Zombie Elementary

Zombie Elementary cover

Third graders tell a story of unexpected alliances, overcoming mistrust, and collective action

Zombie Elementary is the thrilling story of Samantha and her friend Jake, the zombie who wants to come to school to learn, because zombies tend to forget a lot (according to the 8-9 year-old authors of this story).

Samantha and Jake organize their friends, including nervous Zariah and super-smart Charlette, to outwit Jake’s twin brother zombie, James, and the rapidly multiplying brain-eating zombies who want to skip learning and instead get smart by ingesting other people’s brains through long green straws.

How the children manage to overcome prejudices and mistrust between zombies and children to work together to save their school and themselves is a tale for the ages–ages 7-11 mostly, but older folks will love it too!

Order Zombie Elementary for $5.00 + postage. Paying a bit more–$6.00, $10.00–will help us continue this unique program where young people collectively imagine, write, illustrate and produce collective, reality-based, imaginative stories of social change.


Here’s how Zombie Elementary begins:

Samantha meets Zombie Jake

Chapter 1

Samantha was walking to school, feeling tired and worried. She was worried that her dad wouldn’t let her get a dog, which she had wanted for a very long time. Because of the dog worry she hadn’t done her homework or slept very well, or even eaten breakfast, and now she was worried about what would happen to her for not doing her homework. Worries sure can pile up, she told herself gloomily.

As she walked along, she saw a person about her own size ahead of her on the sidewalk. The person was pale green, and slightly bloody, she noticed. Some kid in a zombie costume, she thought as she approached.

“Hey, Halloween is still a month away,” she remarked. Up close, she saw it was a boy, kind of cute, even handsome, with glasses and smooth, slicked back hair. When the boy turned to look at her she saw deep green eyes behind the glasses.

But something wasn’t right. The boy seemed just a little dead looking. What a realistic zombie costume, she thought. Then she looked again, and suddenly felt frozen with fright. It was a real zombie!

“Hi,” the zombie said. Its voice was mumbly, but she found she could understand it. “Excuse me,” it continued politely, “can you tell me where the school is?”

Samantha was so surprised she couldn’t move or speak.

“My name is Jake,” the zombie told her. “What’s yours?”

Samantha, very alarmed, could only babble, “Whaaaa???”

“Wa?” Jake said. He took a couple shuffling steps toward her and looked at her strangely through his glasses. “Pleased to meet you, Wa!” He held out a greenish hand and smiled a friendly if somewhat dead-looking smile…

Our favorite fiction is full of police and superheroes. And activists?? Not so much. Let’s seek out stories with activists, the courageous first responders against injustice! And let’s look into why there aren’t more of them.

We’ll ask why activists–when they do appear–are so often shown as unappealing stereotypes, not real people.

Does this matter? If so, what can we do about it?

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RAINWOOD HOUSE SINGS, a social justice mystery for youth and adults, paints a truthful (with a hint of magic) picture of activists taking on gentrification, police violence, worker rights and cultural divisions; tackling mysteries large and small with creativity, humor and collective action.

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