The Arrival of Great Jazz Music

Typically, wisdom is something we gain with age, when the gray hairs have begun to sprout atop our heads and the aches have begun to work through our bones, and we’re often left thinking, If only I knew then what I know now. This is why calling someone “wise beyond their years” is perhaps the greatest compliment you can pay—it implies a special understanding and appreciation of life, with all its bittersweet tapestry, its twists and turns, and its ups and downs. This week’s Unbound features a fourth-grade writer from Del Valle Elementary who fits the wise beyond her years tag to a tee. Like a great jazz song, Storm’s poem takes us through the transformative nature of sadness—its onset, its sudden departure, its stubborn ability to linger—while managing to make the experience beautiful and reflective. Congratulations to Storm for penning a poem that invites us to pause, deliberate, and wait patiently for silliness.

Don’t Like Sadness

Just in one day, the sadness
comes. When people in the war
just pass away. Why
does sadness come? Then comes
along silliness with some
great jazz music. For three
days straight it goes on. But
then it leaves. Again, just one
day is all it takes for sadness. I can
remember all the relatives
who had passed away.
A few years later, sadness
is still in town with me. When
will silliness and the great jazz
music come?

Storm, fourth grade, Del Valle Elementary School


Inquiring Minds

Our years in school are filled with facts—historical, biological, familial, geographical. We learn where things are, why they do what they do, and how they work. Often, when we hear these bits of information for the first time, they’re utterly mind-blowing, vastly expanding our small sense of the world. But slowly, over the years, these facts become second nature—two plus two is four, Europe is north of Africa, giraffes have very long necks. Today’s young writer, however, offers a fun reminder that it’s wise to occasionally question what we already know to be true, to ask again, and to go straight to the source. Congratulations to Gabby at Del Valle Elementary School on a poem that, in a sense, turns the facts on their head (at least as far as monkeys are concerned).


Monkey, monkey, why are you so
cute and smooth? Do you really
like bananas, or do you just eat them
because that’s the only thing you can
eat? Also, what color are you—brown,
pink, blue, maroon, gray, black, yellow, red,
white? Please send me an answer.
Text or call 555-5555.

Gabby, fourth grade, Del Valle Elementary School

How Would You Describe Yourself?

Where would we be without adjectives? Whether we’re compelled to share a description of a good meal, the weather outside, the hardest day of our lives, or the most happy occasions, adjectives are instrumental. In celebration of the adjective, we’d like to spotlight some extraordinary writers using vivid describing words to paint complex pictures of themselves. Not only are these list poems proof of a young writer’s expanding vocabulary, but they also highlight one of the finer moments from our Community-Wide Reading event, which happened this past Saturday. At each of these reading events, our staff is delighted to hear poems and stories that represent such diverse and rich voices, experiences than run the gamut from the imaginary, to hardened memory, to those sensory experiences that invite us, briefly, into the lives of our students.


I am testy, successful, silent, pleasant,
outrageous, magnificent, gentle, courageous,
blessed, brainy, adventurous, great,
nice, victorious, splendid, strong, funny,
kind-like, good, energetic, confident,
creative, awesome.
I am Anna.

Annahie, fourth grade, Del Valle Elementary School

I Am

I am crazy, depressed, dizzy, embarrassed, grumpy, happy, healthy, itchy, kind, lazy, lonely, lucky, nervous, nice, noisy, nosy, sad, silly, slow, strong, tired, upset, weak, young, tricky, proud. I am Jonathan.

Jonathan, fourth grade, Del Valle Elementary School

I Am . . .

I am awesome, beautiful, confident,
dog-tired, energetic, fierce, giant,
hilarious, icy, juicy, kid-like, light,
magnificent, new, perfect, the quickest,
rapid, skinny, tall, upset, victorious,
wet, yellow, zany. I am Teneshia.

Teneshia, fourth grade, Del Valle Elementary School

I Became

I became a butterfly who flies.
I became beautiful on a bright sea.
I became the son of someone.
I became clouds in the sky.
I became a clown in a circus.
I became a banana in a tree.
I became a monkey who likes bananas.
I became a fish in the ocean.
I became a flashlight for night.
I became paint with color.

Alondra, fourth grade, Del Valle Elementary School