Eating a Special Food on New Year’s Day?

Eating a Special Food on New Year’s Day?

When I was a little girl, my dad insisted that I eat at least one spoonful of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. It was supposed to bring good luck. I didn’t like them. Eating even a spoonful seemed like a high price to pay for good luck in the new year. Folks from the southern United States eat black-eyed peas on January 1st. Cornbread is another favorite in that section of the country. Eating green, leafy vegetables, supposed to resemble money, bring prosperity. Citizens in Spain eat 12 grapes at midnight. Each grape represents one month of the year. If the fifth and sixth grape taste especially bad, for example, May and June might be a little difficult. Germans, Austrians, and Hungarians—among others—eat pork on New Year’s. Pigs signify progress....

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First Children’s Christmas Party at the White House

First Children’s Christmas Party at the White House

by Sandra Merville Hart President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams didn’t have the warmest of homes at the White House in 1800. Their Pennsylvania Avenue home, built near a swamp, was drafty and cold. Large fires crackled in thirteen fireplaces to warm their home. In 1800, as Christmas approached the President and First Lady decided to host a children’s Christmas party. Their four-year-old granddaughter, Susanna Boylston Adams, lived with them and they wanted to honor her. Greenery was hung to decorate the East Room. Government officials and their children were invited to the party. A small orchestra played while guests munched on cakes and drank punch. They sang Christmas carols and played games. The party was a great success with one exception. One of...

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Let’s Go Shopping

Let’s Go Shopping

Do you like to go shopping for new school clothes? How about a trip to the grocery store to pick up a box of your favorite cookies? Or the toy store, where maybe your mom or dad let you pick out something you would really like for your birthday. Each store sells certain items. You would not go to the toy section to look for cookies, and I doubt you would find very interesting clothes at the grocery store. It is the same with magazines. If you are looking for a place to sell your story, you need to send it to the types of magazines that are interested in what you write. Many adult publications feature non-fiction articles or stories. You see them at the check-out counters all the time. The titles address how to stay healthy, plan a family budget, or talk to your...

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Have you Heard?

Have you Heard?

McKenna leaned over to Rory in Social Studies class and whispered, “Did you know that Sarah made an F on her math test yesterday?” Rory’s eyes widened. “Really?” he said. He turned around and told the person behind him. The news spread quickly, and by the end of the day, everyone knew about Sarah’s test grade. The next day, Sarah heard a couple of girls talking about her in the bathroom. “Did you hear that Sarah made an F on the test?” they were saying. Sarah wondered, “Why on earth are they talking about me? It’s not even true. I made a B on the test!” She began to cry. Sarah’s classmates were gossiping, or spreading hurtful messages about her behind her back. Oftentimes, when people gossip, the message that gets passed along isn’t even...

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Growing in Gratitude

Growing in Gratitude

Jimmy ran to the window to see if his guests had arrived. He couldn’t wait for his birthday party to start! He helped his mom blow up balloons, then he tied them to the mailbox. As the guests arrived, Jimmy’s eyes widened when he saw the big, shiny packages that everyone had brought for him. When gift-opening time came, Jimmy grabbed a present and tore into it. It was a Lego set! Instead of thanking the friend who gave it to him, Jimmy just grabbed another gift and started opening it. He continued this way, not thanking anyone, until all the gifts were opened. After the party, Jimmy’s mom came into his room and talked to him about what had happened. When Jimmy realized that he had forgotten to show appreciation for his gifts, he decided to write thank-you...

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The Cure for Grumpiness

The Cure for Grumpiness

Do you ever feel grumpy? Mona the monkey was feeling that way. She didn’t want to cuddle or let her mother pick itchy bugs out of her fur. She didn’t want to play catch-me -if you-can, or jump from tree to tree by the river. Mona was a miserable grump. Sometimes, we get grumpy too and that’s okay. . . if it’s just for a little while. But if we hold onto our grumps they can make us cranky. Cranky leads to crabby, and no one likes to hang around with crabby crabs. Mona’s best friend, Fern, knew the cure for grumpiness. “What you need,” she told Mona, “Is a Whatever.” “What’s a Whatever?” Mona asked with a grumpy frown. “I bet if we look together, we can find one in no time,” said Fern. With a loud sigh, grumbling,...

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