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By: Dina


This November, 826DC is thrilled to publish our very first compendium: a collection of the best of the best from our first five years. To celebrate the release here on the blog we will be posting a weekly podcast consisting of selections from the book, read aloud by students, volunteers, staff, and other friends of 826DC. So find a comfy spot and get ready to listen, savor, and share the words of our most inspiring young authors. This project is made possible in part by support from AT&T Aspire.

You Will Be Able to Say a Thousand Words collects the best writing from 826DC’s first five years of running fun and unique writing-based programs. Spanning genres and styles, students ages 6-18 imagine dangers on the high seas, struggles with bullying, and mourn loved ones. From advice to their former selves to advice for the reader, students begin a journey that starts on the page and ends in the boundlessness of the imagination.

This week’s featured piece from the collection is “Frenemy” by Dina Gutierrez, first published in My Heart Went Beating Fast. Reading the piece for us is Leah, who currently attends After-School Tutoring, loves playing soccer, and is in the fourth grade.


It was a gray and rainy day. Kimberly looked out of the window and thought, “Oh no, indoor recess today. I’m going to get in a fight with Erica.” She felt worried, like she had butterflies in her stomach.

Kimberly, who had blond hair and was short, had started walking with her friends when Erica came and bumped into her.

Kimberly said, “Watch it.”

Erica said, “What did you say to me?”

Kimberly said, “You deaf?”

Erica ran away with her friends. Erica and Kimberly were enemies because their parents were enemies.

Kimberly went to her class. She sat in the back, because she never paid attention, and just doodled on a piece of paper.

BRRINGG! The bell rang for recess and lunch. Kimberly went to her locker and got her lunch. She sat down when she heard Erica whispering to her friends, and she overheard her name.

Kimberly hit the table with her hands and told Erica, “Why you talking about me?”

Erica said, “Because I feel like it.”

“Well, you can’t talk about me in front of me because you wouldn’t like nobody talking about you,” said Kimberly, leaving the table and going to another table. Kimberly felt really proud about what she had said to Erica. It made Erica’s mouth shut.

At recess Kimberly was playing tag in the cafeteria when the teacher said, “Time to go back to class.”

In class, Kimberly was still doodling on her paper, and she forgot what she had to do. She was almost asleep in her seat when the bell rang for dismissal. When she went to her locker to put her stuff away, there was a note, and it said: Meet me at the park. –Erica.

Kimberly was surprised. She didn’t know what to do: go to the park or go home. So she thought, “If I go, she’s going to think I’m not scared. But if I don’t go, she’s going to think that I am a scaredy cat.”

She went, and Erica was by herself, crying, and her black hair was down.

Kimberly asked, “Why are you crying?”

“Because I feel so bad that we are not friends because of our parents,” said Erica.

Kimberly said, “I have to go.” She left, running and thinking of what Erica said.

Kimberly tried to ask her parents about the big fight that her parents and Erica’s parents had, but her mom didn’t want to tell Kimberly the problem. Kimberly was still thinking about what Erica had told her.

The next day when she went to class, she had to sit next to Erica. Erica was smiling at her every time Kimberly looked at her. Kimberly wanted to be her friend so bad, but their parents were going to get mad at them.

The bell rang and Kimberly ran to her locker, got her lunch, and went to the lunchroom. She ate fast and went to recess as fast as a cheetah because she loved outdoor recess.

Kimberly was playing tag with her friends Andrea and Alessandra when Erica came and said, “Can I play?”

Kimberly said, “Fine.”

They all played tag together. Then, when they were walking to her class, Erica said, “Friends now?”

Kimberly said, “Okay, but what about our parents?”

“It doesn’t matter because true friends don’t care what happens. They still have their friendship,” said Erica. They both walked to the classroom together as friends forever.