Best of Wadadli Pen: Lucky Dollar

by Sarah Ann Li

First place winner, under 12 category, Wadadli Pen 2005.

"Lucky Dollar" performed by the Optimist Youth Drama Group. Click to play.

For the past few weeks, everyone in my family had been on edge. My mother was ill and needed to have an operation and all the doctors we had visited recommended one hospital in Miami Florida. Our problem was that we couldn’t afford the operation, but we were advised to have it done soon.

As I looked around my small but tidy room, worrying about my mother’s health, I felt useless. Was there anything I could do? I slowly got up from my bed and began walking towards the door. It was Saturday. I helped mama with the morning chores while my dad and brother left for work. When I was finished, I asked mom’s permission to go play with my best friend Sasha. “Be careful and come back before lunch,” she said, softly. I kissed her and left.

As I stepped outside, I was greeted by the inviting,  fresh air. The birds were singing sweetly and the palm trees were swaying in the cool breeze, occasionally hiding the brilliant sun. I nonchalantly walked along the sidewalk, glancing around me every once in a while. Suddenly I noticed a glimmer up ahead. Curiously, I quickly walked towards it. It was a shiny dollar. As I bent to pick it up I felt lucky. “It’s only a dollar,” I told myself, “I can’t do much with that.” I was approaching Mr. Black’s Candy shop and decided to get some candies for Sasha and me.

In front of the shop, I noticed a sign which said Caribbean Lottery $1.2 million dollars. The drawing of this was after lunch. Once inside the shop, my mouth began to water. The delicious aroma of chocolate sherbets and fudges tickled my nose. I handed Mr. Black my dollar and skipped out of the shop feeling satisfied with my purchase. I then continued on to Sash’s home. We played a bunch of games with some other children in the neighborhood, including cricket. I was free of worry during that time. I had much fun but had to leave since I promised mom I would be home before lunch.

I ran as fast as I could, almost stumbling into Benny, my neighbor’s dog. I quickly patted his head and continued to run towards my home. Upon arriving, I shouted to mama that I was home. My heart was pounding as I sat down next to our very old transistor radio. With paper and pen in hand, I sat poised; excited, hoping, praying and waiting. After taking the winning lottery numbers down I slipped my ticket out of my pocket and nervously but carefully compared the numbers.

Who could have thought my day was going to turn out like that? Yes, I had gotten the winning ticket! I dashed into mom’s room and told her the wondrous news; my dad and my brother walked in for lunch at the same moment. We all hugged each other in a tight, emotional hug. The Lord had answered our prayers, words could not express the feelings which flowed through us. Mom was going to be well again. “Thank you, Lord, for this miracle,” I prayed, silently. I felt I could fly as the weight was lifted off me.

One week later mama had the operation and everything was successful. The stress and worry were gone. We all continued our normal lives and had so much to be thankful for.


Sarah Ann Li is from Guyana and was 11 years old when she wrote "Lucky Dollar." She subsequently went on to earn the top score in the Common Entrance Exams en route to the Antigua Girls High School, and later, accolades in Antigua's Independence literary arts competition.

Copyright of the winning Wadadli Youth Pen Prize stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works. Anansesem's editors played no part in the Wadadli Pen judging process. Anansesem's editors have not edited or adjusted the stories or artwork in any way.

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Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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