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SETTING: English Class

CHARACTERS: Joanie and the substitute English teacher 

  • The substitute teacher gives the students a writing prompt: "What do you think about?" 

  • Joanie looks out the window and daydreams  about all kinds of things 

  • In the end, she only has time to write "I think about a lot of things" 

Chapter 20: Thoughts 

November 9th 

Today was normal, up until English class. 


Our teacher told us to take out a pen and paper because he wanted to start the class with a writing prompt. This question was written on the board behind him: “What do you think about?” He told us we had five minutes to write our answers. 


I really liked this idea. 


I put my head in my hand and let my eyes drift out the window. Across the street is a reservoir, and the sun shines on it, transforming the navy blue water into dazzling white sparkles.


And I began to think...

I wonder why it does that.

I wonder if any fish live in there.

I wonder what a fish looks like right when it hatches. 

I wonder if a hedgehog is born with its spikes or if it grows them later. 

Are snails born without shells? If so, do their parents help them find their first one? 

And how exactly is the moon related to the waves and tides?

If I learned a second language, which would I use to think? Or dream? 

Do pets ever dream? If so, about what?

If you owned something invisible, you’d probably never know...

What does an elephant’s skin feel like? Is it soft or tough? In pictures, it looks very loose. 

I wonder why Ruby and Ty’s teeth are gapped while Grant’s and mine aren’t. 

Is Antarctica rooted in any way, or is it just floating? Floating and melting? 

How do you bury someone in a place where all the ground is frozen? 

What’s glitter made out of? 

Do penguins have tiny feathers on their flippers?

How, exactly, does a door hinge work? And why don’t they get stuck more often? 

Does it snow on other planets? 

Even bugs have cousins! 

Why do people like stinky cheese? 

If you could touch the inside of a star, would it be hot or cold? 

Do monkeys ever need glasses? How would you even test their vision?

How many books exist in the world? How many years would it take to read them?

Who was the happiest person in all of human history? Who was the saddest?

What are other kids my age, around the world, doing right now?

When was the first time someone ate bacon…? 


“Alright,” said a strong voice somewhere to my right. 


I turned slowly to see all my classmates feverishly writing and my teacher standing at the front of the room. 


I closed my eyes and rubbed them. When I did, I saw purple and black outlines of the classroom, with something glistening in the distance. 


“Time is up!” My teacher announced. 


I looked down at my empty page and quickly scribbled one short sentence: “I think and dream about a lot of things.” 


Your Friend,

Chapter 20FriendsWorld
00:00 / 03:21

Joanie Piper

Chapter Twenty Discussion Questions:

Have you ever had any of the same thoughts/questions as Joanie?

What do you daydream about most often?

How is daydreaming a strength? How is it a weakness?

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