Editor’s note: The following essays and art are part of Xpress‘ 2016 Kids Issue, a colorful annual feature that offers local K-12 students a chance to express themselves through art, poetry and prose. This year, we asked kids to focus on themselves with the theme of “Who am I?”
The collection below features work from the Asheville Writers in the Schools & Community’s Family Voices program at Hall Fletcher Elementary School, in which students and their families told stories from the point of view of a family member’s hands.
THE HANDS THAT CLEAN
Mom works, gets ready, cleans up, relaxes, goes to sleep. She has beautiful hands. Her hands are folding at her work, and they’re getting clean and dry. The clothes smell like clean clothes.
— Jeremy Earls, third grade
My family is a bee because we are always getting hurt.
My brother is a lion because he is just a little aggressive.
My family is a big and warm pizza because we are always warm and together.
My family is a mall because they’re always shopping.
— Pamely Rueda, third grade
I peek out from the covers and push them away. Then I pick up the sticky, icky doughnuts and shove them in Sebastian’s mouth.
Later that morning, I drag the Slip and Slide and the Bounce House to the yard. Then I have to turn on the wind generator to blow up the Bounce House.
We make an ice cream cake. Then Sebastian’s friends come over. I get a lot of high-fives.
After that, I get super wet from going down the Slip and Slide.
We dry off. We spoon super yummy cake into Sebastian’s mouth.
I move super fast to open all of Sebastian’s presents. They’re all awesome.
— Sebastian Wilson, third grade
His hands say, “Man, my calluses are hard!”
I go happily downstairs to take the dogs out.
After that, I see the kitchen’s ugly floor and get lunch ready for school.
I say, “Someone needs to scrub that floor, but not me!”
Then I make breakfast.
— Asa Whiteley, third grade
MY MOM’S HANDS
I’m tired because I do dishes all the time. I’m wrinkly because of all the dish soap. I’m tired of holding the broom all day. I’m tired because I always break my fingernails. I’m tired because the dog pulls on me all day. I’m tired because I have to put on makeup all day. I’m tired because I have to make beds all day. I’m tired because I have to make dinner.
— Manuel Colón Jr., fourth grade
MY DAD’S HANDS
I feel OUCH!! almost every day. Hammers banging on me. !!*??!!**?? That means “Ouch.” I get thorns stuck in me, I get swelled up. I get things stuck in my hands. I feel sore after driving so much last night. I will eat when I get home, because I ate nothing all day. I sometimes go to sleep after a long day of work. I also sometimes fix up the house when I get done. If you were wondering, I work: nonstop working. Then, for a few days, we take care of his kids all the time.
— Annalise Mitchell, third grade
My mom’s hands are nice-looking. Her hands move at work. They move every day. They wave at people to say “Hey” and say “Hello.”
— Jaquell Earls, first grade
(MY AUNT CAROLINE’S HANDS)
What they do:
She is a truck driver, and every day except Sundays and Saturdays she goes to work and travels all the way to Wisconsin. First to Tennessee, then Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and I can’t remember. Also she stops a lot at gas station/truck stops and restaurants, and that is how my Aunt Caroline’s days go.
I’m feeling tired from steering that wheel all day: It makes me dizzy going side to side all day and night. I feel cold from going outside when I go to truck stops. I open the door and pick my fork up and put my fork down while I eat. Then back on the road I go. And finally, we are back home.
Time to relax!
— Tyshauna Jacobs, fifth grade
Hi, I’m Anita’s hands. And today I’m going to tell you about my worst day on the job ever!!! So, first I woke up, and my hand got stuck in a splinter! Ow! After that I went to wash my hands, and guess what? I put the water on hot and burnt my hands! Ow! Then I went to wake up my children, and I fell and got my hands caught under the bed! Man, so many “ows,” I just thought I’d stay home. When I did Abby’s hair with a flat iron, my hands got stuck and got burnt! Again. Ow!!! Well, that was my day.
— Abby Irizzary, third grade
THE ADVENTURES OF ELIJA
Hi, I’m Elija’s hands and I’m going to tell you about my life. Yawn.
“Eli, wake up,” said my mom.
“I’m up, I’m up.” I washed my hands and got ready to take Abby and Aaron to the bus stop.
“Aaron, Abby, time to go.”
“OK, we’re ready.”
“Let’s go,” I said.
“Wait! My backpack!”
“Fine, go get it.”
To be continued…
— Aaron Irizarry, third grade