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News Item


Canyon Heights student wins national short story contest

June 29, 2016


Vivian Shen (gr.6), Denali Scott (gr.4) , Erica Cho (gr.4) & Viola Shen (gr.6), Canyon Heights Elementary School writing club students.

Grade four student Erica Cho has won first place in the 2015/2016 National Student Short-Story Contest held by Polar Expressions Publishing! Her story, titled Pretty Face, was selected from entries submitted by more than 1000 teachers across Canada. Her short story is being published in the book Flight which features work from all the other top entrants in grades K-5, including classmate Denali Scott.

Congratulations Erica! Enjoy reading her short story:

Pretty face By Erica Cho (Gr.4, Canyon Heights Elementary)

In the mirror, she was not looking at a girl, but looking at a terrifying monster.

Everyone was always teasing about her looks and people said that being good at art is no use you have to be pretty. Elsie was very depressed and started to spend all of her time alone. She was usually bored, so she practiced her art a lot. One day when she was drawing, she decided to draw eyes that were blue. Elsie didn’t like her brown eyes. But truly, a lot of people adored her eyes. She wished for the eyes everyday until very slowly that nobody noticed… that her eyes started to turn blue. When she found out, she squealed with delight and looked cheerful than usual. Elsie started to draw more parts of her face and wished for them and got prettier each time. She would do anything to be more popular and prettier.

The next week, she had new eyes, new red lips, and a dainty nose. She kept getting prettier until one day and became a totally different person. And soon nobody wanted to be with her. She sneaked back to her home early from school to be held in her mother’s arms. When she knocked, her mom came but had a puzzled look.

“Hi, what can I do for you?” asked Elsie’s mom. 

“Mother, nobody wants to be with…”cried Elsie.

“Excuse me, but I am not your mother, my daughter should be at school right now.”

Elsie couldn’t believe it, her mother didn’t know it was her! She looked in the mirror. She was not looking at a girl, but looking at a terrifying monster.

Elsie ran away from her house, trying to cover her face. The poor girl roamed down the streets feeling like a lost dandelion seed. Shortly after, it was night. It was very eerie as the road lights flickered. Then it started to pour.  She tried to sleep against a big wet rock. She thought about her friends, her cozy bed, and her mother worrying.

“If it wasn’t for my face, I wouldn’t have been myself.” said Elsie.

Now, she was so ashamed about the past when she had even changed herself to be popular. She thought, “I’ll try again and go to my mother in the morning.”

She came to her place and knocked on the door. Elsie’s mother came sniffing. Unexpectedly, she burst into tears and hugged Elsie tight. Elsie had turned back into her original self. Her deep sadness and thoughts had changed her back.  

Copyright © 2006-2015 Polar Expressions Publishing

For more information, including information about student writing contests and about the book Flight, visit