Summer camp isn’t what Hannah expected
Ten-year-old Hannah and her best friend, Mia, reunite at Camp Pelican for the first time since Mia moved away. Hannah imagines them having fun swimming, making arts and crafts, horseback riding, and canoeing.
But Hannah is shocked when she arrives at camp and meets Mia’s new best friend, Emily. Even worse, the popular, quick-witted Emily delights in tormenting her. Hannah can’t escape since they’re staying in the same cabin. Will she survive the loss of her best friend and the bullying and make it through camp?
Targeted Age Group:: 7-12
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I wrote this book for my young twin daughters, who aren't so sure whether they want to go to summer camp. I loved attending summer camp as a kid, so wanted to share what camp life was like. Of course, my camp experiences weren't anywhere near as dramatic as the girls attending Camp Pelican!
Chapter 3 – Cow Town, USA
Hannah found the unicorn toy her mother secured to the wrist strap of her flashlight. It had a silver horn and a rainbow mane.
Holding it helped Hannah feel better. Maybe Emily had been rude, but at least Mia had hugged her and tried to save her a bunk. She vowed not to let Emily keep her from having fun with Mia.
After Hannah set up her bed, she headed to the back of the cabin. Emily and Mia sat together on a top bunk, their legs hanging over the side.
Using a wide marker, Emily drew a purple streak down Mia's blonde hair.
Hannah hovered at the bottom. "What's that marker?"
Emily scoffed. "It's hair chalk, obviously." She turned back to Mia. "Where did you live before you moved to the city? Cow Town, USA?"
Two girls sitting on a nearby bed giggled. Mia didn't laugh, but she didn't defend Hannah either.
Hannah's mind spun. She tried to make a clever reply and failed. "Um, I didn't know because I use a different kind."
Emily raised her eyebrows. "Really? Get them, and you can help me color Mia's hair."
Hannah dropped her gaze, caught in her lie. "I didn't bring them with me."
"What about lipstick?"
Hannah shook her head.
"I brought two Lip Smacker lip glosses."
Emily rolled her eyes. "My baby sister wears that. What about nail polish?"
Hannah brightened. "I have pink and purple."
"Go get them, and you can paint my nails."
Hannah scrambled to her bed and grabbed the nail polish. She hurried back and held the bottles out.
Emily took the bottles, studied them, and tossed them aside. They bounced off the mattress, soaring through the air and clattering on the floor, before rolling under the next bunk.
Hannah dropped to her knees, scrambled over the concrete, and grabbed for the bottles.
Emily elbowed Mia. "That's not real nail polish. That's the pretend stuff for little kids. You can barely see it, and it peels off right after it dries."
Hannah stood, clutching the bottles. "This is all I have."
Emily colored another lock of Mia's hair. "You can't do makeovers with us without real makeup."
Hannah looked to Mia for help, but she turned away.
"Bye, Cow Town." Emily waggled her fingers and smacked her lips. "Go put on some Lip Smacker."
The other girls stared and whispered as Hannah trudged to her bunk. She threw the nail polish in her backpack, climbed in her sleeping bag, and clutched her unicorn.
Tears soaked her flowery pillowcase. So far, camp was a complete disaster.
"Don't let them get you down," a voice called from above.
Hannah dried her eyes with her pillowcase and peered up.
Two red braids appeared from the top bunk. An upside-down freckled face followed.
Hannah recognized Angie from school. They were in the same grade, but they'd never been in the same classroom.
Still dangling upside-down, Angie offered her a piece of gum. "Mia's not your friend if she doesn't have your back. I always found her a bit unfriendly."
Hannah made a face, ignoring the gum and rolling away from Angie.
"Suit yourself. More for me." The bed creaked as Angie pulled herself back up. The gum wrapper crinkled as she unwrapped it.
The screen door screeched, and a teenaged girl bounced into the cabin holding a clipboard. "Hi everyone, and welcome to cabin three! My name is Cameron, and I'm your counselor. We're going to have the best time ever! First up is taking roll."
Cameron ran a pencil down the clipboard. "Angela Anderson, arts and crafts concentration."
"Here." Angie's voice sounded from above.
"Jana Baker, boating."
"Emily Cummings, horsemanship."
Emily neighed like a horse, and giggles erupted through the cabin.
The counselor laughed, too. "Luckily, I speak horse. Emily said she's here."
Hannah's heart beat faster, and she sat up. Emily chose horsemanship? Since she and Mia chose arts and crafts, they'd get three whole hours a day together without Emily bugging them.
"Mia Delaney, horsemanship."
Hannah's shoulders slumped. Had Mia lied about choosing arts and crafts? Maybe she just switched and forgot to tell her. Her mind wandered, trying to figure out where she'd gone wrong with Mia.
Hannah jumped when Angie's head reappeared over the side. "Earth to Hannah. Cameron's calling your name."
"Hannah Zimmer, arts and crafts. Are you here?"
"Sorry, I’m here."
Emily guffawed and slapped her knee. "That girl said 'Earth to Hannah.' What a couple of space cadets."
Angie whipped her head around. "I've been called worse by far better."
A few of the girls oohed at Angie's comeback.
"Girls, stop." Cameron flicked the lights on and off. "Wow, this seems like a spirited group. At least it won't be like last week. Those girls were so quiet. Sometimes I didn't realize they were in the cabin."
She flipped to a new page on her clipboard. "Let's review the rules. No bullying. No foul language. My sleeping space behind the curtain is strictly off-limits…" She continued down the list.
Cameron pointed at a bulletin board. "I'll post the daily schedule here. That's all I have. Any questions?"
None of the girls spoke. A few giggles, whispers, and rustles punctuated the silence.
Cameron smiled. "Raise your hands if you're ready for a camp tour."
Hannah glanced around and reluctantly lifted her hand like the others.
"Okay, ladies, follow me!" Cameron held the door open, and the girls filed out.
Sonja Glumich has taught students of all ages, from preschool to graduate school, including as a public school science teacher. She currently works as a computer scientist for the Air Force Research Laboratory. Along with her husband, she currently homeschools her three school-aged children.