Where I’m From

I am from the warmth of my family’s hugs.
I am from the smell of my mom’s perfume and the taste of my dad’s Italian food.
I am from seeing my sister’s beautiful drawings and my brother’s funny jokes that make
him who he is.
I am from stories of my family, the laughter that I share with my friends.
I am from vacations, from seeing close friends and family, from having my cat, Spice, purr
against my legs, from watching my brother and sister play with Spice.
I am from downs to ups, from frowns to smiles, from sad moments to happy moments.
I am from getting good grades and coming home from school, my dad picking me up and
my mom looking for coupons.
I am from special occasions and my dad telling us the secrets he uses for his recipes.
I am from smiling faces and having a nice, warm meal.
I am from an Italian-American family.


Mandy is currently a fifth grader at Franklintowne Elementary School in the fall. Mandy wrote this poem at the PS, Jr. writing workshop at the Tacony Library in the summer of 2011.


Based on the Philadelphia Inquirer story ‘Pilot gets 366 days in fatal Duck crash’.

“You should’ve stepped away
You were trained to step away
I don’t know why you didn’t.”
Said the captain yesterday
But the deaths they saw were hidden
When her call came to me, unbidden

A single call
A courtroom wall
She never should’ve told me
Their final breath
The stench of death
The law would take and hold me

The steamboat rolled
The gray river rolled
2:37 P.M. in July
When the teenagers’ fate was told
I felt guilt when they asked me why
And it’s not in my heart to lie

A single call
A courtroom wall
She never should’ve told me
Their final breath
The stench of death
The law would take and hold me

“I shouldn’t have called him
Oh, why did I call him?”
Cried my wife, and tore at her hair
She said “Surgeons have sinned
Left our son without air
As his eyes were fixed in their lair.”

A single call
A courtroom wall
She never should’ve told me
My sentence stands
In judges’ hands
A year and a day, they’ll hold me.


Lily Alexandra Mell is twelve years old and is homeschooled. She lives in Center City, Philadelphia. She has written many
short stories and poems in the last few years, though this is her first time being published. She is currently writing a science
fiction – fantasy novel. She greatly admires the published author Tamora Pierce and aspires to write as well as she does.


I am time.
I am that which was, which is, which will be.
I am the now, the then, the flexible future and the potent past.

That which is, was.
That which was, will be again.
That which will be, is now.

I am creation.
I am destruction.
I am all.

All that is great, is nothing.
All that is worthless, may be vital.
All that is mighty, all that is proclaimed to be great and wonderful,
is nothing before me.

I am all.
I am that which you lose and gain.
I am the infinite, the immeasurable, the unstoppable.

The greatest giants, the mightiest mountains, the most amazing
creations, both artificial and natural-all those are dust before me.
They who live may try to control me-to measure me, change their
travel through my flow, disrupt me, even harness me, shift my ebb
and flow. Yet the most ambitious plans must fail before me, the
mightiest beings bend to me.

I am infinitely complex.
I am the bringer of darkness, the destroyer of worlds.
I am that which was, which is, which could be, and that which
must never be.
In creation, there is destruction.
In destruction, there is rebirth.
There is no such thing as void, all things are in flux.
This is my nature.
Fire and ice, light and dark, life and death, energy and matter,
all these bend before me, for I am time.



Jonathan is 16 years old and attends Northeast High School in Philadelphia. His favorite subjects are English and History.
He has lived in Philadelphia for 12 years, previously he lived in Cleveland, Ohio. His hobbies are reading and writing stories, particularly science fiction and doing karate.

Insights of a Dying Man

If a knife is stabbing me in my chest
While my wife and child are sleeping
And some superior force is burning me
In the pitch black dark
Over my head under my feet,
While I on my porch
Sing, killing me softly by Lauren Hill
Out to the people of the world
As they throw sticks and stones, as they break my bones
As I tell myself: “I am not afraid, I am not afraid,
I was meant not to be,
So I shall stay that way!”
If I take my pride, strength,
And power
And put myself against the world,
Who is anybody to say I’m dying?



Eliah studies creative writing at the “Teen Lit Magazine” workshop at the Musehouse Literary Arts Center in Germantown


If when I look into the glass,
See a face unrecognized

And the moon is rising in the reddening sky,
Among the winds
Above the ocean

If I look into the glass
And see the shadows of strings moving,
In the translucent glass
Moving over my head

And if I ask why death
Never looked lonely to me
The glass shatters
And the strings unwind

If I look in the mirror and see
The strings are severed,
Against the windy bleeding horizon
Above the ocean

Who will untangle the strings
Above my head,
Tell the puppeteer that I have gone?


Amy Goldfischer is a ninth-grade homeschooler from Havertown. My past writing experience includes a lot of short story writing, a mini biography of a family member and comic book writing. My favorite writers include J.K. Rowling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Linda Sue Parks, and many more. She studies creative writing at the “Teen Lit Magazine” workshop at the Musehouse Literary Arts Center in Germantown (www.musehousecenter.com).

Day and Night

When it is day, it is blue
When it is dark, the sky is new
When it is day again, I feel free
When it is night, the stars twinkle
When it is day, I try to fly
When it is day, I like to swing up high by the sky



Elle Julius is 7 years old and lives in Ardmore, PA. with her mother, father, aunt, and brother Wyatt, who is 5 and has autism. Elle is a wonderful big sister to her brother.  She attends Penn Valley Elementary School and is in 2nd grade.  She loves reading books and writing poetry.

Prose Poem

As I stand here, ready to take on the world in a fight that will seem to last an eternity, thoughts of doubt, intimidation, and sorrow swirl around my mind sucking away any confidence I have left. And more and more as my confidence fades it leaves nothing more than these thoughts that tear away at my esteem. I sit through the night waiting for the battle to begin, the sun slowly arises and more and more like a fungus the fear starts to grow inside infecting everything. With all this internal pain it seems my only escape is to submit and give into the enemy and all my uncertainty, but through all the fear that tears away at my spirit a gentle voice as quiet as the whistle of the wind seeps through my ear and says “Stay strong my weary child for greater am I that is within you, and it by my anointing that you will stand against the forces of evil till you return to my kingdom to mend and heal the wounds of battle, be encouraged for you are my child and victory will be guaranteed for thy faithfulness.” For it is then that all fear was cast away and my spirit and courage was renewed with confidence ready
to fight another day.



John Thomas attends the New Media Technology Charter school.  On Thursday, July 14, 2011, (his 17th birthday) he attended the PS Jr. Poetry workshop at the West Oak Lane Library with Teresa FitzPatrick.  The attached work is the result of his attendance. John lives in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia.

Brave Soul, ii

In this lugubrious land
where coltan and fighting decide to rhyme
where the Congolese and its splintering neighbors forget
what they’re really fighting about,
it’s easy to not hear Parfaite’s dive into a lake of dreams
and dismiss the battles fought on her brave brown body
like she was the war.

What happened to simple desires unattached to the manufactured desires of outsiders
like fu-fu pounded fresh, obnoxiously yellow
mated with deep fried Nile tilapia
that Parfaite had pulled a thousand times from Lake Kivu
like Sundays after Mass when she moved with the shield of some god’s word
like those voices of the market folk haggling just to extend the day
like the dress makers exciting Parfaite’s sense of her own beauty
with a bounty of pagne sold by the meter.

When the sun was obnoxiously yellow
and the cries for justice and the fall of machetes clashed in evil dissonance
Parfaite carried a basket pregnant with the bloom of coffee flowers
and she hummed a tune to match her simple delight
when he attacked
with a broken bayonet and a mercenary’s penis
in front of a basket of fallen flowers
not just her vagina, but her place in the world.

Parfaite returned home with her story between her legs,
backs briskly turned,
time did a wicked dance
she was left with life inside her belly
that kicked
and would never be welcomed.

Abandoned, displaced
and now carrying a sinless sprite pushing for its own attention
Parfaite, wrapped in new found pieces of pagne-audaciously yellow-
returned to Lake Kivu
to the memories it held
to the sustenance it gave
to the laughter of the its fish
and with a pardon to her god
she jumped in
tightly holding on to her sense of her resplendent beauty
and humming a tune to lull her baby into a watery dream.



Sojourner Ahebee , 16, is a 10th grade student at Interlochen Arts Academy. Originally from Cote d’Ivoire, Sojourner now resides in West Philadelphia when not away at school. Her poetry has been published in Stone Soup, Teen Ink , Apiary Magazine and Red Wheelbarrow. Sojourner’s poem Listen to Africa was recently published as a poster for sale by the Syracuse Cultural Workers. http://syracuseculturalworkers.com/poster-listen-africa Sojourner has maintained a culture blog for teens for the past four years. It’s called Sojo’s Trumpet: http://trumpetworld.blogspot.com/

The Blood Orange

Ughhh! Why do all of the other oranges pick on me for being a ruby red blood orange?! I even get death threats from the Giant Boy now! He threatens to eat me. And since summer has begun, the attacks from the Flies have been worse since the Giant Hand has forsaken us! It never comes by and smashes the Flies anymore. It’s like it isn’t even trying. But, according to the Wise One (I don’t know why we can’t just call him Apple, since that’s what he is!), this means one unlucky banana and one unlucky ruby red orange must be sacrificed to the Giant Blender From Which There Is No Return. Since I am the last of my kind, I am sure they will sacrifice me!
    You’d think they’d have more respect for me since I’m the last of the ruby red blood oranges. There’s no way I can escape this evil fate. Unless…no! That hasn’t happened in the kitchen for decades. But it is a possibility. No one has been taken by the Canine since the new Woman has taken control. She doesn’t let the Canine in since he took my mother underneath the couch.

But now that I think about it, I could be—Oh no! The sacrifice has begun! They took Lenny! NO! I almost tricked him into becoming my friend. I can’t believe the Giant Hand betrayed Lenny like that. Wait…the Giant Hand is moving this way! It wouldn’t sacrifice me. I’m the last of my kind! Ahhhh! The Giant Hand has me. And its clone is peeling me! It’s taking me to the Giant Blender From Which There Is No Return. I’m falling into the Blender. SLOPT! Jjjjtttt.

Where am I?

“Follow the light, Paul.”


“Follow the light. It’s better there.”

“Woah, woah, woah. Are you really my mom?”

“Yes. I can prove it. I died on a Wednesday, remember? We were enjoying a day at the edge of the basket. Then the Canine took me. He hid me under the counter, and I was reunited with your father.  Then, about 20 minutes later, the Canine returned and relieved himself on my face. I quickly became rotten and came here, waiting for you.”

“Wow, Mom. Are you saying you were waiting for me almost 15 years?”

“Yes, Son. Now follow me into the light.”


Wow! We are in the Better Place! It’s not a myth! And look, they have an ice cream parlor! I’m going to get some chocolate ice cream.

“WAIT! Don’t eat the ice cream!”

“Why not? Who are you?”

“I’m Anita. I’m an apple as you can see. And your mother just took a lick of ice cream and now she’s gone forever. After this second life, there isn’t a third. Trust me.”

“What was that you were saying? Yum! This ice cream is delic—“


Why does no one ever listen to me when I warn them? That’s the 33rd time some poor fruit has died. Poor ruby red blood orange. Sigh.  

Sharon Zea-Rineon will be a 7th grader at Planet Abacus Charter School in the fall. She wrote this short story at the PSJr writing workshop at the Tacony Branch of the Free Library.

The Shoe Thief

Once there was a little red fox.  She had clear green eyes and pointy brown ears. She had very good taste, but she had no fears!  Every day, she took five minutes to lick her pretty brown coat, five minutes to brush her pointy white teeth, and five minutes to groom her well-padded paws.  However, it took this little red fox more than thirty minutes to decide which shoes to wear around her den.  When she grew tired of wearing a pair, she set it aside to chew and tear.  Simply put, this was a fox with flair!

More than anything else in the world, this little fox loved shoes.  If she had to choose, it was always shoes!  She would choose a shoe over beef stew!  She would choose a shoe in any hue!          

All the other foxes chided her, “Silly fox, why do spend all your time with shoes when there’s an entire forest to play in?”  Amused, the little fox replied, “You choose the forest grooves, but I choose the groovy shoes!”   With that, she turned and walked away with her spirits up, her head up, and her tail   up!

One morning, the little red fox woke up before dawn.  In her den in the woods, she decided that it was time to fetch more goods. So, she set out for her favorite village.  There she always found a large selection of irresistible shoes that came in all sizes and colorful hues! Shoes in reds and blues!  Shoes with glittery glues!  Shoes always in twos!  All the villagers here left their shoes on their porches overnight for the little red fox to take.  At least, that’s what she thought!

As the little red fox trotted through the sleepy village looking over all the shoes on display, a large black, yellow-eyed cat, named Rudolph, yowled angrily at her.  The little red fox was used to it.  What she was not used to, though, was a big, black dog whose mean growl made her heart beat faster than a spinning top.  It was all worth it, though, when the first sunbeams of the day danced upon a shiny purple shoe.  How it caught her eye!  The little red fox gasped, “How gorgeous!  How glorious!”  She ran towards the gleaming purple shoe, picked it up with her teeth, and carried it home.

Soon, all the villagers began to hiss, “There must be a shoe thief in our midst.”  Shoes were disappearing now on a regular basis.  The town sheriff then ordered a search of every house in the village and in the surrounding area.  The shoes were nowhere to be found!

In the following weeks, more shoes disappeared from this little village.  Then, a policeman, still searching for the traitor, found a slew of chewed shoes scattered along a forest trail. Bemused, he thought out loud, “Could this be the clue to the mystery of the missing shoes?”  Cautiously, he looked around until he stumbled upon a crumpled, discolored shoe in front of a fox’s den.  Carefully, he looked inside.

The policeman was amazed at what he had found!  Surrounded by a multitude of colorful shoes, the little red fox sat happily chewing on a bright yellow shoe!   Then, the policeman looked even more closely and was surprised to find something else!  It was a happy brood of little red foxes!  And, what were these little red foxes doing?   Chewing!  Each little fox was all aglow, gleefully chewing on a bright and shiny shoe, each a different color of the rainbow!

Born in Christiana, Delaware, Sarah is the youngest of four. She attends the Charter School of Wilmington and has won awards for her essays. She also plays violin and viola and likes to bowl (her three-person team won 1st place in Nationals in Washingotn, D.C. at the National History Bowl in 2011).

SIDE NOTE: This children’s tale is based on a true story from a small town in Germany. Have you read a news item that you wanted to turn into a story?