15. ROOT BEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES – Middle Grade Contemporary in Verse

Assorted_Uzi_Water_Guns_lgMentor Name: Stefanie Wass

Mentee Name: Shari Green


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Contemporary

Word Count: 20,000


When her parents enroll in marriage camp, Bailey and her brother spend August on an island with a grandmother they barely know. With the help of a driftwood mermaid, mysterious ice-cream vendor, and new best friend, Bailey learns how everyday miracles can change lives.


After the storm
Felicity Bay is washed clean—
cottage roofs rain-fresh,
in the morning sun.
I lean over the porch railing,
scan the ribbon
of wet sand.
Last night’s wind rearranged driftwood
along the beach
like my mother scrubbing,
moving furniture around
after she and Dad fight.
My brother couldn’t sleep.
This morning I found him
on Nana Marie’s ocean-blue couch,
wrapped in a sheet.

Nana Marie calls me inside
before I can explore.

Bailey, she hollers. Pancakes.

I kick off my flip-flops,
dash in,
plop down across from Kevin
at the kitchen table.

Don’t just stare at them, Nana Marie says.
Eat, Chickadee.

She has to check them first, says Kevin.

He thinks it’s dumb
that I study the gold and white designs
fried into flapjacks,
for the face of God.
He was only little
when Aunt Debbie discovered Tom Hanks
staring at her
from her breakfast plate.
She watched every one of his movies
after that,
said it changed her life.
So I say, You never know,
and I check for God.

Later that morning
I find Daniel outside,
peering at things
through his camera.


He turns on the camera,
snaps a picture,
turns it off.

Daniel’s eleven,
same as me.
He stays in the cottage
next to Nana Marie’s
and takes pictures
of everything.

Where ya going? Daniel says.

Nowhere, I say,
and we start going there

A short trail cuts through beach grass—
grey-green blades
as long as my legs,
in the breeze.

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