Young Readers League 2018 Writing Contest

3rd place

Category 2 (ages 12-14)


Olivia Barrios

Age 12 (Grade 7), Blair Middle School

“No Looking Back”


The narrator and her Mami escape to California.

I take one last look inside the house, take a deep breath, then close the door behind me. I set off and don’t look back. I’m not going back in that house. Not now, Not ever. I take my mother’s hand. It’s trembling, and I know that she’s scared. We both are. Mami says we aren’t running ​away f​rom Mexico; we are going ​to​ America. But I know that neither are the truth. We are running away from Papi. Papi is a drunk. He gets home from his job and grabs a beer and watches TV. Papi isn’t a nice drunk. He’s an Angry drunk. We tiptoe around Papi, like he is a hunter and Mami and I are deers. And when he spots us, he pulls the trigger. When Papi is mad, he throws whatever he has in his hands. Beer bottles, tv remotes, forks, plates. Mami and I always have cuts and bruises down our arms and legs, which we cover up by wearing long sleeves and pants.

We are going to California, and staying with my Tia Carmela, who owns a shop where Mami can work. She and her husband, my Tio Gabriel, are already citizens. Mami and I are going on a immigrant visa. Tio Gabriel had driven out to durango, where I live, and was going to drive us across the border, since plane tickets were to expensive

We walk to where Tio Gabriel told us to meet him and get into his car.

“​Gracias Mami​” I whisper to her. She just nods her head, but I can see that she knows how grateful I am. As we drive away, I say goodbye to the only life I’ve ever known. Goodbye house. Goodbye bedroom. Goodbye Abuela. Goodbye Durango. Good Riddance Papi. From now on, the deer can run free.

Thank you to our judges: McKenna Blackshire, Alaina Joby, Nick Smith

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