Love of language
By Jeniffer G.
Alaska, Age 15
The plip plop of rain drops. The roar of the ocean. The call of the chucao bird. These are three of the many aspects of nature that fascinate Neftali Reyes. Neftali is a young boy who lives in a small town in Chile. He has been sickly for a long time and longs to leave his house and venture into the outdoors.
He is a shy boy. He stutters, is small for his age, has no friends and is a daydreamer. For these reasons, his father is very angry with him. His father wants a strong, healthy boy who will hopefully follow him into his line of work - repairing railroads.
But Neftali has no interest in railroad repair. Neftali's interests lie with words and their pronunciations. He loves collecting objects he discovers while walking to and from school. And he loves books.
As Neftali gets older, his father pressures him to become stronger. He takes Neftali to the ocean and forces him to conquer his fears. Although Neftali does what his father says, he also sneaks off to discover a world of his own full of libraries and secret hideouts. It is at the ocean where Neftali changes. He recognizes his own strengths and is determined to become his own person, no matter what his father thinks.
Because of Neftali's love of language and words as well as his passion for freedom of speech, we were given one of the most important and influential poets of our time.