Student Writing

This past year, the students in our Young Authors Book Project wrote poems, essays, fiction stories, and letters exploring justice, identity, and community. We are thrilled to publish their work in a book this fall—for now, enjoy a sneak peek at some of their work!

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There are Experiments Here
For Science Class

ARIANA MARTIN

 

There are experiments here,
like mysteries
trying to get solved.
To figure out what
was in the dark, perfect,
Purple-sky mystery potion,
by adding something to see its reaction.
I don’t mean feelings,
I said reactions.
How baking soda
reacts to water
or how citric acid
and vitamin C fizz
or baking soda
and road salt stay
at the bottom of the water.
I mean trials.
Without science class,
the school is not good like a Reese’s Cup.
I am trying to say
the school is as
fun as ocean waves cracking rocks,
making you happy
in the bright sunshine yellow.

 
 

Recipe for Writing

Devin Hedspeth

 

Ingredients:

10 gallons of creativity
1 cup of ideas
1 ½ cups of partnership or individuality (your choice)
2 pounds of cooperation
2 pounds of struggle
10 gallons of love

This is a recipe for writing. If you want to know how to write, follow these directions: Add creativity into the ideas. To be a writer, your ideas must be your own original thoughts. Pour partnership or individuality into cooperation. If you are to have a partner in your writing career you must be able to work together, add struggle. You will not always get along with your partner and making up stories for readers is not always easy. Add love to show how much you appreciate writers around the world. And to show how much you love your writing career.

 
 

To be that close

Fredrickqua Hawkins

 

So quiet you sleep.
Every day I can be
me.

I read.
My rocking chair breathing
fresh air.

Dark brown birds land
on rusty powerlines.
An orange and black monarch butterfly lands
softly on gray tree branches—
adding sparks of color.

Squirrels running from
cats running from
dogs barking softly.

I can understand
their frustration.
To get away
and chase your dreams.
To be that close.

 
 

There Are Smiles Here
For the neighborhood

Rukya Sayidali

 

After “There Are Birds Here” by Jamaal May

 

There are smiles here.
Not too much
and not much.
No, I’m not saying there’s barely smiles.
I’m saying, when you are
walking home,
there’s not much—
but people do greet you.
No, I’m not saying
they’re friendly,
but they smile.
They smile when they see their friends.
I don’t mean they want to see their friends.
I said smiles.
They do say hello,
but not so much.
I’m saying they aren’t
the best people.
The old people
are friendly. I mean not only
the old people. When you walk,
they look like they’re gonna
charge–
but they are jogging.
They aren’t the best,
but not the worst.
The neighborhood isn’t a place to scream.
And not the crying-screaming.
They like to listen to music instead.
I’m trying to say
the neighborhood is
not-so-bad-not-so-good.
The other students think
this place is the worst.
They hope I move.
They’ll never understand,
there are smiles.
In the night,
I hear laughing
and birthday parties.
I walk and see lots of children smiling.
I see parents smiling.
And there I am,
smiling.

 
 

Letter to Volunteers

halima mberwa

 

Dear Volunteers of the Young Authors Book Project,

I’m Halima Mberwa. I am so excited to be in your program this year. This is the second best thing ever. I’m pretty sure you are wondering about the first. Here it is, quiet, drumroll please . . . getting to meet you all. The reason about very excited is that it will be the first time I’m in a book. I hope you all can help me spell and come up with ideas. I can’t ever thank you enough because there is no better word. You are giving up your time just to help us. This is why I can’t just say thank you. I can say that I’m extremely—yes, I said extremely—thankful for your time with all sixth-grade who graduated fifth-grade and for you working your hardest to help us. I love you all for that.

Sincerely,

Halima Mberwa

 
 

Ode to a fox

Bella Snyder

 

Hello, Mr. Fox.
You look so exotic,
like a living Van Gogh.

Your red, orange, yellow, white fur
is so dazzling like moonlight shining on Angel Falls.

I want to live like you, wild and crazy,
diving face first into dangers.

But I am only human.
I have school
and work
and more responsibilities.

I’m curious, where did you evolve from?
I hope you enjoy those tacos my mom caught you eating.
Ciao for now,
my four-legged friend.

 
 

Ode to an Xbox

Naprincya jones

 

Xbox O Xbox, I
love you so dearly.

You’re one of the
many things that make me smile—
the way you power on
to the way you power off.
You get kidnapped a lot. When you do,
I’m on my way. Our bond
is special in many ways, like a mother and her child.
To your graphics to your
games, you are perfect in
every way.

I will love you until I get an
upgrade.