Second Place Winner Level II - Trevor Turner
"Slump" by Dave Jarzyna
Dear Dave Jarzyna,
Talk about an alarm clock! Your book,
Slump, woke me up. I couldn't see
the problem in myself, but I could see it in Mitchie. I
first saw the trap when Mitchie had the fight with his friend
over the soccer ball. He acted like everyone was against
him. I felt just like Mitchie because my little brother and
I had just had a big fight. It was about a Lego axe.
I asked for it, he would not give it back to me, so I hit
him. Then, my mom called me and I argued with her.
Like Mitchie, I was making little things into huge
problems. I felt upset all the time it was out of
control. I was out of control.
"Why change?" I asked myself, but I knew I
needed to do something. I wasn't happy with school, my
parents, my friends, my toys or with myself. I wanted
to be happy and I wanted to be a better person. I
needed to change; I just couldn't figure how to do it.
The more I read the more I saw how Mitchie and I were
alike. Some days I didn't read the book at all because
I didn't want to think about how Mitchie and I were
alike. I didn't want to wake up, but every time I saw
that book it was like an alarm clock that would not stop
ringing. Finally, I just read until my eyes almost
popped out of my head, partly to make it stop, but mostly because
I was so eager to find the magic solution to make me
happy. When I read the solution, I was stunned at how
simple it seemed. All I had to do was change little
things. I didn't think it would work, but I tried it
anyway. I started having good days a lot more
often. Others around me noticed how I was
changing. It was hard, but I kept going because like
Mitchie, I, "...may be a lot of things, but I am not a
At last, I finished the book and boy, had I changed. I
was a different person. I started to think about others
before myself. I started to see I was in control of my
life and how I thought and felt. I still have bad days,
but they come and go. When I have bad days I remember
Mitchie and how he changed.
That 'alarm clock' with Mitchie's face on it still sits next to
my bed; it sure helps me stay awake. Thanks for the
Trevor Turner, 5th grade
P. S. How did you come up with Mitchie? Was he like you
when you were a kid?