The Youth Review is proud to present our 16th series, a summer contest on the theme of “Community.”
Brendon Wang’s story “The Fight Against Evil” takes the reader on a fantastical fight against an otherwordly creature where community is the key to success. This suspenseful story is action-packed and keeps you on the edge of your seat, rooting for community. Congratulations to him on being the Winner of the Elementary Writing Division!
Bonnie Chen’s two submissions showcase a beautifully drawn flutter of butterflies in Flight of the Monarchs as well as a touching story of resilience, perseverance, and community in “The Flight of the Monarchs”. Her artwork is the deserved Winner, Elementary Art Division, and her short story is an Honorable Mention, Elementary Writing Division.
Hannah Ren’s “Finn Underwater” is a charming story from the perspective of a robotic fish interacting with amusing and lovable characters on a breathtaking journey home. Her short story truly does deserve its title as the Winner, Middle and High School Writing Division.
Derek Wang's essay “Community” presents a wonderful insight into his surroundings and the community around him. From his observations on his school to the first responders that protect his community, he displayed a talent for personal narrative writing. We are glad to congratulate him as an Honorable Mention, Elementary Writing Division.
Enchi Kuo’s story “Floppy Goes Camping” is both a unique look on the challenges of moving away, as well as a heartwarming tale of making friends and finding a new, loving, community- all from the perspective of a lively Golden Retriever! Truly a touching and well-crafted story that more than deserves the title of Honorable Mention, Elementary Writing Division.
We are excited to congratulate our 3 winners and 3 honorable mentions on their spectacular submissions this series. This summer contest was a great showcase of talent in both art and writing, each one just as enjoyable as the next.
After several months of hiatus, the Youth Review returns with fresh faces on the editing team and a renewed passion for highlighting the best in Asian-American youth art and writing. We are delighted to see the community’s passion in creating hasn’t faded over our hiatus. Along with the head editors, Victor and Kailani, new editors Justin Wu, Serena Gao, and Eva Chen eagerly reviewed submissions from both returning contributors and new contributors. All of them demonstrated excellent capability for their craft. Our team was truly impressed by the skill, effort, and care put into submissions this series!
Thank you so much to all of our submitters for daring to share their prose, their ideas, their time and their creativity. The success of our first contest depended on these talented contributors. We appreciate all of the time and energy that went into making all of these submissions, because it most definitely paid off!
Thank you once more for contributing to the 2022 Summer Contest. We hope to see you again in future series! Be sure to keep an eye out for future calls for submissions.
Floppy and his family just moved to Seattle from across the country. Floppy is a six-month old Golden Retriever. He is a good boy, although he can be a bit naughty sometimes. Seattle is beautiful, with many tall evergreen trees and lakes and creeks. “This looks like a great place for a dog!” Floppy looked forward to his new life here.
However, because the family is new to town, they don’t know many people here. Floppy felt lonely. Even though he had gone to dog parks multiple times, and others seemed nice, he hadn’t made any new friend yet. This summer is especially rainy. Floppy missed his friends back home where he played with them often.
It all changed on a cloudy Saturday afternoon, when Floppy heard his family discussing something. Mom said: “Good news! We just signed up for a group camping trip! It will be in a beautiful state park by the sea.” “A camping trip!” Floppy got excited. “I can chase rabbits and go fishing! I can make new friends!” Floppy was hopeful again. He even helped the family packing for the trip. He couldn’t wait!
The day finally arrived. Floppy was so happy even the squishy two-hour car ride didn’t bother him. When his family arrived at the camp site, there were already some other families there. Even though Floppy’s family didn’t know them, because this group camping was organized by a local charity, they knew they have similar interests and passion. The other families even helped Floppy’s family to set up tent and prepare for dinner.
The next three days and two nights were full of fun activities. They went for a hike and walked on the beach. Floppy was able to find many mini-crabs and other marine life. At night, Floppy watched kids roasted marshmallows. He licked the ones that fell on the ground. They were delicious! Every morning, Floppy woke up by the pleasant birds chirping sounds. The other families also loved Floppy. They came to pet him, walked him, and kids played with him. Floppy learnt that the better he behaved, the more play time he got. This helped Floppy be an even better dog.
Good times flew by. When the camping trip came to an end, Floppy no longer felt lonely and homesick: “The Seattle freeze is not true. You just need to know how to find where you belong. Your community will help you be a better self!”
My journey is a trail waiting to be hiked, a mountain waiting to be climbed, and a path that inevitably leads to death.
It all started in California, when I began my life journey. I fluttered my wings, streaking a line of orange through the ripple of dawn lights as it shined down on me. I was blinded by the bright glow, which lit up the dark blue sky, bringing some happiness into this world. I looked at the city below, and it looked like small swarms of fireflies. But before I knew it, I was swallowed by a black and inky sensation. The moon was the sun in the night, my only source of light and hope. I know I cannot complete this journey on my own, but I shall continue on my legacy in my death, and pass it on to my descendants. I am the Monarch Butterfly.
My journey is a trail waiting to be hiked, a mountain waiting to be climbed, and a path that inevitably leads to death. I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, and settled down for a few days. I lived on the surrounding trees and ate the soft leaves. Trees and water were scarce. I watched a coyote burst open a cactus and water splashed out. I swooped down. My antenna caught droplets of shimmering water. What I was actually thinking is that this place is too dry for me to settle down.
Hello, dear reader. My name is Finn, and I have a story to tell. It is a story about myself, and I must warn you, it is quite strange. Now let us begin, shall we?
May 26, 2022
“Wonderful. Take him to Doctor Wheeler.”
I woke up to a very bald man peering down at me. I was still in a haze from just waking up, so at first, I had mistaken him for an egg. Perhaps Humpty Dumpty? Well. Anyways. Just as I tried to look around, everything went black.
“Testing, testing. Hello? Can you hear me? HELLO?”
I jolted awake. I had been placed in a tray on a large desk. In front of the desk sat a pale, slender woman who slightly resembled a grasshopper. The round framed glasses she wore were much too big for her face and they made her piercing gray eyes look like tiny little pebbles.
“Ah. There we go.”
She cleared her throat.
“You must be confused. Let me explain. I am Christina Wheeler, the head of OAS(, Ocean Awareness Society). A team of our finest and most devoted scientists here have spent months designing, planning, building, and perfecting you. Now, you may be wondering who or what you are. You, my dear, are OAS’s very first robotic fish prototype.”
Liam woke up to the sound of noise outside his window. The adults of his community were coming together to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the community. Liam was still sluggish from a long night's sleep and dragged himself downstairs. There, he found his parents making him breakfast.
“Cheer up,” his mom noticed his drowsiness, “Today is the big day. It’s the bicentenary of this community.”
“How come we still have to go to school? Isn’t today a holiday?” Liam dreaded school. It was just teachers reading off books and giving piles of homework.
“Now, eat your breakfast, and don’t be late. You don’t want to be tardy on the anniversary,” Liam’s mom gave him his food and left for the celebration.
“You heard what your mom said, don’t be late,” Liam’s dad left him.
Liam heard the sound of the bus and scoffed down his meal. If he was late, his parents would be mad.
He rushed out the front door and headed for the bus stop. He got there and barely made the bus. Liam headed to his normal spot in the back with his friend Julius.
“Hey, what’s up?” Liam said, instantly getting a rush of energy.
“Nothing much. I still don’t understand why we have to go to school. The parents have the day off, so why can’t we?” Julius was delighted at the sight of Liam.
“Same,” Liam said.
Liam sat down and waited to go to school. He felt that this time, the bus was exceptionally fast.
When the bus finally came to a stop, everyone looked like zombies. Like Liam, they all dreaded school. They walked as slow as possible, so they wouldn’t have to suffer in school. But they still had to unless they wanted to get in trouble with their parents.
However, inside the school was a buzz of activity. Until the bell rang, friends met and talked about what happened in the community. After that, everyone went to their own classroom and wouldn’t be together before lunch.
After a couple hours of learning, which in Liam’s perspective felt like a century, lunch finally came. He got the chunky food that the school served. There were pieces of uncut cheese and slimy stuff. He didn’t want to eat it, but he would be hungry otherwise. Liam held his breath and ate it.
He thought that he barely survived and went to play. While he was playing basketball with Julius, a magical portal appeared. There was a ring of fire, with an orange middle. Liam, being curious, stepped into the portal, and was transported to another place, the evil dimension. Julius followed him into the portal. They tried going back, but the portal closed.
Liam thought that he might as well just explore the place that he was trapped in. He walked around but found nothing. Julius went looking in the other direction. He did find something and called for Liam.
“Liam! There’s something here. Come look,” Julius gestured at where his feet were.
Liam ran over and saw a creature. He thought that it was another thing stuck in the dimension, but he was wrong. Liam went to wake the creature up, and it was furious.
Of course, it couldn’t talk in human language, but its face was as red as a tomato. It began grunting loudly and started to swing its arm.
The creature was a Bodel and was in the middle of hibernation. It was buff and had the power of 100 people. Liam had woken it up when it was getting rest and the Bodel need some for sleepless days.
While it was swiping its arm, it hit Liam. Julius saw that and yelled for help while dragging Liam. The Bodel, now awake for its hibernation, began chasing after them.
“Help us! There’s a creature chasing us, help us!” Julius was on the verge of crying.
Just then, another portal appeared. It was in the center of the community, where the celebration was held. All the parents came and saw Liam unconscious. Their sense of community was strong, and they had to beat the Bodel.
Trying to avenge Liam, the parents started to hit the Bodel. While they had a good reason, to avenge Liam for the greater good, the Bodel didn’t have a good one. After being hit a couple of times, the Bodel went back to its burrow. The community returned to the community center, but the celebration ended. Liam was hurt.
The community came together and drove him to the nearest hospital where Liam recovered.
“What happened?” Liam woke up. Everyone was elated when they found out Liam was still alive.
Liam’s parents explained everything that had happened to Liam.
Liam learned two important lessons that day. First, don’t go into random portals. Second, the community is stronger than power.
My community is Bellevue, where I live. My community is also my school, Medina Elementary.
First, there is a lot of fun in this community. There is Medina Beach Park, Medina Park near Medina Elementary, and Bellevue Library in Bellevue. At Medina Beach Park and Medina Park, I used to play there sometimes. In addition, I go to Bellevue Library from time to time. I went there a few days ago to get my prize for the summer reading. We also checked out some books and brought them home.
Also, the jobs in Bellevue and Medina can save us. For example, firefighters can save us from fire. Also, the police protect us from crimes. These jobs can save our lives, and they are very critical in Bellevue/Medina community.
I know the school better than anywhere else, except for my house. I know all the places, except for some special places that I’ve never gone to. For example, I don’t know much about the 5th-grade hallway and which teachers teach which classrooms in other grades. That’s because I’ve never been there before. Still, I know a lot about the school.
Medina Elementary and Bellevue are my community. It is like my house as if it were home, and I like my community, where I spend most of my time. My community has provided me with many resources to let me grow. When I grow up, I also want to contribute to this community to help it become better and better.
It all started in California, when I began my life journey. I fluttered my wings, streaking a line of orange through the ripple of dawn lights, as it shined down on me. I was blinded by the bright glow, which lit up the dark blue sky, bringing some happiness into this world. I looked at the city below, and it looked like small swarms of fireflies. But before I knew it, I was swallowed by a black and, inky sensation. The moon was the sun in the night, my only source of light and hope. I know I cannot complete this journey on my own, but I shall continue on my legacy in my death, and pass it on to my descendants. I, the Danaus Plexippus Plexippus, or the Monarch Butterfly, will truthfully grant this omen.
My journey is a trail waiting to be hiked, a mountain waiting to be climbed, and a path that inevitably leads to death. I travelled to Phoenix, Arizona, and settled down for a few days. I lived on the surrounding trees and ate the soft leaves. Trees and water were scarce. I watched a coyote burst open a cactus and water splashed out. I swooped down, down, and down. My antenna caught droplets of shimmering, glittery water. What I was actually thinking is that this place is too dry for me to settle down.
The next day, when dusk knocked at on my door, I took flight into the darkening sky. I arrived in Utah and saw much. I was satisfied. There were many thriving trees and enough water. Something in my small mind, though, says that I was not cut out for this kind of place. I was impatient to find my home, but I knew this was far too early. I left the next morning.
To Alaska I went! But unbeknownst to me, way before I arrived, a storm awaited my arrival. My dainty wings proved to be were no match against the strong blows of the howling winds. It felt like a dagger piercing through my mind and numbing my senses to no end.
It all ends here. I collapsed in the soft pine leaves, and waited for death to call my name.