Students in our after-school and community classes are exploring all the different ways writers generate ideas, and put captivating words on the page.

Here are writing excerpts and some photos of our young authors working with instructor, Dominique Renda at El Carmelo in Palo Alto:


By Ava:


El Carmelo_Ava I am from water that glistened in the sun.

I am from fire that ferocity took.

I am from one that turned into a thousand.

I am from April, crisp as the air.

I am from the ones who went before me.

I am from all who turned into one.



I listen to the drum beat out the rhythm

and then be accompanied by the hollow

sound, mysterious and challenging,

brave but graceful,

musical poetry.


The sky darkens with a cloud

and the storm breaks,

weighing down on us,

yet letting us be free.


Sad yet beautiful, harmony

crying in the echoes

of time and space.




1 day to live, 1 day to thrive.

It’s the longest you can stay alive.

Do as much as you can in one

very short day.

Be happy and joyful,

just gleefully play.

Every single time you do

1 thing wrong,

if you regret it, apologize


1 day is not long.



By Maya:

El Carmelo_Maya

The fire blazes as the drummer hit his drum over and over again. Other instruments make a wonderful, almost eerie harmony, but the drum continues its rhythm, always steady under the starry night sky. My eyes begin to droop as it gets later, and the sounds echo in my head. I focus on the drumming, almost drowning out the melodies of the ceremony. It is only the steady beat of the drums as I watch the drummers move to the music. Slowly, steadily, my eyes close and I fall asleep.




Once there was a wizard who was apprentice to a wizard who was very good at magic, but very bad at teaching. From him the wizard learned only one spell. This spell allowed him to grant wishes, but only one a person, and none for the wizard. Soon he began to wander around the globe. He came across a village that had a girl who wanted to be freed from her parents who beat her when she made one mistake. Every night she wished she could run away. One day while on an errand in town, she spotted…




Benjamin Franklin was on his way to the Constitutional Convention in his sedan chair when he spotted a cupcake store. He bought a box of cupcakes for the convention. When he got there he opened the box and saw that one of the cupcakes was moving. It jumped out of the box and ran around the room. Not even George Washington could catch it. To this day no one knows where it went.




I looked into my pocket and found a pebble. I took it out to examine, but as soon as I took it out something felt wrong. My entire body was itchy under my clothes, everything looked bigger, my face felt different, and my limbs were shifting beneath me. When I looked at myself in a puddle, I was a cat! I ran home, slipping and sliding over my new limbs. But when I got to my house I realized I couldn’t get in, and no one would let me in. So I sat on the porch and waited. I didn’t know what I was waiting for, but I knew it was important. Soon a white cat with blue eyes appeared. I sat up straighter and paid attention. I didn’t know who she was, but she looked and seemed incredibly important.




Screams filled the air ass the boat went down. People screamed for the lifeboats. Those in boats went toward the nearest island, what seems a paradise with beautiful beaches, and lush forests, but in reality was an awful place, on which shells stabbed feet, and people were lost forever to the overgrown trees. When the people reached the island they carefully avoided the shells, and searched for a good place to sleep. They found a clearing and laid down to rest.



By Clara:


El Carmelo_Clara

I am from a small country far away.

I am from a very cold winter.

I am from the sun which lights me up.

I am from a family that is very kind.

I am from love and peace but war.

I am from around the world with different faces.

I am from a comet that emotions with both good and bad.

I am from my family which teaches me love.

I am from stars of all colors who give me spirits.

I am from a county with good and evil.

I am from both winter and fall which teaches me fairness.

I am from a small country far away.




     My teeth were chattering like a wolf’s breath. Everyone was staring at me in my pink ballerina suit (which was way too small for me). I looked into the pink pocket. I found a small, round me phone and started singing, “You Belong with Me,” by Taylor Swift. Everyone was startled by my creaky voice which sounded like a door that hasn’t been oiled for years. Suddenly my voice trailed off into thin air. The audience looked at me expectantly. Then everyone vomited up green slimy snails and changed into green/purple princess dresses. Then everything went dim and I fainted.

     When I woke up I was in a jungle with a cobra in a ring above me and I fainted again. And when I woke up I was back in the show with Serena Star standing next to me making googly eyes and batting her eyelashes at my boyfriend. I was so mad… But I didn’t get too it because I fainted AGAIN.




My ponytail was waving like crazy while I was eating cherry pie in front of Starbucks. This really cute dog came up to me and started wagging its tail. I checked for a collar. “No collar here,” I said to myself. When I opened my eyes I saw the puppy brought me flowers. “Puppylicious,” I squealed. Then I saw a green, slimy, slippery slug on the flowers the puppy brought me. “Euw,” I screamed. The puppy ran away. Maybe dogs aren’t that good for me. Right now I am just waiting for something new to happen.




By Mike:

El Carmelo_Mike

Buzz walked into the kitchen. It was after dark. He had a small desire for food. He glanced out the window. He noticed the moon was out. He opened the fridge for something to eat.  All there was was some moldy string cheese and an apple. He checked the freezer and he found a pint of his favorite ice cream.




I looked into my pocket and found Spore Galactica adventure, regular Spore, creepy and cute, and Spore creature creator. Then I found the same things 80 dozen more times. Then I found the same things except they were out of order 1000 more times. Then I finally found what I was looking for. My hat and my cloner umbrella. Then I found everything one last time. Then I found my real pocket with everything else that I found….



By Andy:


El Carmelo_Andy I am from playing video games all day.

I am from reading the best books there are.

I am from going to places to learn about their amazing history.

I am from playing with my friends all day.

I am from the rainy spring seasons.

I am from the Chinese figure, the dragon.



By Sophia: 

Buzz went into the kitchen. He looked at the clock and saw it was 12 o’clock. He opened the fridge hoping for pie from his party. None. There was a moldy and old apple and a smelly moldy piece of string cheese. In the freezer he thought , there is his favorite ice cream, rocky road. Taking the jar out and opening it, he scooped spoons and spoons of ice cream. He ate it all. Ugh. He had a stomachache.




El Carmelo_Sophia I am from a country small and far away.

I am from the cool breeze and crispy golden leaves of autumn.

I am from the snowy city of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I am from a black raven.

I am from a peaceful breeze gently blowing.

I am from books and bookworm alike.

I am from the spirals and loops from colorful and creative art.

I am from the blazing sun rising and setting.

I am from nature.

I am from a caring family that slowly carries me through life.

I am from a world so bright to live on.




I looked into my pocket… and found a ring. It looked familiar. Then I realized it was the ring from Lord of The Rings. I thought wasn’t it destroyed? A few days later lots of people were visiting that we didn’t know. They told me they were The Fellowship of The Ring. I asked didn’t you destroy the ring? Yes in the book, but not in life. In life this is only the beginning. But how come I have the ring? It is fate and destiny’s work so we don’t know! Let go to reverdel then we can discuss it all. How are we going to go without my parents knowing? I will make them fall asleep. We will ride horses. O, by the way, here are some bows and arrows to defend yourself. Well let’s get going. You are now a part of The Fellowship of The Ring but you are now in great danger since Sauron wants the ring. A few hours later there was a council which I was not invited. How is she supposed to keep it safe if it is a human and humans are the people who want power. But she can resist the power unlike Frodo did in the book.



By Sohini:

El Carmelo_Sohini 

I looked into my pocket and found a picture on a necklace of a brown dog. I think it is a chocolate lab and it is very furry. Dogs are one of my favorite animals. The picture then burst into many rainbow colors and out came stars and glittery marble. The dog queen stood in the middle and asked me to join her on a stroll through the garden. The garden flowers (in the palace) were shaped as dog faces, dog bones, and even dog paw prints. They were lovely. Queen Dogina wore a yellow gown with purple diamonds and frilly lace borders. The sleeves were puffy and cream color. She told me to jump into the garden gazebo and sing “Mary had a Little Dog” 4 times and then I should be in Selezum Grun where the evil queen lives. She kills anyone whose head is bigger than a toadstool so Queen Dogina gave me a pink biscuit that said “eat me” so I could get my head shrunk. Wow…



By Moeka:

I looked into my pocket and found a shiny tissue paper so I ended up using that one. It turned out so beautiful that Mrs. Wilson, my teacher, even said that it looked pretty amazing. Right now next to my backpack I have the masterpiece I made. It has 4 of the papers taped on a long piece of string. I can’t wait to bring it home and show my mom. I bet she will be proud! I would like to hang it in my room and make the whole room look bright! I will hope that my sister, whose name is Satura, will not rip it into pieces. I will totally get mad or should I say furious? …




The Conversation



El Carmelo_Moeka

Hi Let’s talk about cotton candy


it is cool




junk food


no sense



change clothes

not funny



By Kristina:


 My one wish was to have a dog,

but mom said I must have a frog!

I said I would rather eat a log!

So she said I’ll get a hog.

No I said, I want a dog!

On Christmas Day I went into

my room and saw a dog!




Benjamin Franklin and cupcake were best friends. They loved dogs, both were 18 years old, and they were both wise. Their favorite meat was road kill, especially chicken, trying to get to the other side of the road. One day 5 years later cupcake was gone! Benjamin Franklin acted clueless but the truth is Benji ate his best friend. Boo Hoo!




Once I saw a tabby looking cool and awesome. It was a caramelish color. He looked like a pineapple. He was wearing dark shades and making the peace sign with his fingers. His fur was pokey like a pineapple’s outside. I almost mistakened him for a big piece of caramel and almost reached out to eat him, but then I thought caramel isn’t spiky? To add to his coolness he was also drinking Gatorade. How cool is that? (Not cool at all!)




By Lia:

I looked into my pocket and found a little gray cube the size of a horse’s hoof. and so I opened up the box and POOF! I know there was a cloud of green mist, then the world turned black. I woke up to find beautiful girls above me. “What?” I said. But they just started singing, and I feel asleep again. When I woke up again I was on a crude log raft, but made pretty by flowers. The raft was floating in the middle of a small lake. Suddenly there was a small popping sound, and the beautiful girls melted out of the water’s surface. “What? How?” I stammered. “We are the Cereids (se-raids), the guardians of Candio.” …