By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
BELMONT – Alexandria “Alex” Norman’s brainstorm of ideas yielded one that rose to the very top as the best of 4,000 metaphors and similes sent from across the United States.
The petite and soft-spoken 10-year-old fourth-grader from Belmont Elementary School won a contest sponsored by Scholastic Storyworks magazine.
Hers was No. 1 of five metaphors that children’s poet and author J. Patrick Louis chose to use in an original poem he wrote from the student entries. The other four winning entries included two from New York, one from South Dakota and one from California.
“A spider weaving nature’s jewelry” is Alex’s winning phrase. The imagery in the words set the stage for Louis’ poem, “Spring Baseball.”
“The contest said the poet was going to be writing a poem about spring,” said Cathy Eaton, who teaches Alex and Belmont Elementary’s other gifted program students. “We had a lesson on similes and metaphors, the students did some brainstorming, then picked out as many as three entries.”
For those who don’t remember the elementary school English lessons, a simile compares two different things using “like” or “as,” and a metaphor compares one thing to another as if they were the same. For example, a “blanket of snow” is a metaphor.
Alex and the six other students in her fourth-grade gifted class knew that.
“In this contest they took it to another level,” Eaton said. “It’s one thing to recognize a simile or metaphor; it’s another thing to create your own.”
Writing in a journal each week is an exercise in self-expression that probably helped Alex as she worked through more than half a page of ideas.
“It took me a while to figure out what were my top three,” said Alex, who is the daughter of Freddy and Ina Norman.
Although students weren’t required to submit three entries, Alex chose to send two similes as well as the metaphor: “The cherry blossom was like a piece of fluffy cotton candy showering down to the rich soil,” and “The color of the rose was like the sweetness of a child’s beautiful, bright heart.”
Winning the contest has opened the floodgates, and Alex has begun writing a book, although her career plan is still geared toward something in science.
“I’ve always been interested in science, so I thought about becoming a veterinarian or something to do with science or animals,” she said.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or email@example.com.
– “Spring Baseball” by J. Patrick Louis, using Alex Norman’s winning metaphor. Numbers in parenthesis indicate the five winning metaphors and similes.
“A spider weaving nature’s jewelry
Discovers what the trees already
Their leaves once helicoptered down
And Winter’s waved good-bye to
The cricket violinists take their seat
Among bluebell umbrellas for the
Perhaps the worm can get the early
To give his easy prey a fighting
Oh, there is nothing subtle in the
Adorned with paper airplane butterflies
Spring hums like the crack of a
baseball bat (5).
Earth homers in its long-awaited
Nature holds its breath then begs the
Not to call the game because of rain.
It seems to say, ‘Imagine all the
When Springtime takes the field to