Young Readers League 2016 Writing Contest

Category 2 (Age 12-14)

1st place

Girl on Fire

by Amelia Monsour
12 years old (Grade 7)
Sierra Madre Middle School

    The circus master, Eduard, buttoned up his red coat, and prepared to enter the circus ring, where flying children, super strong men, and conjurers awaited. One person was missing – where was the shapeshifter? Well, it wasn’t as if the show needed her. She could barely change her face, let alone change her form. He was about to enter the ring when he felt a tug on his coat. He looked down.

A child stood at his feet, eight years old at most. She wore rags, and no shoes. Her hair was a red as fire, and her eyes were an icy gray. She looked so unusual that it was unsettling.

“Girl, scram. I’ve got to go onstage now, and I can’t be bothered with beggars. But I’ll give you a tip after the show, the stands are full of leftover food, and I won’t mind if you help yourself.” Eduard said.

“My name is Ember, and I am not a beggar. I am here for work.” the girl said, and her voice felt as if it were on fire. Before Eduard’s eyes, she transformed into a dragon.

Eduard was shocked. “But you’re just a girl. It takes master shapeshifters decades to master the skills needed to completely change their form.”

“I’m more skilled than most.” the girl replied. “Will you hire me?”

“Yes. The circus could use someone like you. But what about your parents?” Eduard inquired.

“They are dead. Killed in a factory fire. It was when they were killed that I started being able to transform. I trained myself, and have been going from circus to circus ever since. None of them bothered to listen to me”

“I’m sure glad I did. You’re hired!” Eduardo said.

Ember smiled. She would never have to go hungry again.

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: