Where We’re From

This week the Taft students and I read “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyon, with a sprinkling of “Poem 22” by Jo Carson. We talked about all the things you can be from, and continued thinking about surprising combinations and how they can make our world come alive.

The 7th and 8th grade poets astounded me this week, and I wish I could post every single poem. Here are a few great examples from this week…


Ms Taylor’s 8th grade, 6th period


Where I’m From
Dennis D.

I am from Bosnia

and the land of the free

From the Quran

and Mohammed


I am from soldiers

and soccer players

From pride & self-respect

and honor


I am from kindness

and giving

From helping

and caring


I am from Baklava

and potatoes

From masenca

and kljukuša


I am from farmers

and immigrants

From mathletes

and writers


I am from the motivated

and the ones who show character

From good people who do good things when no one is watching

and from the strong


I am from the leftovers of a bloddy war

and refugees trying to find freedom

From warriors

and champions



Where I’m From

Jamaya B.


I am from sirens and gangs

I am from hip-hop and rap

I am from “Hey black child”

I am from Joan B.

and that single parent life

I am from Psalm 34

I am from that one tree with one branch

and one bud

I’m that collard greens and corn bread

I am from you better stop or “we going to fight”

I am what makes me.­­­



I am from

Jorge C.


I am from dirty and dust,

and from falling in the mud.

From red, green, and white

and red, white, and blue.


I am from corridos, and cumbias

and rap blasted from cars.

From tacos, tamales, tortas, and pozole

and pizza, and burgers.


I am from Chicago’s west side,

and Tayahua and Cuidad Juárez

from Spanish and Engllish,

and from “te aplacas o te aplaco”


I am from the house that was never big enough

and that always had 3 families in it

from the house that always had a broken window

and the hole in the ceiling.



I am From…

Grace T.


I am from all different towns

and all different cities

from Eagle River

and all Italian dinners


I am from all kinds of noodles

and sauce that Angeline makes best

from taking relaxing walks down the street’s path

and sitting by the lake watching the fish pass


I am from that house with all the yelling

and that house with a lot of laughter

from finding a lost dog

and being a bowl hog


All these pictures

ad all these memories

bring me back

to the time where we all sat



I’m From Home

Sakshi A.


I’m from a small town

between the hustle and bustle

where neighbors are like family.


From catching fireflies

at the purple twinkling twilight.


I am from Asian food

—sweet and sour, tangy, and creamy.


I am books and books and

oh my goodness books.


From swinging so high on the swing set

that my sneakers

could punch holes in the clouds.


From summertime popsicles, chlorine’d hair,

diving boards and sunburns.


I am from decorations and ribbons,

garlands, and statues, and

holiday festivals.


I am from places I’ve been

And will be from the all the places I go.


Not always wealth, but always love.



Where I’m From

Paulina M.


I am from the

pictures on my wall,

and from Barbara &

Gezary, from the smell

of her cooking, and the

taste of Polish food.


I am from kindness,

and from the red and white,

from the blue shores, and the

green grass.

I am from the pool, and

from a little farm in the


I am who I want to be,

and I will be who I want

to be. I have been

to many places, and as I

stare at my memories I

see myself.

I am from everywhere.


Ms Foley’s 8th grade, 8th period


Where I’m From

Kress S.


I’m from Mississippi

From Alabama and I-290

From Austin

and Jamaica


I’m from Somerton, chicken foot soup,

and chili, fried chicken

From Central and Division

And Oak Park


I’m from cranberry juice, jerk chicken

and festivals with curry

From Central

and Iowa


Morning Talks

Anamae B.


I’m from the eclectic smell of waffles,

Swedish pancakes + café cubano in the morning.

And sounds of laughing, salsa music in the air.

Older women in their clusters in the

corner, gossiping in Español.


I’m from Cuba, moving to Miami, and

born n’ raised in Chicago.

And mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers

all combined in one tiny room.


I’m from 2 families, 1 already gone.


Where I’m from

Monnaf H.


I’m from rich foods

With spices and seeds galore

From foods that are spicy,

or plain or just flat out tasty.


I’m from Bangla

the language of my people

from the accents and slang

and the inside jokes that only I get.


Where I’m From

Aleksandra W.


I’m from pierogi

and chicken noodle soup.

I’m from orange walls

and tons of gossip.


I’m from Augustów

with its beautiful lakes.

I’m from chocolate

and long walks.


I’m from small shops,

and family Christmas.

I’m from loud arguments

and church.


I’m from music

and Poland.

I’m from trees

and packed streets.


Where I’m From

Stefan B.


I’m from Kosovo

and Knin

From hills

and sunshine


I’m from Milia

and Milka

From Orthodoxy

and Šatrovački


I’m from Croatia

and Slovania

From drywall

and wine


Ms Asvos’s 7th Grade, 7th period


Where I’m From

Alexandra Z.


I’m from birds, that always chirp.

From cats that always meow.

And from fish that move in silence.

I’m from animals themselves.


I’m from stairs, that let me fall

And bump my head.

I’m from the cold colors, that fill my home.


I’m from Lincoln’s Land.

I’m from the Windy City.

From the wind that causes the whistles to blow.


I’m from my father who is almost never here.

I’m from trucks that take my dad all around the world.

I’m from Saturday mornings when my dad is home.


I’m from sports, that make my life complete.

From volleyball itself.

I’m from the bump and sets, that get the ball over the net.


I’m here, where my family lives.

Where I create memories.

This is my home.

This is where I’m from.



Emily Pack

Where I’m From Poem


I’m from Chicago, Illinois and also Germany, and Italy and Scotland and many more places, I’m from a mixed heritage and the 8ft tall paper family tree my grandpa made and has on his back wall.

I’m from that one story about how my uncle almost drowned in the ocean after wading in and screaming “I defy you, titan” that my mom always tells and how my family never runs out of interesting stories. From the smell of burning food that always seems to happen at thanksgiving.

I’m from cats stepping on my stomach and sleeping there even when I was young enough for them to take up almost my entire body, from them waiting for the food me and my sister would drop when we were little. I’m from my dad’s delicious cooking and how he always smells like food.

I’m from my enormous family tree and from different nationalities, from so many different pets and people and friends. I’m from my mom’s apartment and my dad’s. I’m from my environment and all the things I see and do.

I’m from emotion and feeling, from everything around me.

Though it’s strange because even though I don’t know where they are or what they’ll be like, I’m from the places I’ve never visited or yet seen.




Jacob B.


I am from quiet

And loud

From the warm of the summer

And the cold of the winter


I am from two countries but one state

And two cities but one house

From two large families

Separated by an ocean


I am from the tragedies of death

And the miracles of life

From the over the top

And the down below


I am from the Polish speaking home

And the English speaking friends

From the pierogi and paczki

And the fries and burgers


I am exactly who I will be

I am a kid with my friends and an adult with my family

I am a broken branch

Still hanging thanks to family and friends



Where I’m From

Louis S.


I’m from my rabbit Nala

And my backyard

From Lake Geneva

And tiny little pinecones


I’m from my best-friend bear

And my coke blankie

From swimming in my pool

And from the color green


I’m from Disneyworld

And from dandelions

From mashed potatoes and corn

And purple ketchup


I’m from baseball

And the 1st grade spelling bee

From the trombone

And hot wheels


I’m from good and bad times

And I am proud

From my past and my future

I am happy with where I am from



Where I am From

Megan H.


I’m from warm bread

And warm fresh cookies and brownies.

From bright green grass

And small purple flowers.


I am from “how long will you be gone”

And “I missed you so much”.

I’m from Thanksgiving dinners

And warm family occasions.


I’m from family vacations

And warm sandy beaches.

I’m from people who don’t care

And people who should have been cared for.


I’m from the winds of a city

And the long winding roads away from everyone else.

I’m from grass cutting

And then missing part of a thumb.


I am from forgotten birthdays

And really nice gifts.

I am from days in the pool

And nights in the park.


People forget and are never forgiven.

From nothing that is something,

And everyone that cares.

I look back at happy and sad things,

But in all,

Nothing really matters as long as you are with the ones who care.



Almost Me 

Kaarina J.


I’m from growing up with my best

Friend and rarely being home

From always being at swim practice

And knowing that I’m loved


I’m from always eating brownies

Of our family recipe

From trips to other continents

And dreaming of adventure


I’m from loving rock and

Always reading books

From fatherless first years

And missing the golden coast


I am metal music and

Sad poetry I’m still a

Hopeless romantic chasing

The boy of my dreams


And I will always have my best friend,

My memories, and constantly

Knowing that I’m loved.


These things are almost me.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.