Home is Me

Whether it’s the November chill clutching onto my cheeks, clawing its way down to my thighs as I hear the salty waves crash onto shore – or it’s the warmth of my bedroom, rain pattering on my windows, music transporting me to another world… Home is where I feel safe, where I can be who I am and not feel judged or afraid. Home is wherever I decide it to be, and that’s better than any house, any skeleton of a building that I merely occupy. Home is wherever I am, wherever I blossom, wherever I grow, wherever I learn. 

Home is me. I am my home.

Maxwell is a 7th grader in West Philadelphia. In his spare time, he likes to write, make music, and draw. His biggest inspiration when making all kinds of art is what he sees around him and events going on in the world.

Three Stages of Lifetimes

The red brick row home 

Here the sun shines through the broken glass windows 

The silent cries of the rising yellow crescent sunsets 

The sounds still foreign to me 

Here is the row home 



Three stages of lifetimes 

Three roads watching Dorthy walk by without her ruby slippers

Is there a place like home?

Blood of open wounds traveling down the wooden staircase

There’s no place like home 

Flying monkeys eating through the gas stove 

Gasoline smells throughout the house 

Bottles throughout the rooms 

The tinman may need a body 

Gasoline cans won’t hold him much longer 

Living room bare

The shine of the silver moon 

Brings spirits dancing around 

Like a ballroom 

The creaking of the floors has lost its fight 

This old row home won the game

The girl with the gapped tooth smiles 

Waiting on the porch clicking her ruby slippers 

Three times


There’s no place like  Philly home

There’s no place like Philly home 

There’s no place like Philly home…

Laniyah Emile attends Franklin Learning Center High School in Philadelphia, PA. She started writing poetry during the pandemic while the world was silent. She wrote loud and passionate words in her notebook during her free time, and those lovely moments paid off.

The Place To Be

Home. The feeling of home, the smell of home is wonderful. You smell your mom making homemade food. You feel the soft blanket on you while watching a movie. You smell the fresh air through your window and feel the cold air on your face. It smells like the park you played in with your friend or the feeling of playing in the snow. But even though you have fun being outside, you still remember home.

There are a lot of different things that families do at home. Some like to spend time with each other while others go on their own paths. Some like to clean their home every day while some clean whenever people come over. Some decorate their home every holiday while others don’t. It doesn’t matter, it’s still home.

Many memories are made at home like welcoming home a new family member, having parties with friends and family and playing games and watching movies with your family and friends. No matter where you go you bring these memories with you. You may get homesick and when you do, you can go home.

Home. It’s a shelter. It’s family. It’s a memory. It’s love. It’s the place to be.

My name is Tobi Gonzalez. I’m 9 years old. I’m currently in 4th grade at George W. Nebinger Elementary School. I live with my dad, mom and toddler brother in South Philly. My favorite subject at school is math. I also love to do art and to write. I mostly make abstract drawings and paintings and write realistic fiction stories. I’m a person that likes to make others laugh and be happy. I draw pictures and text inspiring quotes to my friends and to my family to make them smile. 

The Tale of the Two Lovers

She deserved the world. She deserved me, he told himself. His love for the girl was beyond the heavens and earth, the stars in the galaxy – infinite. He craved her, she was everything he wanted and more; her smile was soothing like the ripples of the ocean, and her eyes resembled sweet honey nectar. They lived In the woods, in peace, the voices of the birds heard as they soared through the sky.

They were alone, with not a single being to be witnessed.  The naked trees that guarded the woods could be seen through the dark hole of the window as the gaps of moon light peered in. “I love her, she needs me, and what I did was good for her. She’s happy now, peaceful,¨ thought the boy. He knew that the girl lived an unfortunate life. Everyone would say how good  she was, how beautiful she looked, how funny she could be, and yet they´d hurt her and led her astray. He wanted to be the one to love her and put her out of her misery. 

He held her hand, his was endowed with warmth while hers was cold as ice, ¨I want to take you somewhere special,“ he whispered to the girl. She was silent and he took that as a yes. As he entered the woods, the night air carried something vile. He carried the silent being he loved most in the world as the cricket’s melody filled the air. Trees greeted them while the stars lit the two love birds through the darkened woods. The boy, madly in love, allowed his lungs to be filled with the moist, crisp air. He took the girl to the river near the stranded walnut wooden cabin. He always wanted to take her  there. It was beautiful, bewitching,and angelic just like her. He viewed her striking features once again. He listened as the river crashed against the rocks.

He held the girl close to him and gave her a kiss on her cheek. The moon hovered over the two and watched above as they held hands once again, his were warm while hers was cold. He simply couldn’t let go yet he knew it was for the best, ¨At last you shall be free,¨ he said to the girl as her hushed rotten corpse sank along the river stream. She was truly free….

Nahla Colon is an inspiring writer and poet who wishes to grant  her eternal passion of literature with others. She developed her love for writing from a young age by her fondness  of reading and using her imagination to escape to a world of her own.  She involves herself in hobbies such as traveling, writing, reading, and simply adores Mother Nature and all of her hidden beauty. Nahla, when she’s older, longs to live in a field of flowers with the one she loves most  and write away her feelings as the sun kisses her skin and the earth neighbors her.

Titleless Suspense

As I crept in the night,

I heard a creature tiptoeing up the steps.

I heard its heart beating, oblivious and unsuspecting.


Ignorant to the dangers that lurk in the dark.

In particular,



Sixteen stairs for them to climb,

And one by one they go.

So amusingly incognizant.


And as they get closer to the top,

They just don’t know

It’s About To Go Down…




Its heart races at the speed of light.

Terror engulfs its face.

It cries and screams in terror,

And then I turn on the lights…


“What’s up, sis?”

Anthony Wallace is 14 years old with a wide variety of interests. Along with writing, his interests include reading, aerospace engineering, playing basketball (and burying his opponents 100 feet under), cooking, and “being the best me that I can be.”

Just a Small Town

The dark clouds boomed loudly, making a thump. I ran quickly into the gas station, splashing water into my shoes. The bell rang as I walked into the candy-filled store. Finally, a familiar face! “Uh- Aira! Didn’t know I’d see you..”, she looks down at the register. Blue shuffled awkwardly, putting her hands behind her back. I looked down, grabbing a white chocolate Hershey’s bar. I didn’t want her to feel awkward. I pull out my small pocket book, meticulously counting every coin. I’ll have to have ramen again tonight. Blue comes back from behind the counter. “Is that all?”, she asks, “Sure.”

I walk back outside into the rain, my apartment is just across the street. I run across, looking quickly for any cars. I glance behind me and see a shadow slipping into the darkness. The Ring doorbell,bright blue light, makes me remember I forgot my keys. Oops. Buzz. “Who is it?I hear in a monotone voice. 

“Ma- Aira. I forgot my keys.” I can never remember the new name. “Hey, uh, Mr.Webber it’s me.” I make an awkward laugh. “Could you use the spare I made for you?” 

I can hear his uneven breathing louder than a choir. He’s old. “Okay,”. I hear the click of the door. I pat off my shiny shoes. The mess of bright orange hair, Toney, the elevator guy, greets me. “Rainy day innit?” he says in a thick Irish accent. “Yeah.” I avoid contact with him, maybe out of habit, or disrespect. The ride is quick, an awkward smile is shared between us. “Bye”, I say, I wave. I hear him say “exiting ele-” and then this weird static when I leave. He’s probably just confirming I got off.  

My hand gets wet when I reach my hand back into my pocket to grab my Hershey bar. I rip it open, smelling the condensed milk. I take a bite, and it melts in my mouth. My eyes shut with satisfaction as memories rush back to me. I remember getting my first car with a basket of hershey bars. My inner peace is satisfied. After the 3 months I’ve had, I deserve it. I see the lump on the rug, and yell “Thanks Mr. Webber!” to the room next door. The door makes a satisfying click when it unlocks, I swing open the creaky door. I switch the light on, revealing my apartment. I’m annoyed at the boxes in the corner, I should’ve unpacked them at the beginning of my move. I’ll just do it right now. 

The pictures in the box brought back memories of everything: pictures of me and my dad, others of me in the pool, in my humongous room, and in the car. God, I miss that room. It wasn’t that long ago before everything changed. I still remember the smell of dollar bills, it was nothing compared to what I have now. My trashy apartment reminds me of the palace I had before. I remember scrubbing the blood stains out of the carpet, the musty smell of the old dish soap, and the bright alarming police tape. I should focus on the good memories. I remembered getting a new Louis bag, marveling over the shiny gold on the luxurious handbag. I should’ve had that, and more. If it weren’t for him… but now all the pictures with my family are worthless, I’ve moved on.  I grab a black trash bag and throw them out hastily, as to not bear another surge of jealousy for what I could have still had. 

I have to clean all of this, it’s a mess. I’ve been out for most of the day. I turn on the radio, it plays “Firework” by Katy Perry. I dance around with my eyes closed, feeling the beat. A moment of freeness and passion always comes in this song, between jumps during the chorus.The music lasts for a few seconds. “Ads… shoot”, I mumble under my breath. Could this day get any worse? I scroll on the radio, finding nothing on the FM channel. “AM it is”. Static. When I was just about to turn it off, I heard a voice. At first it was just static, going in and out. “In- the- apart- 306”. That’s my room number. I listen, furrowing my eyebrows. “Sir? When are we going to take her?”. I turn up the volume. “We’ll decide later. How much will we get, Blue?”. Blue? Blue, that’s my only friend! The only person who had been nice to me. The only one. “4 million, Sir, from dad’s-”, it cuts off. I click the button to turn the radio off, with tears in my eyes. I would never think anyone would betray me like this. Oh God, what do I do? I fall to the floor, bending against the wall. My arms curl towards my head while I sob internally. I can’t breathe! 

I need to call someone, my old best friend. She wouldn’t betray me would she? 

I pick up the phone slowly, dialing her number. My eyes gloss over with tears.  “Ellawyn?” I ask, my voice cracking. “Oh my god, M, are you okay? I haven’t seen you in so long, where are you?”, Ellawyn was always worrying about me. 

I cut her off. “They’re following me, I can’t- I just don’t know what to do.”, she seems confused. “Who’s following you? Are you okay? I know all the things with your dad, you know the court and the will. It was supposed to have you in it, but you’re doing ok…. Right?”. I dodge her questions once more.  “I know, that’s why they’re following me.”


“Look, I don’t know, okay?”. My head is racing, moving faster than a race car. “My dad’s debt, he had all the taxes, right? They must be here for that, he didn’t pay them.” I sob, trying to pull myself together. My head is hot, I just need to get it all out. 

“I know the money was a huge let-down for you, you wanted to go to Yale or whatever. Why are they following you? It’s not your fault, you didn’t make the debt. It went to you when he…you know. But I thought…. Why are they following you? You haven’t done anything!”

“Because I killed him, Ell.”

She goes silent.

Adaline Sand is a 12 year old from West Philadelphia. She goes to SLA@Beeber middle school as a 7th grader while enjoying her time at Mighty Writers every week. Adaline has been going to MW since September of 2021.

A Fox, Snow Leopard, and iPhone 13

A snow leopard, named Snowy, lived in the Himalayan mountains while a fox lived deep down in the grasslands. The fox, named Nick, traveled up to the mountains. Once at the top of the mountain he saw the snow leopard. The fox at first was surprised and nervous but after Snowy smiled and growled at Nick, they both burst out in a huge laugh. They quickly became friends and decided to travel to New York. They started their journey by packing huge nutritious lunches.

Snowy said good-bye to his family and Nick wrote his family a good-bye letter. They were almost to New York when in Pennsylvania, an angry mob of Earth ponies ambushed them. The ponies appeared extremely angry and Nick and Snowy had no idea why. A pony named Hitch chased them to New York.

In New York they arrived in Madison Square Garden and saw an ad about the brand new iPhone 13! They turned to each other and said, “What is that? We have to have it!” Right after saying that, a person walking by dropped their brand new iPhone 13, and Nick swiftly picked it up! Snowy and Nick ran so fast but did not know where to go.

After running for what felt like forever (though it was really only 10 minutes), the phone began buzzing, and before they knew what was happening they were surrounded by the person who dropped the phone and zookeepers! Nick and Snowy were sent to the Philadelphia Zoo because they got caught with the item when the owner tracked their phone. What a costly and sad lesson Nick and Snowy learned and they never hoped to see an iPhone again!

Nusayb McCain, age 8

Home Is

Home is–a place

Behind the stained glass doors

The entranceway with stacks of shoes

The rug caked with the dogs’ DNA

The kitchen where food crackles and pops like laughs at the dinner table

Crash! Smash! Dad breaks another personal weightlifting record

Sitting together as the movie opens

Snuggled under blankets by the warmth of the fire

The ominous creak as you walk up the stairs

The scars on my bedroom door from dogs’ scratches 

The bedroom that has kept me safe and harbored me for so many years


Home is–community

The smell of taco steam wafting from the corner restaurant 

My school since kindergarten, just blocks away 

Pillow polo with the same gym teacher for the past nine years

The talent show, being a safety patrol

The park where countless pickup basketball games have been played 

My closest friends’ houses like my second and third homes  

The UPenn college campus where my dog and I roam

The water oasis only three blocks away–summer joy swimming with friends  


Home is–a feeling

Love, comfort, support, courage, resilience

The love of licks and cuddles that my dogs give unconditionally 

The comfort of laying on my sister’s cloud pillow

The support from my mother when a school assessment nears

The courage my 75-pound dog gives me when she goes outside at night

The resilience my dad inspires when I get injured playing sports


Home is–activities

When the ping pong ball drops after the sweep of my racket hits it over the net 

The bounce of the basketball against the cold stone patio, then the swish

The pitter-patter of my feet in the hall as I practice fencing advances and retreats

My fingers slamming against the keyboard – I am alive, I am dead, I am respawned 

The beep of the oven, the cinnamon sugar aroma, snickerdoodles ready to devour

Drew Feldman is an 8th grader at Penn Alexander School. He lives in West Philadelphia with his sister, parents, and two dogs. Drew is a competitive fencer. In addition to writing poetry, he also enjoys filmmaking and editing, as well as coding. In the future, he hopes to become a software engineer or a lawyer. Next year Drew will be attending Friends Central School.

The Brand New Seat

For five years in Bangladesh, I attended a private, coed primary school. Every day when I came to class, I sat at the back with all the other girls, while the boys sat in the front row. Girls were given the old textbooks, whereas boys were given new textbooks. Also, when girls raised their hands to answer a question, most teachers would not call on them to respond.

The unfairness of this two-tiered system was lost on me at the time. As a girl in Bangladesh, I  understand this not as inequality, but as a conviction . It is an accepted practice to discriminate against girls  regarding many issues like education, health, and economic opportunities. I did not have the faintest idea  that girls were marginalized in many aspects of life in Bangladesh. We were made to believe that it is okay for girls to have fewer opportunities. I was taught that I can’t have the same freedom, resources, and opportunities as boys can have. As a result, a kind of inferiority complex took hold of me. 

A few years later, after arriving in the United States, I enrolled in school. When I walked into the classroom for the first time, I lowered my head, found a place in the back of the room, and sat on the floor. I shuffled timidly and looked toward Ms. James. She pursed her lips and frowned. I panicked. Did I do something wrong? Was I disrespectful? Did I obey the rule? My mind was racing.

“Umme, what are you doing?” she asked calmly. 

I didn’t respond. 

“Come sit at the front, next to Jack, okay?” She smiled and reached out her hand, pulling me forward and leading me to the first row to sit next to a boy, something I would never dream of doing back home. 

There, sitting at the front of the classroom, I felt an excited tingle in my stomach. This is where I wanted to be, this is where I belonged. At the front of the classroom, besides the boys and, of course, the girls. 

That brand new seat made me more confident and more motivated to face challenges and opportunities that in my homeland I was made to believe were meant for boys only.

Umme Orthy is a graduating senior at Science Leadership Academy at Beeber in Philadelphia, PA. She is headed to Haverford College this fall. She loves traveling, art, spontaneous weekend outings, and music.

Older and Older

Right when I turned one 

My life had just begun 

Started doing things I had never before done 


Started getting older and older 

As my birthdays became colder 

So much has happened, I can’t even lie 

But my heart gets stronger each day that goes by 


I’m getting older and older 

And everyday bolder 

I know I can handle 

Everything this world has put on my shoulders

Kayla Oliva is 12 years old. She enjoys softball, taking dance classes, hanging out with family and friends, and putting her thoughts to paper. She won the Young Authors Award and was published multiple times. Her motto is “always be the reason someone smiles today.”