Young Readers League 2019 “Hidden History” Writing Contest

2nd place

(Category 1: ages 8-11)


“One Step Ahead”

by Carolyn Wang

Age 11


Summary:  Cameron found a note with a mystery waiting to be solved: “Seek the Heart, Solve the clues, Find the fortune”

“Seek the Heart, Solve the clues, Find the fortune”, was what 12 year-old Cameron kept saying to herself. “What is that even supposed to mean?”

It all started with that mysterious paper Cameron found in the library earlier that evening. When she was just about to open a book, a piece of paper fell out. It was typed and there was no indication where the paper came from, for it was clearly not part of the book. This stumped her all day.

“Seek the Heart, Solve the clues, Find the fortune … SSF?” she thought out loud. “Could it be the abandoned space company? Shuttles and Ship Factory? No way …”

Cameron searched SSF on her laptop, she found SSF’s longest project, the spaceship called the HSS. Heart Seeker Spaceship. According to the article, the SSF “Lost their hearts when the ‘Heart Seeker’ failed. And not long after, there was a fire, and a few weeks later the factory went bankrupt and had been closed ever since. What? Was this the big fire where her grandma died? She did work for the SFF … “

Cameron’s Grandma was one of the first African American women to work at SFF. She had helped create the famous rover Explorer, the first rover on Saturn! Grandma … OF COURSE, the attic!

As Cameron headed toward the attic, she heard the doorbell ring. It was Richard, Ugh her mother’s boyfriend. “Hey Cammie!” Richard waved. Ignoring him, she raced upstairs to the attic.

As she did, she stumbled upon a loose floorboard. “OW ow ow.” As she bent down to check her foot, she saw a white paper in the cracks of the floorboards. As she picked up the letter, the whole floorboard came up! And inside, carved on the wood, it said To Cammie, Always be one step ahead.


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