Dover, Harbison, Day win library’s ocean-themed youth writing competition

Left to right are Leeland Patrick Dover, Scarlett Harbison and Alyssa Day. (Cullman County Public Library)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Public Library hosted a youth writing competition for grades K-12 during its June Oceans of Possibilities Summer Learning Program. Winners were Leeland Patrick Dover, 7, with a seafaring story featuring Moby Dick; Scarlett Harbison, 10, with a story about a cocker spaniel’s daring ocean adventure; and Alyssa Day, 11, with another perilous tale starring a canine hero.

The young writers were invited to create their own imaginative ocean-themed stories (with optional illustrations), from 50-500 words. Judges Carol Nielson, Linda Holland and Ben Johnson determined a winner for each grade range (K-2, 3-6, 7-9 and 10-12.) There were no submissions for 10-12.

Dover, Harbison and Day each received a $50 gift certificate to Camelot Books and Comics.

Here are their winning stories and illustrations.

The End of the Jolly Roger

Leeland Patrick Dover, 7

Long ago, a pirate ship with the Jolly Roger flag, sailed near the final resting place of Captain Ahab. The White whale had sent doom upon his ship. The pirates were looking for survivors. One survivor floated on a coffin full of cargo.

Captain Dread put down the anchor and the crew saved the poor man. Suddenly, the lookout shouted, “There’s a huge white lump coming this way! It has eyes as big as saucers!” The pirates lifted up the anchor and waited for the creature to get near.

As the lump grew closer, it lifted its head. Captain Dread yelled, “It be the White Whale, Moby Dick!” Suddenly, the massive whale bumped the side of the ship. The crew began to shoot harpoon and some even brought out guns. But the White Whale took out a harpoon and knocked over several crew men. The remaining men drop the anchor on the whale, further angering him.

The White Whale began to ram the side of the boat until it flipped over completely. All but Captain Dread and the First Mate, were eaten. As they swam way, they watched the Jolly Roger sink beneath the waves. Moby Dick had won again.

The End

(Contributed by Leeland Patrick Dover)

Piper to the Rescue

Scarlett Harbison, 10

The sand was warm and soft underneath Piper’s paws. The balmy breeze tickled the curls in her ears and tasted salty on her pink tongue. Piper loved the ocean and was happy she lived in a cottage by the sea with her owner, Scarlett. The little chocolate and white Cocker Spaniel ran excitedly to the water’s edge. Cool water washed over her paws. Splashing water out in the distance caught her attention. A baby otter was tangled in a fishing net!

Piper dived into the waves. She paddled as fast as her paws could carry her. She held her breath when big waves crashed over her head. Piper felt like giving up but she knew she had to help. Piper finally reached the otter. The tiny otter was wrapped in the net and could not move. Piper quickly chewed the ropes. They were thick and tasted awful. Finally the otter was free!

The otter gave Piper a seashell it was holding as a thank you and swam off happily. Piper swam back with the shell clenched between her teeth. When she got back to land she laid down on the warm sand to rest. Piper closed her eyes and let the sun dry her fur. She drifted off to sleep with her precious shell tucked under her paw.

She awoke to the sound of Scarlett calling her name. “Piper there you are silly girl.” Scarlett picked up Piper’s shell and said “Did you find this beautiful shell just for me?” Scarlett ran a hand across Piper’s fur. “What have you been up to today?” Scarlett asked. She picked up Piper and whispered softly, “Let’s go home.” Piper snuggled close to her owner and closed her eyes again. She fell asleep knowing she and her seashell were safe and the baby otter was free.

(contributed by Scarlett Harbison)

Hero Dog of the Sea

Alyssa Day, 11

Ahh! I love feeling the warm, yet cool, sand on my paws in the morning. There’s nothing better than a sunrise on the beach! But when I snigged the crisp, Myrtle Beach air, something was off. But before I could recognize the scent, my sister, Hedwig, came running up to me.

“Guess what Snickerdoodle! I just saw a huge dog surfing! I mean, since when do dogs surf?!” I laughed to myself. Ever since my owner, Addie, adopted Hedwig, my life has been very active. Now we go to the beach every day, and once a week on our fishing boat. Today is a fishing day.

“Really? A dog surfing? Are you sure I can believe you?” I ask, trying to play along. I see Hedwig open her mouth to reply, but she was drowned out by a wave crashing over me. I stood up to shake the salty water off, but then I realized something- we’re about four feet away from shore. Maybe it was just a one time thing. The ocean saying hello.

Even Addie noticed that, but she wanted to fish anyway, saying we wouldn’t go too far out, but even I know that’s still dangerous. I shook the worries and water off before I got into the boat. Eventually, we were heading out into the crashing water. Everything was calm at first, so I settled down and fell asleep at the bottom of the boat.


I jumped awake to the loud, startling noise, forgetting I was on a boat, and suddenly fell overboard. Obviously, Addie took no notice because the boat kept moving on… but wait! She wasn’t moving the boat. The wind was! Luckily, I had my life vest on, but it was hard not to be yanked around by the current. I was barking for help, but Addie couldn’t hear me… But Hedwig could!

“Don’t worry, Snickerdoodle!” My sister shouted. “Addie’s trying to turn the boat around, but she can’t!”

I was relieved to hear Addie’s voice afterwards. “Don’t worry, girl! I’m trying to get to you!” I loved hearing my owner’s familiar voice, but I couldn’t help thinking a sudden thought- What if I’ll never see her again?

“No! I can’t let that happen! What did Addie always tell me about storms? Hmm… Oh yeah! Follow the light house!” And that’s what I did!

About two or three hours later, including a short nap on an island, I made it to the light house. But something was wrong… Addie and Hedwig weren’t there! I curled up in defeat, but heard frantic shouting.

“Hedwig, we’re lost!” It was Addie! I looked up to see the light turned off! What should I do? I started barking as loud as I could, and Hedwig barked back! Soon, Addie’s boat came into view and they crashed onto the island. After tons of hugs and pats, and a night in the lighthouse, we made it home, me as a “hero”, and us as a family.

(contributed by Alyssa Day)

Copyright 2022 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.