Student Writer Spotlight: Seth F!

Anna Starecheski

One of my favorite parts of my job is managing student writing contests. On the Ideabook, we like to highlight extraordinary student writing through our Student Writer Spotlight. See our previous Storyworks Jr. winners here and here


Our winner for the December 2017/January 2018 issue of Storyworks Jr. is Seth F! Seth sent us an incredible response to the prompt for our Penguin Contest The prompt for this contest was to write a journal entry as a penguin from our nonfiction story, “The Amazing Penguin Rescue.” See Seth's entry below!


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By Seth F (Peter P. Pennysworth, the penguin)

Fifteen weeks ago I was in what humans call "an oil spill." You see, I was almost chock full of sardines when the water suddenly changed. It felt heavy on my wings. It stung my eyes. Soon, I realized I was drowning. I filled myself with air and floated to the surface. I saw my brother, Percy, on the shoreline. I also saw my dad out at sea far away from me. All of us were covered with slimy black stuff. Everyone around me was terrified. At last, I forced myself onto the rocky beach. I licked my feathers to stay clean. I huddled with friends to keep warm. Finally, I gave up. I stood on the pebbles, cold and miserable. After a while, tall, hairy creatures started invading my home.

"Run!" someone squawked.

"Hurry!" another honked. Suddenly, I got caught by one of the monsters!

"Get off!" I threatened. I was forced to bite his neck. When that didn't work, I snapped at his arm.

The thing loaded me into a box with a bunch of other penguins. A cover crashed onto the box top. Then, we moved. As the box rocked around, my eyelids grew heavy. I fell asleep.

Suddenly, I woke up to something strange. I was no longer in the crate. Instead, I was in a huge blue bowl-shaped box with two chairs and a bunch of fish. Dead fish. “Disgusting,” I thought. “Who would ever eat THOSE!” Next, more of those strange creatures came and sat in the chairs. One of the things grabbed my friend, Joe. After they were done “feeding” us, they poked us with brushes and put white bubbly stuff on us. After that, I smelled like peach. Then, they put a pathetic sweater on me.


Finally, after I was cleaned, one of those humans loaded me into the box. I started to move again. Before I knew it, I was at a sandy beach. After a while, I couldn’t help it. I plunged into the water and swam wherever my instinct guided me. Finally, I came to a rocky island.

My island!

I ate, drank, and staggered around. Suddenly I remembered those humans, how they rescued me, how they cared for me.

I felt lucky. I felt safe. I felt, happy.

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Seth blew us away with his incredible writing! His descriptions were vivid and he captured the details and feeling of the story but still managed to put his own spin on it. And we laughed out loud at the detail of the "pathetic sweater"! Great job, Seth!

For more information about Storyworks Jr. contests, click here!

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