Young Readers League Story Contest Winners!

by Vroman's on November 20, 2017

This year our Young Readers League picked The Key To Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd! In the spirit on this book, kids aged 8-14 were invited to enter a writing contest. In 300 words of less, they were to write a ghost story. The guidelines were the word count (at 300) and must be an original story. The Pasadena Library was flooded with entries and we are happy to announce the winners here!

Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
3rd place
Category 1 (ages 8-11)

Age 10 (Grade 5)

“The Ghosts in the Cemetery”

A young girl takes a not-so-ordinary walk through a cemetery
when the clock strikes twelve.

Lily is a girl who has no mother. Neither does she have sisters or brothers. It’s just Lily and her father. Her father is a lawyer. Lily visits the cemetery and stops by her late mother’s grave. She stares and thinks for hours, then leaves for home every day. One night when Lily’s father told her he’ll be away, Lily is woken suddenly and is staying awake. She wasn’t in the middle of a nightmare. She thinks it’s very strange. But when Lily feels this way, she visits her mother’s grave. Tonight will be no different. Lily dresses and grabs a light. She isn’t scared; she’ll try to prevail. But she then doesn’t feel she has might.

She ventures into the cemetery weaving in and out through the trees. She trips on roots and tumbles on the ground. The grass felt cold when she went down. Lily feels unsure of herself as the clock strikes twelve. When this happens Lily thinks about returning home. Lily is about to start her way when the ground beneath her rumbles. Lily grabs onto a tree and shouts as rocks tumble. Lily gasps as a spirit jumps out of a grave. Lily, frightened and scared, crawls out and asks the ghost who he is.
But before the spirit can answer, Lily gives a shout of surprise.

“Hey!” she says, “You’re Mayor Alvin! Our first mayor to win an Olympic prize!”

At first, the mayor is startled but he relaxes into a smile.
“Hello,” he says. “Who are you?”
“I’m Lily,” she replies.

Lily watched, amazed, as the ghosts became alive.
“We get out every midnight,” says the mayor. “You’re the first to see us rise.”

Lily runs away, finding her mother walking.
Lily says, “Hi. I’m Lily Walker. Your daughter. The one you left behind.”

Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
2nd place
Category 1 (ages 8-11)

Age 11 (Grade 6)

“The Haunted Pair of Ballet Slippers”

A ballerina has trouble with her enchanted ballet slippers.

The little ballerina warned them! No one would listen to her. They had no idea of how dangerous the pair of ballet slippers could possibly be. Whenever she would put on her shoes during the class it would appear as though she is doing a crazy chicken dance. Once the teacher asked her to point her feet, she would flex them; when she asked her to flex her feet, she would point them. Everyone in her class thought that she was dyslexic or weird, but she was actually just a normal human being. One time she was so out of control that she twisted her ankle. The dancer could not take it any longer. So she threw one of her slippers breaking the glass mirror. The teachers yelled, “Young lady this is no place for a ballerina like you to throw things and damage them. You will have to pay a consequence and that is to never come back EVER AGAIN!” Sadly, the ballerina left the dance studio, never to return again.
Later that night on a full moon, the janitor went inside the studio. He noticed tiny little shattered pieces of a glass mirror on the floor. Of course the right thing to do would be to clean it up. So, he rapidly rushed over to the closet to get a broom and a dustpan. As he walked over to the room he heard a soft tone of music. Each step sounded clearer to him. “It must just be my imagination,” he thought.
There was only one way to find out!
He swiftly opened the door and saw two lonely ballet slippers dancing to the MUSIC!

Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
1st place
Category 1 (ages 8-11)

Age 11 (Grade 7)

“The Journal”

A story of an ordinary girl with a not so ordinary story, who discovers the shocking truth of her family.

This is the story of an ordinary girl with a not so ordinary story. My name is Jenna Adler and I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. According to Google, New Orleans is called the most “haunted city in America.” I never really thought of it like that. New Orleans has had many tragedies such as the Yellow Fever Epidemic during 1817-1905. There was also The LaLaurie Mansion where a lady named Delphine enslaved African American people and she tortured and murdered them. My home wasn’t creepy at all, but my parents decided it was time to move from our small house to a penthouse in the French Quarter. It was during the move I realized something very disturbing about my family.
I once had a sister named Daphne. Her name was beautiful and perfect and these are the things I remember about her. She died when I was very young. So, the night we moved into our new home, I felt like I wasn’t alone at all. I told my parents I felt very spooked and they said that I will be okay and told me to rest. The next morning, I woke up early and noticed a panel of uneven wood in the floor. I pull the wood up and saw a journal that said “Daphne” on it. “How strange,” I thought, because that was my sister’s name. I opened the journal and the first page was written to me! I slammed the journal closed and ran into my parents’ room and showed them what I found. My mom started crying and my dad said, “Jenna, there is something you should know.” It was then that I learned the shocking truth about my family. We are actually ghosts and Daphne murdered us. The journal was the story of what happened.

Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
3rd place
Category 2 (ages 12-14)

Age 13 (Grade 7)

“The Selfie”

Three girls at a sleepover discover a strange figure in their picture.

‘‘It was a dark and stormy night, just like how most ghost stories start,” Kate began. “We’re seriously doing this? Ghost stories are super childish!” Poppy exclaimed. Kate and Abby laughed. “You’re just scared, Poppy!” Abby added jokingly. The three of them had been best friends since third grade, when Abby lost her tooth in Kate’s apple. Poppy sat watching and became jealous that she hadn’t lost any molars yet and got Kate to pull it out with a string. Now, they were in eighth grade, and still as close as sardines, or whatever people say. “Anyways, there were three girls at a sleepover. One of them was too scared to do anything fun, so they had the worst time ever,” Kate said, elbowing Poppy. She was not impressed. “Ghost stories just aren‘t scary!” Abby looked around awkwardly as the two glared at each other. “Selfie time!” she yelled out of the blue. She pulled out her phone and took a picture of the three. The picture was cute. Nothing out of the ordinary, except something that Poppy caught in the corner. A person. A little girl with blond pigtails, and a blank facial expression. It gave Poppy chills. “Guys, look in the corner.” Kate gasped. “There’s someone there,” said Abby. “No duh,” Kate replied. Poppy turned around. No one was there. A cold mist filled the air, where the girls were sitting. Eventually, they all fell asleep. The next morning, Abby checked her phone, like she did every morning. There was a picture of all three girls sleeping. There was another video of the girl they saw earlier, saying, “Catch me if you can!” Abby dropped her phone and screamed. She ran out of the room. Kate and Poppy swore they heard laughing. Abby never had a sleepover again.

Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
2nd place
Category 2 (ages 12-14)

Age 12 (Grade 7)

“Horror Houses”

The narrator moves into a new house and experiences ghostly encounters.

I must have been eleven when I saw a ghost. We had just moved into a new house. I ran up the stairs to the bedrooms. I chose the one closest to the stairs, it was bigger. My sister didn’t want to have the bedroom next to the stairs. She thought it was creepy.
I was going to bed one night. I was exhausted. In my bathroom I was brushing my teeth. Everyone was downstairs. The room was cold. I felt like I was being watched. I looked down to the vent in the wall. In the bars, I saw a person. A little boy, just watching.
I remember running downstairs. My parents convinced me it was nothing, that this house was too new for ghosts. So I went to my bed and went to sleep. That night I heard the stairs creaking like someone was walking up them I went to investigate. Nobody. All there was, was the smell of old perfume.
I followed the scent to the basement. I went down the steps. The door closed behind me, I heard the lock click. I then heard the scream. A child’s. Then I saw the little boy. He said to help him. His name was Thomas and he needed help. A ghostly figure appeared behind him. A woman. Thomas screamed. I pounded on the door and was relieved to hear my mother’s murmurs and footsteps.
That morning we were watching television. “Horror Houses” was on. lt was talking about a house where an old woman lived. She lured children into her house and killed them. A little boy was one of her victims. A picture of her room went on the screen, it was my bedroom.

Young Readers League 2017 Writing Contest
1st place
Category 2 (ages 12-14)

Age 12 (Grade 6)

“The Ghost Story”

A bolt of lightning hits a cemetery causing ghosts to appear.

It was a dark and gloomy night and the wind howled like hunting wolves. Out of nowhere, a bolt of lightning hit one of the graves at the cemetery. The explosion was so big that it destroyed a few tombs. After the smoke cleared, a ghost appeared. This ghost appeared to be cloudy white with eyes and mouth that looked like an endless hole that could consume anyone in its path. Unfortunately, this was a ghost that could bring back other ghosts. This meant that he would have an army of ghosts. Day by day, the ghosts would haunt homes in the nearby town. These ghosts were on the mission take over the town and make it their own.

In the town, when the first person saw the ghost, he screamed, “GHOST!! GHOST!” People fled their homes and went running as far as they could, except for one person. This person was an old grandma who was hard of hearing, and could hardly see anything in front of her. When a ghost arrived at her home to scare her off, she didn’t even notice it. She was too busy vacuuming her living room of cat hairs. To get her attention, the ghost had to shove her. The startled grandma ended up turning the vacuum on the ghost, where it got sucked up with all the cat hairs.

Word got out how this grandma defeated the ghost with her vacuum. The town’s people returned to their homes to grab their vacuums. One by one, the ghost were sucked up until they were gone.
The town‘s people rewarded this grandma with a new vacuum, and called her “The Ghost Slayer.” She was just happy with a new vacuum, and one that didn’t smell like a cat.