HOW TO JOIN THE ARMY By Brandon, age 10

Ben and John walked into the military recruitment center. They sat down in the waiting room. Someone slammed a door. The painting hanging on it shook from a hook. At the edge of the frame, a girl crouched on top on of a hill, holding an M-16. A man opened the door and stomped into the waiting room. His clothes were stiff. The light reflected off his boots and greasy hair. “Next please.” 
Ben and John followed the man through the door.
“Hi, I’m Colonel Wong,” the man said. “Have a seat. It says on this paper that you dropped out of high school. Is that right?””
“Yes,” Ben said. “But we have something to show you. We have a video of us catching a bad guy.”
“I think we’re done here,” said Colonel Wong.  
“Wait,” John said. “It’s right here on my phone.” He showed Colonel Wong the screen. It showed the Super Bowl on John’s TV. The score was tied, seventeen to seventeen. The camera zoomed in on the quarterback.
“49ers Touchdown!” said the announcer.
“Yes! Touchdown! ”Ben said.
On screen, John stomped over to the window and snatched the remote from the sill. 
Bang! Bang! 
“That guy in the black coat shot a man on the sidewalk!” John said. “Should we call the cops or shoot him?” 
“Oh my god!” Ben said, and snuck over to the window and peeked at the street.
  “Let’s call the cops.”
“Hurry up!” They ran down the stairs and out the door.  
“The guy saw us,” John said.
“He’s running down Pine.”
“He’s shooting more people.” 
Ben glared at a neon sign. “Gun shop.” 
“Let’s go inside and grab an Ak-47,” Ben said, running inside. “Give me an AK-47.”
“Aren’t you two too young to have a gun?” said the man.
“Shut up and give me the freaking gun,” John said. 
Ben grabbed the gun and John opened the door. Ben fell onto the cement. “This thing is so freaking’ heavy,” Ben said.
“Drag the gun!” John said. “We both saw the man running down that street.”
“Give me that phone,” Colonel Wong said. “This is a great video to show what to not do,” said Colonel Wong.
“So are we in?” said Ben.
 “I guess, but you have to fill out more papers.
Hi my name is Brandon. I am ten years old. I live with my dad, mom, sister and brother in San Francisco. I am good at sports. I like to eat and sleep. When I grow up I want to be a firefighter. I am also the author of Because They Smell, Trip to Vietnam and Shadow Cliffs.

BECAUSE THEY SMELL By Brandon & Tai, both age 9

What he wears:
Scooby-doo t-shirts,
saggy pants,
his sister’s Hello Kitty shoes,
because he can’t find his.

What he plays with:
jump ropes and fire.

What he drinks:
7-up and Mentos.

What he makes:
guns, in case someone breaks in,
tables, to eat off of,
Pillow Pets, to sleep on,
and bowls and cups to eat out of.

What he hates:
gum, because it sticks to his hair,
and girls,
because they smell.

Where he goes:
to bed on the roof of his car
because he likes the cold and the stars,
every day,
where he orders Happy Meals.
He gives the food to a homeless person and keeps the toys.
His favorite is Darth Vader
because he can choke people with his mind.

What he does not do:
Smoke in the shower,
because of the water,
and swim in the ocean,
because the sharks don’t like him anymore.

About the Authors

My name is Tai and I am nine years old. I live in San Francisco with my mom and dad. I like to sleep. When I grow up I want to be a sleeper. I want to let scientists do experiments on my brain so they can learn the future from my dreams. I am good a soccer when I am playing defense. I am also the author of Todd & Ben and The Hill of the Dead.

Hi, my name is Brandon. I am nine years old. I live in San Francisco with my mom, dad, sister and brother. My favorite thing to do in the Laundromat is to let my brother push me around in the carts. I am also the author of Trip to Vietnam, Beef Jerky and Shadow Cliffs.

BEEF JERKY By Brandon, age 9 & Destin, age 10

A piece of beef jerky hanging from his mouth, Ruff scurries past a circle of pigeons, an old crone with a stick and a Quickly, then turns down an alley wiggling with rats and bats. He stops and jumps inside a dumpster. Robert sneaks up behind him, tongue wagging. “Boo!” He drools for Ruff’s beef jerky.

Ruff hops out of the dumpster and climbs up a tree, shaking. He looks over his shoulder. Robert is climbing up behind him. Ruff whines and yelps. Robert snatches the beef jerky from Ruff’s mouth. Ruff chomps into Robert’s hand. Robert doesn’t feel it and drifts away.

“Slow down!” the Old Crone says, shaking her cane. She swings it in front of Robert. His face pelts cement. The jerky flies across the street and lands at Ruff’s paws. He devours it.

About the Author

Hi, my name is Brandon. I live in San Francisco with my mom, dad, sister and brother. I like to draw and I am good at ice-skating. Someday I want to be good at writing neatly. When I grow up I want to join the army and write kids’ books. At the Academy of Sciences, we went into an exhibit that measured body temperature. When I went in my reflection turned red. Everyone else’s turned blue and yellow. This shows I am hot and other people are cold. My favorite books are the Goosebumps books because they are scary. I am also the author of Trip to Vietnam and Shadow Cliffs. Beef Jerky is my first published fiction.

SHADOW CLIFFS By Brandon, age 8


Shadow Cliffs is a big park in Pleasanton with a lake and water slides and a place for picnics. At Shadow Cliffs we had to pay to go inside. We could pick a spot to eat. We ate McDonalds.

Swimming & the Boat

When we finished eating we went swimming. The deep end of the lake was cold. When you dive you will hit your head and you will drown. The last time I was there I dove and almost drowned. Dustin saved me. I said, “Thank you.” I went to get my boat. When I got my boat I went to the deep side. I played and I fell down in the water ten times and my mom just came out of nowhere. She just pushed me and I fell down again. I told my mom to stop and I put my boat next to the playground.


I got my football from my mom’s bag and I told my mom to play with me. I threw it far. My mom missed. She threw it back. I dove down to catch the football and Dustin joined the game. Dustin was on my team. I took my boat and told my mom not to play with the football.

Missing Kid

Somebody’s parents came up to the lifeguard and said, “Our kid is missing!”
The lifeguard said, “Everybody out of the lake!”
All of the other lifeguards came to the lake. They all had on flippers and they found the child. He was next to the lifeguard tower all along.

Going Home

I wanted to play with my boat and I got my boat. My mom rode in my boat. She almost popped the boat and we packed up to go home. It was my brother’s turn to sit in the front seat of the car. I sat in the back and we went home. I saw a road sign that said Road Closed. I told my dad to go back. He said, “No, this road will be ok.” I fell asleep in the car. When I woke up I was at home and I helped my dad to carry stuff upstairs to our apartment.

About the Author

My name is Brandon. I live with my mom, dad, sister and brother. My age is eight. I live in San Francisco. I like to play Legos and I am good at ice-skating. I want to be good at reading. When l grow up, I want to be a driver for 101 Trucking like my dad. If I were a plant would be a weed with thorns because then if someone tried to pick me they would get poked. If I could have one wish I would wish for a drivers license. I am also the author of Trip to Vietnam.

TRIP TO VIETNAM By Brandon, age 8


When I got off of the airplane my mom’s friend picked us up at the airport in Hanoi. I saw cows and chickens on the street. There were men selling ice-cream from carts attached to bicycles. Hanoi was hot and raining. There were motorcycles and I went on a motorcycle with my dad. I did not wear a helmet.

Water Fight

I went to my cousin’s house and we had a water gun fight. After that we took turns playing with the hose. My brother Dustin sprayed the hose at my pants and it looked like I peed and I used the hose to do the same thing.

Ant Lemonade

My mom made lemonade with water that had dead ants in it. She didn’t put sugar I mine because I don’t like it. I drank the ant lemonade but not Dustin.


We rode a horse. I was holding a toy gun pretending to shoot my parents. My brother rode on the front of the horse and I rode on the back. I was kicking the horse and it went fast and guy who owned the horse yelled at it to stop.

About the Author

My name is Brandon and I am eight. I live in San Francisco with my mom, dad, little sister and brother. I like to draw. I am good at ice-skating. I want to be good at math some day. When I grow up I want to be a policeman. I get in trouble a lot but I forget why.