Our first Featured Book Friday is celebrating an 826LA Publication, This is my Revolution. This book was written by the 2014-2015 9th grade Ethnic Studies students at Roosevelt High School.

By identifying community assets and analyzing root causes of oppression, students reimagined their realities through writing about themselves and life in Boyle Heights. This collection of honest and inspirational stories depicts the power of transformation and healing that comes from knowledge of self. Every author expresses urgency and agency for change to reimagine the future.

Cover by: Nico Avina

Designed by: Diana Molleda

“The Story Behind My Smile,” a poem written by Arianna L., is an excerpt from the book. Follow the link below to purchase the full book and support 826LA.

The Story Behind My Smile

We’ve all been through so much

Trust me I know the struggles you have been through

I fake a smile every single day just to show I’m not hurting

Dad’s been on disability for a couple of months

We are getting about a grand every couple of months

It’s sad to see how bad we have been struggling

But yet there’s nothing I can really do

Besides sit back and “not worry about it”

Mom’s bringing in whatever she can

Getting paid about 400 dollars per month

Sister just moved out

She can’t even look me in the eyes or even say hi

We are on a rocky type of road right now

But will it all get better?

Both of us don’t do anything to fix the situation

But I’m not going to bow down to her wrongdoings

Momma and Pops arguing in the next room

It’s like living through a never-ending war

Last week Dad was out

Him hugging me

Me crying in his arms questioning myself if I can get through this alone

You all ask me how I do it, but I don’t have an answer

Did you really want to put me through this, Dad?

You say you want to protect me but all you’re really doing is tearing me down

Dad’s a wannabe G

Reppin a hood he doesn’t even belong to

It’s as if he hasn’t grown up yet

I tell him to grow up but he says he knows what he’s gotta do

I’m lost and confused

And my fuse is running out too

I really don’t know what to do

I’m just trying to make things right

Momma’s a smoker

Smoking those Camel Crush cigarettes

As I watch her lungs slowly die out

She walks to the liquor with fifty cents in her hand just to go buy a single

I asked her to stop but she said I’m not her mother

They say it’s her stress reliever

But is it really

Or are they just running?

Praying to my Grandma up above to help me make these things right

Asking her to give me strength to get through this

Family is supposed to be tight but instead they’re not trying to make it right

Arguments over the stupidest reasons

But I can’t say anything cause I have no right

I love my parents to death but I don’t know what do do

I’m a fifteen-year-old girl that’s stuck in between loving and hating herself

I don’t know what do do

Parents both arguing

Sister doesn’t talk to me

Family making up stuff

Who can I run to?

What can I do besides fake a smile and act like it doesn’t affect me

So many questions running through my mind

But I still don’t know what to do

Trying to hold it all in but it’s’ not working

I love my parents to death but is it really worth me trying to better things

They don’t see how bad I’ve been hurting

And they will never see it


Purchase “This is My Revolution”


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