The Holiday Disaster – Award Winning Story by Ellie Friedman, Age 8

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The Holiday Disaster – Award Winning Story by Ellie Friedman, Age 8

One of the proudest moments a mom can have is when she watches her daughter reach for her dreams – and she accomplishes them!  One of my twin girls, Ellie, dreams of being an author when she grows up.  She envisions writing and illustrating children’s books, non-fiction stories, and even realistic fiction.  If she is not buried in a book reading, she has her pen out and she is writing. Ellie has a passion for the written word.

This summer, while reading American Girl Magazine, she saw a story contest. To enter, it directed children to write a holiday themed story that encompassed this image.

Image courtesy of American Girl Magazine

Send your article in, wait, and probably never hear back since it will be floating in a pile with hundreds or thousands of others.  But Ellie had an idea.  She thought of a story in her head, and then she put the pen to the paper. She wrote and wrote.  Then I helped her type her words. We licked the envelope.  And we waited.

As a parent, I want her to reach for her dreams but I also want to cushion her from disappointment.  Right or wrong, it is hard to see your kid unhappy or discouraged. Knowing that American Girl Magazine may not even read all the entries, and seeing as she is only 8, and most people who enter are significantly older, I told her, “Your story is amazing.  And even if it does not win, it will be seen by all my blog readers.” She then looked and me and explained, “I just wanted to write it.  If I do not win, it is okay. I will never know if I do not send it in.”

Fast forward to October… We get an envelop from American Girl Magazine – the size you get when accepted to college, a big white envelop.  I will never forget the look on Ellie’s face, the excitement that ran through her body, and truthfully through mine too, as we read the letter, scanned for you below.

Letter from American GirlJumping up and down, we turned to page 39.  We saw her signature. “Ellie – Age 8, Michigan” – WOW!!! She did it!  Though only the 2 main winners were published, both age 14, she was by far the youngest of the 6 to get an Honorable Mention.

Ellie Friedman's signature

Her name was in print. She, at 8 years old, was recognized for her writing.  She knows you can accomplish anything she sets out to do – as long as she tries!  Enjoy reading her holiday story.

Please leave a comment for her to let her know what you think!  She would also appreciate it if you share the story, and spread the word, to your friends and relatives. Thank you.

The Holiday Disaster By Ellie Friedman

Emily could not wait until her holiday party.  She planned lots of activities. Even more, she could not wait until present time.  Her best friend Megan picks the best presents ever.  At present time, Emily picked up Megan’s beautifully wrapped gift.  Megan was tying her shoe, so she could not see Emily open the gift.  But she could always hear the excitement.

“Oh no,” gasped Emily in her head. The present was “Green Slime Mania.” Wasn’t that for boys? “Thank you” said Emily.  She wanted Megan to feel very good. Later they played games, but Emily could not pay attention.  She was thinking about the bad present.  Even while they were playing pin the ribbon on the gift box, she could not concentrate.  Day after day Emily’s younger brother Andrew would ask, “Can I have the Green Slime Mania?”  Every time Emily answered, “No, maybe Megan made a mistake.  Besides, I am returning it next week, the day after Christmas. “No,” whined Andrew.

Both Megan and Emily agreed that boys stink.  Megan has an older brother Kyle.  On Monday, Megan called Emily and asked, “do you want to play?”  Emily did not want to because she was afraid she would bring up the present in a conversation.  So she replied, “sorry I have to do my chores.”

On Tuesday Megan came over to Emily’s house.  Megan’s orange hair curled beautifully and her new red sweater glimmered.  She cracked open the door.  Megan heard Emily talking to her parents.  “I absolutely hated the present Megan gave me. The things I wanted were an American Girl doll, a hair styling kit, and American Girl mystery books.  And I got the hair styling kit from Ashley.”

Megan overhead this conversation and was shocked. How could her best friend say that?  Megan ran very quickly in tears back to her house. The next day at school Megan did not hang out with Emily.  Instead she hung out with Ashley. Emily hung out with Laura.

On the way home, Megan took a different route. For days the girls would avoid each other.  The day before Christmas, Megan cried.  She had to talk to Emily.  Emily was being so mean.

It was finally Christmas and Emily visited Megan.  “Megan, I came here to tell you, I did not like the present you got me at the holiday party.”  “I heard.  I peeked through the door and heard you telling your parents about it.   Anyway what did I give you that was so horrible?” asked Megan.

“Green Slime Mania” answered Emily.  “Oh no!” screamed Megan. “I accidentally gave you my brother Kyle’s gift.”  Megan went and got Kyle and explained the whole thing. Then Emily and Kyle swapped presents.  “No wonder I opened an American Girl doll for a present this morning,” said Kyle.  Everyone laughed.  Emily and Megan remembered this story for a long time.

Happy Holidays! THE END.

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  1. December 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm —

    Wow, that was an awesome story! Ellie is a talented writer in the making! Bravo Ellie!!!! Congratulations, keep up the good work!

  2. Pamey
    December 7, 2010 at 12:57 pm —

    Ellie, congratulations on a great story. I will read it with my niece this weekend when I see her. This is an amazing achievement! Keep up the great work. I will look for your name in the future.

  3. Kristi C
    December 7, 2010 at 12:51 pm —

    What a wonderful story! I could picture the whole thing in my head! Keep on writing, I would love to know what Emily and Megan get into next!

  4. Isabel San Jose
    December 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm —

    Hi Jodi and Hi Ellie!
    I’m a client and fan of your Mom all the way from the Philippines. Now I’m your fan too. Congratulations for this accomplishment, you have a very bright future ahead girl! Keep up. Congrats to you too Jodi. I have a daughter likewise and I truly understand how happy you are for this achievement she has just done. And so early in her life. So happy for you. Happy holidays!

  5. December 7, 2010 at 12:21 pm —

    Ellie – you should be SO proud of yourself. You are a beautiful, talented, wonderful writer and little girl. Keep on keeping on!! Go ELLIE! 🙂

  6. December 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm —

    Dear Ellie,
    Your story was super sweet. It kept me in suspense up until the end! You rock girlfriend! I can not believe at 8 you are writing such suspenseful and dramatic short stories. You can do whatever you put your mind too! Don’t let anyone, I mean anyone ever tell you otherwise. Again, you rock! I’m proud to have read your story! As a matter of fact, my little girl, Layla Lu, who is 4, will be getting her first American Girl Doll this Christmas. How exciting is that?! She will also be getting the magazine with your article in which your story is published! I’m sure she will keep it forever and ever! Thanks for sharing! Nicole

  7. Laser
    December 7, 2010 at 12:17 pm —

    Congratulations, Emily! Your story is absolutely amazing. I am going to show it to my 7 year old grandson who also loves to write. I know he will be very impressed.

    You should be very proud of yourself, I know I am proud of you!

  8. December 7, 2010 at 11:29 am —

    Awesome story Ellie! Seeing your name in print for the first time is such a memorable experience. Good for you!! 🙂

  9. Denise
    December 7, 2010 at 11:13 am —

    FABULOUS story Ellie!!

  10. December 7, 2010 at 11:06 am —

    That’s wonderful! One of my twin boys is an award winning writer, too! He’s won several contests. One of which was 2nd place out of all the 8th graders from a tri-county area here in FL. That piece of writing was used in a professional production put on by a local theater company. Unfortunately he has no desire to become a writer. He never enters his work he’s teachers send them in. He just enjoys doing creative writing in his English class.

    I hope Ellie keeps writing! I’ll be looking forward to reading more of her work!

  11. December 7, 2010 at 10:55 am —

    As a person who was once an 8-year-old who felt passion for reading and writing, and dreamt of the day I would have my writing published, my heart is bursting for sweet Ellie’s honorable mention. It was a lovely story, with a very sophisticated arc and tension, and a comforting & sweet ending. There are few third graders who could have written that (and a lot of adults who can do no better).

    Congratulations, Ellie! I can’t wait to see where your words pop up next.

  12. December 7, 2010 at 10:54 am —

    Ellie, congratulations!!! Your story is excellent and I’m going to share it with my own daughter, who is your age, when she gets home from school. I bet it will inspire her to keep plugging away at her own writing!

  13. Denise Armbruster
    December 7, 2010 at 10:49 am —

    Congratulations Ellie, your story is fantastic. I look forward to future stories and it does not surprise me one bit that you are talented given that you have such a talented mother. It runs in the family. My daughter read American Girl magazine for a long long time. She has (although they are stored away) 3 dolls, a ton of stuff and Bitty Baby which she lovingly gave to her neice to play with. Keep up the writing, it’s obvious you have a way with storytelling.

  14. Kristen
    December 7, 2010 at 9:26 am —


  15. December 7, 2010 at 9:23 am —

    Congratulations Ellie! That is awesome. I can’t wait to share this with my daughter (she’s almost 8) who also wants to be a writer when she grows up and she also loves American Girl. I enjoyed your story too.

  16. Stephanie DeBolt
    December 7, 2010 at 9:22 am —

    I’m a newspaper writer and photographer and I have to tell you that the FIRST time I EVER saw my name in print I went CRAZY and I was 32 years old! I can’t imagine how excited you are!
    The reason I was soooo old was because I didn’t listen to my voice when I was your age, telling me that writing and taking pictures would make me so happy. I found a normal (really boring) job and went to work.
    A few years later I took a chance and went for it, the job at the newspaper, and now I have people who open its pages just to see what I’ve written!
    I like to think that by doing what I love, I make people happy. You’re awesome Ellie and think how many people you will make happy in your lifetime of writing stories! Your mommy is so proud of you and she should be! You’re incredibly AWESOME! Keep chasing your dreams and dare to make them bigger and bigger each time!


  17. December 7, 2010 at 9:17 am —

    I can see why you are so proud of her! The story is wonderful and she should definitely keep practicing the craft.

  18. MelissaF
    December 7, 2010 at 9:17 am —

    What a great story and how exciting to have her name in a magazine! That is quite an accomplishment. She should be so proud of herself!! Way to go!!!

  19. December 7, 2010 at 9:14 am —

    OMG what an amazing accomplishment. And, I easily teared up by the time I got to the 2nd paragraph. Congratulations to both of you! This is a HUGE accomplishment! I say shout it from the roof tops!

  20. December 7, 2010 at 9:09 am —

    Oh My Gosh!.. I have goosebumps reading Ellie’s wonderful story! She certainly will be a wonderful writer. Heck she is a wonderful writer right now. Congratulations on your awesome achievement at the ripe age if 8. Reach for the stars, girlfriend!!

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The Holiday Disaster – Award Winning Story by Ellie Friedman, Age 8