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Spanish: Los Colores del Otoño
Colors of Autumn
By Laura G. Smith
1 Celia has a spot in her back yard where she likes to go just to sit and think. Her spot is extra-special to her because it was her dad's idea to build it. They spent a whole Saturday together last May painting boards and pounding nails until at last, it was finished. There, resting on three sturdy branches in the center of a huge oak tree, was Celia's very own tree house.
2 She loved to spend hours in her special spot just watching puffy clouds floating overhead or listening to the birds singing from high up in the tree. Most of the time, Celia's fluffy white kitten named Cotton was curled up next to her. She loved to share her thoughts with Cotton.
3 One time Celia told a story of how their huge, old oak tree was once a small twig. She explained how it grew and grew for many years until it had hundreds of branches and thousands of bright green leaves. She said the leaves were crowded together on the branches to make shade so she and Cotton would stay cool on hot days.
4 Soon, the summer days began to grow shorter, and before Celia knew it, it was time to go back to school. Each afternoon when she got home, she couldn't wait to scoop Cotton up in her arms and head out to her thinking spot.
5 One day when Celia was climbing up to her tree house, she noticed the oak tree looked a little different. First she noticed some of the leaves turning yellow, and the next day she spotted some orange ones.
6 "Autumn is coming!" Celia exclaimed to Cotton. "Soon the green leaves will change to many bright, beautiful colors! Just you wait and see!" Celia wanted to explain to Cotton just why it is that the leaves change color, but she wasn't quite sure. She decided to ask an expert - her dad. He knew everything.
7 That night at the dinner table, she got the whole story.
8 "The leaves on our oak tree are green during the summer," said Celia's father, "because they have chlorophyll (KLOR-o-fill) in them. The leaves need the chlorophyll to help them take in light from the sun. This light is used to help make food for the tree.
9 "The leaves need two other things besides chlorophyll in order to make food - air and water. Air enters the leaves through tiny openings, and the tree's roots soak up water from the soil. When these three things come together, sugar is produced to feed the tree. It's what makes the tree keep living and growing."
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