“Circus Shenanigans” — story by Adam Kakuk

Young Readers League 2016 Writing Contest

Category 1 (Age 8-11)

2nd place


Circus Shenanigans

by Adam Kakuk
11 years old (Grade 6)
Palm Crest Elementary School

    As I walked down a dusty road, heading to the grocery store, I saw an enormous tent with a sign proclaiming in large, red letter, “CIRCUS TODAY.”

    I frowned, knowing my mom would disapprove such “shenanigans.” She never let me do anything fun because of my feet – my feet that stuck to any surface at will, like a gecko’s. It wasn’t like I was suddenly going to run off with the circus, like my uncle “Sticky Pete” or Grandpa Garibaldi, but my mom worried any way.

    Finally, I couldn’t help myself and bought a ticket. I was having fun until I noticed something that really bothered me: A man walking on a tightrope. He was just walking, as if that were amazing.

    Without thinking, I climbed up the pole to the tightrope, ran onto the wire, then willed my feet to stick.

    I flipped and twirled, jumped, and danced. Then, feeling hungry, I whipped out my egg salad sandwich and munched without dropping a crumb. The crowd oh’d and ah’d, but the tightrope walker was not amused.

    “What are you doing?” he growled. “Get off – now!”

    “Wait,” I replied. “I need to finish my egg sandwich.”

    The man shook the wire, trying to send me falling into the net, but my feet gripped.

    “Impressive! You’re almost as good as the Great Garibaldi! He did fifty-five somersaults on a wire in a row.”

    “The Great Garibaldi?” I wondered. I proceeded to do a quadruple backflip, then fifty-six somersaults in a row. The tightrope walker beamed; the crowd roared.

    “What’s your name, kid?” asked the man eagerly.

    “Joe Gekko. I know Gekko is a strange name – don’t ask how we got it.”

    “Welcome to the circus!” he cried, shaking my hand.

    Okay, maybe I was going to run off with the circus…


Contest info:

Tell us something about a new character joining a magical circus. What is their special ability? How did they come to join the circus?

Special thanks to our judges:  Allison Hill (Vromans), Nick Smith (Pasadena Library), Shauna Redmond (Pasadena Library), Tiffany Duenas (Pasadena Library), Jean Penn (Pasadena Library)

Sponsored by the Friends of the Pasadena Public Library


To view more stories from the contest, view the list:  http://pasadena-library.net/kids/2016/yrlcontest