Go “Nuts” for Writing This Fall! - Unit 3: Summarizing a Narrative Story
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October 2014 Newsletter

Go “Nuts” for Writing This Fall!

Unit 3: Summarizing a Narrative Story
Dear Readers,
Why do you write? There are numerous reasons to write—for a relaxing pastime, to express feelings, to expose an issue or defend a cause, to learn or teach. Maybe you write to satisfy your imagination or to “travel” the world without leaving your desk. Author C.S. Lewis once stated, “You can make anything by writing.” He also explained another motivation behind writing: “Whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I have found out long ago.” Regardless of your incentive behind writing, the power of the pen has tremendous potential to bring satisfaction not only to the writer, but to the reader. When one possesses to ability to craft the written word, one possesses a world of opportunity.
With the busyness of life, it’s easy to not take the time to sharpen skills such as writing. However, writing is such an important skill to develop. We encourage you, even in the midst of busyness, to take the time to develop your writing skills, and encourage your children to do the same. How do you motivate your kids to write? Make writing fun, and do it yourself.

Congratulations to our student writers and illustrators who are published in this newsletter. 

  • Aaron Blank
  • Lenore Blank
  • Isaiah Bolden
  • Jennifer Bolden
  • Melissa Johnson
  • Tad Lyon
  • Jamison Reddy
  • Jordan Reddy
  • John Simmons
  • Robbie Butler
  • Baxter Farthing
  • Caitlin Narmour
  • Anthea Segger

Keep writing!

Megan L. House
Magnum Opus Magazine Managing Editor
800.856.5815 x5101
God Can Save
by Lenore Blank, age 9
Persia was much more magnificent and marvelous than Babylon. Incredibly, it stretched from India to Ethiopia. Mordecai, who was a Jew, lived in Persia and had a cousin named Hadassah. The name “Hadassah” is Jewish for Esther. Mordecai raised Esther because she was an orphan. King Xerxes was foolish and did not fear God. He chose Esther to be his elegant queen.

Haman was greatly honored by the king. He was very offended when Mordecai did not bow down to him. Haman, who was still enraged, made a law that all of the Jews would be killed. Mordecai begged Queen Esther to talk to the king about the new law. Queen Esther would greatly risk her life if she entered the king’s room without being invited. She would die along with all of the Jews, but if the king held out his jeweled scepter, Esther would not die.

Mordecai, Queen Esther, and all of the Jews fasted and prayed for three days. King Xerxes, who was pleased with Esther, graciously held out his scepter for Esther. Queen Esther requested that the king and Haman attend two fancy banquets. At the second banquet, Esther told about Haman’s plot that was as evil as a sneaky snake. The king was furious, so he had Haman hanged. King Xerxes made a new law, so the Jews could defend themselves. God used Mordecai and Esther to save the Jews.
Elijah Was Bold
by Melissa Johnson, age 9
Illustration by Baxter Farthing
Illustration by Baxter Farthing

After King Solomon died, an evil king named Ahab ruled the massive country of Israel. Ahab was more evil than all the kings before him. Ahab, who wickedly carried out and performed evil, had 450 prophets. The prophets told the people to worship Baal. God had one loyal prophet named Elijah.

Elijah challenged Ahab, who worshipped a false god, to a contest in which he would burn a bullock to prove which god was the true God. Ahab loudly begged to Baal to burn the sacrifice, but it did not burn. Elijah put a bullock on an altar made with twelve stones. Elijah built a trench around the altar. Obediently because God told him to, Elijah poured buckets of water on the altar until it filled the massive trench. Elijah prayed to God, and the Lord sent fire to burn the sacrifice.
A Bronco with the Spirit of a Whirlwind
by Jennifer Bolden, age 10
Illustration by Robbie Butler

The Old West was an untamed, wild, and vast land. Near the desert were the valleys and hills. Unendingly, the desert lasted thousands of miles, and it took many weeks to travel through it. There was a cowboy named Pecos Bill, who was the roughest, toughest cowboy in the land. He was able to smoothly break broncos and drive cattle without a scratch. Pecos Bill was also as fast as lightning. He was the most incredible, skilled, and powerful cowboy in the Old West.

One day, Pecos Bill, who skillfully drove many kinds of cattle, was extremely tired of riding the countless and slow broncos he trained. He wanted to ride a fast and skilled bronco that was spirited like a whirlwind, not a regular boring one. He headed to Kansas to catch a tornado—not just any ordinary one. He wanted the most terrible, twisting tornado to ride. When it arrived, he was ready. Boldly, he roped the twister and seized it. Whooping and hollering, Pecos Bill rode across Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Higher and higher he flew. He was having the time of his life!

Suddenly, the tornado ceased. Pecos Bill plummeted rapidly. Pecos Bill hit the ground like a bullet. The hole was so enormous that people called it the Grand Canyon. Pecos Bill was not hurt. He casually jumped out and rushed to Texas to tell his tale. He learned that a tornado would not replace a bronco; he needed to find a bronco which had the spirit of a tornado.
Trust and Obey God
by John Simmons, age 9
In Babylon the people loved their sidewalks and roads, and the walls protected them from danger. The city had beautiful gardens, exquisite buildings, and plenty of food. Daniel was a young Jewish prince fearlessly serving King Nebuchadnezzar. The young boy obeyed and trusted God with all his might. God granted him wisdom and understanding. Clearly, Daniel loved and trusted God.

King Darius was very pleased with Daniel, placing him in charge. Daniel's men became very jealous and wanted power in the vast kingdom. They set a trap for Daniel because they could find no fault in him. They obtained the king's signature on a law declaring that everyone must pray to the king for thirty days. Anyone who broke the law would be cast into the lions’ den like a rag doll. Daniel worshipped God and prayed only to Him. Since Daniel broke the law, he was cast into the lions’ den. The deceitful men could not wait to tell the king what Daniel had done.

Realizing that he had been tricked, King Darius was sorry for signing the law, because he liked Daniel. Daniel was thrown into the lions' den according to the law. King Darius was sad and had no sleep, as he was sorrowfully worrying about Daniel. Miraculously, the Lord kept Daniel safe and sound while staying in the lion's den. The king's men were cast into the lions' den once he realized what they had done. King Darius changed the law to worship the true God.  Daniel was wise to trust and obey God. We should always trust God.
More Fighting
by Aaron Blank, age 12
In the year of 1775, in the state of Massachusetts there was friction between the redcoats and Americans. The zealous minutemen, who were brave men like the Sons of Liberty, fought vehemently for the Americans. They had craftily been smugglers, for a good cause, that is. Sneakily they had been hiding guns, smelly powder, and shot.

The British were marching to steal the munitions! At another town Paul Revere quickly galloped up to a small humble house. At the top of his lungs, he yelled, “John! The regulars are coming out!” John, who was a young Minuteman, leaped out of bed. He gathered his stuff. Rapidly galloping on a horse, he was off.

When John arrived, he found seventy minutemen already waiting. When the British arrived, a cocky British officer told them to disperse. There was silence. Then one, two, three shots were fired. Soon a perilous hail of bullets filled the air. Eight minutemen died, and the British were marching to Concord. Immediately after they arrived, there was more fighting, and after a fairly short battle, the Brits marched, beaten, back to Boston.
Provoking the World
by Jordan Reddy, age 13
Illustration by Anthea Segger

It began outside of Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1775. Upon coming to the village at that time, it would be found small, and peaceful as the shire. In the small village there lived Faramir and Eowyn, with their cherished daughter, who was named Orawyn. Gravely, the King believed the people had no rights. They would have to fight one day, not because they wanted to, but because they had to. Faramir and the village foretold there was yet another battle to descend upon them because they did not want to be impotent. Faramir and the others silently smuggled ammunition into a secluded place in Concord.

Suddenly, they learned that they were correct. The British soldiers planned to relentlessly attack. British soldiers were planning to seize the store in Concord, which was where all the ammunition was kept. Despite this threat, Faramir and his companions did not give up. It was inevitable that a war would start. Spies were set to guard. “No matter what we see, we must fight the regulars,” declared Faramir. “This may start the war, and we may die, but all for a cause, a marvelous cause!” As Faramir started to pace, Eowyn assisted him. He was terrified because the road ahead was perilous. However, Faramir knew it was his duty to fight.

Once Faramir had arrived in Concord, he realized that only seventy minutemen had drudged over to Concord to start fighting the regulars. Faramir’s heart was quickly beating. Among the soldiers, Faramir heard a shot ring out. He looked wildly about, not knowing where the shot had been fired. He was terrified. He wanted to flee. He did not want to be here. Suddenly, out of nowhere more shots were fired. Faramir stood appalled as he realized that the brutal war had finally begun. The minutemen had saved their arms; however, they were paid for with many lives. Eight minutemen were dead including Faramir, who fought to the very end. Though no one knows who fired the first shot, it provoked the whole world. Today we call this “the shot heard ‘round the world.”
Don’t Tread on Us
by Tad Lyon, age 15
Illustration by Anthea Segger

On a cool, breezy evening in December, in the Old South Meeting House in Boston, there was a passionate debate going on about the three unpopular British ships laden with tea and anchored in Boston Harbor. The tenseness in the air could be felt by everyone. Sixteen-year-old John Smith, who was one of the Sons of Liberty, was present, and his mind was also on the tea. He had a job to do, and he was anxiously waiting for the signal to begin. This job would change North America. More importantly it would spark the withering of kings’ influences around the world. It would also test whether the king of England was impotent, or if he would rise to the challenge as indignant and infuriated as an awakened lion.

Smith was thinking about what was decided at the last meeting of the Sons of Liberty, and about how they steadfastly stated that England had no right to force a tax on their tea. At the meeting, everyone had declared that they would not buy tea until the king stopped imposing such frivolous taxes. Despite the fact that everyone wanted the tax done away with, Thomas Hutchinson, who was the royal governor, absolutely refused to disobey England. Loyally, he said that the king must be obeyed and ordered that the tea be “unloaded by December the sixteenth.” That night was December sixteenth.

Samuel Adams, who was one of the leaders of the Sons of Liberty, vehemently stated: “This meeting can do nothing more to save the country.” That was the signal Smith was waiting to hear. Swiftly, some of the crowd stood up looking like American Indians. When they ran past John, he threw off his cape and was suddenly transformed into one of them, and he joined the warpath to board the three laden ships. Out to the ships they rowed. Once on board, they smashed the tea boxes and then jettisoned them. The fragrance of the leaves was in the air. The crowd cheered: “Rally, Indians! Bring your axes. Tell King George we’ll pay no taxes.” John was sure that King George was going to feel some animosity toward the colonists, but he hoped he would get their point.
His Purpose
by Isaiah Bolden, age 16
Illustration by Caitlin Narmour

Peyton, Pa, Ma, and James all lived in a sturdy, worn out house. Peyton was a young boy. Pa was strong and hard working. Ma was a wise woman. Peyton’s older brother James was diligent and caring, but tentative. During the late 1700s, the South started importing slaves in vast numbers. When Pa and Ma were hopelessly brought to the bland plantation, they were quickly taught and put to turbulent work. Tenderly, Peyton, who was born on that very plantation, was soon put to work in the field. Pa, Ma, Peyton, and James gathered cotton while the day had light; however at night, they had dreams of freedom.

After a hard day’s work, slaves would wait all day to sing songs of freedom. Although there were many songs, The Drinking Gourd was their favorite. Desperately, they would wait for the quail of freedom as mentioned in the drinking gourd song. Peyton’s family diligently waited for the quail. Hoping, Peyton and his family listened for the quail. The chirping call meant freedom, but it also meant risking being captured and maliciously beaten or even killed. They were scared, but determined. The time for the call, which seemed far off, finally arrived. When they heard the call, they knew at nightfall they would move through the fuzzy cotton and toward the raging river, toward feasible freedom.

Despite being on the run, they finally met a “conductor” who was called Mr. Barley. He directed Peyton’s family to the next inconspicuous safe house like an angel in disguise. Occasionally, Mr. Barley told stories of the Underground Railroad. “Did I ever tell you about the time we almost were caught?” he would start. He kept the trip lively. As they were nearing the North, which meant freedom, they were about to complete their quest. They reached the North safely. When settled in, they began their new life, flourishing together as if the past had never happened. Their freedom had been obtained through hard work and the Lord. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
The Beginning of a Country
by Jamison Reddy, age 15
In a small, placid village near Lexington, Massachusetts, there lived a blacksmith named Ben. Ben, who lived with his wife Molly and two sons, Fred and George, was also a brave minuteman. He persevered at earning freedom. Ben indignantly believed that the king was unjust, so he had joined with several other minutemen to create a band of rebels. Unfortunately, because of many violent clashes between redcoats and colonists, the cowardly British had begun to seize and ban all weapons and ammunition. However, Ben’s band of rebels had worriedly but wisely smuggled guns, powder, and shot out of Boston to a secret hiding place in Concord. They all swore to only use the weapons to protect them and their families. They hoped that day would never dawn.

Later in that year (1775), the rebels learned that the British were plotting to seize their stores of weapons. Quickly, the fearful minutemen informed Ben of the desperate situation. After a delicious breakfast that filled Ben’s stomach and warmed his insides, he joylessly said goodbye to his family, hurriedly packed matches, shot, three crisp apples, and a gun he kept for emergencies. His hands shook with nervousness. Ben rushed outside into the cold, wet spring morning weather, and as the chilly rainfall gently washed his face, he pondered what might happen. The British, who were both bold and cowardly, would defend their power over the colonies at any cost. Not long ago, the “Boston Tea Party” had surely irritated and provoked them. They would be ready to fight, but would the minutemen? The rain began to fall more heavily, and as Ben trampled along through the rain that smelled of pine trees, a thought stirred in his heart that he was ready to defend his own freedom and the freedom of his family at any cost. Through the thick fog Ben travelled while contemplating his freedom.

The rain had gone from a gentle shower to a beating fury then back to a gentle shower. Around the time Ben arrived at Lexington Green, the rain had finished falling, and the frightened minutemen began to line up on the damp turf. “Do not fire unless fired upon!” commanded Captain John Parker hurriedly and with resolve, using a voice that boomed across the entire field. “Disperse, ye rebels!” ordered an aging British officer with an air of boredom. Silently, Ben hoped and prayed that the soldiers would depart. His heart was pounding, and his palms were sweaty. Suddenly a loud shot rang out, and the smell of gun smoke mixed with the previous smell of pines. Ben winced. In his nervousness he had bumped the sensitive trigger on the rusty and aging gun he was wielding. The British, who were shocked and stunned at first, cunningly began to return fire. When the thick smoke finally cleared, eight minutemen were dead, and the rest were ashamedly hurrying away—Ben among them. The British pompously marched on to Concord, where they met and faced another rebellion, and from there they marched back to Boston. The brave yet nervous minutemen had saved their stores of weapons but had also begun the war.
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