Kimberly Gould’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: The Brightest Crayon in the Box
Author’s note: This is an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo piece, Brightest Crayon in the box. There aren’t any actual crayons, rather a class of students each trying to prove themselves in a science fair. I hope you enjoy! I’m looking forward to editing this piece and giving it to my daughter’s classmates to review for me.
Jade looked across her desk at Johnny, bright in his yellow shirt. He doodled on the back of his copy of the paper she had just read. It informed the students and parents about the upcoming science fair.
Jade read the announcement again. There was prize money for the winner as well as a membership to the science centre for the family. Jade had only been to science centre once, with her class. She would love to go on her own and take her time on the exhibits that interested her the most.
None of her classmates wanted to spend time on the composting and greenhouse exhibit. Jade had been fascinated by the different barrels, one with garbage, one where she could just make out a branch or vegetable peel, and the third with rich dark compost that looked like regular soil. The science fair was only a month away. There wasn’t enough time for her to make her own compost. Disappointed by that, she focused on Johnny. He had drawn a radiant sun in one corner and a box or cube in the opposite one.
Jade turned her attention to Phillipe, who had has hand in the air. “Can our parents help?” Phillipe’s palm was much lighter than the rest of his black hand.
“They can help,” Mrs. Fances told them, “but you have to explain the experiment from the question, to building the experiment, and the results. These are your projects, not your parents’.”
Jade didn’t expect she would get much help from her busy mother and father. It was more likely her grandmother with twisted and knotted fingers that would be available.
“Do any of you have ideas already?” Mrs. Frances asked. Five or six hands shot up, including Johnny’s, his straight black hair falling away from his reddish face and revealing a bright white smile. Jade wished she were so certain.
“Great!” Mrs. Frances said, clapping her hands together. “I want to hear them. I can help you narrow your experiment down to just one question. I will also make sure you aren’t doing the same experiment as someone else. That way you will each shine on your own. Let’s hear a few ideas. It might help the rest of you discover your own interest.”
Johnny’s hand went up again and Mrs. Frances called on him. He showed her his doodle. “The sun is a great source of energy. I want to find a good way to use it.”
“Excellent, Johnny. You can compare two or three designs and find out which one works best.” Mrs. Frances called on another student, Fatima.
Fatima wore a cherry red dress with white diamonds and her nails were painted red too. “We learned about the different types of rock, but I want to know how metamorphic rocks change. Are they all the same?”
“Another good question. You will have to read about it and find a way to show everyone what you have discovered.” Mrs. Frances looked around again and pointed to Mark. His pale white skin looked even lighter against his black t-shirt.
“We bought one of those packets that turn fire all different colours. I want to find out what’s in it and how it works.”
“That will make an excellent presentation, Mark. Do those ideas help the rest of you?”
There were murmurs, but none very enthusiastic. Most of the class, like Jade, just weren’t sure yet.
At recess she skipped rope with Alyssa and Natalie. Jade’s brown skirt was short enough to stay out of the way, unlike Natalie’s long purple one. She held it the whole time she was jumping. Alyssa had grass stains on her knees from wiping out on the rope, but they matched her green shirt. While Jade turned the rope she asked the other about the project.
Alyssa was jumping and didn’t answer, but Natalie could. At first she just shrugged. “I love the crystals that make rainbows, but I don’t know what question I can make out of that. You?”
“I’d like to do something about compost, but I don’t have enough time to really make any.”
Alyssa fell again, but scrambled to her feet. “So figure out the fastest way to make it. I’m going to grow something. Maybe I can use your compost,” she said, taking Jade’s end.
“Yeah, sure,” Jade muttered, then she focused on the rope and not tripping in it.
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Kimberly Gould is the author of Cargon: Honour and Privilege, and it's sequel Duty and Sacrifice. She can be found most places as Kimmydonn, including Kimmydonn.com