You step off the plane into the Hanoi airport and your life changes. Airport workers hold up signs that say which way to go. People pull their suitcases behind them as they walk. Long lines form. Motorcycles on the road speed by. Confused faces wonder, What will I experience in Vietnam?


Smells of mit in baskets fill the air. The fruit is thick and yellow, pokey on the outside but smooth on the inside. Baskets of rice hang from poles women wear across their tired shoulders. They say, Ai muon mua com? Dust flies in the air and you walk through it. It looks like you’re staring through tears. Wear a gauze mask to protect yourself.


Horns honk around 4pm. It’s rush hour. School bells ring. Restaurant workers bang on pots, shuffle noodles and chop meat. Customers close the door, which makes a screech. Policemen blow horns. They want the cars to move. It is very crowded and noisy. The streets have no lanes. They make me think of tangled hair.


Try famous Vietnamese dishes like spring rolls or pho. When you walk into a restaurant, they will give you the menu right away. You can make your own spring roll. It will not taste salty or sweet. Chew the thick meats and fresh vegetables. Crunch the carrots and sip the dipping sauce. Oh boy, you can eat as much as you want!


Whenever you touch anything in Vietnam, be sure to wash your hands. The water is dirty too! Nothing is one hundred percent for sure clean. Your hands feel rough and dry from the soap and water. Most things are dusty but more things are fun!

About the Author

Hi! My name is San and I live with my mom and dad in San Francisco. I like to play on my keyboard and read books, especially comics like Ultracute. I am good at figuring things out and drawing. Someday I hope I am braver because now I’m too shy. When I grow up I want to be a journalist or an artist. I am different from other kids because I am usually the smallest in my class. Optical illusions mix me up! If I were weather I would be hail because I want to be cold and hard. People touch my soft cheeks too much. If I had one wish I would wish for all my friendship troubles to be erased. I am also the author of The Frog who Lost his Crown.

The King who Lost his Crown by San, age 9

Rain came down from the sky and then thunder and then lightning. It was so bad that when the lightning stopped, for a few seconds a giant, dusty tornado swirled through the sky. The tornado was so windy that it blew away the King Frog’s crown! The river flooded the town. All of the tadpoles in the river were shocked. The tadpoles said, “Oh, we think we’re going to die!” The tadpoles wanted to be safe so they hid under a safety rock. The tornado blew away the lily pads and made the waves of the river grow huge! The tornado stopped. Frog’s house under the bridge was ruined when the bridge crashed down into the river, tearing and blowing away the lily pads and lotuses. Only a little bit of water was left in the river.

King Frog wanted to get his house fixed so he called Froggy the Builder. Froggy the Builder came to Frog’s house and fixed it.

Froggy the Builder looked at King Frog and said, “Why are you still mad?”

Frog said, “Because I was suppose to be the king of this river but I lost my crown.”

Froggy the Builder said, “Too bad, too sad, are you unglad?”

“Well of course,” said King Frog.

Froggy the Builder left the river. King Frog had an IDEA! King Frog reported the crown he had lost to a TV news program. He called a TV news reporter named Maggy. Maggy showed up to do the interview at Froggy’s house with a cameraman.
Maggy said, “In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 and action!! The cameraman pressed the button play.

“What is your name sir?”

“I’m a king of the river and my name is King Frog. I lost my crown in a windy tornado.”

Maggy said, “How are you feeling?”


Soon other river creatures heard the news of King Frog’s lost crown so they made a lot of copies of pictures of the crown. They stapled them where there was no water.

One day a bad guy saw one of the pictures of the crown. The bad guy wanted the crown because it sparkled and shined. He wore a black mask, black jacket, black shirt, black pants, black thick gloves and black shoes. A thick bumpy mask covered his face.

The flyer said, “KING’S CROWN MISSING.” The bad guy looked at the word “KING.” He thought that if he wore the king’s crown he would turn into a rich king! The bad guy went everywhere to find the crown. A few seconds later, he heard something tinkling and he saw something shining on the ground. The bad guy went closer and closer and then he really did find the crown! But before he could reach it, a cop came and said, “Hey! You go in the cop car right now.”

The bad guy said, “B-b-b- but I found the crown.”

The cop said, “No buts allowed.”

The bad guy hopped into the cop car sadly. The cop’s partner took the crown.

King Frog could not sleep that night. He turned sad, mad, madder then FURIOUS. He shouted out, “WHERE IS MY CROWNNNN?”

The tadpoles swam up the river to talk to the King.

The tadpoles said,” WHY DID YOU SCREAM SO LOOUDDDD?”
The king said, “You don’t dare talk to me like that!!!”

All the river creatures kept on arguing and arguing. When the cop heard the noise, he handed the crown to the king and said, “Is this your crown?”

The king said, “YES! YES! That is my crown!!!” Frog took his crown and swam down stairs that led him to a ballroom then he danced.

About the Author

Hi! My name is San and I live with my mom and dad in San Francisco. I like to swim at Presidio YMCA. I am good at drawing. My friends are good at field hockey so I want to be better too. I want to be an artist when I grow up. I can’t swim and play kickball really good like other kids. If I were a planet, I would be Mars because I like its color. My wish is to swim all day!! The King Who Lost His Crown is my first published book.

I’m Named after San Francisco by San, age 8

My name is San Ngoc. San means Saint in Spanish. Ngoc is my middle name and Ngoc means pearl. My mom named me San because I was born in San Francisco right after she moved here from Vietnam. She named me after the city. I don’t like my name because it is too short. My Vietnamese nickname is Tit. Tit means “I close my eyes and laugh.” My mom named me Tit because whenever I laugh it looks like I close my eyes, but I am not closing my eyes. I like my Vietnamese nickname because you have to raise your voice at the end of the word when you say it. It sounds strong to me when you raise your voice at the end of the word.