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cover art by Hudle Jennings, winning entry in the visual arts category of the Wadadli Pen Challenge 2011.

“Mommy, how many sand on the beach?” Kyle asked from the back seat of the car.

I adjusted the rear view mirror to observe my six-year-old. The hat on her head did nothing to hide her uncombed hair and
curious expression.  “No se,” I responded in Spanish.


“There are too many to count, sweetheart.  So, are you ready for the beach?” I asked.

“Don’t forget to pick up Haley, mommy! She said she is going to help me count the sand.”

I thought to myself, this is going to be a long day.

Kyle is a free spirit with a wild imagination. I remembered the day her teacher called to let me know that Kyle brought her teddy bear to school and insisted that he get a desk and table right next to her.

“Mommy, daddy say you can’t drive.”

I smiled as I made a mental note to settle that score with Tom.

“He said you drive slow.”

“The word is slowly, Kyle.  Not slow.”

“Mommy, look cane!”  She pointed as we approached a stop with a vendor selling cane and coconut water.

“Two bags, please,” I shouted as we approached the vendor.  He smiled as he handed me the bags.

“Mommy, what happened to his teeth?” Kyle asked softly as we drove off.

I passed a cane to her without responding.  We spent the next few minutes of the drive in silence.

“We are coming close to Haley’s house, sweetheart.”

“Yeah,” she said with a smile, “Haley’s daddy said their road is a pond.  What is a pond, mommy?”

“Well, it’s just a body of water; almost like the beach.” I answered.

Haley lived on the way to the beach and as we entered her road I immediately understood why Haley’s dad said what he did. The road was filled with numerous potholes.

“Where is the pond?” Kyle asked as she looked all around her.

“Well,” I started uncertainly, “the pond is all dry right now because we haven’t had any rain for a while.”

She opened her mouth to respond but then saw Haley running towards the car.

“Kyle, you want to see my bath suit?” Haley said as she entered the car.

We drove away from the house as slowly as we approached it.  The car was filled with the excited chatter of two six-year-olds who could have easily passed for twins.  I was forgotten.

“We are here!” I said a few minutes later.

“Yeah!” they both shouted.

The small beach was filled with tourists and a few vendors selling souvenirs.

“Mommy,” Kyle whispered, “they are all white.”

I looked at her with understanding and decided to take the bull by the horn.  I led them back to the car.

“Kyle, remember those butterflies we saw in the garden yesterday?”

“Yes.” She answered.

“What colours were they?” I asked her.

“Yellow and blue and…” she said.

“Were they not all butterflies?” I interrupted her.

“Yes, mommy and they were pretty.”

“Well, we are like those butterflies Kyle.  We have many different colours but we are all God’s people and we are all beautiful!”

“Mommy, can we go out now?” They had heard enough.

“Let’s go count some sand,” I said.

“No, Mommy,” Kyle said as she held Haley’s hand and ran ahead of me, “we are going to count butterflies.”

But there are no butterflies here, I said to myself.

I laughed out loud as I heard her say: “one white, two white, one pink…”  I had to catch up fast.  It was time for another chat.


Sands and Butterflies, winner of the 18 to 35 category and overall winner in the Best of Books Wadadli Pen Challenge 2011, was written by Devra Thomas. The All Saints Road resident, formerly a bilingual client services associate at Stanford International Bank, says she now works “in the employ of my 18 month old daughter as ‘mommy-in-charge’.” She’s also been engaged in the past in youth work at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, the Boys Training School and the Sunshine Home for Girls; and has offered to assist with Wadadli Pen in future – we will be taking her up on that. A self-described passionate reader, Devra, says she favours stories with a moral: “I must finish my reading a bit wiser – with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.” She is a passionate writer whose writing, she says, reflects her Christian faith; and who is looking
forward to expanding beyond her personal writing to honing her skills and writing pieces that will inspire and educate the public, particularly youths.

Devra accepting the ABII trophy

With Sands and Butterflies, she and Wadadli Pen’s children’s lit challenge proved a match made in heaven.

Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.


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