SEARCHING FOR HARUKO By Jessie & Liyi, both age 10

A wizard waved his wand and whispered gibberish. Joann ’s mother carried her, running up the stairs. She hid her baby under her bed, but it was too late. Their blood froze in their veins. Their lungs whitened and their brains melted. The wizard separated mother and daughter into different dimensions! Joann lived on earth and her mother lived in the magic world. 

“I’m sick of people telling me that I’m not old enough to find my mother,” Joann said. “We’re 14 years old! I want to find her!”

“I’m not sure about this because I have a feeling we might get lost,” Emily said.

“I’m going by myself then!”

“Ok then I’ll come with!” 

Emily and Joann ran into their closet and jumped through a shiny, black hole. It whirled like water down a drain. They slid into the portal, jumped out and ran to toward the castle in front of them.
“Remember when we were here to tutor Chika?” Emily said.
“Can we go to my mother’s house?” Joann said “She lives around here somewhere.”
Emily wandered to the castle wall. On the brick hung a poster that said, “This wizard is banned from this castle for doing his evilness.”                  
“I want to find my mom now,” Joann said. “I really miss her.” She handed Emily a jar of powder. Emily dusted it on herself. It sunk into her body, fading her skin and bone and muscle. Achooo!

They whistled. A swan swooped down from the air. They jumped on its back, and it flew gracefully and landed right next to the castle walls. Brownies bounced in the parapets. Their crimson eyes stared at the girls.
  “Stop right there!” the brownies said, frying the doorway with their laser eyes. 
The girls punched and kicked the brownies. Emily’s hair darkened, her curls tangling in the cold air. “Ahh my hair,” Emily said, brushing her split ends. A fat brownie lay on the ground in front of her, she pinched off a piece and gobbled it down.
The girls tiptoed to the back of the castle and put on the jetpacks they ordered from the Scholastic Book catalogue. Rings of smoke blasted from the packs. They flew into a yellow room where golden furniture shined. A glass desk walked to a corner and shattered.
“Wow!” Emily said. “This place is awesome. Whose room is this?” She opened a file folder on the floor. A picture of a man in  blue-striped glasses topped a stack of papers. The caption said Room 13J.
“He was on the poster,” Joann said. “That’s why he looks familiar. Let’s go to room 13J.”

Crack! Crack! Trails of blood led the girls to room 13J. They skipped to the door, stepping on gooey blood and glass.
“Oh no!” said Emily. “My shoes are getting dirty.”
“Who cares?” said Joann. “We’ll clean them later.”
“But the blood will ruin my shoes and it won’t come off!” 
Red stained the metal door in front of them. Creak!
“What was that?” asked Emily
“I don’t know, maybe it’s another ghost!”
They pushed through the door. Blood was splattered on a messy bed. Pieces of paper flew across the floor. The girls connected  two of the scraps and read the words on them. “Great Dragon’s Cave in Danger.”
Joann said, “I know where it is!”
“We’ve got to get there before he does!” said Emily.
The girls flew by jetpack to the cave. When they arrived, the rubies on the floor were disappearing. 
They returned to the castle and found a note that said, “Meet you in my room!” They ran to Room 13J. Piles of rubies stood around the wizard. “Ha, ha, ha! You will never stop me!”
“Oh yeah?” Joann flew into the air, snatched the wand from him and banged it on her knee. Red smoke drifted into the rubies. The wizard crumbled into ashes.

The girls left the castle and walked through the dirt outside. A woman in an apron stood in front of a fence. Joann walked up to her and said, “Can you tell me where Miss Mash is?”
“I am Miss Mash, Haruko Mash,” the woman said. “Why are you in my boss’s yard?”
Gummy worms squished across the coco dirt. Haruko scooped up a handful and threw them over the fence then planted some candy cane bushes around a gurgling chocolate fountain. A galaxy of candy hung by skyscraping stems. 
Joann, amazed, said, “You’re my mom! Come with me!”
“No,” Haruko said. “I want to stay here where I can see candy grow!”
“Come with me!”
“I’ll think about it.”
About the Authors
Hi! My name is Liyi. I am ten years old. I live in San Francisco with my mom. I’m good at hoola-hooping and math. I want to be good at art someday. I want to be a nurse when I grow up. I’m not shy anymore but I still hold on to that shy identity. If I were weather I would be snow because it is my favorite color. My favorite books are Popularity Papers. If I could have a super power I would pick mind-reading because I then would know what my friends are thinking. I speak Chinese at home. This is my third published book. I also wrote The Beautiful Lady and When I Was Little.

Hello! My name is Jessie and I’m ten years old. I live with my parents and I like to daydream and sit and watch others. I’m good swimming and math. I want to be good at science and drawing humans. I want to be a pharmacist someday. I’m different from other people because I chatter a lot but I finish my work. My favorite book is Camille Mcphee Fell Under the Bus. If I could have any power I would go back in time so I could fix my past mistakes. I speak Chinese and English at home. I have also published A Dangerous Day in King Tao’s Palace and Hair Help. Of course, this is my third published book.

Watch Room 2 actors perform a Readers’ Theater adaptation of this story here:

WHEN I WAS LITTLE By Liyi, age 9


When I was four I used to feed pigeons in New York with my grandma and my mom. The sky was gray but it didn’t rain or snow. Grass and colorful flowers moved back and forth in the wind. Feeding pigeons was illegal but it was also fun because they made these cooing sounds when they ate. One time I saw a pigeon with only one leg. It frightened me because I thought my leg might disappear too. But it was also funny because that bird looked like it was playing hopscotch. It’s head faced the other way but its eyeball was glaring at me.


When I was in preschool there was a boy who usually slept through the whole naptime like a hibernating bear. But one day he didn’t, he just sat up and swirled his tie. He wouldn’t sleep. The teacher grabbed his tie and pulled on it. The boy cried and cried. I stared at them. Another kid peed on his mat and the yellow liquid rolled onto the floor. The teacher stopped pulling the crying kid’s tie and helped the wet kid change. I pretended I was sleeping when the teacher looked at me. I was so scared. I thought the teacher was going to throw my shoe in the trashcan. She did that to other kids who didn’t sleep. I was really lucky that she didn’t see me. I wonder why they let this mean person be a preschool teacher. She probably thought she was teaching kids a lesson. I wonder if when this teacher was little, her teacher was mean to her. Once there was this lady who slapped my face when I came out of my apartment. She didn’t tell me why. I didn’t tell my mom because I was afraid that she would try to take revenge. When I’m a grown up, I know I won’t be mean to kids. I hope that slap won’t turn me into a violent person.


When I was seven I lived in New York, and my family went to Philadelphia to visit my relatives. When I got there, I was shocked to see my fifteen-year-old cousin drinking out of a baby bottle. She sucked on it while she was playing video games. Blue light from the TV reflected off the glass bottle. Sometimes I still felt like sucking on a baby bottle like my cousin. I wanted to be a baby again so I asked my mom to buy me a bottle but she said no. I don’t feel this way anymore and I didn’t even notice when I stopped.

About The Author

Hi! My name is Liyi. I am nine years old. I live in San Francisco with my mom. I like to make art using recycled parts; my teacher Robyn does that for art projects. I didn’t think it would really be fun but when I tried it I liked it. I am good at thinking of new designs. I want to be good at climbing someday. I also want to be an artist. I am different from other kids because I am very scared and shy of most people I don’t know. If I were an animal I would be a honey badger so I would be able to protect myself with my long claws. I would dig holes to stay out of the hot sun. My favorite books are the Ivy and Bean series even though they are for little kids and I’m a big kid. If I could have a superpower it would be super speed so I could win capture the flag all the time instead of Brandon. If I could go into the future I would go to 3002 because I wonder if I will still be alive that year. My family is from China. I was born there but left when I was a baby. I don’t know how the weather is or how it looks and I wonder what the schools are like. I would like to go someday. I speak Chinese at home. I also wrote The Beautiful Lady. This is my second published book.


Birds flew across an orange sky. Squirrels jumped through dead leaves on the ground. The sun was setting over the sea. Children climbed the monkey bars and grown-ups ate icecream on benches.

“Why are you crying?” Ann asked her sister.

Katy did not answer. She opened her notebook and wrote the words Beautiful lady.

Ann saw what she wrote. “Who’s that?”

“I don’t know,” Katy said.

“Come on, Katy, just tell me.”

“Let’s go home.”

“No!” Katy said. “Aren’t you going to tell our parents that you’re sad?”

Katy did not answer.

“Come on Katy, answer me. Just say something.”

Katy kept crying.

“Don’t cry Katy. It’s getting late. Let’s go home.”

Katy stopped crying and said, “Ok.” She turned left.

Ann pointed right and said, “Home is that way.”

“I know a short cut.” Katy tiptoed to the monkey bars without Ann.

Ann walked home alone. At the door, she felt a prickle at her back. She took it off and looked inside. She saw a porcupine climbing on her books. “How did that get there?” she said. She felt something wet on her back and it hurt a lot. “Mom!” she called.

Ann’s mom hurried over to her. “What happened?”

“A porcupine got in my backpack and it poked me!”

Ann’s mom carried her to the hospital. The doctor put medicine in the pokes and kept the porcupine and did some tests on it to see if it was poisonous.

When Ann returned home from the hospital she could not find Katy. She looked everywhere. She went outside and finally she found her at the park. “Where have you been? What are you doing out here?”

“Umm. Nothing, “ Katy said. “I just stayed here.”

“Let’s go home and go to bed.”

“Ok,” Katy said.

At home Ann asked Katy, “Can you please tell me who the beautiful lady is?”

“No,” Katy said.

“Just tell me Katy.”


“I’m telling mom.”

“Then I’m telling dad that you are bothering me,” Katy said.

“Fine,” Ann said. “I won’t tell mom.”

At school the next day, Katy met a new kid named Jennifer. She was good at hula-hooping and she had smooth hair.

“Hi,” Katy said to Jennifer.

Jennifer did not say anything

“You did not even tell me your name,” Katy said. “Who’s your teacher?”

“Ms. Water. Who’s your teacher?”

“My teacher is Mr. Sock,” Jennifer said.

“Are you scared?” Katy said.

“No,” Jennifer said. “Why should I be scared?”

“Because Mr. Sock is so mean. Once he said GET OUT OF HERE to me and my sister, but we didn’t do anything wrong.”
The bell rang and everyone went home.

In the schoolyard Ann saw Jennifer. They stared at each other. They recognized each other from preschool. Ann remembered the first time she saw Jennifer. Ann and Katy were building a palace and a castle out of blocks. Jennifer came over to them and knocked over their kingdom then she grabbed Katy and said, “What do you want to play now?”

Ann and Jennifer said hi to each other on the yard and started to fight and shout. Then they went home and took baths. Ann went to bed and fell asleep. She had a dream that she hit Jennifer’s head and gave her amnesia. Ann was the master of Jennifer, but when Ann woke up she was not.

The next morning Ann and Katy got dressed. Their mom said, “Quickly, you’re getting late for school.”
Ann and Katy ate breakfast while their dad drank tea. They went to school. At recess they played tag. When recess was over their teacher gave them a math test. Ann gave Katy a note. It said, Katy, I know who is beautiful lady. Sophie told me Jennifer is beautiful lady.

Katy wrote a note back. It said, How did Sophie tell you? I told her not to tell anyone. I was so scared I cried. I knew Jennifer was coming, that’s the reason I cried too.

Ann read the note and wrote back: Why did you cry?

Katy wrote: I think Jennifer is going to make some trouble between us like in preschool.

Ann read the note and the girls quickly finished their math tests and gave them to their teacher. They put their chairs up and went home. Their mom was in the kitchen on the telephone. She hung up and looked at the girls. “That was the hospital,” she said. “They got the results of the porcupine tests. They found out the porcupine belongs to a girl in your class named Jennifer.”

“How can a test tell you that?” Katy said.

“I don’t know. It’s science.”

“I knew Jennifer did that kind of stuff,” Ann said.

The next day at recess, Ann pushed Katy on the swing. The girls talked and giggled. Jennifer was jumping rope. She stopped jumping and walked over to the where Ann and Katy were swinging. “Hey,” she said. “Could I play?”

Katy and Ann closed their mouths.

About the Author

Hi! My name is Liyi. I am eight years old. I live in San Francisco with my mom. I am good at math and hula-hooping. I want to be good at painting. When I grow up I want to be an astronaut because I want to see what everything in space looks like. I hate kickball. I’d rather get shots than play kickball. English confuses me when two different words sound the same. If I were a planet I would be Pluto because it is icy and I like to make people shiver. I wish I wasn’t so shy because sometimes I just stand there. The Beautiful Lady is my first published book.