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Snow Island: The Christmas home decoration contest

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Twins Orion and Capella, along with their parents, were busy putting the final touches on their home’s outdoor Christmas decorations. The family had worked very hard and was hoping to win first place in a contest organized as part of Snow Island’s 250th-anniversary celebration.

Handmade garlands, animal figurines, ice sculptures, and more adorned the house and yard. But the most unique element of their decor was the recreation of a starry night sky on the roof using white lights. They’d even arranged them to match the constellations.

Within the hour, the top reporter from the Snow Island Gazette, Gregory Slifer, would visit each of the participating homes to record a video for the contest’s website. The citizens of Snow Island would be able to watch the videos and vote for the decorated home they liked best. The grand prize was a trip to Santa’s Kingdom at the North Pole.

“Is it dark enough yet to turn on the lights?” Orion asked his parents.


“Yes! I can’t wait to see the house all lit up, and the trees and the fence,” Capella said, hopping up and down with excitement.

Audrey and Patrick smiled at each other and, with a knowing look, flipped the switch to turn on the thousands of glittering bulbs. The site was beautiful and spectacularly magical.

“Given everyone else’s decorations,” Capella whispered, glancing up and down the street, “I think we have an excellent chance of winning the contest.”

“Maybe,” her brother replied. “But we don’t know what the houses look like elsewhere in the city.”
“You’re right, but I can still dream,” the girl replied.

All of a sudden, there was a mighty BOOM! All the lights went out in a flash, leaving the street in near-total darkness. The adults quickly pulled out their smartphones to shed light on the situation.

“What was that noise?” Capella asked, eyes wide.

“I think a transformer blew because too many people turned on their Christmas lights at the same time,” Orion replied. “It’s probably the one on the corner. Let’s go check it out!”

As soon as they arrived, the family noticed that the transformer — or rather, what was left of it — was in a million pieces on the ground.

Thinking fast, Orion exclaimed: “Mom, call Snow Island Utilities and ask them to bring a transformer with three times the power as soon as possible!”

Without arguing, Audrey contacted the energy company and explained the situation. The operator, Paulo, was very understanding and quick to respond. Within 15 minutes, a team of experienced technicians arrived on the scene with the requested equipment. The women quickly installed the high-performance transformer, and soon the whole street was lit up with beautiful, twinkling lights once more — and just in time for the reporter’s arrival!

That night, hundreds of citizens across Snow Island admired the decorated properties, both in-person and online. In the end, the vote for best design was unanimous: it was Orion and Capella’s star-covered home!

THE END

By Johannie Dufour and Sarah Beauregard
Translated by Katya Teague

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Kids' Corner

3 kids that made history

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Some people are destined for greatness. Here are three children who’ve made history in their own way.

1. Anne Frank
Born in 1929, Anne was only 13 years old when she was forced into hiding with her family during World War II. During this difficult time, she wrote a diary about her daily life, thoughts, and feelings. The Diary of Anne Frank became a worldwide bestseller and is a stark reminder of the dangers of discrimination and antisemitism.

2. Budhia Singh
Budhia Singh was born in 2002 in India. He was just two years old when his mother sold him to support herself. His local judo coach discovered Budhia’s hidden talent when he punished him by having him run. In 2006, Budhia ran 40 miles in seven hours. By the age of four, he had already completed 48 marathons.

3. Greta Thunberg
Born in 2003, Greta Thunberg is an environmental activist who fights against climate change. In 2018, at the age of 15, she started a school strike that spread worldwide. She has given speeches at major events in Poland, the UK, France, and several other countries. In 2019, the prestigious TIME magazine named her Person of the Year.


Do you want to learn more about these famous children? Do some research on the internet or visit the library with your parents.

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Kids' Corner

Create your own book in 5 steps

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Do you have a story you want to share with your friends and family? Here’s how to make your own book in five steps.

1. Write the story
Write down your story in a lined notebook, on a scrap piece of paper, or on the computer. Your story should have:

• An introduction establishing the location and characters
• A trigger like an unexpected or surprising event
• A plot, including the obstacles that the characters must face and overcome
• An ending that explains how the hero or heroine solved the problem

2. Revise the grammar
Every published book goes through a revision process. Therefore, ask a friend, parent, or teacher to help you correct your grammar.


3. Make a cover
The cover of your book should contain a title, the author’s name, and an illustration. You can paint or draw your own book cover or use a printed photo.

4. Format the book
Print or transcribe your text on paper; if you want, create a thank you page and dedicate it to the people who helped you make your project come to life.

5. Bind the book together
Bind the pages of your book together in the correct order. You can use staples or string. If your book is thick, staple small stacks of pages together and then use decorative tape to secure them.

Lend your book to friends and family while you write the next one.

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Kids' Corner

Do you know Louis Braille?

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Louis Braille was a famous French inventor. Having become blind at the age of three, he later invented a system of writing to enable blind or visually impaired people to read.

The system is called “Braille code,” or simply “Braille,” after its inventor. It uses raised dots, or little bumps, arranged in different combinations. Each combination represents a letter of the alphabet, a punctuation mark, a numeral, a mathematical symbol, or a music note.

So, when a sight-impaired person slides their fingertip over these bumps, they recognize the different arrangements. That’s how they know that they’re touching an “A” or a “4,” for example. Isn’t it amazing?

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Kids' Corner

5 tips for camping in your backyard

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Do you love camping but can’t wait for your family to go on vacation? It’s easy to recreate the experience at home with a little help from your parents. Here are five tips for making it happen.

1. Pack your luggage as if you were leaving. Pack your sleeping bag, pillow, sketchbook, headphones, and whatever else you need for a camping trip. Think about what you’ll need to eat too, and fill a cooler with sandwiches, juices, and snacks for the whole family.

2. Pitch a tent or build one out of blankets and tarps. If the weather isn’t cooperating, move your campsite indoors.

3. Install lanterns or hang strings of lights. This will help create a magical, starry-night atmosphere.


4. Set up folding chairs to watch the sunset. If you can’t hear woodland noises in your backyard, search for nature sounds online to give you the feeling of being in the great outdoors.

5. Entertain yourself. You can play games by the light of the lantern or gather around a fire to tell stories.

Happy camping!

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Kids' Corner

3 ways to have fun with soap bubbles

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Are you looking for a way to make soap bubbles even more fun? Here are three things to try this summer.

1. Infinity serpents
Ask an adult to help you cut the bottom off a plastic water or soda bottle. Put a stocking on the bottle to cover the hole. Secure it with a rubber band and tape. Then, dip the stocking-covered bottom into soapy water. When you blow into the neck of the bottle, you’ll make bubbles shaped like long snakes. Just be careful not to inhale so you don’t swallow the soap.

2. Exploded art
Pour soapy water into several containers and add different food coloring shades to each. Blow bubbles onto a large sheet of paper. As the bubbles burst, they’ll leave unique and colorful patterns. Hang your artwork on the fridge or use the paper for gift wrap and other crafts.

3. Friendly competition
Hold a contest with your siblings or friends to see who can make the biggest bubble. You can also try creating a track on a piece of cardboard to see who can make their bubble go the farthest without bursting.


Blowing bubbles is a simple activity that can provide hours of fun!

If you want to make extra-large bubbles, pass a rope through two straws to create a square form. Blow soapy water through this form and watch what happens!

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Kids' Corner

How well do you know your summer sports?

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Do you love playing outside in the summer? There are so many fun ways to get active in the great outdoors. Take this quiz to test your knowledge of summer activities. You might even find a new one to try.

Complete the statements
1. In football, the player who makes the field goals is called a ____.
2. A dinghy allows you to practice ____.
3. ___ can be done on a trail.
4. Ultimate is played with a ____.
5. The ___ is the player between the second and third base in baseball.
6. If you’re an equestrian, your ___ must fit well.
7. If you’re a cyclist, your ___ is your best friend.
8. A nose clip is helpful for ____.
9. ___ are essential for climbers.
10. In tennis, the ___ is a serve that the opponent can’t return.
11. Shin guards do a great service for ____ players.
12. A golfer’s bag contains irons and ____.
13. Hiking is often done in the ____.
14. When ___, you must paddle to move forward.
15. Unlike the indoor version, ___ is played two against two.

Choice of answers
A. Shortstop
B. Ace
C. Woods
D. Helmet
E. Kicker
F. Running
G. Shorts
H. Frisbee
I. Harnesses
J. Kayaking
K. Mountains
L. Swimming
M. Soccer
N. Sailing
O. Beach Volleyball

Don’t look…


 

 

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Answers
1-E, 2-N, 3-F, 4-H, 5-A, 6-D, 7-G, 8-L, 9-I, 10-B, 11-M, 12-C, 13-K, 14-J, 15-O
—————

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Historic Area. During Fall Farm Days’ Nature Weekend, get in touch with nature and explore a managed landscape rich in biodiversity. Discover native flora and fauna, learn the craft of beekeeping, the importance of various[...]
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The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
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WATTS 3rd Annual Fundraiser @ Bowling Green Country Club North
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Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sk... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Fall Farm Days: The Nature of Sky Meadows @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. During Fall Farm Days’ Nature Weekend, get in touch with nature and explore a managed landscape rich in biodiversity. Discover native flora and fauna, learn the craft of beekeeping, the importance of various[...]
11:00 am The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
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The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]