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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

All of Me

Chris Baron

Feiwel & Friends


Before Summer

Who Am I?

The life in my head seems

so different from the life outside,

where I am so big

that everyone stares,

but no one sees the real me.

My name is Ari Rosensweig.

This year, I am the newest seventh grader

at Mill Valley Middle School.

I have sandy-brown hair

and green eyes like my father’s.

I’m average height, but

I am a fat kid, and I hate it when

people call me names.

Even though I’m overweight,

I can still do everything

everyone else can—

ride my bike, play video games—

but people just see me as different,

only notice who I am

on the outside.

My mother is an artist

who sculpts giants in clay

and paints the world

on canvas, on murals,

and even on clothes;

my father sells what she paints.

I’m an only child.

Sometimes I get lonely,

wish for a brother or sister,

but I get so much time to myself

to do what I like to do,

and no one interferes.

I make role-playing games.

I’m going to be a cryptozoologist.

I want to find the creatures out there,

like Bigfoot, that might seem so different

but that belong to this world too.

My mother says we are going

to spend the summer at the beach;

Out in nature, she says.

I like the beach, but I don’t like

taking off my shirt.

I always have to hike up my pants,

and I worry that there isn’t enough food,

because I’m always hungry.

More than anything, I think,

I want to lose weight,

and I don’t know how.

Why Are You So Fat?

people always ask (not always out loud)

I’m not fat.

I sit up straighter,

feel the rolls on my body unbuckle.

I just have big bones. That’s what my mom says.

I have big bones and bigger spaces in between them.

Why are you so fat?

Well, they say my grandfather, from eastern Europe

had a mysterious disease that made him big;

he carried it with him,

and he gave it to my mother

and my mom had it and now I have it.

Why are you so fat?

Because my grandmother made me eat every bite,

told me to never leave anything on my plate.

Why are you so fat?

It’s a gland problem.

I’ve got bad glands.

Someone told me about glands,

so I think I have bad ones.

Why are you so fat?

The doctor says I can’t help it.

He says I may not look normal,

but I’m healthy enough to carry the stars,

and this fat keeps me safe.

Why are you so fat?

Because I love school lunches: meat pies and yogurt cups

Copyright © 2019 by Chris Baron