Flying the Dragon

Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi Read Free Book Online

Book: Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Natalie Dias Lorenzi
Tags: Ages 10 & Up
cards again. At least he didn’t have a picture of trousers.
    When Maria finished with her cards, Mr. Jacobs went on to the next student. A wave of panic rolled through Hiroshi. Four more students, and then it would be his turn. Hiroshi knew the words to say, but what if his pronunciation was off? The other students’
    English sounded perfect. He studied his cards again. His hands began to tremble, so he spread his cards on the table and stuck his hands under his legs. He recited his lines over and over in his head until Mr. Jacobs said, “Hiroshi, what are you wearing?”
    Hiroshi swallowed. He pointed to the card with the picture of a shirt and said, “I wear a shirt.”
    “Excellent, Hiroshi. What color is your shirt?”
    Hiroshi relaxed his shoulders. The teacher was pleased with his answer! “Red. My shirt is red.”
    Mr. Jacobs nodded. “What else are you wearing?”
    Hiroshi went through the other cards until he got to the last one. He pointed to the card with shoes. “I am wearing shoe.”
    Mr. Jacobs peeked under the table. “And what color are your shoes, Hiroshi?”
    Shoes. He should have said
How could he have been so stupid? He stared at the card. “My shoes are brown.” He made sure to say
a bit louder than the other words, hoping Mr. Jacobs would hear that he had corrected himself.
    Mr. Jacobs held out his hand in front of Hiroshi, palm up. Keeping his chin down, Hiroshi raised his eyes and saw Mr. Jacobs’ wide smile. Hiroshi lifted his head. He didn’t know what to do. Was he supposed to give the teacher something?
    “Give me five, Hiroshi. Nice job with
” Hiroshi knew what this meant from watching American movies. But giving five to a
He snuck a glance at the other students, who were all grinning. Hiroshi raised his hand, then hesitated.
    “Go on,” said Mr. Jacobs. “Don’t leave me hanging!” He chuckled. Hiroshi slapped his hand down on Mr. Jacob’s palm. He tried to imagine what his fifth-grade teacher from last year would say—serious Motomashi Sensei with a face like a raisin. He bit the inside of his cheek to cut off the laughter that threatened to escape; he didn’t want Mr. Jacobs to think he was laughing at him.
    But a moment later Hiroshi’s urge to laugh fizzled when Mr. Jacobs handed out books. He said something to the class, and Hiroshi recognized the word “homework.” He stared at the cover—a picture of a boy pulling on his socks under the title
Tim Gets Dressed.
There couldn’t be more than ten pages in the whole story. Hiroshi opened the cover and scanned the first page: “Tim puts on a shirt.” Now the second page: “Tim puts on his socks.” It wasn’t even a real story; it was a book for first graders, not fifth graders. He slid it into his notebook. Speaking English was difficult, but reading in English was easy. When he could speak more English, he would ask Mr. Jacobs for a harder book. One with chapters and no pictures.
    Next Mr. Jacobs handed out blank sheets of paper and colored pencils. He explained something to the group, but Hiroshi didn’t understand. The other students began sketching. Hiroshi snuck a sideways glance at Ravi, who was bent over his paper drawing two careful circles. When Ravi lifted his head, Hiroshi’s eyes darted back to his own paper; he didn’t want Ravi to think he was trying to copy him.
    But Ravi leaned over. “I draw a car,” he whispered. Ravi moved his pencil across the paper, and the outline of a race car appeared. Was the assignment to a draw a car? Which kind of car? Any car?
    Hiroshi was about to sneak a look at another student’s paper when Mr. Jacobs pulled up a chair and sat across from him with a sheet of paper. Mr. Jacobs drew a basketball and hoop, then held up the paper. “I like basketball.” Then he tapped Hiroshi’s blank paper. “What do you like, Hiroshi?”
    Hiroshi nodded; he knew exactly what he would draw. He picked up three pencils—different shades

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