Thank you to the 424 teenagers who participated in the very first week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest, and congratulations to Ella Jenkins, our winner, as well as to our many runners-up and honorable mentions.
Scroll down to take a look at the variety of topics — from the ongoing college admissions scandal to the Women’s World Cup, Sudan and K-pop — that caught the eyes of our participants this week.
And please remember to always check the top of our contest announcement to find the right place to participate, any week from now until Aug. 23.
Ella Jenkins of Leesport, Penn., chose a ScienceTake article headlined “The Hummingbird as Warrior: Evolution of a Fierce and Furious Beak” and wrote:
This article interested me because it completely surprised me and made me rethink everything I knew about hummingbirds.
Every year, the arrival of the hummingbirds seems to signify the start of summer. My family is always on the lookout for the familiar, startling buzz of these magnificent creatures. As a child, I was always enchanted by the rapid flutter of wings and long slender beaks that seemed to appear out of thin air. Even now, these birds still manage to capture my attention. Whenever I see a hummingbird quickly fly past the patio window or briefly rest its wings while getting a drink from the feeder, I find it nearly impossible to stop watching until it inevitably flies away.
From my many years of observing hummingbirds, I always assumed that the sole purpose of their long, graceful beaks was to allow them to drink the nectar from flowers. After reading this article however, I now know that I was missing a piece of vital information: male hummingbirds use their beaks to fight each other and also have a very violent disposition. Apparently, hummingbirds use their beaks as weapons to pull feathers, stab, and push their competition.
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined these seemingly sweet birds attacking their rivals over a mate. The birds I thought I knew so well have a violent side that I was shocked to know existed.
Swetha Berana on “Let’s Hear It for the Average Child”
Pranav Chopra on “How to End a Friendship”