The Nation's Writers Will Not Rest Until We Have Seen Every Conceivable Historical Setting Through the Eyes of a Child


From My Mother’s Keeper by Jason Collins

I ran through the tall grass, my sun dress flapping in the strong wind that curled around me. I thought ahead to the evening’s excitement, with ice cream and Aunt Philomena’s raspberry tart. That silly Bobby McLaughlin would be there, no doubt showing off some new toy procured by his disgustingly rich father. I hated Bobby until we were about eleven, and he hated me a little longer. Also, the Civil War was still going on.

From 322 Alfred Street by Martin McDonald

There were several things about my face that I didn’t like. One was my weak chin, for which I blamed my father. I guiltily returned his good razor to the cabinet, having used it needlessly in yet another mock shave. Little did I know that he would never need it again, because he was already dead. Killed in the trenches of World War One!

From Excelsior by Emily Naumburgh

I suppose your history books refer to it as the Battle of Thermopylae. I remember it as the first time I really impressed my older brothers, and got three inches of wayward spear in my left thigh.

From To Call My Own by Kevin Niedersaechser

Probably my favorite game at the time was Contra. I was the best at it in the neighborhood, except for this real weird kid who also used to sneak into the Motel 6 and challenge people to two-player Street Fighter. If there were enough kids in there he could go for hours on one quarter. He was the master. Herman was his name, two hundred pounds if he was one-fifty, and just going into high school. One day I would surpass him in Contra, but you didn’t go up against Herman at Street Fighter. You just didn’t.

From So I Reckon by Jennifer Solow, Ph.D.

The rural Southwest of the 1920’s was a particularly interesting time and place to come of age, especially as a poor white female in a community comprised largely of middle class Hispanics. Racial attitudes and gender roles were changing rapidly, and the way in which the voices and choices of each social stratum interacted was shifting dynamically.

“Bessie Mae!” Ma hollered from the porch. “Get up in here and have some ‘taters!”

From Into the Cold by David Watterson

But at that age I didn’t like going whale hunting with Uncle Fariarik. I didn’t like preparing the walrus skin of the umiak for launch. I didn’t like sitting through the spirit-fire ceremony that preceded the expedition. I didn’t like cutting open the carcasses and removing the blubber to be used for oil, or carving the hip bones into crude knives.

One thing I did like was my dog, Arik. He was my best friend in the whole world. I’m not sure whether it was unusual for an Eskimo to have a dog as a pet. If it was, then I guess he was just one of those little quirks that made our village so unique.

From First and Next by Philip Blackburne

All the way from Marseilles, with his wife on their little boat. That great genius, Einstein. To my very town in Japan! I had practiced saying his name, saying “Welcome to our school, Mister Einstein.” This sentence involved some very difficult words, but I imagined myself delivering it perfectly, and him looking down in astonishment. Perhaps he would invite me to come study physics with him in Europe when I came of age.

But how would I ever see him now, laid up as I was with a broken leg?