Meet the Characters
“Reading is dreaming with open eyes.”
What I do for fun: READWhen they gave us our summer reading list at school, I laughed because…well, because I’d already read most of them! I don’t mean to show off. It’s just that I really love to read! Reading is better than dreaming, because I can go back to my favorite part of the story whenever I want - but I can never seem to go back to my best dreams. I love bookstores, because there’s a million stories waiting for me. I know I can read from my mom’s computer - but it’s not the same. When I read books, I can flip the pages and mark them so I can go back to my favorite parts. Besides, my big brother uses mom’s computer to play games all the time.
Favorite “Superpower”: LEGSMy legs let me run and play, and I like that one of them is different than most of my friends’. I collect scarves and jewelry to put on my leg so that it’s dressed up. I don’t mind that it looks different - I can do the same things that all my friends can. I may even write a story about all the places I’ll travel to with it someday.
Hometown: CHINAI almost forgot to tell you my name! I’m Meili, and I live in Beijing - the capital city in China. They say our city is 3,000 years old, so history is pretty important around here. It makes me feel like I live somewhere old and important - but I also dream of seeing newer cities and countries that might not be as old as mine.
Dreams About: OWNING A BOOKSTOREWhen I grow up, I want to own a bookstore. But not just any bookstore - I want a modern bookstore that can stand out in my old city of Beijing. I want it to be so modern and new that people just want to stay in it to read their books, and to feel like they’re in their living room. I want it to be a bookstore you never want to leave. It’ll have music and crafts and activities so that everyone can know what I know - that reading is the best!
“Music can change the world because it can change people.” - Bono
What I do for fun: UNDERSTANDING MUSICMusic school is expensive, and not easy for a lot of kids to afford. So, when a cool school of music in my Brazilian neighborhood offered free classes to kids interested in playing an instrument, I was the first one in line! Once a month, they take us to watch a live orchestra; it was in that first performance that I discovered who I really want to be!
Hometown: BRAZILI was born and grew up in the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The Olympic Games of 2016 were held in my city, and I had never seen so many people from all over the world, speaking so many different languages. My beautiful city is surrounded by an ocean and mountains, poverty and wealth, and girls like me with BIG dreams.
Best friends: MY FAMILYMy mom, dad, and older brother have always been supportive of my musical dreams. I think I got this love of music from my dad, since he used to play the guitar when he was younger – he still has his really old guitar and plays it when we are celebrating something special at home!
Dreams About: PLAYING MUSIC AROUND THE WORLDMy dream is to become a great musician, playing in an orchestra that performs around the world. But I especially want to play music for the people in my country who never had the chance to see an orchestra. I want to show them music can change lives, much like it changed mine. I’d also like to give back what was given to me - providing free music lessons to kids who can’t easily afford to it.
“A house is not a home until it has a dog.” - Gerald Durrell
What I do for fun: CARE FOR DOGSI have friends, of course, but I can easily say that my best friends are my dogs. I only have one at home, but I consider all of my neighbors’ dogs mine, as well. I can’t wait to get home from school and play with Lili, Shy, Joy, Max, and Bia. And these are just some of the pups by my house! I run with them, teach them tricks, care for them, and even feed them.
Superpower: RUNNINGMy second favorite thing to do is run. I am part of the cross country team at my school, but I don’t do it to compete- I do it for fun. I don’t know how I learned to run so fast and for so long, but I think it may have something to do with how much I play with my dogs. Being part of the cross country team actually helps me take better care of the pups because some of them run so fast that I have to keep up so I don’t lose them!
Hometown: INDIAThere are so many people in India, they’re everywhere! I have to be really careful not to get lost from my parents sometimes. There are also lots of trains - I love traveling in them and looking at all the beautiful trees passing us by through the windows. Want to know a cool fact about Pune, the city I live in? Almost all of the families that live here own a motorcycle!
Dreams About: BEING A VETThis probably won’t surprise you to hear, but - I obviously love dogs and animals - so my dream is to become a veterinarian. I hope that my clinic is always full of animals: purring cats, soft bunnies, and cute little hamsters. But don’t worry, I'll take care of the big animals as well - I’ll just need help from someone bigger and stronger than me!
“Dancing is like dreaming with your feet” - Constanze
What I do for fun: DANCE¡Hola! My name is Evelyn, and I am 8 years old. Where I live, everyone loves to dance. We dance at parties, in our homes, and on the streets. My favorite types of dances are Rumba, Mambo, and Salsa. My grandma makes many different clothes for me to dance in, just like she used to do for my mom. They are always so colorful and beautiful! When there are dance competitions at school, the clothes are more stylish with sparkles to catch the attention of the judges. We even do our hair and my mom lets me put on a little bit of make-up, as well.
Superpower: STREET DANCINGThe first time my friends and I saw street dancers perform, I noticed that there were many different rhythms and moves that I had never heard or seen before. I immediately loved it! Now, my friends and I practice, and we hope to perform at school one day.
Hometown: CUBAAlong with dancing, another thing that’s famous in Cuba is the national sport of Baseball. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m one of the few people that doesn’t like it - even though I have to watch my uncle play sometimes. What I do like to do is relax in our famous, sandy beaches – we have the prettiest sunsets!
Dreams About: LEARNING AND TEACHINGI dream of learning to dance all the different dances from around the world. I want to visit and study the Tango from Argentina, Samba from Brazil, Ballet from Russia, and many others! And after I learn them, I want to teach these dances and cultures to the children of my country.
“Never give up and be confident in what you do” – Marta Vieira da Silva
What I do for fun: PLAY SOCCERIn 2015, I was eight years old when the US woman’s soccer team won the world cup. My dad, Irvin, always preferred American football, but since the woman’s soccer team was playing in the finals, we all watched the game together from beginning to end. I was crazy about our win, and soon after I asked my parents to buy me a soccer ball! So, after practicing here and there, I began to participate in small tournaments, and now I compete all the time. I have not won any medals or trophies yet, but I love trying anyways because I get to play with my friends.
Superpower: CLEATSWith them, I feel so powerful in the soccer field that it seems like magic. I have some that are pink, some that are black, and some white. Some are very old but very soft. Some are bought and others are gifts, but they all have to be treated with care. There is also a strict rule in my house: “remove them before entering”.
Hometown: ATLANTA, GEORGIAAtlanta is the capital of Georgia in the USA. Our symbol is the Phoenix and I learned that it is a bird that was born from ashes, but I still need to learn more about why that is our symbol. Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize winner was also born here, what an honor!
Dreams About: WINNING THE WORLD CUPAlmost every time I play, either in a competition or for fun, I imagine winning the World Cup. Although I'd be more than happy to participate in the Olympics, what I would really love is to win a World Cup trophy. Can I tell you another dream of mine? To meet Marta, the best soccer player of all time!
“And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling” - Shanti
What I do for fun: GO TO THE BEACHMy house has a big yard around it, where I spend a lot of time playing games with my family and my two dogs. What I like to do the most is play - and the beach is by far my favorite place to play in! That’s why I don’t mind being woken up on Sunday morning with my older sister yelling, “CARISSA!” I’m already up because I know it’s beach time! I’m one of 3 brothers and sisters, 6 cousins, uncles, and grandparents - we are a huge family. Everything we do turns into a celebration, with lots of food and lots of dancing.
Superpower: BUILDING SAND CASTLESIt was during that summer at the beach house that I learned to build sand castles with my uncle Theo. I became an expert! I even turned a part of the beach into my own sand castle construction zone. I now make castles of many types: small, big, simple, and even difficult ones. I always have assistants, since my family is so big. At the end of the day, I make sure to take photos of them because I know once the tide rises and the waves come, my castles disappear!
Hometown: GREECERemember my large family? I even have some of them in my own school! My favorite teacher, which is also my aunt Helen, is teaching us about the place we live. What I know so far is that Greece is really old and its capital is Athens, which is usually crowded with different people taking selfies. Little by little I am understanding why so many of the older buildings are so famous. The name for this is “ιστορία”.
Dreams About: BEING A MERMAIDWhen I am not building sand castles, my second favorite activity is to pretend that I am a mermaid. I dive and float, imagining that I have a colorful tail. One day my imaginary tail is pink and the other day it is yellow with beautiful, shining sparkles. My older brothers tell me that mermaids don’t exist, but I don’t care. When I am in the water, a mermaid does exist and her name is “Carissa”.
“Do not limit yourself”
What I do for fun: COOKOkay, okay, the mess is huge! There’s flour all over the kitchen and even on my hair - but the fun was bigger than the mess! I inherited my love for cooking from my grandma - at least that’s what she tells me. She always places a little chair near the counter so that I can see over it and cook. She even bought me a chef’s hat and an apron in my size!
Superpower: DOWN SYNDROMEMy parents told me I have Down Syndrome; so I go to a school where many other friends also have special needs and talents. I learn all of the subjects very well, but one of my favorite classes is art - especially when I get to play with ceramics. I'll begin to learn a second language soon - either English or Italian. Actually, Italy is a place that I really want to visit so I can learn how to cook their famous pizzas!
Hometown: FRANCEI live in Dijon, a city in France, which is famous for its mustard, wine, and the famous food fair (see, I really do like eating). Dijon also has many museums, and my school often takes us on field trips to visit them. Each visit is different, and more interesting than the last.
Dreams about: OPENING MY OWN CONFISERIEA confiserie is sort of like a bakery - I want to bake and design éclairs, tarts, and crème brûlées. My assistants and other bakers will have special needs and talents like me, and together we will have the most famous confiserie in Dijon! We will have a window display full of macarons of all colors and flavors, and I'll name it “Lilou Confiserie”, after my grandma.
“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai
What I do for fun: FISHINGMy hands look a bit different than my friends’ because they’re marked by something that I love doing: fishing with my dad! I’ve been fishing with my dad, his friends and his friends’ kids ever since I can remember. We do “catch and release”, which means we catch the fish, but then release them back to the water. That way, it’s fun for us without hurting the fish or reducing the number of fish near our home.
Superpower: BRAINPOWERI love talking. My teacher says I am very diplomatic and good at debate - and since I am already 10 years old, I feel confident in presenting my thoughts to achieve what I think is right. I use my debate and persuasion skills to either get my mom to buy me new clothes, to defend a kid at school if someone isn’t being terribly nice, or to get a few extra points on my homework - but only if I strongly believe I deserve it, of course. ;)
Hometown: ENGLANDI live in a little village in England. It is very cold here the entire year, so when the sun shines bright, we have to take advantage of it. My country is known to have many castles, a Queen, Princes and Princesses, ahh…it is like living in a fairy tale. How cool is that?!
Dreams About: POLITICIANI may have already mentioned how much I love talking and debating. So, I want to use this characteristic to help people. I want to be a sociologist, a lawyer, and later I want to be a member of parliament. When I am really prepared, I want to become the new Prime Minister of England. Could you imagine? “Lady Amelia”!
“We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.” - Stevie Wonder
What I do for fun: VOLUNTEERINGHello, I am Jessie. I am the only child to my mom and dad, who divorced when I was younger - but they both married again, so now I have two moms and two dads - which is awesome in some situations and not so good in others (but that’s a story for another time). I can’t wait for my stepmom and dad to have their baby, so that I can finally have a little brother!
Superpower: GLASSESBecause I was born with a small problem with my eyes, I have to wear big glasses. I have many different styles (an advantage of having four parents): pink, round, square, blue. Sometimes I decorate them, bedazzle them, and even paint the sides. This way it looks like I have new glasses all the time, and I feel pretty everyday.
Hometown: UNITED STATESI live in the capital of the United States - Washington D.C.. My city has famous universities, famous hospitals, and I can even see a part of the White House from our apartment! What I really love about my city is the National Cherry Blossom Festival, because it is so colorful and full of other volunteers like my family. It's a beautiful event!
Dreams About: VOLUNTEERING AROUND THE WORLDI know it won’t be easy, but I dream of becoming a nurse, and volunteering my skills all around the world. I want to be a world-wide nurse: helping people from countries that aren’t as wealthy as mine. I believe that I can make someone smile, even in hard situations - and that makes me feel like I have a purpose.
"I dream of painting and then I paint my dream." - Vincent Van Gogh
What I do for fun: CREATEDo you like crafts stores? Because I love it! I save the money my mom and dad and grandparents give me for by birthday and Christmas to buy my pencils, my paint, and everything else I need to make pretty pictures.
Superpower: HANDSWith my hands, I am able to travel in my imagination. I love to draw or paint my friends, superheroes, and my own dolls. There are even people who ask me to write my name on my works of art, cool right?! My mom isn’t even worried about me anymore since I haven't drawn on our walls for years.
Hometown: ARGENTINAA good steak is what we love eating in Argentina. Our sweets are also famous world-wide. If you are curious, look at the map of South America: Argentina is all the way in the bottom right corner. In fact, I have drawn the entire map of South America in school, and it looked beautiful!
Dreams About: MY ART ACROSS THE WORLDI think that a lot of girls have dreams, right? Since I love art so much, my dream is to see my art works in galleries all around the world. In the beginning, I'll be so happy seeing my art in the homes of my brothers, my teachers, and my friends. How great would it be to give someone a gift of an artwork painted by me! Later, I would love to have an exposition with all my works: “Now presenting, Camila’s Beautiful artwork!”