Last week, fifth graders Andres Garcia of Euclid Elementary in Boyle Heights and Jethro Valenzuela from Glen Alta Elementary in El Sereno returned from a week-long trip to London they won as a prize in an essay contest. Andres, Jethro and six other student winners were among the 450 children from L.A.’s Best after school program who competed in the BritWeek’s Joy of Reading Book Club and Essay Contest. After reading classic children’s books written by British authors, the students wrote essays on which character they most identified with. Andres, in an essay titled “The Fox Rocks,” selected Mr. Fox from “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Jethro wrote about what he and the Mad Hatter from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” had in common. Here are excerpts from their winning essays:
The last thing Mr. Fox and I have in common is our brave spirit. … It was one day when we were playing kickball out in the playground of the school. We were on the outfield and my friend Kayla was not paying attention … My other classmate kicked the ball fiercely and it darted like an arrow towards Kayla. Without thinking about it, I threw myself in front and the ball hit my stomach and left me breathless. The pain struck and I was on the floor for a while but it didn’t matter because I felt like a hero.
The character that I am most like has to be the MAD HATTER hands down. He is me and I am him and that’s only because he’s not afraid to be himself even if they think he’s crazy. I like that he has a small role in the book but he makes a big presence because it’s just like me for example if I go to a birthday party I walk in and everyone sees a kid but when it’s time to go I leave as the life of the party because every day should be a day to show the world what you have to give.