Young Writers Project selections

Each week, Young Writers Project receives several hundred submissions from students in Vermont and New Hampshire in response to writing prompts and selects the best for publication here and in 20 other newspapers and on This week, the Observer publishes responses to the prompt, “Light/Dark:write about contrasts.”





By Olivia Pintair

Grade 7, Lake Champlain Waldorf School

Hometown: Williston


The silvery sky was a lot like your eyes,

The way it swam with stars of clarity.

When you laughed, your little skies crinkled and sometimes

your soul would spill over.

I loved to watch you when you spoke.

I pictured the words like you said them.

You added beauty to my thoughts

and I loved how it clashed with the silence.




By Isaiah Lawrence

Grade 7, Homeschool, Hinesburg


No dark without light

No death without life

No healing without blight

No success without strife.

No sun without a moon

No sorrow without love

No strength without a swoon

No hawk without its dove.

No broccoli without a pie

No chaos without order

No truths without a lie

And nothing is born without a mourner.

Don’t wish for one

Without accepting the other

Because if you accept them as they come

Then there will always be another.


Life and Death

By Samuel Lawrence

Grade 5, Homeschool, Hinesburg








To live brings sorrow

To die brings peace

To live brings humor

To die brings solemnity

To live brings wonder and purpose

To die brings knowledge, no reason to exist

To live is to experience, to wonder, love, to weep

To die is to leave that, the joy and sorrow, the questions

The answers

To die is to live, without life

Cherish life

In death

There’s no return


On the bad side

By Caroline Lamantia

Grade 3, Richmond Elementary School


I am creeping through

my dark cave. I’m on the bad side. With

evil filling up my

heart—it feels so good

to me.  It’s deep in

the night, the moon

glowing. I am creeping

through my dark

cave. I’m on the bad

side. The moon reflects on the pond

ahead. I can see my

evil shadow with a scary smile

on my face—it feels

so good that way.

I am creeping

through my dark

cave. I’m on the

bad side.


Upcoming prompts:

17. I like… Create a list of things you like. They can be random and unrelated or they can have a progression and tell a story within a story. Alternate: Relief. Describe the moment when you felt the greatest sensation of relief from thirst, hunger, sadness, pain or fear. Due Jan. 25


18. Three letters. Choose three letters. You can write a poem or a short story, but all words must either start or end with these letters. Alternate: Bottle. You’re walking along the beach and a bottle with a message inside washes up on the shore. What is the message? What do you do? Due Feb. 1


19. Surprising. Interview someone you know and ask the person to tell you a story you’d never heard. Alternate: Photo #8. Write a story or poem based on this photo. Due Feb. 8



20. Package. The UPS truck arrives with a huge box addressed to you. What’s inside? Who’s it from? Alternate: General writing in any genre. Due Feb. 15


21.Eternal night. You wake up one morning and the sun doesn’t rise. It doesn’t rise the next day either. What do you do? Alternate: Silver lining. When bad things happen, how do you recover? What advice would you give? Due Feb. 22



About the Project

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences through the Newspaper Series (and and the Schools Project ( YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. If you would like to contribute, please go to, or mail your donation to YWP, 12 North St., Suite 8, Burlington, VT 05401.