The Valencia Bay-farer is 826 Valencia's only in-house newspaper written for students by students (ages 8 to 11). Our intrepid reporters learn lessons about the various aspects of journalism, from crafting ledes to interviewing to citing sources, and at the end of each five-week workshop, we release a new issue full of articles about the kinds of things you'd love to read if you were a kid. We hope you enjoy these articles.
The Big Issue with Climate Change
By Jasper M. Bettag, Age 9
Feeling dry and molten hot in the West? A chilling Arctic freeze in the East? You'll find answers to your questions about climate change here, not anywhere else in the newspaper. So if you want to find out, stop reading about Afghanistan and popular fashion, and start reading about climate change.
So you're probably wondering why it's happening. In short, human activity, such as burning coal, natural gas and oil, as well as deforestation, is causing climate change, according to Mel Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist for The Union of Concerned Scientists. You've probably heard this a lot, but that's because it's pretty much true.
And if you don't believe it's happening, Ms. Fitzpatrick said it's because, "Mostly, people haven't been educated well, and generally climate scientists are not very good communicators."
One thing that's been happening is the polar vortex, which is blowing the wrong way, causing the jet stream to stall and accelerate, which accounts for the strange weather in the United States. The polar vortex is basically what it sounds like: a swirling mass of cold air located around the poles. The jet stream is a fast-moving path of wind, which separates cold northern air from warm southern air.
Climate change itself is not necessarily bad. Some of it even happens naturally. It's the climate change which is caused by humans that is hurting the environment, and the world is expected to be pretty darn different in the future, (2050-2100).
According to the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC), if current trends continue, it's going to get warmer in the north, colder in the south, wetter where it's already wet, and drier where it's already dry, which basically means stuff like Hurricane Sandy and this drought in California will happen more often.
And if you're wondering what you can do about it, Ms. Fitzpatrick says, "One of the best ways to combat climate change is for us to become active in our communities."
Which Is Better, the Books, or the Movie?
By Isabel Aguirre, Age 11
This article is about Daniel Handler, a.k.a. Lemony Snicket, his books and movie. I will be talking about criticism, interviews, and Lemony Snicket himself. If you do not like the books, then I would suggest not reading this. But, if you like the movie, you might as well stay.
Lemony Snicket lives in San Francisco, California. His A Series of Unfortunate Events books are about three children who lose their parents in a fire and go through a bunch of harsh and unexpected labor. The books are rather sad, but exciting.
Lemony Snicket has written other books, like All the Wrong Questions, Why We Broke Up, and Thirteen Words. Lemony Snicket thinks, "The story is more interesting when something terrible is happening." I also asked Lemony Snicket if he enjoys writing, and why, and he answered, "Yes, I do. 'Why?' is a good question. It might be because I see blank paper as a challenge."
There are thirteen books in the A Series of Unfortunate Events series. The three siblings in the books have to uncover a mystery about their family and get through challenges that they shouldn't be put through. It took Lemony Snicket about eight years to write the thirteen books in A Series of Unfortunate Events. That's almost one and a half books per year! Lemony Snicket says, "I would rather write books than do almost anything."
Some critics say that the books "bring fresh adult themes to children's stories," but some people say the books are bad for children's minds. The A Series of Unfortunate Events books have been restricted at some schools, but, "Lots of people young and old have responded to Snicket's books with a mixture of shock, horror, melancholy, resignation and enthusiasm," according to HarperCollins.
The movie is based on the first three books. Lemony Snicket wrote part of the screenplay, but he says in an interview with AudioFile magazine, "Movie-making is a director's game."
However, he was as excited as everyone else to see the movie.
When I asked him if he liked the movie, he said, "I am always more interested in hearing if other people liked it."
I, personally, like the books better than the movie, but who knows, you may have a different opinion.
826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 in the San Francisco Bay Area with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write.
The writing on this blog comes out of the Valencia Bay-farer journalism workshop, a free workshop for elementary and middle school students that produces 826 Valencia's one and only in-house newspaper. To learn more about 826 Valencia, visit 826valencia.org.