In Their Own Words: 7 Philly Kids Write About Their Pandemic Experiences

Local nonprofit Mighty Writers asked these kids to put down on paper their thoughts about the pandemic. Here’s what they had to say.

mighty writers

Mighty Writers author Angelita Yudiono. Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Last year, Mighty Writers, a Philly-based nonprofit devoted to boosting students’ literacy and writing skills, asked its writers to reflect on the pandemic. The results were published in Writing from Quarantine: In the Words of Mighty Kids, edited by Kyra Spence. Here’s some of what these kids had to say.

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Mighty Writers author Ellie Tyler. Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Excerpt from “My Time in Quarantine”

by Ellie Tyler, age 16

In general, my life has come to a halt. I was pretty isolated this school year. All my plans had kept me going. I have stuff to look forward to now, plans for after quarantine and things I’d like to learn more about in general. I’m just ready for this all to end. I want my life back. I know I’ll appreciate the things I took for granted a bit more.

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Mighty Writers author Samuel Wright. Photograph by Jeff Fusco

“I am from Home”

by Samuel Wright, age 11

I am from mac and cheese and green beans, bacon and cake,
ice cream and milkshakes
I am from going to my grandparents every year,
we fill our cups with water and cheer
I wish we could do that today but we cannot
I wish we could go to their house like we used to a lot
I am from hanging out with friends,
from the beginning to the end
We used to go to the store, then run around some more
I wish I could play again, but those days have come to an end
I am from playing with a ball,
against people real tall and small
We would walk to the park, to the park we would go
We would hop, skip, and jump, even in the snow
But we can’t do that no more, can’t even go to the store
The coronavirus is going to find us
I feel like it’s right behind us
I’m scared to take the bus
And I won’t even discuss
Unless I’m six feet away
When I wake up
in the day
I stay there
and lay
at home

mighty writers

Mighty Writers author Anthony Wallace. Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Excerpt from “Quarantine Reflections”

by Anthony Wallace, age 12

Even though I’m young, I quickly learned how to adapt. Now, the longer quarantine goes on the more I get used to it. While some things had drastically changed, such as school taking precautions to keep everyone safe by putting everything online, things aren’t as dire as I thought they’d be. I can’t do everything I used to do before quarantine, but I still get to have fun regardless, and that’s important in such a trying time. I’m doing great in school, I get to play basketball and eight-ball pool anytime, and I get to spend more time with family. So, while there is a pandemic going on, this quarantine has taught me that we can adapt to trying times quickly, and that people should still be appreciative, taking care of ourselves and others, especially the ones closest to you.

“Paper Cranes”

by Angelita Yudiono, age 9

the time when I stay inside quiet
and the outside world going astray
only paper can hold my wishes for the earth
I fold one thousand paper cranes to fly
fly paper cranes, fly to the sky
take my words soaring high
shower the world with many blessings
so it can heal their pains
paper cranes for peace
paper cranes for love
paper cranes for a cure
paper cranes for friendship
paper cranes for kindness
paper cranes for compassion
paper cranes for equality
paper cranes for happiness
paper cranes for homes
paper cranes for unity
paper cranes for hope
paper cranes for change

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Mighty Writers author Eriyanah. Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Excerpt from “My Crazy Family”

by Eriyanah, age 12

I’m picking up on things that my two siblings normally do at home
I’ve noticed my baby sister is always eating my phone
my baby sister has her teeth
she is eating like a beast
she is finally a big girl

Excerpt from “The Unfortunate Break”

by Jeremiah I. Reyes, age 14

My parents still manage to buy, cook, and serve the less fortunate by distributing food, clothes, hygiene care kits, wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves and donated masks to help stop the spread of this awful virus. I help my parents by putting together all that’s needed to distribute platters for the homeless around our city. I like to play their favorite songs that my father introduced me to and I ended up enjoying oldies: songs like “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang, “September” by Earth Wind & Fire, and “Smile” by Kirk Franklin.
I’m thankful my family is well because we have had 30 relatives, friends, and community members pass away from this virus. The losses seemed to be back-to-back. I try my best to remain positive that this too shall pass and we can go back to a somewhat normal life, although this has rocked us so hard nothing will truly be normal again. May all this that has occurred, good and bad, change us all for the better.

“It All Began”

by Aahil Khimani, age 9

It all began
When the people ran
To their homes
To stay safe
Now everyone is bored
But the virus is not ignored
People are on the front lines
Willing to pay any price
For all the deaths and cases
To just go away
Is this where the world ends
Or where it all began?
When the virus runs its course
The world will know it was war
Between us and the enemies
Knocking on the door
But we will know we won
Because we, as humanity,
are one

Published as a part of “The Kids Are Alright” in the April 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.