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The 411: Youth

Robyn Reports: The Nutty Neighborhood Block Party

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July 17, 2013 | 1,718 views | Post a comment

Story By Stacy Tornio
Illustrations By Roel Wielinga

Teacher guides available upon request. Email

Chapter 2: Rowdy Roxanne

The story so far: It’s the day of the neighborhood block party. The staff of the weekly newspaper, The Robyn Report, is gathering in Robyn’s basement and getting ready to cover the story.

“Here I am, at your service,” Roxanne says.

For a minute, I can’t speak. I’m still in shock that Rowdy Roxanne Roberts is standing in my basement. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. After all, Roxanne has been bugging me for weeks. She wants to do a story for The Robyn Report.

Or so she says. I have a feeling she has something else in mind. I just haven’t figured it out yet. But I will. I know she’s up to something.

“What are you doing here?” I ask.

“I’m here to help with the block party,” she explains.

It’s not that I never use new reporters. It’s just that Roxanne is so ... well ... rowdy.

“We don’t need help,” I say.

“Fine,” Roxanne says. She turns to leave. “By the way, I can get you an interview with Sarah.”

This makes me stop. “Sarah the seed-spitter?” I quickly ask.

Roxanne turns around, smiling. “That’s right,” she says slyly.

“How can you do that?” I ask.

Sarah is the watermelon seed-spitting champion of the neighborhood, for three years running. I’ve asked her for an interview at least a dozen times. She always tells me no.
Today, Sarah is trying to defend her crown. The neighborhood seed-spitting contest starts at 9:30 a.m.

“If you let me help, you can have the interview,” Roxanne says. “Is it a deal?”

I do not need or want Roxanne’s help. But I do want that interview with Sarah. Badly.
I hear another set of footsteps pounding down the stairs. Logan bursts into the room, out of breath.

“Where have you been?” I ask.

“I ... we ... the neighbors ...”

“What?” I ask.

“Here,” J.P. says, handing Logan a cup of orange juice.

Logan takes a drink. “We have to go,” he says. “Now!”

“Why?” I ask.

“There’s chaos at the bake sale. Something fishy is going on at the baseball field. And the whole neighborhood is throwing spaghetti.”

“What?! Where?” I ask.

“The library,” Logan says.

I grab my backpack and race up the stairs. Logan, J.P., Corinna and Roxanne follow me.
We run all the way to the library.

When we get there, I see that Logan is right. The neighborhood is throwing spaghetti. It’s a food fight! J.P. picks up a handful of spaghetti and throws it at Logan. Corinna and Roxanne join in, too. I write in my notebook as fast as I can.

This is why I love the neighborhood block party. You never know what’s going to happen. Everyone is laughing and having fun. This is a great story. I pull out my camera and take a few photos. They will be perfect to put in The Robyn Report.

My mom says reporters should expect the unexpected. I guess she’s right. Some of the best stories are not planned.

Soon, the food fight begins to wind down. I start pulling spaghetti out of my hair.
I look at my watch. It’s 9 a.m. The neighborhood block party has officially begun. I have to get my reporters together.

J.P., Logan, Corinna and Roxanne are all sitting on the library steps. I walk up to them.

“We have to get started,” I say.

J.P., Logan and Corinna are watching me. They know how important this day is. But I notice that Roxanne is watching J.P. She does not know how important this day is.

“J.P., I need you to cover the softball game. Find out what’s fishy at the field.”

“You got it,” J.P. says.

“Corinna, I need you to investigate the bake sale,” I say.

“Sure thing,” she says.

“Logan, you’ve got the talent show.”

“All right!” Logan says.

I look down at my list. There are two more things on it. I think about the interview with Sarah the seed-spitter.

“OK, Roxanne,” I say. “You can do a story on the petting zoo.”

“Yes!” she says in her loud voice.

That leaves the seed-spitting contest for me.

“Are we ready for the block party now?” I ask.

“Yes,” my reporters say together.

“Now, what’s The Robyn Report motto?” I ask.

“Day or night, we’ll get it right,” J.P., Logan and Corinna say.

“What’s that?” I ask again. “I couldn’t hear you.”

“Day or night, we’ll get it right,” they say louder.

I head over to Logan’s house. His mom, Mrs. Rogers, is hosting the seed-spitting contest in their back yard. Before I can open the gate into the back yard, I hear a loud voice behind me.


There are only two people who say my name that loudly -- my mom when I’m in trouble and Rowdy Roxanne. It isn’t my mom. I turn around and come face to face with Roxanne. She looks worried.

“You have to come with me,” she says.

“I can’t,” I say. “I have to cover the seed-spitting contest.”

“But there’s a huge problem at the petting zoo,” Roxanne says.

“What kind of problem?” I ask.

“There’s an animal missing!”
A Hot Topics Hot Serials Story. Copyright © 2006 Stacy Tornio
See Chapter 3, p. 6E

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