I am most thankful for is my caring, loving friends. when I am sad, they are there to hug me and comfort me, to make me laugh in times of doubt and to let me lean on them when I need them. Friends are there for you to talk to, laugh until your sides hurt, tell secrets and be yourself! Friends are there every day! Thick through thin, friends are there for you all the time, sad and happy by your side. I am thankful for my friends.

--Marloes Krabbe, 11
Webster Elementary
Livonia
November 17, 2010

I am thankful for ... my mom and dad because they take good care of me. they let me play Wii sometimes. They cook food for me. They wash the clothes for me too. They let me stay up some times very late. they love me a lot because I love them.

--Christian Gomez, 7
Springfield Christian Academy
Clarkston
November 17, 2010

What am I thankful for? Well I'm thankful for all the little things in life, those things most of us take for granted. But the thing I'm most thankful for is family and friends. They laugh with you, they cry with you. They sing with you, they smile with you. They dance with you and play with you. they eat with you and shout with you. No matter how annoying you may get they still love you for you. I am thankful for a roof to keep out rain. I am thankful for walls to shelter me from the wind. I am thankful for food to keep the proper nutrients in my system. I am thankful for a room to call my own. I am thankful for a warm bed to sleep in. I am thankful for someone to eat dinner with. I am thankful for a school to keep me educated. I am thankful for my friends and family.

--Andrea Kingzett, 12
West Hills Middl School
Bloomfield Hills
November 17, 2010

I am thankful for being able to spend time with some stray cats this year. I made friends with them. My brother and I named them Snowy and Hiro. Snowy was the first cat that showed up on my patio. He was 2 years old. Hiro showed up a couple of months later. He was just a kitten. He was wild but it didn't take long and we tamed him. I am thankful we found them both great homes. Now two more cats are hanging around our house. I'm not sure if they are lost or not!

--Sasha Reynolds, 8
Home School
Chesterfield Township
November 17, 2010

I am thankful for my family. I am also thankful for my room and pet. I am thankful to have a sister and brothers. I am thankful for toys and memories. Here are three more things I am thankful for: clothes, shoes and nature. I am also thankful for my house and jazz music. I am really thankful for good music. I am thankful for our car, good singers, my bed and God.

--Jessica Singleton, 10
Ronald Brown Academy
Detroit
November 17, 2010