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Click the link above to instantly download a free eBook! “It’s Okay to Be Different” is a beautifully illustrated story about accepting and celebrating others for their differences. It’s a great way to teach children to appreciate and accept others for who they are. Enjoy!
Noah got off his normal bus and stepped out onto the normal street in the sleepy, normal little town in which he lived. He never imagined for a moment that this would be the weirdest day of his life.
Noah was in kindergarten, and he liked school but found it a bit lonely sometimes. He breathed in the crisp spring air that smelled like freshly cut grass and was glad to be home.
There were three cars in the driveway when he got to his house, and that was one more than usual. Noah did not recognize the car, a small, round golden machine that looked more like a gumball than something a person would drive. Noah walked through his normal front door and looked into the kitchen where he saw his parents sitting with a third person, but he couldn’t tell who. Then the third person turned and Noah broke into a sprint, leaped into the air and into a waiting bear hug.
It was his Uncle Eric! Noah loved his uncle very much even though most people said Eric was a little different. “Mad as a box of lunatic frogs” was a description of Eric that Noah had heard on more than one occasion. But Noah didn’t care. Uncle Eric was a magician and always had the very best stories about amazing adventures like the time he became best friends with the moon, or about how dragons make the best spaghetti he’d ever had. Noah’s mom and dad said dragons don’t really exist, but Eric had assured him that they are very real and are just quite shy and a little misunderstood.
When the bear hug was done Uncle Eric tickled Noah’s belly until he made a noise that sounded like a cat being very surprised by something.
“Where have you been?” Noah asked. He hadn’t seen his uncle in far too long.
“I’ve been traveling,” Eric said. “I met a very short man who turned out to actually be a very tall opossum that had just built a moving sidewalk, like the ones at the airport. Only this sidewalk went all the way from California to Japan. So we packed a bag and set off walking. In no time I was having sushi with the Japanese emperor who is a very nice man they call Doug.
The only thing Noah really knew about Japan is that’s where ninjas come from, and that was more than enough for him to excitedly ask, “What did you bring me from Japan?”
“I’m glad you asked,” said Uncle Eric with a mischievous grin. “While I was there I challenged a mermaid named “Carl” to a competition of underwater volleyball. We each wagered something precious to us. I, of course, bet with the photo of you I keep in my wallet.
When I defeated him, Carl presented me with this.” Eric reached behind his back and then quickly presented Noah with a small, orange pencil.
“It’s a pencil,” Noah said, unable to hide his disappointment. He had really been hoping for a ninja sword or at the very least some throwing stars.
“It’s not just any pencil, of course! It’s a magic pencil! That fantastic little utensil has been in the “Carl” family for millions of years. And you’re such a gifted artist already I knew it had to come to you. You’ll be AMAZED at what happens when you start drawing with this little beauty.”
Noah was a little doubtful of the whole thing but he said, “Thank you,” like the polite young man that he is and headed off to his bedroom to try out his new magic pencil.
Noah sat at his drawing desk, which was made of some kind of dark wood and was both much bigger and older than he was. Noah pulled a piece of paper from the desk and wondered what he should draw. Since the pencil had come from a mermaid he thought perhaps he would draw one of those. But when he began by drawing a series of curvy lines to depict the ocean he realized that he wasn’t entirely sure what a mermaid named “Carl” would look like, but he was certain it was not as cool as pirates. So he drew some pirates.
First he sketched out a large boat, riding high on the sea and flying the black and white skull and crossbones flag that all pirates had atop the mast, above the black sails.
Then he sketched the pirate captain, with an eye patch and a peg leg, and then a few pirate crewmembers who also had peg legs, because pirates keep getting into serious accidents somehow and don’t have access to proper medical care.
Noah couldn’t see how this pencil was magic in any way, but it had a strong, sharp tip and felt good in his hand. Noah loved to draw, it was his favorite thing and there was magic in that already, he thought.
He added a few finishing touches to the ship: cannon and some barrels that were probably filled with lemonade, he thought. And, when he was satisfied with his latest masterpiece he quickly signed the bottom right corner of the paper; because that’s what you do when you finish some art. And, as he did, he heard a tiny voice say, “Arrrrrrr!” and then the pirate ship that Noah had drawn just sailed right off the page.
Noah’s eyes went wide as dinner plates, he jumped back from his desk and looked about the room to see if anyone else was around to see what had just happened, but he was alone. Very slowly he approached his desk again to see if the ship had maybe come back, but on his paper there was nothing but ocean waves. And they were moving: rising and falling as ocean waves do.
Noah had no idea what to do, but he knew this was not what normally happens. He had drawn hundreds of pirate ships in his life and each of them had stayed put when he was finished with them.
Noah quickly wrapped his new pencil in a clean pair of underwear and tucked it under as many items as he could fit in his sock drawer. He then opened the door and called to his dog, Burt. Burt was a West Highland Terrier, a tiny, snow-white puppy that was more of an accessory to be matched with a lady’s outfit than a guard dog, but he was loyal and kind and would have to do.
Besides, Noah trusted Burt more than anyone. Noah didn’t have many friends until one day his father came home from work with a tiny, fluffy white puppy. And since that day they were a team.
Burt came running at the sound of his name, the little bell on his collar jingling out a tune that, to Noah, always sounded like the song of friendship.
“Okay, Burt,” Noah said almost breathlessly. “I need you to guard my socks, okay? Please don’t leave and whatever you do don’t draw anything!”
Burt barked a small, loving bark that Noah took as a “yes.” Noah gave his dog a little scratch on the head and said, “Good boy,” before heading downstairs to find his uncle.
Uncle Eric was in the kitchen juggling tomatoes and making spaghetti when Noah spotted him, and Eric smiled at his nephew warmly and said, “Hey, buddy!”
Noah wasn’t sure how to begin, but if anyone was going to believe what had just happened he felt sure it would be his uncle. “So,” he said a little nervously. “That pencil really is magic, huh?”
Eric didn’t stop what he was doing but said, “Well, the magic is in you, buddy. But it can definitely help you unlock your imagination and take you anywhere you want to go. Anywhere you can dream of.”
Noah said, “Right. Here’s the thing. I drew a pirate ship and it sailed away.”
“Well, that’s what pirate ships do,” Uncle Eric said, not taking this as seriously has his nephew would have liked.
Noah frowned a little. “It sailed right off the page. It’s gone.”
Uncle Eric dropped the pan with the spaghetti sauce and it splattered all over the kitchen floor. “Oops. Can you hang on a second, buddy? I gotta clean this up.”
Noah really felt like his uncle did not understand him or maybe in his world drawings float away all the time. But just then he heard a high-pitched “YIP” come from upstairs and he rushed to check on his guard dog.
Noah burst into his room just in time to see the pirates he had drawn dragging Burt into the page and aboard their ship. He rushed just as fast as his short legs could carry him but by the time he reached his desk the pirates, and Burt, were sailing away.
This was all very strange to say the least, and Noah didn’t care for it one bit. He was scared of the pencil his uncle had given him, but he was more scared of losing his dog who was also his best friend. Without really thinking about it Noah grabbed the pencil from his underwear and immediately began drawing another ship.
This boat was bigger, with many more sails, so it could catch up to the pirates who had a head start. And he knew he would need an advantage over the other crew, so instead of just drawing pirates on this ship, he drew ninja-pirates! They dressed in all black from head to toe, but still had tri-corner hats, eye patches and peg legs. Noah also took care to draw each of them with smiles on their faces, to make sure they were nice people who would help him out. And when he was done he waited for them to come to life so they could set sail in search of Burt, who Noah knew must be very scared. Burt didn’t even like riding in the car on the way to the park, so being on a pirate ship was going to be no fun at all for him.
But the ninja pirates did not move and the waves did not rise and fall. Noah shook the pencil to try to make it work. He’d seen his dad do this with the television remote control many times. But it did not work. The drawings stayed still. What had he done differently the last time?
And then he had it!
Noah quickly signed his name to the bottom corner of the page and the magic was back! The ninja pirates came to life and started flipping around in the air as ninjas do.
“Hey!” Noah shouted at his drawings. “Hey! Up here!”
The ninjas stopped jumping about and looked out at him. “Ahoy!” said the ninja-pirate captain. “Do you need help?”
And Noah nodded. “Some pirates, not you but different pirates, stole my dog and sailed away. Will you help me get him back?”
The captain smiled an even bigger smile than before. “Of course we will!” he said. “What are ninja-pirates for if not helping people recover their pets? Come aboard!”
Noah smiled, too, forgetting how weird all of this was for a moment and just glad to be understood. The ninja-pirate captain held out his hand, and Noah took it and was magically pulled out of his bedroom and into his own art.
“Which way did the go?” asked one of the ninja-pirate crew.
Noah pointed toward the front of the ship and said, “That way!”
“Well then,” said the captain, “There’s no time to lose.” The ninja-pirates leapt into action, pulling ropes and things until the wind caught the giant silk sails and away they went!
The ocean breeze felt cool on Noah’s freckled face and the air smelled of salt and freshness. He smiled.
Toward the back of the boat two of the ninja-pirates were arguing about something called a “Kraken.”
“It’s twenty stories tall,” said the first one. “It has antlers and fangs and squid arms and it tips waiters poorly.”
“I just can’t imagine it,” said the second.
Then one of the ninja pirates approached Noah and asked to borrow his pencil. People ask to borrow pencils at school all the time and Noah was caught up in the sights and the smells of the open ocean so he didn’t really think about it. He just handed over his pencil. Also he’s only six years old. The ninja-pirate said, “Thank you” and moved back to his friend where he knelt down and started sketching something on the wooden floor of the ship.
It was almost a full minute before Noah suddenly realized what might be about to happen. He dashed to the back of the boat where one of the ninjas had just finished drawing his kraken. It was huge and mean looking, all tentacles and teeth. Noah screamed, “NO!”
But it was too late. With a flourish the ninja-pirate signed his name and Noah braced himself for a giant monster to come to life. But nothing happened. He looked around but all was calm. Noah sighed in relief.
And then the kraken rose out of the ocean.
It towered over the ship and growled a deep, horrible growl that almost sounded like it said, “Boo!”
Ninjas, who aren’t supposed to be afraid of anything, screamed and ran around the boat with nowhere to go! It was just open air and water as far as the eye could see. “We need weapons!” one of them shouted.
The kraken whipped its long, strong arms at the boat, the mast splintered like a worn out pencil. That’s when Noah remembered the pencil! He picked it up from off the deck and quickly sketched out the first weapons that came to mind. And as he signed his name a mountain of rotten tomatoes rose from the floorboards.
“Tomatoes?” asked the ninja-pirate captain? “Really?”
“I panicked,” Noah confessed.
They would have to do. The ninja-pirates jumped and flipped and hurled the tomatoes at the massive beast, and the kraken didn’t seem to like it, but it didn’t stop him from hammering at the ship with huge, punishing blows.
“I hope the kraken hates to eat his vegetables!” said one of the ninja-pirates as he hurled another tomato at the sea monster. It exploded on the beast’s face.
“Tomatoes are a fruit!” said another as he ducked out of the way of the kraken’s tentacle.
“Well that’s even worse!” said the first ninja. “Maybe next you could draw some noodles! We could make the kraken a nice pasta dish!”
And then Noah had a brilliant idea. “You know who makes the best spaghetti in the world?” he said already sketching out his answer. “Dragons!” Noah quickly drew three of them, with their large, bat-like wings, scaly dinosaur tails and long streams of fire shooting from their mouths. He gave them kind eyes and smiles, too, to make sure these were the nice dragons his uncle had told him about. And no sooner had he signed his name to his work than three massive dragons flew down from the sky! They screeched and cried out and the kraken was not pleased.
The hulking sea monsters said, “Boo!” one more time and retreated to the depths of the ocean.
The ninja pirates jumped for joy and high-fived each other, who said they were more than happy to help before eating what was left of the tomatoes. But it wasn’t time to celebrate just yet. The boat had taken a lot of damage and was quickly sinking. Noah drew buckets to dump the water overboard, and huge adhesive bandages to try to fix the leaks but it was no good. Water flooded in more quickly than they could dump it back out, and that bandages wouldn’t stick to the soaking wet ship. They were going down.
Noah was scared. He was a good swimmer, but he wasn’t sure he was good enough to swim the whole ocean. And the deck was too wet to draw on, now. It wouldn’t take the pencil marks.
Then one of the dragons spoke up. “You know,” he said, “flying is the safest way to travel.” Then he and his two dragon friends crouched low and Noah and the ninja-pirates all climbed on their backs.
They rose high in the air and soared through the sky as the ship below them was swallowed by the sea.
Noah explained the situation with his dog to the dragons and away they went, their hair blowing in the breeze! The dragons were fast, propelled through the air by their huge, powerful wings and in no time they saw the pirate ship on the horizon.
The ninja-pirates discussed a battle strategy. They would attack from the air, of course, land aboard the ship all at once, fight the pirates in hand-to-hand combat, give their foes wedgies and rescue Burt. But as they came closer and closer to the ship Noah saw something surprising. Burt wasn’t tied up or in a cage like a prisoner; he was on the deck of the ship, running back and forth. And, yes, Noah was sure of it now, he was playing fetch with the pirates!
Noah thought about how terribly lonely he had been before Burt came to live with him, and how these pirates were probably lonesome, too. They had gone about this all wrong, of course, it’s really not nice at all to steal someone’s dog, but Noah understood in that moment that everyone needs someone to love and care for, even pirates. And it’s not as though Noah had drawn any pet stores on the ocean.
“I don’t want to fight them,” Noah said to his ninja-pirate friends. “Fighting doesn’t solve anything. Let me talk to them.”
The ninja-pirates agreed and shortly Noah landed onboard the ship. As soon as he touched down Burt sprinted over to Noah, leapt in the air and licked his face. Burt had missed his person just as much as Noah had missed his dog.
The pirates were terrified of the dragons so Noah reassured them. “These are my friends,” he said. “We’ve come to help.”
“Aarrr?” asked the pirate captain.
“I know what it’s like to need a friend,” Noah said. “And I think I can help.” Noah sat cross-legged on the deck and, with his magic pencil, carefully drew four parrots, one for each of the pirates. And, as always, when he signed his name the birds came to life, and flew directly onto the shoulders of the pirates. The pirates smiled and laughed and were clearly very happy with their new pets.
Noah then drew a dozen boxes of crackers. Because if there was anything he knew about parrots is that they always wanted a cracker.
Then they made even more friends as the ninja-pirates joined the first pirate’s crew, since their own ship was somewhere on the ocean floor at this point. And then the dragons made everyone spaghetti, and it actually was the very best any of them had ever tasted.
Noah was happy for everyone and very glad to have Burt in his arms, but now he was starting to wonder how he was going to back to his room. He missed his mom and dad and while pirates are very cool, he didn’t want to be one. At least not yet. But Noah had no clue how to go about getting home. He realized that he was so worried about Burt he had made no exit strategy whatsoever.
The dragons seemed wise and very kind, so Noah asked one of them what he should do. And the dragon said, “How do you normally get into your room?”
“I just go through the door,” Noah said. “But there’s no bedroom door here.”
“Not yet,” the dragon said with a smile, one long claw pointing to Noah’s pocket.
And Noah understood him. He took his pencil from his pocket and thought long and hard about what exactly his bedroom door looked like. And then he drew as carefully and with as much detail as he had ever drawn anything before. And when he was done, he signed his name and the door appeared.
Noah smiled and thanked everyone for a great day. He then picked up Burt, opened the door and went through.
When he was on the other side he was back in his room, just as he had left it. This had been a wonderful adventure, but Noah was very tired now. He gently laid his magic pencil on his nightstand, curled up on his bed with Burt and drifted off to sleep, wondering what he would draw tomorrow.
If you enjoyed this story I kindly ask that you leave a review. Your reviews are the life of my work. They inspire me to create more stories like this for you to enjoy! Have an awesome day.
Arnie Lightning is a dreamer. He believes that everyone should dream big and not be afraid to take chances to make their dreams come true. Arnie enjoys writing, reading, doodling, and traveling. In his free time, he likes to play video games and run. Arnie lives in Mississippi where he graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS.
This books is excellent as a bedtime story, waiting rooms, and long trips! Noah is a normal six-year-old boy living a very normal life. Little does he know that today EVERYTHING will change! One day Noah comes home from school to see that his Uncle Eric is in town. Noah doesn't have many friends so he loves to have company. Uncle Eric is a magician and traveler. Some have labeled him as "mad as a box of lunatic frogs." Noah doesn't care though. He loves his uncle and the wacky and adventurous stories he shares. Uncle Eric gives Noah a gift from his adventures in Japan. It's a magic pencil he acquired in an underwater volleyball match with a mermaid named Carl. “It’s not just any pencil, of course! It’s a magic pencil! That fantastic little utensil has been in the “Carl” family for millions of years. And you’re such a gifted artist already I knew it had to come to you. You’ll be AMAZED at what happens when you start drawing with this little beauty.” -Uncle Eric (from the book) What will Noah draw first? Noah is not very impressed with the pencil. At first, it seems like a normal pencil in his normal life. Things will never be normal again! Noah draws a pirate ship with lots of pirates on board. To his disbelief, the pirate ship sails right off the page. He can't believe his eyes. What happens when the pirates kidnap Noah's dog? When Noah excitedly goes to tell his Uncle Eric what happened, he hears a yelp from upstairs. When he reaches the door, he sees the pirates pulling Burt (Noah's snow-white Highland Terrier) into the picture. The pirates have kidnapped Burt! What will Noah do? Special Note: The illustrations in this book are optimally formatted for a bright and vivid viewing experience on e-readers, reading apps, tablets, phones, and computers! -29 cute and silly illustrations (high quality pictures) -4,000+ words (perfect for early and beginner readers) -Imagination, creativity, and the magic of a good story! What will Noah do? Burt is in trouble and it's all up to Noah to save him. How will Noah use his magic pencil and what will he draw next? Scroll up and click 'buy' to find out!