NIGHTMARE By Betty, age 9

On May 3, 2010 my leg was hurting again. My mom told me to wear my brace but I didn’t want to wear it because it was uncomfortable. I hoped it would get better soon because I hated when my leg hurt. I couldn’t run at all!

I went to the doctor and he gave me a test. I climbed onto a table attached to a machine for checking my legs and laid down. I couldn’t move at all. I had to take off my necklace because the machine was magnetic. The machine only made one sound. It was an outer space kind of sound. I was scared because the machine was a big metal thing full of bright light that went over my legs. It checked my legs while I slept for two hours. I closed my eyes and didn’t open them the whole entire time. My mom was with me the whole time. It felt like my legs were inside a whale but not my full body. This whole thing made me have nightmares.

The doctor said that it was only a seasonal problem. This time it came in spring. Last time it came in summer. I’m so happy because my leg doesn’t hurt anymore. One day it will come back though.

About the Author

Hi! My name is Betty. I am nine years old. I live with my parents, three cousins, grandparents, aunt and uncle. I like to read and do art sometimes. I am also the author of Blue and other Poems and When I Came to America.



My earliest memory is the first time I broke my leg.
I was so shocked.
I didn’t sleep.
I was seven and a half years old.
I lived in San Francisco
My mom and dad said, “We were worried about you.”
I said, “It was very hurt.”
I had to wear and brace and it hurt.
This memory smells like sweet strawberries because I feel my parents caring about me.
If this memory were a color it would be blue because when I got out of the hospital,
I looked up and I saw the sky.
I thought about the sky above my grandparents’ house in China.
Blue reminds me of them a lot.


My uncle smelled a little bit like watermelon.
He was driving me and my family from the airport to his house.
We just got to America.
In the plane ride I sat in the middle and I wanted to look out the window,
But I couldn’t see.
I knew there was an ocean out there.
I wanted to see a whale.
From the sky,
it would look tiny.

First Day of School

I sat on a bench in the yard,
all alone.
I wondered if my classroom would be blue.
The bell rang.
I had to line up.
I was very nervous
because I had never spoken English before.
Mrs. Youna took our class to our room.
The room was not as blue as I thought it would be.
I was scared that the other kids would make fun of me
because I couldn’t speak English as well as them.
That happened a little,
but there were some other kids who didn’t know that much English either.
When I got home I ate some fruit.
I don’t know what kind of fruit,
but I know it was fruit.

About the Author

Hi! My name is Betty. I am nine years old. I live in San Francisco with my mom, dad, uncle, aunt, grandpa, grandma and three cousins. My favorite thing to do is play cards with my mom and dad. I taught them how to play “Speed.” I am good at playing four-square. When I grow up I want to be good at typing fast. I want to be a doctor because I want to help sick people. If I were a kind of weather I would be sunshine because it makes plants grow.

When I Came to America by Betty, age 8

When I moved to America, I was surprised that I was allowed to stay here. I thought somebody would say, “It is time to go.” I was surprised that I made a new friend so fast. Also, I was surprised that I got 100% on my first math test.

Before I got to San Francisco, I thought about the TransAmerica Pyramid. My aunt told me it is one of the tallest buildings, and on top there is a triangle.

I came here with my mom and dad. When I first arrived in America, I felt happy because when I was in China, I always wished to come to San Francisco so I could learn English and more math and stop taking naps at school.

I didn’t know that my family was moving to America until we were on the airplane. Then I asked my mom, “Why are we on this airplane?” I think my mom thought I was too young to understand or I might have gotten angry at her for moving us to America. When she told me, I was angry and a little miserable because I couldn’t see my grandma and grandpa anymore. I asked my mom, “Why didn’t you tell me at home?” She told me she forgot because she was too busy packing clothes.

About the Author

Hi! My name is Betty. I am eight years old. I live in San Francisco with my parents, my grandparents, and my aunt and uncle and cousins. I’m good at math. I want to be good at writing and reading someday. I don’t want to grow up because I don’t want to die. I am special because one of my knees is smaller than the other. I just moved to San Francisco from China when I was six. It confuses me when I lose my Chinese. If I were a food, I would be a watermelon because watermelons are summer fruits. My hope is that my parents and I will have a long, healthy life.

My Name by Betty, age 9

My Chinese name is Shi Fen. My grandpa named me. It means great and beautiful. I think my name is easy to remember and write. My American name is Betty. It means promise. My mom named me when we came to America. She asked me, “Do you like it?” I thought about it and I told my mom I liked the name Betty. I like my name because of the way it sounds.