Return to Headlines

Congratulations Sophia De Mesa selected for the Jordan Sonnenblick Author-in-Residence Scholarship

Sophia de Mesa - Grade 8

Prompt: Describe how Mr. Sonnenblick’s book has impacted your school experience and/or personal life.
Choice of document: Limericks (note: the poems are not directly related to the book.)

Kids surround him, ones he’s known all his life not knowing his family fights unending strife. Perfectly masked,

fearing all those who ask,

dreading when one word will hurt like a knife.


The girl with thick glasses has always been strange, yet one little tumor caused her one drastic change. a flower’s color fades,

as she loses her days,

to get her life back , any deal she’d arrange.


Alone in a room, as the clock loudly ticks, and torturous cries fill the hallway at six. Child full of red,

hanging on by a thread,

his innocent soul, now too damaged to fix.


A ravaging nightmare becomes the new norm,

to the suddenly strange world he has to conform. The bottled up anger,

good friends now strangers,

but in the end, this is the calm before the storm.

I miss laughter and quarrels and stories that bore, and the troublesome times I’ve not longed for before The memories that stayed

of messes we made

help me never forget who I’ll always adore.


Feeling alone, as my mind twists and turns, fighting the urge to tell them what burns.

Hiding the truth, as I lose my youth,

waiting day after day as the guilt still returns.


The average bland family, now so wanted and missed, and past loves and friendships that just barely exist.

The closest ones now so distant, all joy gone in an instant,

yet he’ll push away all those who try to assist.


Back to song once again, seems that it’s all he knows, hiding from troubles, he avoids facing foes.

The sound gives him hope, as he struggles to cope,

wanting this safe world to keep him from woes.


The boy who annoys runs rampant and wild, innocent and free, the world has him beguiled. Now in the present,

in a world I resent,

forced to protect him, the sweet dying child.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie has impacted my personal life in a way. Steven’s experience with his dying relationship with his parents, struggling to keep up with school, constantly worrying about and having to support Jeffrey, and his changing friendships was half difficult to empathize with, and half completely understandable. It’s hard to go around places and not be irritated by others, but now it’s also hard to act on it, as it is unclear what their personal life is like. You never know if the optimistic tough guy just drove his mother to the hospital, or if the sweet, quiet barista will never be able to pay all her bills. I think people are always so strong and beautiful, even if they aren’t trying to be or think of themselves to be that way.

Even though we’ve been taught since birth that we should ask for help, it’s always so hard. The mindset is that we would rather make ourselves hide and rot, bottling up all our thoughts instead of letting someone help carry such a burden. People are hard to please, but so much harder to understand. Reading about Steven struggling to consistently support his brother was rough, because I understand how overwhelming it can be, being in that position. Of course, nothing as pressuring as having to be an encouragement for a sibling with a deadly disease, but the worry of what will happen next, and the pressure of what you can do is so overbearing. The worst feeling was sitting around while someone else’s health was slowly deteriorating, and all you could do was sit and wait for a miracle. In that position, people are expected to act and look their best, even if they are in as bad a place as everyone else in the situation. Even though the levels of harm are very different, it’s still a bad place. If you’re drowning in four inch deep water, or the deep depths of the ocean, you’re still drowning. It sucks knowing there is so much more that could be done, and yet all you can do is sit there like an idiot holding a dying child’s hand.

I understand the idea of being forced to keep up with your normal life when all has changed. I understand having to hide all your issues to try and keep relationships, when hiding only degrades those relationships. I understand repeatedly going back to things you love as a form of escapism. Reading about Steven slowly snapping from the pressure and worry, it struck me in a way. When all is said and all is done, Steven’s struggles were not personally relatable, but certain ideas and emotions portrayed in the book hit home. Kids should never be forced to be so strong in a time when everyone surrounding is so, so weak.

The book as a whole has affected my life by having me think about other people’s perspective of the world, learning to deal with negative situations, and just having to do all that you can do to help yourself or others, no matter how hard it is.