The Youth Review's 14th series is dedicated to our often unlikely buddies, the people that we laugh and cry and share cookies with.
Young artist Jasmine Li presents a fun comic illustrating a story of two birds and a man on his computer. Check out her work Friendship Power is the Best Power (the title says it all!).
Sometimes our best companions are those related by blood. Derek Wang shares a heartwarming story of memories at the beach with his brother, noting that the bond between them is special. Read more in his essay Friendship.
They say opposites attract, and that is certainly true for Lemon and Melon, who become friends under very unique circumstances. Read more in Lindsey Mo's essay Lemon Melon Buddies.
Finally, Bonnie Chen transports readers to the magical Friendship Town, where our protagonist, Cloud, learns the value of spreading compassion and joy. Read more in her essay How Friendship Changed the World.
My brother and I are best friends. We have a friendship where we always play together. We were out on vacation for my mom and dad’s anniversary in August. It was a fun experience.
My brother and I walked down the beach, and we made “water traps”, which would trap water from the waves. We were at Ruby Beach, a beach close to where we rented a RV. To make the water traps, me and my brother dug holes. The water would get trapped and would make a bit of “muck,” or wet sand. I used a bucket to get water right from the ocean earlier. The water wasn’t clean, though. It had tiny bugs and little bits of other materials, like small pieces of wood. I tried to filter the water, and even though I didn’t clean the water, I got some of the stuff out. After my brother and I made the water traps, the water was so strong that it changed the shape of the sand. We had to dig another water trap. We finally gave up on the water traps and played with sand. I also studied rocks and gave them to mom and dad to keep. The rocks had colorful patterns and beautiful, bright colors. It was easy to keep since mom and dad could save them in the chairs. The chairs have “pockets.” That day with my family was a fun day, and I will never forget that day.
My brother and I have very fun experiences like this. We are not only brothers, but friends. The friendship between us is special. I hope our friendship will last forever.
When you look at the Millton family's kitchen it looks ordinary enough, but look closer. Look at the bowl of fruit that lies at the very corner of the kitchen. You will see something unusual about these fruits. When the Millton family leaves their house for vacation, the fruits come out for some fun!
A coconut peeks out from the bananas.
“Land, Ho!” the he-coconut calls to the others.
“The Millsons are gone!”
Another coconut peeks out from some grapes.
“How many times have I told you, Fred,” snaps the she-coconut, angrily. “It’s not Millsons it’s Milltons!”
“Sorry, dear,” the he-coconut named Fred says.
Suddenly voices filled the air. The fruits begin to come alive! The bananas go wobbling off to drink apple cider and the apples begin walking off to try some sugar. Quickly, all the fruits walk around, having lots of fun playing and talking together. Only two small fruits still sit on the fruit bowl, not moving an inch. One is a lemon named Lemon and one is a melon named Melon. They sat together at the dustiest and darkest part of the bowl.
“I wish I could have a friend to be with,” sighed Melon.
“I wish I could have a friend, too,” Lemon agreed. “But nobody wants to be my friend.”
That’s when Melon got an idea. Melon nervously tapped Lemon on the shoulder.
“Umm,” Melon stammered. “Do you think it would be okay if you could be friends with me?”
Lemon looked at Melon with unblinking eyes. Melon was getting more nervous by the minute.
“You want to be friends with me?” Lemon asked, with an unmistakable voice that meant he couldn’t believe it.
“Yeah,” Melon said, trying to build up more courage. “I want to be friends with you.”
“But, but,” Lemon stammered. “I’m horrible at stuff! I’m sour and I trip all the time! I might squirt some sour juice into your eyes by accident!”
Melon suddenly feels more brave than before. He has found someone like him. “Don’t worry.” Melon said. “I’m kinda like you. But it doesn’t matter what you are on the outside. It’s the inside.” Melon lets out a big smile and pats the place where his heart is.
Lemon looks unsure.
“Really?” Lemon asks.
“If you aren’t sure why don’t you try to find out?” Melon says.
Then Melon sees something he hasn’t seen before on Lemon’s face. A smile.
“Okay.” Lemon says.
Then, from that day on, a new friendship bond was made: Lemon and Melon. The best of friends in the entire world of the fruit bowl!
Lemon Melon Buddies Forever!
One lovely day at Friendship Town, a sky-blue colored friendship was walking around in the tube-shaped town. Each little friendship was shaped like a bean and had different colors. They were all unique, with different sizes and shapes. They had big intelligent eyes, small cherry-like mouths, and the ability to read minds and turn invisible.
The sky-blue colored friendship was called Cloud. She was a normal little friendship. She knew very clearly that in this town everyone had a job, and the job was to deliver joy and friendship to everybody in the human world.
The friendships usually took turns every day to deliver joy and friendship to the humans. Today was a special day to Cloud because it was her chance to deliver friendship. She hopped onto her friendship mobile and then rode it carefully into space and onto the human world. The friendship world was really close to the human world so Cloud could easily cross the friendship bridge that led to the human world.
Cloud found a little girl weeping under a tree. She opened her pouch of friendship beans and carefully spread it over that girl. The girl suddenly lit up. She jogged all the way down a hill until she found another little girl. They made friends quickly. They not only played together but cared for one another. When one of them was feeling sad, the other one comforted her. Cloud tiptoed back to her friendship mobile and then softly drove back to the bridge and went back to her village.
The next day it was Cloud’s friend, Diamond’s turn to go. After a while Diamond got back but something bad had happened. Her friendship mobile was on fire and one of her legs was bleeding. Cloud was very surprised, and she was frustrated that she couldn’t figure out who did this to her friend. Cloud decided to investigate. She went to the mysterious human world.
Cloud discovered that it was a dark, evil spirit that was hurting the humans. The evil spirit took away friendships from humans and now the human world turned into a dark world. Every person bullied each other and every day their expressions were cloudy and stormy. They also lost their passion for living.
Cloud decided to gather in her town for a council meeting. They discussed the evil spirit and how they could stop the evil spirit. The evil spirit’s power made the friendship beans wither and disappear. In the end Cloud came up with a great idea. She knew that the friendship beans had unique ingredients which were “Smile” and “Hi”. She had a secret recipe to grind the friendship beans into powder.
Finally, it took two weeks to prepare the powder and then Cloud quietly rode her mobile to the human world. She turned invisible immediately, because she didn’t want the humans to notice that she was there. She quietly walked toward one human and then spread some powder over that human.
The magic happened! The human immediately smiled, and her face lit up. She skipped to another human and spread kindness all over the human.
Cloud discovered that she didn’t need to spread powder on everyone because kindness would automatically spread through the world and make everyone happy and kind.
Finally, Cloud was done with her job, so she went home and wrote a book. The book talked about her adventures and how friendship changed the world.
(P.S This book is the book Cloud wrote!)
We are now open for submissions to our latest series: "Friendship".
From the sweaty camaraderie of a soccer match to the firelit community of a group campsite, our experiences with friends make us who we are. We're nourished by friendships in untold ways; our innate need to understand and support each other made all the more acute by the isolating nature of the past year. Great friendships take on a personality of their own, often sparked by little more than a cool lunchbox or a tussle on the monkey-bars: developing into afternoons of sharing inside jokes, crazier and crazier games, and eventually a kind of fierce solidarity of identity. Stretching beyond classroom numbers or cultural divide, friendship fortifies us as a matter of choice, creating personal identity as much as it reaches beyond it.
We want your real stories about friendship; epic tales about friendship forged through bloody conquest; artwork that dwells on a shared meal or simple conversation.
Send your work to YouthReview@emeraldparents.org by Friday, October 15th. Remember to include your name, grade and school, and an (optional) headshot with your piece!
In Which Luna Convinces Her Mom
Luna had her mind all on the poster she read yesterday. She didn’t hear one word that her teacher had said. She either had not paid attention, or learned anything new.
After class, Luna wandered over to the same poster that hung right down the street of her classroom.
She glanced away, but looked back. Luna made her choice. Though it might be impossible, Luna would try to persuade her mom to let her go to the secret island.
She walked closer to her home. Once she arrived, she became more confident she could do it.
“I have something to say,” Luna said when she closed the door.
“Huh?” Ada asked, a little startled.
“We’re listening, Luna,” said Mrs. Luni.
“Alright. Well, I saw this sign on the streets. Basically, a few people can go together to investigate a mysterious island, and well . . .”
“You are telling me that you want to go?” Mrs. Luni interrupted, gasping.
“I guess so . . . Ada can also go with me.” Luna said.
“No, there is no possible way. Luna, you are only eleven. Why don’t you ask someone else to help you investigate?” said Mrs. Luni.
“Please? We really want to help!” Luna and Ada both stared at their mom.
“Hmm . . . I guess you both can go this time.”
Ada and Luna scampered upstairs to prepare their things.
“I can't wait!” Luna said to Ada while they were packing.
“You got me into this,” Ada said. “Even though I'm starting to worry I’m also bursting with excitement.” Ada had just packed her last thing.
In our "Homeland" series of art and writing, our contributors distill the act of returning to their family's home country into moments of cultural pride, learning, and awe.
One surprising highlight of being in Shanghai, for contributor Teresa Jiang? Breakfast. Read more through her essay The Real Warriors.
For Brendon Wang, going home to Xi'an was a roller-coaster ride involving bad candy, one fateful friendship, and fireworks. Read more through his essay "Homeland".
Born in Kirkland, contributor Derek Wang views our national parks as one great expression of his homeland's beauty. Read more through his essay "My Homeland".
Finally, contributor Grace Li captures the iconic giant panda through her resplendent artwork, Chengdu Panda.
Our gratitude to our contributors and the Emerald Parents board for making this series of the Emerald Youth Review possible.
No school — yay! Mom told us to wake up, and then get ready for a sumptuous breakfast. Wow, sumptuous? We'll be eating fancy food and be in a humongous restaurant? I’m super duper excited!
“We're going to go now!” Mom hollered as I scurried out of bed.
After a while of walking, we finally arrived at the restaurant which was located right across the street in our neighborhood. I was fully thrilled until…
“How’s this special? It looks so old, but so many people are outside waiting to order their breakfast! Mom, what is happening?” I asked, confused.
“It’s a little but popular breakfast restaurant...”
I sighed with hundreds of questions. Was this really called a restaurant? I’m not sure…
The smell was floating into my nose, but the ambience wasn’t as good as I thought. It looked wrecked, broken, and little. When I touched the seat, my hands were covered with dust. Meanwhile, all I could hear was people chattering.
Shortly, a woman with plain clothes came towards us warm-heartedly with a smile, bringing us four kinds of food. She seemed to be really tired but dedicatedly cleaned the table and put the dishes in front of us.
“Thanks for your patience, Here is your order, the ‘Four Warriors’. They are the most famous Shanghai breakfast!"
I looked at the plates closely and curiously found one that held a pocket of warm air and is fragrant with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. There were some fried dough sticks that were very light. Another one was silky soy milk mixed with lots of different kinds of sauce. The last one was a ball of rice with some secret ingredients inside.
Although I was born in the USA, my mom and dad were born and raised in China. It follows that my hometown is in China. I used to go there every year until I started school. The last time that I went to China was in 2016.
When I went to Xi'an in China, I would always eat a lot of yummy foods. The last time I went back to China, I ate barbeque. I asked for no spice, but in the end, I still got a little bit. That was the first time I had ever eaten chili, and I was very proud of myself. Whenever I ate a meat piece, I would drink a lot of water, then eat another piece.
I also remember getting a toy from a movie which was about a police car. I really wanted the toy, but they didn’t sell it in the USA. The toy was only sold in China. When I went to China later that year, I got the toy. When I got to my grandparents’ house, I rushed to the toy.
Where my grandparents live in China, there was another kid with the same name as me. I played with him. Once, we were lighting fireworks. I also remember playing with fake guns. We were pretending to be the police.
I went to a wedding of my grandparents’ friend. I ate a piece of candy with something I was allergic to. After I ate it, I thought I was going to throw up. I never ate any candy from China after that day.