|A Letter from
New York ................................. Click
Gone Forever .................................................. Click
After you have read each story or article, answer the questions in
the Answer Section.
story "A Letter from New York" before answering Numbers
1 through 8 in the Answer Section.
I have so much to tell you, I dont know where to begin! Remember
last summer when I told you that I was planning to enter the TeenSay
Magazine essay contest? Well, I entered, and my essay, "Improving
Community Safety," won! The prize was a weekend trip to New York
City, with a visit to the TeenSay offices to see how they publish
the magazine each month. Three of us were chosen to go from Texas:
two other contest winners, and myself.
My mom took me to the airport for the flight to New York, and I have
to admit I was nervous! Ive flown before, but never without
my parents. But when we got to the airport and met the other people
in our group, I relaxed. The group leader, Ms. Alvarez, was really
friendly and easy to talk to. She is in charge of marketing and special
promotions at TeenSay Magazine. While we waited for our flight, she
described the activities wed be participating in that weekend.
She also introduced me to the other contest winners. Irene is from
Arlington, and shes 13 years old like me. She won a prize for
the series of photographs she took when her family drove across the
country last summer. The other winner is a 15-year-old boy named Eddie.
Eddie won the TeenSay community spirit award for cleaning up and improving
the neighborhood parks in his town. Irene and Eddie both seemed like
a lot of fun. Before our plane even took off, we were laughing and
telling jokes like wed known each other forever.
I was surprised at how quick the flight seemed. Since Ms. Alvarez
and I were sitting next to each other, she told me a lot about herself
and how she had ended up working at TeenSay Magazine. She said that
as a young girl she had always enjoyed writing stories and interviewing
people. She also loved planning and organizing events. She was always
in charge of planning her schools dances and fundraisers, and
even organized her familys big reunion party every year. After
college, she got a job as a reporter at TeenSay, and then she gradually
moved into their marketing and special promotions department. She
said that she still occasionally writes an article for them, but she
loves what she does now. I told her that I was thinking about becoming
a reporter someday, and she said that she thought I could do it if
I worked really hard.
Before I knew it, we were landing in New York. At the airport, we
were picked up in a limousinejust like celebrities! We drove
to the TeenSay offices downtown. All during the ride, Irene and Eddie
and I were pressed up against the windows like little kids, staring
at the buildings and the people we passed. You wouldnt believe
how different New York is from Texas! The colors, the smells, the
noiseseverything is different. We couldnt get over how
crowded it was: all of the people and cars on the streets and so much
going on. We were excited to jump in and start seeing the sights.
When we arrived at the TeenSay offices, Ms. Alvarez took us on a tour.
We got to see how a magazine goes from a rough manuscript to a finished
issue. I couldnt believe how much work and detail goes into
each issue, and how many people it takes to do the work. My favorite
part was seeing the bulletin board where sketches, rough drafts, and
outlines get pinned up in sequence. We also met many of the employees,
from illustrators and writers to photographers and editors, and they
answered all of our questions.
By the time the tour was over, Ms. Alvarez could tell that we were
getting tired. She took us to her favorite restaurant, and on the
way there we had a chance to do some window-shopping and check out
some of the sights. All around us, people were speaking different
languages. I told Ms. Alvarez that I thought I could spend a whole
year in New York and still not see everything!
When I see you at Moms birthday party next week, I will tell
you all about the sightseeing we are going to do tomorrow. I am enclosing
a copy of my essay with this letter. So far, it has been a great trip.
Now proceed to the Answer Section below.
article "Gone Forever" before answering Numbers 9 through
16 in the Answer Section.
A snow leopard roars in the high mountains
of Asia. A black rhinoceros gallops across the plains of Africa. A
grizzly bear hunts for fish in a North American river. A mother blue
whale and her calf glide through the deep waters of the ocean.
All of these animals share the Earth with us. They fascinate us with
their beauty, their grace, and their speed. We love observing their
behavior, and learning more about their habits. But just loving them
is not enough. All of these animals are endangered. Many of them have
died, and without special care, they may someday disappear from the
Why is it important to care for animals like these? One reason is
to protect the balance of life on Earth. Another reason is the beauty
of the animals themselves. Each species of animal is special. Once
it is gone, it is gone forever.
Africa was once filled with an abundance of wild animals. But that
is changing fast. One
of these animals, the black rhinoceros, lives on the plains of Africa.
It has very poor eyesight and a very bad temper! Even though the black
rhino is powerful, and can be dangerous, its strength cant always
help it to escape hunters. Some people think that the rhinos
horn has magical powers, and many hunters kill rhinos for their valuable
horns. This has caused the black rhino to be placed on the endangered
The elephant seems to represent all that is strong and wild in Africa.
It once had no natural enemies, but is now endangeredkilled
for its ivory tusks.
The fastest land animal, the cheetah, also lives in Africa. It, too,
is becoming extinct as people take over more and more of the land
that is the cheetah's natural habitat.
Imagine Africa without the powerful rhino, the gentle, intelligent
elephant, or the lightning quick cheetah. Once they are gone, they
are gone forever.
Wherever people are careless about the land, there are endangered
Grizzly bears like to wander great distances. Each bear needs up to
1,500 square miles of territory to call its homeland. Today, because
forests have been cleared to make room for people, the grizzlys
habitat is shrinking and the grizzly is disappearing. It joins other
endangered North American animals, such as the red wolf and the American
In South America, destruction of the rain forest threatens many animals.
Unusual mammals, such as the howler monkey and the three-toed sloth,
are endangered. Beautiful birds like the great green macaw and the
golden parakeet are also becoming extinct. Theyre losing their
homes in the rain forest, and thousands die when they are caught and
shipped off to be sold as exotic pets.
The giant panda of Asia is a fascinating and unique animal. Yet there
are only about 1,000 still living in the wild. The giant pandas
diet consists mainly of the bamboo plant, so when the bamboo forests
die, so does the panda. China is now making an effort to protect these
special creatures from becoming extinct.
Asias big cats are also in trouble. The exotic snow leopard
lives high in the mountains. Even there, it faces the loss of its
natural habitat, and hunters who kill it for its fur. The tiger, the
largest of all the big cats, is hunted merely for sport.
Ocean-dwelling animals are in danger of extinction as well. The blue
whale is the largest animal in the world. It weighs up to 390,000
pounds. Whale hunting and pollution are this species greatest
Unfortunately, it is people who cause many of the problems that animals
face. We alter and pollute their habitats. We hunt them for skins,
tusks, furs, and horns. We destroy animals that get in the way of
farming or building. And we remove them from their natural habitats
and take them home as pets.
What can you do to help endangered animals? Learn as much as you can
about them. The more you know, the more you can help. Make an effort
to support zoos and wildlife groups. Many zoos breed endangered animals,
helping to ensure that they will continue to live on. Contribute to
groups, such as the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club,
that work hard to protect animals. You can also be a smart shopper
and never buy a pet that has been raised in the wilderness.
The world is made up of many living things, and each thing is dependent
on the others to survive. If we allow even one species on Earth to
become extinct, it has an impact on other living things and changes
our world. When we mention any endangered wild animals, lets
hope that we never again have to say, "Gone forever."
Now proceed to the Answer Section below.