Young Readers League 2019 “Hidden History” Writing Contest

Honorable Mention

(Category 2: ages 12-14)


“The Soldier”

by Samuel Smookler

Age 12


Summary:  The narrator discover some important history about his grandfather.


It’s 2006 and it’s been two months since my grandpa died from Alzhimer’s. I didn’t cry when I first heard, but I was sad about him being gone. He was a humble guy – always kept to himself, wasn’t showy in any way. Although being pretty silent, he was really gifted. He went to both UCLA and Stanford and ended up being a nuclear engineer. That’s incredible, considering racism was still an issue at the time. He was exceptionally honest, respectful, and open, or that’s at least what all the mathematicians said at his funeral. Today, my dad and I are supposed to pick some of his stuff up from his house. We pull up to his driveway to his old house.

My dad and I walk up to the front porch of grandpa’s house as he pulls out the keys and twists it to the left. The door opens and a sudden wave of smell hit me. You know when you walk into someone else’s house and they have that odd smell to it? That was exactly what it was. It was impossible to describe, but it wasn’t particularly strong nor bad in any way. We brought some boxes to take some of the more important stuff. My dad cleared the living room as I wandered down the hallway. A large box catches my attention as I’m passing through his open bedroom door. Naturally, I check it. I unfold the box and see tons of documents. I first check the ones on the top. There’s legal papers, graduation awards, and… and… a purple heart and two bronze stars? I never knew that grandpa was a- wait, that means…

No… Was he really?


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