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Congratulations to 5th Grader Mahrosh Khan!



We are so proud of 5th Grader Mahrosh Khan for this wonderful achievement! Mahrosh received a letter from Scholastic stating that she is the Storyworks' Jack Contest Winner from the December 2018 / January 2019 issue! Lauren Tarshis, Publisher for Storyworks magazine wrote, "We loved your realistic entry describing what happened the following summer between Pete and Jack, especially considering that is was a nearly seamless transition from the original story. Your entry was extremely well-written with multiple plot twists and valuable lessons. Excellent work!"

Mahrosh received a copy of Writing Radar by Jack Gantos for her prize. Please read Mahrosh's outstanding entry below:


Jack Contest

The Penny Tree Continuation

By: Mahrosh Khan


    I was thinking about what I told Pete for all of winter and spring. I barely went outside so I would not have to see “the penny tree”. Everyday, Pete would ask me “Is it summer yet?” and everyday I said “No”. He even asked me when there was snow outside! I had no idea what to do with him.


    It was spring, almost summer, when I realized I still had no money! I ran like a rocket to the door. I would have still been running when I saw Pete. On his right was what he believed was a tree that grows money and was having a short growing season. He seemed to be looking at something on an iPad. His friend, Joey, was sitting on his left. They started laughing. “What's so funny?” I asked. He replied by saying, “Nothing. Just this article about a penny tree. It says here that a boy tried to grow a penny tree, too, and it didn’t work!” Uh-Oh, I thought. If Pete figures out that his penny tree is not what he thinks it is, I’m busted. Unless he doesn’t…

    I ran all the way to my dad’s auto repair shop. The name is Michael's Auto Repair, since my dad’s name is Michael. I walked in. I was allowed to come in freely. You know, because my dad owns the shop. When I found him, I asked “Can I have some money please?”

“What for?”, he asked as he used the wrench to take the wheels off of the car. Before I could answer, he said “Ohhh. Is this money for that “penny tree” that you gave to Pete for his birthday?”

“Maybe,” I replied. He replaced the wheels with new ones, stood up, and then came to me. “Listen, Jack. I think it's time we have a talk.”


    “Look, Jack. You got yourself into this mess, so you are going to get yourself out. I can't give you money but you can work for it. What do you say?” This is what my dad said to me. This is what he calls a talk? Well. “Umm. Should I?”, I ask.

“Why not?”

“Are you not going to tell me, like, I shouldn’t do this to Pete?”

“Do you want me to tell you that?” Well, he has a point there. “Okay. What do I have to do?”

“Well, you can clean up the place.” I ran to the closet, grabbed the mop, and ran right back. I started mopping. Two (almost three) hours later, I was done. Hey, it was a whole shop I had to clean! “How much money do I get?” My dad handed me fifteen one dollar bills. Perfect, I thought. Time to let my generous imagination kick in again!


    I went back home. I walked this time because I wasn’t really in a rush. Towards the end, though, I ran. I was thinking about what baseball card I should by next when I ran into Pete. Again. This time, I literally ran into him. I must have not been looking where I was going because I sure did not see Pete. “Oh! Pete, I have to tell you something. Your penny tree only grows dollars now.”, I said. He replied by asking “So is it a dollar tree now?”

“Uh, sure.” I grabbed the watering can that I just noticed was in his hand. “Here, I’ll water your tree.”, I said.

“But I-”, Pete started. He didn’t get to finish, though, because I interrupted.

“Don’t worry, I’ll water it just this once.”


“Thanks, Pete.”

“I’ll be inside watching television if you need me.” He went into our house. I waited a couple minutes until I was positive he was watching television. After I was sure he was gone, I dashed inside the house and got the tape. I ran back to our backyard after I got the tape, watered the plant, then taped ten dollars on the tree. I can’t wait to see Pete’s face when he sees the money!


    When I went into my house, the first person I saw was Pete. He was still watching television and looked anxious. He hadn’t noticed that I just walked in. “Um, Pete? Are-”. I was cut off. As soon as Pete saw me, he said “Jack! I need to tell you something!” He brought me outside to our backyard. He brought me behind the bushes where no one could see. Pete started talking. “Listen, Jack. I know that the tree you gave me isn’t real.”


    Uh-Oh. I knew this would happen sometime. I wanted to tell him the whole story but instead I asked “How do you know?”

He replied by saying “Isn’t it obvious? All the clues you gave me, they lead me to the answer. You know, just because I’m five years old doesn’t mean I can’t figure things out.”

“Okay, but why are you telling me this in secret?”

“I don’t want you to get in trouble.”


“Oh, I heard Mom telling you to make sure you don’t burst my bubble, just that one part.”

“What about the clues?”

“Well, there was tape on the money, even though you told me they are penny stems. Also, a tree can’t grow that quick. I planted the seed after dinner on my birthday. Then, it grew in two days!”

“Wow, Pete. For a five year old, you are smart! Anyways, last question. What do I have to do?”


“Pete, I’m smart, too. I know you brought me here because you have some kind of plan that you want to tell me.”

“Oh. Heh, heh. Well, I don’t want Mom to know that you “burst my bubble”. I’m thinking that maybe I can pretend that I still think the tree is real and then it dies and it will be like nothing happened!”

“Well, okay. If you say so.”

    For the next week, me and Pete were able to keep our secret a secret. It probably would have been longer if Pete hadn’t forgotten one thing. Pete was watching television when “it was time to water the penny tree”. I was in my room so I had a perfect view of the backyard. When I looked outside, though, Pete wasn’t there. I ran downstairs. When I found Pete, I said “Pete, it's time for you to water your tree.” Then Pete said “But I thought since it’s not real, I don’t have to water it.” He said it really slowly. You know when you’re watching T.V. and you’re so interested in it that you don’t know what you’re saying? Yeah. That’s what happened to Pete. And Mom decided to walk in just then. Right when Pete said “But I thought since it’s not real.”

“What’s not real?”, she asked.

Uh-Oh. Busted.


    “Umm.”, Pete and I both said together. Great, now he decides to pay attention. “Jack, come with me.” My Mom called me over. She brought me to a different room where Pete couldn’t here. “Jack, does this have anything to do with that tree you gave to Pete?”

“How did you guess?”

“Jack, be serious. Did you burst his bubble?”

Okay, I think it’s time I tell her the truth. “I didn’t burst his bubble.”, I said. “He figured it out by himself.”

“What?”, she asked. So I told her the whole story.


    After I told Mom the whole story, I told Pete what I told Mom. After I was done, Pete told me how he pulled so many tricks so I wouldn’t know that he knew. In the end, we had to do chores for a week without any payment because we both didn’t tell the truth. “Sorry for taking your allowance away from you.”, I said while I swept the floor.

“It’s okay.” Pete said while he dried the dishes. “Besides, I have enough money after growing that tree. Twenty one dollar bills!” We laughed.

“Hey, mind giving me some dollar bills?”, I asked.

Pete laughed while he said, “No! Grow your own penny tree!” We laughed again.

I replied by saying, “Maybe I’ll just get a full time job at Michael’s Auto Repair.”

The End!