“Arnold the Elephant” by Haiz Diallo

Hi, I’m Arnold and I’m an elephant. I am just like every other elephant in the center of South Africa. It’s just that I am brown. All the other elephants tease me and say I was born from my mom’s butthole. I’m supposed to be gray like all the others. At least, that’s what they all say. Wait, or are they supposed to be brown? No, because everyone is supposed to be gray because that’s what society says.

One day, I went home crying because all the elephants teased me. I didn’t quite make it home. I saw something brown from the corner of my eye. I walked over very carefully and there it was: a big brown potato. He was crying. So I sat down and gave him some company. He said, “All the other potatoes are pink!”

I said, “Don’t worry, all the other elephants are gray and I am brown.” I thought to myself and added, “You know what, Daniel? It’s okay to be different.”

And he said, “Yeah, Arnold. We are unique.”

“Zhigira” by Angie and Diego

Zhigira is now in seventh grade and has a big crush on a boy, Angel. Angel was a nice guy, respected by the whole school — unlike Zhigira. One day, Lilith locked Angel and Zhigira in a janitor’s closet. They spoke, and Zhigira realized that Angel was really mean.

She really liked him, and she confessed. But then, he said, “Talk to the hand, everyone loves me.” She was heartbroken and done with liking him. That closet felt like it was closing in on her slowly, but not slow enough. No matter where she was, she felt that closet closing in on her. Good things always come to an end.