Since I’ve been so busy with school and applying to schools, it has been a looooong time (five months?) since I last posted something (Sorry, to my five, maybe six, followers). But I am here now to remedy that. Below is a short story I wrote for history class several years ago in middle school. The idea was to write a children’s book about a country of your choice (I chose Egypt) and to teach the reader about said country. Unfortunately I don’t still have the pictures I drew for the book, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations. Read on and let me know if you think it has the potential to make for a good educational children’s book!
“What a day!” Mike said as he came home from his skiing trip. He climbed up the stairs and looked into his mailbox.
Hmm, I have mail. I wonder who it came from, Mike thought as he took the letter out. It was from his pen pal in Egypt, Geb. This gave Mike an idea. He wrote:
I read your last letter and it gave me an idea. I really want to see you, and more importantly, your country, Egypt. I will be over next Saturday; meet me at the airport at 12:45 pm. Please do not be late. I expect to stay with you at your house for at least a week. See you there!
Thanks in advance,
Mike mailed the letter with a big grin on his face. He had always wanted to go to Egypt, and now it would be even better because his pen pal Geb would be showing him around. They had been pen pals for about two years now and had been writing many letters to each other. Mike was so eager to go to Egypt; he started packing his bags immediately. He made sure to pack a few spare loincloths to blend in with the locals.
Mike stood in line waiting to board the airplane. For the first time, he would leave the United States and travel somewhere far away and experience an adventure. Before he knew it, the passengers were boarding the plane and Mike was more excited than ever.
Many hours later Mike was in the plane when the pilot’s voice came up on the loudspeaker. “We will be arriving in Cairo shortly. Please fasten your seatbelts and put your chairs in the upright position.” As Mike woke up from his long slumber, he slid open the small window cover to look outside. To his astonishment there was an extremely bright sun beaming down rays of light and a desert below.
In the airport, Mike saw Geb waiting for him.
“Hey Geb!” Mike said as he walked over to greet him.
“Hello Mike,” Geb responded in English with a heavy Egyptian accent.
“Follow me to the car,” Geb instructed and motioned him to follow.
“So, where are we going?” asked Mike excitedly.
“First, we’ll drop off your luggage at my house, and then we’re off to Cairo’s many tourist attractions. I didn’t really have time to plan anything else. So we’ll just play it by ear.”
“Wow, this is a lot of traffic,” Mike commented, “Say, is it always this crowded here in Cairo?”
“Yep, Cairo has 7,947,121 people.”
“That’s a pretty exact number you got there, buddy,” Mike commented.
“Yeah, I do my research,” Geb proudly replied.
“Well, this is my house,” Geb said. It was a medium to small sized house with one front door. Geb showed Mike the contents of his house.
“Well, it isn’t too much different than my house, only a little shabbier,” Mike said, “But I was expecting more of a mud hut.”
Geb faked a laugh and then said, “Yeah, if you came here a couple hundred years ago, that’s probably what you would have seen. Oh yeah, you do realize we wear normal clothes, not loincloths.”
Mike put on a pair of shorts.
Then, Geb said, “Well, now that you’ve reached the 21st century, let’s head out. We’ll walk to the different places because traffic is just too bad today, like it is every day.”
As they walked down the street in Cairo, Mike said, “Wow, are those donkeys on the road?”
“That’s right,” Geb responded.
“And why are all the cars so small, including yours?”
“Because of the traffic, smart one!” Geb shouted. “It’s much easier to maneuver in crowded conditions like these with a smaller car.” Then Geb took a deep breath and popped a migraine pill to relieve him of his horrible and pounding headache.
“I was wondering,” Mike asked obnoxiously, “how big is Egypt?”
“Oh, I’d say it’s about three times bigger than the state of New Mexico.”
“Cool,” Mike said.
As they continued to walk down the street, Mike pointed out, “There are a lot of people just walking around and stuff; shouldn’t they all be at work at this hour?”
“Well this isn’t exactly America, land of the consumers. Only one-third of Egyptians are employed,” Geb said sadly.
“Well, what are the business hours, generally?” Mike asked.
“They’re usually from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm or 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm and shops close on Friday afternoons. But, there are also a lot of street vendors in Egypt,” Geb answered.
“So, 8:30 to 1:30? That’s nothing! Slackers…” Mike exclaimed.
“No, work here is hard and low-paying,” Geb haughtily informed Mike.
Mike looked over to his right to see many people praying.
“Are those people praying?” Mike asked unnecessarily.
“Yes, yes they are. About 90% of Egyptians are Muslim and the other 10% are Christian. Actually, back in the day, around the year 300 AD, there were more Christians here than Muslims because Egypt was part of the Roman Empire. However, in the 600’s AD, Egypt became part of the Arab empire, therefore adopting the Muslim religion,” Geb explained.
“Very interesting,” Mike said.
“You know, Mike, there is a local library. I’m sure you could find many books on the subject.”
Mike explained, “I only read magazines.”
“That explains a lot,” Geb said in a serious tone. Mike laughed.
“Why do the strange people in the red clothes seem to be following us everywhere?” Mike whispered to Geb.
“Hurry up, let’s get going,” Geb said as Mike hurried to catch up to him.
“Over there is the hospital. You see, Egypt has many great doctors,” Geb said.
“Oh yeah! I read that in the magazine on the plane ride over here!” Mike exclaimed proudly.
“Well, then you’re not completely hopeless,” Geb said seriously. Mike laughed.
“Ugh, it’s burning here,” Mike said, exhausted from the heat of the sun as it burned him.
“Yes, indeed. There are really only two seasons here in Egypt,” Geb said.
“What are they?” Mike asked.
“Glad you asked,” Geb said, even though he was fairly annoyed, “They’re the hot summers and mild winters.”
“Wow, if I were back at home where it’s very snowy, I’d say that is awesome, but I’m here, being burned alive,” Mike said.
“You know, you don’t always have to say whatever is on your mind,” Geb mentioned. Mike laughed.
“Back in the olden days, the Nile River was the main system of transportation. It’s still used today, just not as frequently. Now, we have roads and highways. Two main highways link Alexandria and Cairo together. Unfortunately most Egyptians don’t own automobiles,” Geb explained to Mike.
“That’s too bad,” Mike said distractedly.
“Hey,” Mike said, “It’s those people in the red again. Let’s go.”
“Speaking of highways, we are going to take one right now so I can show you the pyramids at Giza!” Geb said excitedly.
“Awesome! I’ve always wanted to see the pyramids!” Mike said with enthusiasm as they entered the cab.
“Now it is time for you to tell me some Egyptian history while we are being driven to Giza,” Mike said.
“Okay, fine,” Geb sighed.
“Egypt was first formed around the year 3110 BC when Upper and Lower Egypt were united by the first Pharaoh by the name of Menes. Now, Egyptian history is separated in times called Kingdoms. There was the Old Kingdom ranging from the formation of Egypt until around 2000 BC. In this time period, most of the pyramids were built. Then there is the Middle Kingdom ranging from 2000 BC until 1500 BC. This was the shortest Kingdom. Finally there was the New Kingdom ranging from 1500 BC until about 1000 BC. Around the year 525 BC, Egypt went under Persian control. Then it was taken by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Eventually it became part of the Roman Empire.”
“Wow, that’s very interesting, only it’s all very old. Anything interesting happen here recently?” Mike asked offensively.
“Well, yeah. In 2004, a couple years ago, more than 30 people died in a bomb attack that was targeting Muslim tourists.
“Oh, that’s not good,” Mike said sadly.
“No, it’s not,” Geb said frowning.
“That’ll cost you two Egyptian pounds,” the cabman said as Geb and Mike left the cab.
“What’s an Egyptian pound?” Mike asked the cabdriver.
He responded, “Ask your friend! It’s not like you have not asked him enough already.”
“Good idea,” Mike said, “So, Geb, how much is an Egyptian pound worth?”
“About five Egyptian pounds is worth one US dollar,” Geb answered as he gave the cabman the fare.
“It’s those people again!” Mike said, “And what are they wearing?”
“They’re wearing our traditional clothing: a long shirt called a galabiyah.”
“Well, whoever they are, they’re following us,” Mike said.
“That’s for sure,” Geb said as he looked at the Sphinx.
“We’ve come to take you in!” the men in the red said to Geb.
“Why would you want him?!” Mike cried out in utter surprise.
“Your friend is quite the obnoxious one, isn’t he, Geb?” The man in red said.
“Hmm,” Geb grunted. “Anyway, who are you people and how do you know my name?!”
“We’re here to take you to a dungeon to rot and die over many years,” The man in red said laughing, “Just kidding! We’ve decided you’re perfect to star in the new movie, Arabs in the Sun.”
“But how do you know my name?” Geb asked.
“Well, son, your name is clearly spelled out all over that big backpack of yours,” The movie producer said.
“Well, what about me?” Mike asked in a small voice.