Student Writing Gallery!

This year, we are publishing a featured piece of student writing every month on the 26th. Each piece will be accompanied by an original illustration.

We are From

Malik H., 13
Family Writing Lab at the Elmwood Park Branch of the Detroit Public Library

We’re from my cat
from dish soap and wipes
We are from the Chinese writing
From the cold of the AC
We are from the sunflowers
The oak tree whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.

We’re from Christmas parties and staying up late
from Melika and Earl
We are from joking a lot and watching funny videos.

We’re from knowing the difference between right and wrong
We are from barbecues at the park or at the house
We are from Detroit and we are African-American
From me and my cousins torturing our older cousin
From my dad with all the muscles
From PS4 and money in my pockets.

Artwork by Jen Harley,

Candy’s New Paris: Out of this World

Ms. Herrin’s Fifth-grade Class

Erickson Elementary, Ypsilanti

Next-Flix Field Trip

Artwork by Jen Harley,


CANDY (a teenage girl), MELLY (her best friend) and STRAWBERRY (a real strawberry with powers) are sitting together studying Geometry in a cozy peach tree house in New Paris, Mars.

OMG, this is hard!

(to MELLY)
Calm down! You’re overreacting; I’ll help you.

(to MELLY)
Your breath is so hot; it’s hotter than the sun!

MELLY crumples up her paper, throws it up into the air, and burns it up. Everyone rolls their eyes.

Can I have a piece of you?

At the mention of being eaten, STRAWBERRY fizzles up, explodes, and the comes back together. More eye rolling ensues.

OK, that was a bad idea. Let’s go get something to eat!

They exit the tree house and go out into New Paris, Mars, to go to their favorite place to eat.


They head to the Dairy Queen, exploring New Paris on their way.

Let’s go to Dairy Queen. I heard there was new ice cream. What’s your favorite flavor?

Sure. Let’s go get ice cream. My favorite flavor is chocolate.

I like strawberry. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Do you have money, Melly?

No. I’m broke. I spent my money on psychic stuff.

I’m broke. I’m saving for college.

I don’t have any money. I left it on Earth.

MELLY becomes angry because STRAWBERRY left her money on Earth. She breathes a little ball of fire.

Grrrrr. Why on earth would you leave money on Earth?

Strawberry explodes covering everybody in strawberry.

Calm down. It’s just money.

Now we can’t buy food.

Let’s think of a way to make some money.


CANDY, STRAWBERRY, and MELLY are brainstorming ideas at a park called Mars Park. It has slides, stairs, and a petting zoo with pandas, monkeys, and lions. There is a food truck.

We need to get money. Let’s have a yard sale!

What are you going to sell? That’s a bad idea. We can do a musical for little kids!

No. That’s really bad. I don’t know how to sing or do any of that. Let’s have a roast battle!

That could be a disaster! If someone roasts me, I might accidentally breathe fire.

That’s true. You do get mad easily. Oh, I know! Let’s have a talent show!

That’s actually a really good idea.

How can we set it up? How can we get people to come?

We can bring our cousins, best friends, mom and dad, aunties, nieces, uncles. . .

OK, OK. We get it! We’ll bring our family.

In the show, I’ll roast people.

I’ll do some fire tricks.

Ooh, I can dance.

Well. . . sorry. . . you can’t dance. Maybe another time.

OMG! You guys are just trying to hog the stage! I came up with this idea! I deserve to be on state, too.

OK, Candy. We can come up with a different idea for you.

Well, I want to dance! Can I dance with you all?

Why do you want to dance so much?

My grandma was a dancer. I want to dance like her. Plus, Brandon really likes dancing.

Poor Brandon!

Ooh, Candy has a crush.

Candy, I’m just going to break this easy to you. You should not dance in front of Brandon.

So I can’t dance? What else am I supposed to do? I don’t have powers.

CANDY gets red-faced, balls up her fists, and runs away.


CANDY is sitting in a corner with a pillow. MELLY and STRAWBERRY come in.

What’s wrong, Candy?

You guys don’t understand my life.

Well, we’re your best friends. You can tell us how your life is going.

(Lifting her head off the pillow)
I wish I had super powers like you guys.

Why didn’t you tell us this before?

I was embarrassed.

You don’t need powers! You’re really smart!

Yeah, you’re way better at Geometry.

Ooh, Melly, your breath so hot you melt my ice cream.

Don’t start, Strawberry.

CANDY laughs.

Thanks. You guys are like sisters to me.


Walking toward the backyard of CANDY’s house.

(to MELLY)
What if we let Candy do the show, but people don’t like it because she doesn’t have any powers.

(Screaming angrily to STRAWBERRY)
I can’t take this anymore! I want superpowers too!

(Pensively to CANDY)
I think I might know a way to get you powers.

(to MELLY)

(to CANDY)
I was using my psychic abilities to look into the future, and I think that I saw a way for you to have powers.

MELLY creates a small portal in front of her, and reaches into it, pulling out a very impressive looking sword.

(Handing the sword to CANDY)
Here’s a sword that you can use in the show, but I don’t know how to use it.

(to CANDY and MELLY)
Don’t worry, I know how to do sword tricks, and I can teach you.

The three friends continue walking down the street and enter CANDY’S backyard

Scene 2 — CANDY’S backyard — late afternoon

STRAWBERRY is teaching CANDY how to do tricks with the sword

(to CANDY)
Keep your stance wide, and keep body lowered.

I am, and I think I am at least getting better.

Sure. . . At least a little better.

Can I be in the talent show now!?

Uhm, yeah you can if you really want to, but only if you promise to practice as much as you can on your way there.


STRAWBERRY and MELLY walk towards the talent show stage with CANDY trailing along behind them practicing with the sword some more.


(On Stage — To Audience)
Well, hiiii. I’m going to be showing my newly revealed talent that I like to do.

Candy closes her eyes and imagines the slime and then squirt the alien slime out of her hands. There is so much slime. There is blue slime. Rainbow slime. Foamy slime. The crowd goes wild.

(Clapping and whistling)

(smiles and bows)
Thank you, Thank you.

CANDY exits the stage and Strawberry gets on the stage.

Them shoes are so old they might get somebody sick.


Yeah, I’m talking about you with your dusty rusty shoes.


Your teeth are yellow.


It looks like you colored your teeth with a yellow crayon.

STRAWBERRY bows and the crowd starts clapping and laughing. Some seem skeptical of the roasting. STRAWBERRY exits the stage.

And the winners are Candy and Strawberry! Come collect your winnings!


CANDY, MELLY, and STRAWBERRY are eating pizza from Dominoes.

Hey Candy, please pass the pizza sauce.

A monkey from outside throws a banana into the tree house window and it hits the pizza sauce.

What was that?

All three look up and see the monkey outside the window. MELLY breathes fire at the monkey and it throws another banana at her. All three try to leave the tree house but it’s suddenly locked!

I can try to make a slime key for this door?

CANDY tries to make a key to leave the tree house but it doesn’t work and the three of them don’t know what to do. We’ll have to explore more next time.


Grab Your Skates

Kaiya H.
Age 9
Family Writing Lab at Holmes Elementary, April 2018

What would you put in the Ypsilanti time capsule?
Pair of skates.

What do you want this to teach people about your life in Ypsilanti?
If you are losing your composure, just grab your skates and roll on!


Artwork by Jen Harley,

My Favorite Place in Detroit

By Jeremiah J.
Age 8
Detroit After-school Tutoring

My favorite place is the Little Caesars Arena because you get to get food and see basketball and see your favorite team. You can be happy that your team won. You get to buy things like basketball team shirts, basketball team shoes, and say hi to your favorite basketball team players. My favorite team is the Pistons, and my favorite player is Andre.

Inside, it sounds wonderful—loud! And quiet (when they are playing basketball, everybody is quiet until they make a score).

It looks cool. What I see when I’m there is that my team is trying to win a game. What I see when I’m about to go to a game is pictures of back in the day when they used to play basketball, especially the shoes they had.

They let us see the mascot. The mascot’s name is Hooper because he hoops. Hooper is a horse.

Artwork by Jen Harley,

Hot Dog Man!

By Unique B.
Age 12
Estabrook Writers Club

Introduction/Chapter 1:

“Auuuu, I ate too much hot dogs at once. I’ll eat some more later when my stomach starts to digest,” said James as his belly started to growl.

Sorry, didn’t see you there, you’re probably wondering why I’m eating all these hot dogs. Well, let me tell you one thing about me. I love, love, love hot dogs. I would die for them. I lose my mind if I don’t get to have a dozen a day. You’re also probably wondering why I’m at the bottom of Lake Huron and can barely see anything. Well, don’t get freaked out, but I’m a fifteen-year-old vampire. No, no, no, I’m not going to eatcha. I like hot dogs! I don’t know how to do anything except for eat and look for hot dogs.

Well, anyway, this is the story of how James Brown had to come up to shore.

Chapter 2: The Incident?!

“Once again, too much hot dogs,” James mumbled, as I went to go get another hot dog. As soon as I opened the refrigerator, I had a look in my eyes that made me want to scream. I started to twitch like I was mad, then blurted out—-“I’M OUT OF HOT DOGS!!!”

I looked like I was going to blow. I didn’t know what to do. Then, I wondered something: “I’ve always wanted to know what was up there on land. I then got a smile on my face, my grin grew bigger, and I started to blush. “Oh silly me, I could just go up there and see if they have any hot dogs, and if they do, I’ll get some! If they don’t, I’ll be in bad luck for the rest of my life.” I got up and started stuffing as much clothes as I could for my trip, but the most important thing that I needed that I forgot was an umbrella.

Chapter 3:

After twenty-four hours of swimming up from Lake Huron, I finally got up on shore. The sand was soft underneath my feet and the sun was shining bright. I found an umbrella where someone was sleeping and grabbed it because my skin was starting to fall off. It was very flaky from the sun and brownish. It looked disgusting! After I walked about a mile away from the shore, I saw a giant hot dog that was bigger than me. When I walked in the store, I couldn’t believe my eyes! There were a bunch of hot dogs sitting on a rack that looked good and juicy. I picked one of the hot dogs up, took a bite, and it was love at first sight. I didn’t even notice myself putting a whole bunch of hot dogs in my suitcase. Just when I finished my hot dog and was walking out the door, suddenly—-“Hey! Where do you think you’re going with those hot dogs, huh?”

To be continued . . .

Artwork by Jen Harley,

Life Doesn’t Bother Me At All Either

Claire Baker
Age 8
Oxford Virtual Academy
Wee-Bots at Redford – Detroit Public Library

Looking at the door pacing
on the wood floor. Scared to go
out and tell the truth.
Life does not bother me at all.
Having big kids pick on me.
Life doesn’t bother me at all.
Parachuting from a plane.
Life doesn’t bother me at all.

Artwork by Jen Harley,

The Underwater Adventure to Grandma’s Robot Factory
Ms. Wheatley’s Second-grade Class
Gompers Elementary-Middle School

Once upon a time on the moon, Linda the mermaid princess and Midnight Rose the robot cat were swimming through an underwater tunnel on their way to Grandma Senia’s Robot Factory. Linda has long white hair, and can turn invisible. Midnight Rose is Grandma Senia’s robot cat that is black can change sizes. Grandma Senia is a robot that is sometimes good and sometimes bad, and has lots of superpowers at night.

On their way to the robot factory, Princess Linda and Midnight Rose heard the sound of fish and rushing water. Suddenly, in the middle of the tunnel, Mary the Wolf, a werewolf in a scuba suit, stopped them.

Mary shouted, “Stop right there!”

Princess Linda and Midnight Rose were shocked to see Mary the Wolf. They gasped! Then, Grandma Senia, who was looking at this happen from her factory, also gasped. Then every fish in the ocean on the moon gasped.

Princess Linda and Midnight Rose had to figure out a way to get past Mary the Wolf and to grandma’s robot factory . . .

Write your own ending!

Artwork by Jen Harley,


Oh Pizza!!!
Carlos, Age 14
Ms. Widmer’s Eighth-grade ELA class
Academy of Americas

Pizza Pizza Pizza
You’re delicious
Little Caesars is the realest
Cruising through Detroit
Feeling like pizza is a
Oh Pizza
I love you.
Artwork by Jen Harley,

The Plan

Aliyah C., age 10
Liberty Street Tutoring

On the first day of school this friend of a friend of my friend—well, let’s call him Jake—was either feeling rude or wasn’t thinking at that moment and made a comment (a not-so-nice one) about me and my friend J (not Jake). In my mind, I started to fume. Jake did stuff almost EXACTLY like last year, and the year before that. I was not in a good state that day. I forgot my math binder, my dessert, and then this happened. At that moment, not even J could calm me down. The next day I was STILL fuming.

Meanwhile in art class, I don’t know how my other friend Cat did it, but she managed to calm me down. Then we made a plan.

Plan A: Ignore them every single time we spot them.
Plan B: No plan B.
Plan C: ROAST them, then walk away.
Plan D: Yell yo-mama jokes at them till they get the hint.
Plan E: Tell on their teacher because at this point, we can’t handle it on our own.

We wrote down these plans on a scrap piece of paper and we’d start our class from art class and beyond. After art class this gave me confidence and determination.

A week later, after one of his final rude outbursts I told him off. I went up to Jake and told him that I did NOT appreciate all the teasing, comments, and his behavior. I said I had no appreciation for what he is doing and he should knock it off. Apparently he didn’t know he was hurting me that much, so he knocked it off (for now). After I had the courage to tell him off, he never talked about it again. My friend was really helpful and she was and is very kind to me; she is able to conjure ideas and think through problems like this.

Artwork by Jen Harley,

Earth, Year 3000

Austin Andrews, Age 11
Scientist’s Guide to the Galaxy Workshop

From 2020 to now, the year 3000, humans have advanced and conquered the impossible. No longer do you need money and credit cards, and there are no longer any kings or queens. Finally after three thousand-plus years, we as people have found world peace and I guess you can say we are all on an even playing field. We’ve buildings over three miles tall and thousands of advertisements wrapping around them. We have flying cars and worldwide speakers for announcements. We are finally working together as equals.

Artwork by Natalie Marion,

Liberty Street Robot
Supply & Repair
115 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 761-3463
Detroit Robot Factory
1351 Winder
Detroit, MI 48207
(313) 818-0255