Newbery award winner and New York Times bestselling author


“Milagros” are offered at shrines and altars all over Latin America as requests for help or as expressions of gratitude.

I drove up to Arlington last week for a terrific ceremony for the graduating fifth graders at Claremont Elementary. Last fall, teacher Sherry Lord and art teacher Vicki Walchak decided to make a school hope tree with their students in honor of moving on to middle school. You might remember that the Hope Tree project began here in Richmond, VA when my YA novel The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind was published.  At the heart of that novel – and at the heart of the Hope Tree Project — is the question: What is a hope or dream that you have for yourself? Students create metal “milagros” to represent that hope and offer them to the world. IMG_0977

Here’s a poem that the students created together and read as part of the installation ceremony. I am so honored that they took on this project, and I wish all the graduates the best in middle school!


The trees are beautiful!

Hope Poem

If hope is the thing with feathers

that perches in the soul,

then these are the things that keep it

feeling safe and feeling whole.

We hope that we’ll stay friends

after shutting school’s door,

we hope for family’s health

and being sick no more.

We hope for a healthy sibling

to be born this coming summer.

We hope for safe travels

to this country from another.

We hope Raul comes back,

we hope our friend won’t go away,

we hope when we grow up

we’re as wonderful as we are today.

We hope to be a singer,

a soccer player, an ice skater,

we hope to be a policeman,

a fashion designer, a writer.

We hope to be an architect,

we hope to be the best.

No matter what we hope for,

we all hope for success.

We hope to enter Minecraft

and woolly mammoths come back to life.

We hope for no more war

and for peace in the midst of strife.

We hope to win the lottery

and happiness won’t end.

We hope Cristiano Ronaldo

and Iker Casillas will be our friends.

We hope that we can live

near a lake with lots of fishes.

We hope that we can eat

a donut most delicious.

We hope the Orioles in the World Series will win.

We hope to not be treated

like an outsider, but in.

We hope to travel, to make Eagle Scouts

to have the best summer we can.

We hope to move to Barcelona

to live the dreams we plan.

We hope to have cool neighbors,

to have friends that aren’t mean.

We know the closest thing to

godliness is to stay clean.

We hope for enough food

for all the world’s peace.

We hope endangered animals and oil spills decrease.

We hope no matter what our differences may be

that we’ll respect each other

and just treat us all fairly.

We hope our hopes stay secret

and our dreams will all come true.

We hope that everybody

loves their life and what they do.

Comments on: "Hope Sprouts in Arlington" (5)

  1. Lucinda Whitehurst said:

    How beautiful Meg!


    *Lucinda Whitehurst *Lower School Librarian St. Christophers School | 711 St. Christophers Road | Richmond, Virginia 23226 | *(*: 804.282.3185 x2380 |* * ***: | * *|

  2. It was a delight to be part of this project. The poem was written under the loving leadership of Michelle Davila, Claremont’s 5th grade English Language Arts Teacher. Hearing the varied voices of the students reading it around the tree was incredibly moving and heartening, truly a highlight of my teaching career. Thank you, Meg, for accepting Sherry’s invitation to present at the school, and for kickstarting the Tree of Hope project at Claremont.

    • A big thanks to Michelle Davila for compiling the hopes and wishes into that lovely poem. I received an email from my friends at bbgb bookstore in Richmond, VA to ask permission to link to the poem on their site. They thought it was lovely, and I do, too. Thanks again Ms. Walchak, Ms. Lord, and Ms. Davila!

  3. What a tremendous tribute to your creation. There can’t be a more wonderful feeling than inspiring kids.

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