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The 411: Youth

Robyn Reports: The Nutty Neighborhood Block Party

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July 10, 2013 | 1,654 views | Post a comment

Story by Stacy Tornio
Illustrations by Roel Wielinga

Teacher guides available upon request. E-mail

Chapter 1:
The Big Day

I look at the clock on the basement wall: 8:01 a.m.

Great. It’s the big day, and they’re late. Not even one reporter is on time.

My name is Robyn. I am a reporter and the creator of the mighty neighborhood newspaper, The Robyn Report.

I come from a family of reporters. My grandpa was a reporter. My mom is a reporter. My sister is a reporter. We’re all reporters, and we all have red hair. My grandpa believes redheads have a sixth sense for reporting.

I’m not sure if that’s true, but I know one thing for sure. I was born to be a reporter.
One day, I’m going to be a great reporter for a newspaper or a television station. But until then, I have The Robyn Report. The neighborhood counts on my report each week. I take my job very seriously.

I started The Robyn Report four years ago when I was 7. In first grade, most kids learn how to read and write. I learned how to type.

Every Saturday, I type The Robyn Report into my computer. I do most of the work in the basement right here on this old pool table. Then on Sunday, I deliver it to my loyal readers. I charge 25 cents for each issue. This covers the cost of printing. As soon as I deliver the newspaper, I start all over again for the next week.

Usually, I have an entire week to prepare the report. Not for this issue, though. Today is the neighborhood block party. It’s always held on Saturday. All of this week’s issue is going to be about the party. My readers are expecting to get The Robyn Report tomorrow. This means I have a long day ahead of me. The entire newspaper has to be done today.

I don’t mind the tight deadline. I have been waiting for this day for months. This is our biggest issue of the year. It has to be perfect.

The block party kicks off at 9 a.m. That’s just one hour away.

No. Wait. It’s less than one hour away. My reporters are supposed to be here already. I have to hand out assignments. I can’t believe they’re late. I start to worry. Then I hear footsteps on the stairs. J.P. walks through the door. I look at the clock: 8:15 a.m.

“I know I’m late,” J.P. says, “but I wanted to squeeze fresh orange juice.”

He is carrying a Thermos and paper cups. He sets them on the pool table and pours four glasses. I take a drink. Mmmm. Perfect.

“Where are Corinna and Logan?” J.P. asks.

“Corinna is probably sleeping,” I say.

Corinna’s my best friend and one of my best reporters. But she’s not exactly a morning person. She writes “Corinna’s Corner” every week. It is one of our reader’s favorite sections. It keeps them up to date on birthdays. It also has news and events from the neighborhood.

J.P. is my sports writer. He writes a column called “In the Zone” each week. J.P. has very loyal readers. He knows his sports.

Then there’s Logan. He is my third reporter. And they’re all late.

I hear footsteps on the stairs again. Corinna shuffles into the basement. She is still wearing her pajamas, slippers, and sunglasses. The front of her shirt says GRUMPY in big black letters.

“That’s a nice look you have there,” J.P. says, laughing. Corinna looks over at him and glares.

“Don’t mess with me in the morning,” she says in a gruff voice.

He immediately stops laughing. I guess Corinna made her point.

“Here,” J.P. says, handing her a glass of orange juice. She takes it and sits down in the beanbag on the floor.

Usually, I have everyone sit at the pool table when we meet. I don’t say anything, though. I don’t want to get on Corinna’s bad side. This is the big day. I need all of my reporters to be happy.

But first I need them to show up. “Where is Logan?” I ask. I hear footsteps on the stairs again.

“Here I am!” says a loud voice.

That is not Logan’s voice. It’s her.

No, I think. Please don’t let it be her.

I look over to see neon-bright orange tennis shoes.

It’s her.

If there’s one person I don’t want to see today, it’s her.

But those orange shoes are definitely in my basement.

Oh, no! They are coming right at me!

A Hot Topics Hot Serials Story
Copyright © 2006 Stacy Tornio

Watch for Chapter 2,
“Rowdy Roxanne” next week!

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