PoP Goes My Heart! The Second Annual Valentiny Writing Contest Is Here!!!

2/19/17 PM Note to Contestants: Sorry! Due to various circumstances finalists will not be posted by 3 AM Monday as hoped.  Judges are trying for late day Monday 2/20 or Tuesday 2/21!  Apologies for keeping you waiting!

(Hope everyone enjoys the blog title nod to Music & Lyric’s fictional band PoP 🙂 )

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Hang onto your chocolate everyone!  It’s time for . . .

The Second Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!


Valen-tiny because the stories are not very long and are written for little people 🙂

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone is confused!  Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone confused (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 🙂  You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)  If you are so inclined, you are welcome to submit more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 🙂  No illustration notes please!

Post your story on your blog between right now this very second and Tuesday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no Would You Read It or Perfect Picture Book Friday until the contest is over, so the post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy.  If you don’t have a blog and would like to enter, you can simply copy and paste your entry in the comments section below. (Or, if you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! Please copy and paste your entry into the body of the email – no attachments!)  Please only post your entry ONCE! Either on your blog and the associated link list, or in the comment section of my post!  Otherwise it gets confusing 🙂  Oh, and please, everyone, DO give yourself credit for your work and put your names on your entries so I know who wrote it (fun as it is to try to guess who pokypig379 or harrassedmomof7 is 🙂 )

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-10 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Monday February 20th.   The winner will be announced by Friday February 24th. (And there will be no WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using confusion and success in making us feel the confusion!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  Oh. My. Goodness! do we have fabulous prizes!  If these don’t motivate you to write your best, I don’t know what will! 🙂  It’s a complete critiquefest!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from “Dear Editor” Deborah Halverson!!!


“Dear Editor” Deborah Halverson

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s literary agent Jodell Sadler!!!


Agent Jodell Sadler

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Andria Rosenbaum, author of the forthcoming Trains Don’t Sleep (May 2017) and Big Sister, Little Monster (September 2017) as well as others!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jodi McKay!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Amy Dixon, author of Marathon Mouse, Sophie’s Animal Parade, and the forthcoming Maurice The Unbeastly!!!

– A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from children’s author Jason Kirschner!!!


–  A Picture Book Manuscript Read and Critique from Children’s Author Vivian Kirkfield!!!

– A Query Letter Read and Critique from SubIt Club founder Heather Ayris Burnell!!!

– a personalized signed copy of Jodi McKay’s delightful Where Are The Words?


– a personalized signed copy of Diana Murray‘s wonderful (and very seasonally appropriate!) Groggle’s Monster Valentine

Once again, please join me in thanking Deborah, Jodell, Andria, Jodi, Amy, Jason, Vivian, Heather, and Diana for their incredible generosity, and show your appreciation by visiting their sites, buying and recommending their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, writing them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and showing your appreciation to them in any way you can!  I truly can’t thank them all enough!

So now it’s time for me to post my little sample.  Prepare yourselves 🙂

A Valentiny Mistake (214 words)

The Monday before Valentines, Tilly found a heart-shaped note on her desk. You’re sweet. W
“I think it’s from Wendell,” she told Millie.
Tilly batted her eyelashes at Wendell.
Wendell stuck his tongue out at her.
“Maybe not,” said Millie.
On Tuesday another note said You smell delicious. W
Do I smell delicious?” Tilly asked Millie doubtfully.
Millie sniffed. “I think so,” she said loyally. “You smell like glue and crayons.”
“I’m making a Valentine for Walter,” explained Tilly, tossing her hair in Walter’s direction. “Maybe it’s him.”
Walter scowled.
“Maybe not,” said Millie.
On Wednesday, a third note said You sound scrumptious. W
“How can anyone sound scrumptious?” asked Tilly, bewildered. She wrinkled her nose thoughtfully. “Maybe Wilbur thinks I have a beautiful voice.” She blew him a kiss.
Wilbur pretended to gag.
“Maybe not,” said Millie.
Thursday, Tilly found the fourth note. I love you like ice cream. W
“Hmm….” Tilly frowned, puzzled. “Maybe it’s Werner?”
Werner was burping the alphabet.
“Hopefully not,” said Millie.
On Valentines, Tilly’s desk bore a beautiful sparkly pink heart. Be my bestie. W
“I don’t get it,” said Tilly. “They’re all signed W, but it’s not Wendell, Walter, Wilbur or Werner!”
“Silly Tilly,” said Millie. “That’s an M!”
“It’s YOU!” squealed Tilly.
“It’s me.”  Millie smiled.
And they were best friends forever.

Everyone feeling better about their stories now?  I should certainly HOPE so! 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of yours!  I’m SO looking forward to them!  I hope there will be a lot – the more the merrier!  And there are still nearly 5 days to write, so you have time if you haven’t written yet.  Feel free to spread the word to your writing friends as well.  And your reading friends – parents, teachers, etc.  The more people who read and enjoy your stories, the better!!!


Contest Entrants, remember to add your post-specific link to the list below so we can all come read your awesome stories!  (Post-specific means not your main blog url, but the actual url of the post that has your story in it – otherwise if you post again before the contest ends, your link will take readers… and judges!… to the wrong place!)

Eager Readers – click on the links in the list to visit the blogs and read the stories.  And be sure to read the 57 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!

Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! ❤

Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories!

  1. Surprise, Surprise! – Rebekah
  2. Valentine Peas – Susan
  3. Banana In Love: A Valentiny Knock Knock Story – Ryan
  4. Bear In Mine, It’s For The Love Of Honey – Nina
  5. Love Makes Me Sick – Christyne
  6. Think Think Think – Betsy
  7. Two Hearts – Dr. Anne
  8. Cupid Claus – Christyne
  9. A Day For…Love? – Karen
  10. Peanut Butter Valentine – Sandra
  11. Little Frank N. Stein’s Valentine – Tracie
  12. What Is Love? – Anne
  13. A Valentine’s Day With Rain And Shine – Maria
  14. Brian & Katy Hare Find Something New – Marie
  15. Candy Cows – Jennifer
  16. Valentine’s Guy – Tasha
  17. Balentine’s For Bailey – Tasha
  18. Sophie And Nana – Jim
  19. Fiona’s Day – Molly
  20. Cupid’s Very Long Valentine’s Day – Robin
  21. Candy’s Hearts – Tracie
  22. Spider Legs – Carolyn
  23. The True Story Behind The Queen Of Heart’s Tarts – Kathleen
  24. Hungry For You – Rosie
  25. The Great A Mistake – Lauren
  26. Child Of Mine – Sandy
  27. V Day Is Here – Lorraine
  28. Myrtle, where are you going? – Cecile
  29. The Tiny Valentine – Lauren
  30. Liliana From Havana – Corine
  31. The Pirate’s Valentine – Judy
  32. The Cow That Was A  Little Hoarse – Elizabeth
  33. Gary Grossberger’s Valentine – Dina
  34. A Valentine’s Day Gift For Mami – Carmen
  35. November Is Scary, But Marriage Is Bliss (A Love Story) – Carol
  36. Hearts And Beans – Cammie
  37. Mister Zombie’s Undying Love – Terri
  38. Valentine Homework – Tracie
  39. Misaki’s First Valentine – Geoffrey
  40. Lion Hearts Mouse – Kim
  41. Did You Know THAT I Love You – Margaret
  42. Marry Me Mommy! – Michele
  43. A One-of-a-kind Valentine For Mama Mouse – JC
  44. Vampy’s Val-o-ween – Jana
  45. Valen-Rhymes – Katie
  46. Balingtine Day Mix Up – Jim
  47. Misunderstood At The Dance – Merriweather
  48. Valentine Blush – Sandy
  49. Happy Porcupine Day – Sara
  50. Punny Bunny’s Valentine Dilemma – Linda
  51. My Veggie Valentine – Deborah
  52. A Sweet Treat? – Samantha
  53. Oh My Darling Valentine – Ingrid
  54. Special Delivery! – Gina
  55. Love Bugs – Katherine
  56. A Surprise For Mr. Timms – Carol
  57. Word For Word Valentine – Deborah

708 thoughts on “PoP Goes My Heart! The Second Annual Valentiny Writing Contest Is Here!!!

  1. Rebekah Hoeft says:

    Surprise, Surprise!
    by Rebekah Hoeft
    214 words (:

    Mama and Heidi were done with the checkup. They both got a lollipop for being so nice to the doctor.

    Mama smiled. “Let’s save these for Daddy and give them to him as a surprise with our news when he comes home.”

    Heidi didn’t want to give up her lollipop, but the news was great and she loved surprising people, so she agreed.

    They planned a special supper with pizzas and salads. By the time Daddy arrived, their plan was complete.

    Mama and Heidi greeted Daddy at the door.

    “Hi hi, Daddy, Daddy,” Heidi shouted, jumping from behind the couch, giving him two big squeezers.

    “Hi, hi, sweetie, sweetie,” Mama said with a grin.

    Daddy looked at them suspiciously. “How are you two?”

    “Great, great,” Heidi said, hopping up and down and giggling.

    Mama said, “Time for dinner dinner!”

    During dinner, Mama and Heidi kept talking in their silly doubletalk. Daddy just chuckled and shook his head.

    Finally, when they handed Daddy their lollipops for dessert, Daddy asked why they weren’t having ice cream as usual.

    “We thought you might like a surprise from my doctor doctor,” Mama said.

    Daddy stopped. He stared. He knew. He hugged them both.

    “I love love you,” whispered Heidi to her new twin brothers, hugging her mama’s belly.

  2. Susan Schade says:

    By Susan Schade (210 words)

    Ollie’s mind was filled with thoughts of Valentines. He wanted to give his preschool friends something very special on February 14th.
    “Dad, what do you give Mom for Valentine’s Day?”
    “She loves flowers.”
    Ollie’s heart fluttered. He knew just the flowerbed to pick from. He carefully chose flowers and left them on his nightstand. But by morning, they were limp and sagging.
    Ollie felt wilted too.
    “Mom, what do you give Dad for Valentine’s Day?”
    “His favorite candy.”
    At the store that afternoon, he picked out shiny lollipops with a gum center. He knew that would make his friends smile. Then his Mom reminded him about the school rule, only healthy treats were allowed in Valentines.
    Ollie was crushed.
    “Bosco, what do you give for Valentine’s Day?”
    His fuzzy dog wagged his tail and gave sloppy dog kisses.
    Ollie was slobbered on and still stumped.
    Finally, on Sunday, he thought of the best idea!
    Ollie skipped to the classroom carrying his decorated bag filled with Valentines. He grinned as he gave every friend a pea pod and smiled even brighter when he handed one to his teacher.
    “Thank you, Ollie but why pea pods?”
    “It must be the best thing to give. At church, everyone says, “peas be with you.”

  3. viviankirkfield says:

    So excited, Susanna! I’ll be posting my entry on my blog tomorrow (because today I was a stop on the book blog tour of THE GREEN UMBRELLA by Jackie Azua Kramer)…and will be adding the link to your list. I LOVE your sweet story! And will be sharing about the contest on social media…I think you are going to get a great crowd!!!

  4. Ryan Roberts (@RRbooknut) says:

    (147 Wds)
    by Ryan Roberts

    Banana gathered his courage. Flowers in hand, he stepped up to Orange’s door.
    Knock! Knock!
    “Who’s there?”
    “Banana who?”
    “Banana who?!? I live next door!”
    “Are you the red, shiny, popular guy who brought me flowers last week?”
    “No…” Banana sighed and glanced at his flowers. “That’s Apple.”
    “Oh. Are you the short, funny, fuzzy guy who brought me chocolates?”
    “No!” Banana rolled his eyes. “That’s Kiwi!”
    “Aw. So, you’re the squishy guy, who wrote me that poem, ‘What It Means to Be a Fruit’?”
    “No, no, no! That’s Tomato! Look, never mind. I’m gonna split.”
    “Wait!” shouted Orange. “If you’re not them… By chance, are you the tall, yellow, handsome guy that I find so….”
    Orange flung open the door.
    Banana and Orange looked into each other’s eyes.
    Banana cleared his throat. “Orange, you going to be my Valentine?”
    “I thought you’d never ask.”

  5. Nina L. Haines (@Dwk408Nh) says:


    By Nina L. Haines
    211 Words

    Bear wanted honey for his Sweetheart.

    If he didn’t find honey, he didn’t know what he’d give her.

    Yesterday, he had watched the miners eat lunch.

    Honey dripped onto donuts was stuffed into mouths of men.

    Bear was certain honey could be found in the dark, dark, dark tunnel.

    Some bears called it the tunnel of love.

    He crawled into the mine in the wee hours of the morning.

    In the dark, dark, dark tunnel he found a ditch and shovel.

    He dug, and, dug, and dug. Bear found dirt and rocks.

    He wondered around in the dark, dark, dark tunnel.

    “Honey, where are you?” Bear asked.

    Something was trickling down the side of the tunnel.

    Bear licked the mine wall.

    “This isn’t honey,” Bear said.

    He crawled further back in the dark, dark, dark tunnel.

    “I must find the honey,” Bear said.

    A large pot sat on the rubble.

    “I found it,” Bear said.

    He stuck his head down into the pot.

    “It’s empty,” Bear groaned.

    He heard men, as he crawled out of the dark, dark, dark tunnel.

    Bear saw pails lined up and opened three. He found two jars of honey.

    A miner yelled, “Bear in mine!”

    Splat! This was a sticky situation.

    Bear’s sweetheart loved the honey.

  6. Christyne Elizabeth says:

    202 Words

    Happy Valentine’s Day? No way, not for me,
    Because I’m allergic to romance, you see.

    It doubles me over. It makes me cramp.
    My eyes well up, and my palms get damp.

    I wretch, I gag, I spew something sticky.
    I’ll spare you the details; it gets pretty icky.

    But love didn’t always affect me this way.
    My problems began on a Valentine’s Day.

    First I received a love note from Mandy,
    Along with a box full of chocolate candy.

    Sally then told me how she did adore me,
    And gave me a cookie that she baked just for me.

    Meg gave me warm gooey cinnamon buns,
    And Jen gave me kisses–the edible ones.

    Rita’s love letter was very enticing,
    Written on cake in strawberry icing.

    I didn’t want to be rude or ungrateful,
    So I ate it up, every last plateful.

    But when I finished Annette’s berry crumble,
    My poor tummy issued a very loud rumble.

    I’d had too much love and sappy emotion!
    Romance had given me belly commotion!

    Now I turn down all those Valentine treats,
    And hide from admirers with sugary sweets.

    Hearts and red roses just bring me dismay,
    ‘Cause I can’t stomach love, or Valentine’s Day.

  7. Betsy Kuepper Starman says:

    Think, Think, Think

    There they were. Waiting on the kitchen table for Curly. A brand new box of Valentines. Curly lived for the classroom parties held each holiday at his school. He skipped over to his backpack to pull out his class list. After all, the party was tomorrow and he had work to do!

    He zipped open the flap. No list. He unsnapped the pocket. No list. Now what? No list! Curly panicked. As the disappointment crept up inside, Curly’s mother reassured him. “This should be easy, I bet you know everyone in your class.” Curly was determined, surely he could remember all of them. Curly knew that there were 20 students in his class, he snatched up his pencil and began to write.

    “Now let’s just see,” Curly quipped.
    At Table One sat Cort, Pat, and Chip.

    George, Raj and Nala.

    The kids born in September.
    Yippee! Curly did remember!

    Nadir, Romie, Petey and Jen.
    “This is easy, I’m up to ten.”

    Isaac, Ben, George and Willy,
    Hannah, Mei, Elle and Lilly.

    Two more to go, who could it be?
    Oh yes, Siri sits next to me.

    “One more left…” think, think, think.
    Curly’s mother smiled with a wink.

    Curly pondered, then smiled with glee,
    “Oh my goodness, by golly, it’s me!”

  8. anneuro says:

    Two Hearts
    (214 words)
    By Dr. Anne Lipton

    Once upon a table, Violet drew with her crayons while Mom worked on her laptop. Violet liked to color—but not inside the lines. She liked to draw to the beat of her own heart.

    “What are you working on, Violet?” asked Mom.

    “I’m drawing Valentine hearts. What are you doing?”

    Mom turned her laptop to Violet. “I’m looking at hearts.”

    Violet shook her curls. “Those aren’t hearts. Those are circles.”

    “The four circles are spaces in the heart called chambers,” said Mom. “Maybe I should draw a picture to show you.”

    “Yay!” said Violet. “Let’s draw together.”

    Violet and Mom each drew a heart in their own way.

    Mom held up her drawing. “This is what a real heart looks like.”

    Violet frowned. “So my heart isn’t real?”

    “Your heart is very real,” said Mom.

    Violet shook her curls sadly. “I mean my drawing of a heart isn’t real?”

    “I stand by my opinion,” said Mom. “Your heart is very real.”

    “Aha!” Violet held up her crayon. She drew a heart just like Mom’s and folded their drawings together to make one big Valentine heart.

    “See, Mom? It takes two of your hearts to make one of mine. But don’t worry”—Violet gave Mom a hug—“because two hearts are better than one.”

  9. Christyne Elizabeth says:

    214 words

    “Santa Shmanta!” said Cupid. “Why does he get all the attention?”

    Suddenly, it struck him… like an arrow! If Cupid wanted to be as popular as Santa, he’d have to give gifts. Spreading love just wasn’t cutting it.

    Cupid didn’t have elves, so he used his own cash to buy fancy gifts. He knew it would be worth it when kids started writing him letters and lining up to sit on his lap.

    On Valentine’s Day, Cupid snuck into Mrs. McGee’s third grade class, the first stop on his gift-giving spree. He dropped off presents at each desk and then hid.

    “A video game!” cried one student.

    “A bike!” shrieked another.

    Cupid grinned. But then, something changed…

    The students began to look around suspiciously. Nobody guessed that Cupid had brought the gifts. Instead, everyone thought the gifts were from secret admirers. Things in Mrs. McGee’s class got really awkward.

    Billy bragged about Emma having a crush on him. Emma denied it. Geoffrey defended her, secretly thinking he was Emma’s crush. Billy and Geoffrey got into a fight. From there, the entire classroom erupted in chaos.

    Cupid sighed and decided to stick to love instead of gifts.

    Plus, with the money he saved on gifts, next year he could finally afford a pair of pants.

  10. celticsea says:

    I hate to bother you, but could you please delete my first version of “Sebastian, Say Something.” It says the author is Colleen Murphy aka celticsea. I posted early this morning. I have been struggling to find out how to access my most-recent blog and I finally just did. (It was associated with an old e-mail.) The new link is a better link than the first. Thank you! Thanks for the contest!!  Colleen

  11. Karen Morgan says:

    A Day For… Love?
    by Karen Koepcke Morgan
    143 words

    Hearts and flowers,
    And valentines galore?

    I just don’t get this

    I like to play and run around,
    Not write out cards to pass around.

    To some, this day is quite amusing.
    But, for me, it’s all a bit confusing.

    …don’t care for an arrow shooting cupid,
    In fact, I think that’s really stupid.

    …much rather play a game of darts,
    than read those silly candy hearts.

    …prefer to eat my lunch at noon,
    than figure out what makes girls swoon.

    I like to stomp around in mud,
    not cut out hearts and all that crud.

    …don’t need a note to say “be mine.”
    Without all that, I’d be just fine.

    I’ll stick with rocks, and frogs and bugs,
    I sure don’t need no stinkin’ hugs.

    A day for love? – just shouldn’t be,
    This sappy stuff’s sure not for me.

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Peanut Butter Valentine
    By Sandra Bohman

    On February 14th, Annalise’s heart sagged like her backpack on Monday morning. Her best friend and neighbor, Sophie, had moved away. Before she moved, they had played together every day — hanging out, running races, and eating peanut butter, straight from the jar.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day!” her mom said as Annalise walked toward the door, “We’re having pizza tonight!”
    But even the thought of her favorite meal and a school party couldn’t lift her spirits.
    Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be the same without Sophie.
    Annalise handed out cards, nibbled on a cupcake, and played a candy heart game with her classmates. Then she trudged home.
    After dinner, her dad presented Annalise with a red, wrapped gift.
    “Dumplin’, what you need is this jar of peanut butter!” said her dad, twirling Annalise around the room.
    “I’m not hungry,” she said plopping down in a chair.
    “Oh, it’s not JUST for you,” said her dad, setting the wrapped jar in front of her.
    Yip! Yip! Her mom laid a squirming furball in Annalise’s arms, “We thought one of Sophie’s puppies might cheer you up,” she said.
    “Thanks! This is the best Valentine’s Day ever!” said Annalise. “And I know just what to call her!”
    “Peanut,” she said, as they ate peanut butter…straight from the jar.

  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Little Frank N. Stein’s Valentine
    By Tracie Percival

    Little Frank N. Stein wasn’t sure why, but there was something about Valentine’s Day that made his heart smile.
    “Halloween is the only holiday we celebrate!” Poppa Frank N. Stein would grumble. Little Frank didn’t understand why! He wasn’t sure if he liked Halloween or if he liked being a monster! He knew he couldn’t change who he was on the outside, but the inside was a different story.
    Frank loved Valentine’s Day, even if his family didn’t. He never enjoyed scaring people at Halloween. He would try, but he just felt uncomfortable in his own skin!
    “Why do we have to be scary?” Frank’s Mom would reply, “We are monsters! Keep practicing, you will get scarier.” “I don’t think my heart has a monster inside. “
    The next day was Valentine’s Day! Little Frank decided to make a valentine for his family.
    Poppa Frank said, “Little Frank, you’re right, love should be felt every day! I guess love can be scary and I am proud that you know how you feel, and you aren’t afraid to show it.”
    From that day on, Valentine’s Day was celebrated at the Stein’s house. Little Frank even considered changing his name to Val N.Tine, but then he decided….. he was fine how he was, both inside and out!

  14. Anne Cavanaugh Sawan says:

    What Is Love?

    “Valentines Day is tomorrow,” Said Miss. Heavy. “Tonight your homework is to write down what you think love is.”
    At lunch George asked Eliza. “Do you know what love is?’
    “No,” she said. “But I saved half of my cookie for you.”
    After school Teddy got off the bus and was knocked to the ground.
    “Zeke,” laughed Teddy. “Do you know what love is?” Zeke barked and ran in circles.
    At dinner Anna said, “Mama, que es amor?”
    Mama shook her head. “Let’s think about that while we eat these tamales.”
    “Tata,” asked Sanjay, sitting down on the porch. “What is love?”
    “First, let me fix this step before someone trips.” Said Tata. “Hand me that hammer.”
    Harry stared out the window. “Grandma, what is love?”
    Grandma smiled, “Grandpa use to say that love was about all the small things.”
    The next day Ms. Heavy asked, “So who would like explain what love is?”
    George said, “Love is sharing your last cookie.”
    Teddy said, “Love is being excited to see someone.”
    Ana said, “Love is mi mama’s tamales.”
    Sanjay said, “Love is fixing things when they are broken.”
    And Harry said, “Love isn’t one big thing, love is a lot of little things.”
    Ms. Heavy smiled. “Smart kids,” she said. “Happy Valentines Day.”

  15. Maria Mavroyenneas says:

    By Maria Mavroyenneas

    “What a lovely day! You only live once, enjoy enjoy…”

    The butterfly, under a leaf, looked with disbelief…

    …a snail was dancing in the pouring rain!

    Soon the clouds passed by, the sun came out brightly…

    “Time for me to enjoy enjoy…”
    …and the butterfly fluttered her colourful wings high up in the vast, clear blue sky.

    “What a lovely day! You only live once, enjoy enjoy… ”
    The butterfly’s keen ears heard after a while…

    …then saw the snail under the leaf she had left behind.
    – This can’t be right! How can you be happy in rain and shine?
    – It’s such bliss watching you fly through the vast, clear blue sky; you’re a sight for sore eyes, my beautiful little butterfly!

    Suddenly, a strong wind blew and…
    …the butterfly hurried back under the leaf and sighed with relief.

    “What a lovely day! You only live once, enjoy enjoy…”,
    said the snail’s gentle voice.

    The bewildered butterfly held on tight,
    – This can’t be right! How can you enjoy this plight?
    – I’m in love; that’s why!
    – In love with this blustery, awful weather?
    – I’m in love with YOU, sweet butterfly! A fleeting joy; being together!

    Until the wind brought back the pouring rain…

    “That’s the perfect day! You may only fall in love once, enjoy enjoy…”


  16. Marie Manley Tucker says:

    ~Brian & Katy Hare Find Something New~

    “Katy Hare! Katy Hare! Come see this!”

    “Oh my goodness! Look at that!”

    “Right?! It’s humongous isn’t it?”

    “Why, yes Brian Hare. It is massive. Oh my. Where did it come from?”

    “I saw the people making it. I watched from under the steps. I watched them roll and stack the snow. It looks like they rubbed winterberry juice all over it.”

    *sniff, sniff, sniff* “Nope. Not winterberry, or any other berry. “

    “Huh. Well, if it’s not to eat, why’d they make it?”

    “Perhaps it is just meant to be pleasant to look at, like a decoration. “

    “You mean like the colorful leaves I give you around harvest time?”


    “Do you think this is pretty Katy Hare?”

    “I think I do, yes. It looks like an upside down violet leaf and the color is cheerful.”

    “I wish I could give this to you, for Love Day. “

    “Oh! You are so thoughtful Brian Hare! I love you so.”

    “Well, we can look at it anytime we want! And you will know it is from me to you, because I love you Katy Hare.”

    “That is perfect! Happy Love Day Brian Hare. “

    “Happy Love Day Katy Hare.”

    -Marie Manley Tucker

  17. yangmommy says:

    By Jennifer Buchet
    212 words

    “This is the best Valentine’s Day ever,” cried Cow, thrusting her head into a large sack.
    “What are you doing?” asked Pig.
    “I found Farmer’s secret candy stash! Would you like some?”
    “Pigs don’t eat candy,” he snorted. “And neither should cows.”
    “Oh, Farmer gives me a little candy every day.” Cow sank her head back into the bag.
    “Silly Cow,” clucked Hen. “Cows eat corn.”
    “I’m tired of corn,” she declared.
    “Cows need crispy hay,” whinnied Horse.
    “I’m sick of hay, too.”
    “Stop this nonsense, Cow,” squawked Duck. “You should fill your belly with fresh grass, not pounds of rainbow chewies!”
    Cow ignored them all. She gobbled and guzzled until all the candy was gone.
    “OOOWWW,” she groaned. “OOOUCCH,” she moooaned.
    “What’s wrong?” asked Dog.
    “My tummy hurts. And I’ve no energy. Maybe I need more candy?” She nuzzled the empty bag.
    “You befuddled bovine!” barked Dog. “Humans eat candy, not cows!”
    Cow’s stomach grumbled in agreement. Her head throbbed in accord.
    “Dog, you’re right. I’m sick and tired because of eating all those sweets. Candy is not cow food!”
    That night, Cow made Farmer a special Valentine. But not with caramel hearts or chocolate drops. Instead, she used sweet stalks of hay, bright green grass and golden kernels of corn.
    (Inspired by true events!)

  18. Tasha Hilderman says:

    Valentine’s Guy
    By Tasha Hilderman

    Hello hello, did somebody order a Valentine’s Guy?
    I’ve got everything you need for the PERFECT Valentine’s day!

    You need cards? I got ‘em. Princess cards, super hero cards, cards with little love ninjas and glittery goop, whatever you need, it’s yours!

    Got too many cards to sign? I’ve got a stamp with your name on it.
    One, two, badda bing, badda boom, you’re done!

    You need chocolates? Candies? I got a heart shaped box here with all the flavors in the world.

    Flowers? Have I got flowers. Red roses, white lilies, a bouquet as big as your head!

    Romantic dinner, bam! Candlelight, 4 course meal, chocolate fondue for dessert.
    Take your pick, I’ve got …

    What? You didn’t order a Valentine’s Guy? Where am I? What house is this? Oh no! I’m supposed to be across the street!

    Well, I might have a few extras here if you need something, I don’t want to leave you empty handed.

    …You don’t need anything? Not even these undies with hearts and puppies on them?
    Well, what are you going to do for Valentine’s day?

    …Say I love you? That’s it?
    … And a hug? And a kiss?

    Well, pal, you know what? I think that actually sounds kinda perfect.
    Happy Valentines Day!

  19. Tasha Hilderman says:

    Balentine’s for Bailey
    By Tasha Hilderman

    Hannah and Leo were making valentines for school. They wrote the names of their classmates on the cards and sealed them with a red heart sticker.

    “Where are my balentines?” asked their little brother Bailey, who was two.
    “You don’t have any Bailey. You’re not in school yet!” said Hannah.

    Bailey burst into tears.

    “You don’t have to be in school to send valentines,” said Mommy. “Anyone can give and get a valentine! Don’t worry Bailey, I will make some valentines with you,” she said, as she gave him a hug.

    “How is he going to make them? He doesn’t know how to spell! Who is he going to give them to?” asked Leo.

    “You’ll see. Now off to school you two!”

    Mommy got construction paper, scissors and markers out of the cupboard.
    “Ok Bailey, I will cut out a red heart for you and a pink heart for me. Who should I give my valentine to?” she asked.
    “Me!” said Bailey.

    Mommy read as she wrote “To my Special Guy, I love you! Love from Mommy.”
    She decorated the heart with stickers and passed the card to Bailey.

    Bailey scribbled on his heart with markers, covered it with stickers and gave it a big, wet kiss. “For my ‘pecial Mommy. Happy Balentine’s Day!”

  20. jimchaize (@jchaize1) says:

    wc. 210
    Sophie and Nana
    By Jim Chaize

    Sophie visited her Nana every February, but something was different this year.
    “Why’d we bake so many Valentine cookies?” Sophie asked.
    “Your old Nana probably mixed up the recipe.”
    Following lunch, they set off on a hike behind Nana’s house.
    Soon after entering the woods, Sophie pointed, “There’s the owl hole.”
    Further along, Nana stopped beside a pond, “I think we go this way.”
    “Are you sure?”
    “No, but it’ll be an adventure.”
    Nana led them deep into the woods, until she said, “I’ve never been here before.”
    “Boom!” Thunder rumbled.
    “We better head home,” said Sophie.
    “Which way is that?” Nana asked.
    Sophie pointed. “By that tree.”
    Nana didn’t recall anything, but Sophie remembered trees and plants.
    “I’m sorry for getting us lost, Janie,” said Nana.
    “Janie’s my Mom, Nana. I’m Sophie. And don’t worry, we’ll find our way home.”
    As daylight faded, “Hoot, hoot, hoot,” rang through the trees.
    “That’s so beautiful,” Sophie said.
    Sophie guided them toward the owl’s calls.
    “There’s the big owl,” whispered Nana.
    Their eyes brightened at sighting Nana’s house.
    “Nana, I’ll help you eat those Valentine cookies if you promise to
    always take someone along on your hikes.”
    “I will,” said Nana. “And I’ll always love you, Sophie.”
    “I love you too, Nana.”

  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    FIONA’S DAY (213 words)
    By Molly Golden McDonough

    Fiona could not wait. Mrs. Posey told the class they had to have their Valentines ready for tomorrow.

    Fiona spent the entire afternoon making a special Valentine for everyone in her class. She laid out her lavender and red heart dress with matching hot pink polka dot tights and sequin heart headband. She even made heart shapes out of her spaghetti at dinner.

    Fiona raced into her classroom the next morning and handed in her overflowing bag.

    “Our Valentine exchange must be after recess,” Fiona thought as she looked at the clock.

    “Huh,” Fiona said to herself. “Probably, it will be after math.” Fiona could not wait to give the Valentines to her classmates.

    “Mrs. Posey must be saving the best for last today…I know it will be after lunch.”

    When the dismissal bell rang, Fiona just sat there.

    “Mrs. Posey forgot all about the cards,” Fiona sniveled.

    Fiona went straight to her room when she got home and hardly spoke at dinner.

    “Are you looking forward to Valentine’s Day, tomorrow?” her dad asked as he took a bite of leftover spaghetti.

    “Tomorrow?! Tomorrow?!” Fiona exclaimed.

    She looked down at her sauce stained dress, smiled, and said, “It’s a good thing spaghetti sauce matches Valentine’s Day dresses.”

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Cupid’s Very Long Valentine’s Day

    by Robin Brett Wechsler

    (word count: 214)

    I made tons of friendship and love matches! thought Cupid. He rested on a pile of leaves—after his busiest Valentine’s Day ever.

    He closed his eyes to sleep. Then he heard rustling.

    Cupid peeked and two furry giants stared at him. “Ahhh!”

    “We want to play in our leaf pile,” said the brown giant.

    “And we don’t have much time,” said the white giant.

    “Who are you?” Cupid asked.

    “I’m Becky Bigfoot.”

    “I’m Eddie Yeti.”

    “Bigfoots and Yetis are real??” said Cupid.

    “Yes,” said Becky.

    “Who are you?” asked Eddie.

    “I’m Cupid.” He yawned and rose. “I bring people together.”

    Becky jumped into the leaves. Eddie quickly gathered them back up.

    “What’s your hurry?” asked Cupid.

    “Bigfoots and Yetis aren’t supposed to get along,” Becky moped.

    “Our parents will be mad if they know we’re friends!” said Eddie.

    “That’s sad,” said Cupid. “Well, goodbye!”

    Eddie threw leaves at Becky as Cupid left.

    “Hmm … he brings people together,” said Becky.

    “Maybe he can help us!” said Eddie.

    “Cuuupiiiid!” yelled Becky.

    Cupid flew back with droopy eyes and wings. “Yeah?”

    “Can you make Bigfoots and Yetis get along?” asked Eddie.

    “Okay. After I rest!”

    “Hooray!” squealed Becky and Eddie.

    As Cupid flew toward the sky, he thought he saw a unicorn with a dragon.

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Candy’s Hearts
    By: Tracie Percival

    Everyone was excited for Valentine’s Day,
    But Candy just wished it would go away!
    With a name like Candy, this day should be good.
    But Valentine’s Day never went the way that it should.
    The kids would draw hearts on every paper they got,
    But Candy couldn’t draw a heart, even though she practiced a lot!
    Her hearts would be too big at the top
    And some of them looked much like slop!
    One heart she drew looked so funny,
    A kid asked her if it was the Easter Bunny!
    She wanted to draw hearts like every other kid,
    But they never looked like hearts no matter what she did!
    Candy thought maybe my teacher will know what to do,
    If I could draw hearts, I will like Valentine’s Day too.
    Her teacher told her the easiest way
    To make a heart for Valentine’s Day.
    First you draw a number 3.
    Then turn your paper and make a V.
    Her hearts looked so much better,
    That she drew hearts on every single letter!
    Drawing hearts was no longer a chore,
    She began drawing hearts, hearts galore!
    Now Candy looked forward to Valentine’s Day,
    And she drew hearts every day!
    She even drew hearts by her name,
    And Valentine’s Day will never be the same!

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Spider Legs by Carolyn Farina
    207 words

    Once upon a time,
    Deep in the forest
    Lived a red and black spider
    Whose mood was the poorest.

    It was Valentine’s Day
    And there was no one in sight
    For her to adore
    Or hold on to tight.

    ‘Til lo and behold
    Peaking out from dense leaves
    Were little black legs
    On a branch on a tree.

    “Hello there!” she called
    To grab the attention
    Of whomever belonged to
    The legs aforementioned.

    The spider crept forward
    When she heard no reply.
    “Don’t mean to disturb you.
    Just want to say ’Hi!’

    I’m a lone little spider
    In search of a friend
    Before Valentine’s Day
    Has come to an end.”

    Silent and stony
    Stayed the mysterious guest.
    The spiders good manners
    were put to the test.

    She finally decided
    Not to be shy.
    She would make the first move
    Despite no reply.

    So boldly she moved
    Toward the thick vegetation.
    She took a deep breath
    And with slight hesitation

    She drew back the leaf covered branch.

    “Eek!” shrieked the spider,
    “How did I not know!
    Those are not spider legs,
    But the claws of a crow!”.

    She dashed down the tree
    In a terrible fright.
    “Its Valentine’s Day!” called the crow.
    Won’t you stay for a bite?!”

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    The True Story Behind The Queen of Heart’s Tarts

    Told by the Prince of Hearts aka Knave of Hearts

    By Kathleen Mazurowski

    I’m a Prince, not a knave. It is an undeserved nickname just because I always was in the room when something went wrong.

    The Queen was a talented baker. Her pastries smelled scrumptious. But I was confused why no one was EVER allowed to eat the tarts

    On Valentine’s Day, I smelled those pastries and I couldn’t help myself. I gobbled a few tarts. Unfortunately for me, I started growing feathers and “bawk, bawk, bawk.” I was no longer confused. This was why no one was EVER allowed to eat the tarts!

    The Queen was expecting a royal visitor that day. The King of Diamonds requested a special meeting. Romance rumors spread across the countryside.

    When the King of Diamonds arrived without any Royal Diamond Jewelry for the Queen, the Queen of Hearts graciously offered the King some of her royal tarts.

    I heard her tell the King that she made the tarts especially for him. He wolfed down several of the tarts and declared them “Delicious!” as he started sprouting feathers and his legs got scrawny. After that, all I heard was “Bawk, Bawk, Bawk!”

    Morel of this story: Never eat the Queen of Heart’s tarts.

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    HUNGRY FOR YOU (120 words)
    by Rosie J. Pova

    I want you! I dig you–you shall be mine!
    You dirty little rascal! You look so fine.
    You’re ruffling my feathers,
    you make me salivate.
    I’m happy that I’ve found you.
    Let’s get loose and celebrate!
    Your wiggles are so charming,
    my search for you, worthwhile.
    You’re blushing. You’re sweating.
    Oh, how I like your slinky style.
    Your tender sweetness tells me
    you’ll die to get me satisfied.
    Yes! Be my lovely Valentine.
    I’ll take you to the barn dance,
    I’ll sweep you off your . . . tail?
    I’ll dip you, twirl you,
    lift you up and prance.
    I’ll gulp this urging hunger down . . .
    Who says one cannot thrive
    in a hen and worm romance?

  27. Lauren N (@pbplaydate) says:

    Here we go! Thank you for these prompts – they make me focus, so I really appreciate each contest!

    The Great A Mistake
    By: Lauren Neil (208 Words)

    Ted had a special Valentine:
    it said “I dig you!”.
    He handed it to Hudson,
    to give to “you know who”.

    The problems with this plan
    that Ted did not consider:
    Hudson’s faulty memory,
    and that he was a kidder.

    All Hudson could recall
    about the girl Ted admired,
    Was that her name ended with –a.
    He paused… then was inspired.

    He took a look around the class,
    recalling each girl’s name.
    In hopes he would remember
    (to him they looked the same).

    Perhaps Samantha?
    Or maybe Mia?
    Perchance Eva?
    Could be Sophia?

    But what about Emma?
    Ava and Bella?
    And how about Anna?
    Julia and Stella?

    Was it possible?
    The class was downright full
    of girls whose names
    ended with the right syllable.

    Hudson was in
    way over his head.
    What could he do?
    He couldn’t tell Ted.

    He crafted a plan.
    It worked out just fine.
    He made ten copies
    of Ted’s Valentine.

    Each girl was happy
    with her special card.
    Until they compared
    out on the schoolyard.

    “Ted, how could you?”
    “Ted, you’re mean!”
    Poor Ted was confused
    when he came upon the scene.

    And now Ted has learned
    that in matters of the heart:
    Never trust a forgetful friend
    with the most important part.

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Child of Mine
    by Sandy Messina Ferber

    Child of mine
    how time has flown.
    I can’t believe
    how much you’ve grown.

    I blinked my eyes
    and you turned three.
    I just don’t know
    how that can be!

    Just yesterday,
    I swear it’s true;
    my newborn babe,
    I gazed at you.

    I held you close.
    I kissed your nose,
    counted fingers,
    and tickled toes.

    We rocked and sang.
    You crawled and walked.
    The seasons changed.
    You laughed and talked.

    We splashed in puddles,
    and jumped in leaves,
    read picture books,
    played make believe.

    We wished on stars,
    sang lullabies,
    warm and cozy,
    you’d close your eyes.

    I blinked once more.
    You’ve grown again.
    I sometimes wish
    that now was then.

    Though I’m confused,
    on this I’m fine –
    I love you so,
    dear child of mine.

  29. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    V Day Is Here

    By Lorraine Sharma Nelson

    “Oh no,” Dad says, slapping his hand against his forehead. “V Day is today. I have to remember to stop and get a card for your mom.” As he leaves for work he says, “I hope I can still get reservations for dinner somewhere.”

    On the bus to school, I wondered what Dad meant. I asked Mom what V Day was, and she said it was something called Veteran’s Day. I know what veterans are. They’re animal doctors. But Mom isn’t an animal doctor. She works from home, typing stuff on her computer all day.

    At school I ask my friend Carla if her dad was getting her mom a card for Veteran’s Day, and she said she didn’t think so. “Why would he?” she says. “My mom’s not a vet.” Now I’m even more puzzled.

    When I get home from school, Mom is busy cooking. She smiles at me when I walk into the kitchen and asks how my day was.

    “It was okay,” I say, getting a juice box from the fridge. “What are you making?”

    “Burgers for you and your sister. You’ll have to eat early, before the sitter gets here. Your dad is taking me out for Valentine’s Day.”

    “Valentine’s Day.” V Day. I smile. Mystery solved.

  30. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Myrtle, where are you? By Cecile Mazzucco-Than
    Steffie pressed her nose against the glass tank. Black and white fish darted between the purple coral and waving yellow anemones. One spiky mottled fish turned to match his eye to Steffie’s. Myrtle, where are you? A spine of coral shivered. Steffie recognized the bit of purple lace stuck to it. She tossed what she had hidden in her palm into the tank. Before the marble-sized inky wad hit the bottom, her mother’s voice hissed in her ear: “We’re going home, now!”
    Steffie’s mom slammed the car door. “If Mr. Shao catches you, we won’t be able to eat here anymore.”
    “We have to.” Steffie resolved to be more careful. Myrtle needed her.
    “A future marine biologist shouldn’t be throwing things in the tank!”
    Not things, survival gear.
    Next Friday, Steffie looked over her shoulder before she flicked a pea-sized nugget the color of the anemone into the tank.
    “Apologize to Mr. Shao!” Steffie’s mother and the restaurant owner appeared behind Steffie.
    “What are you throwing in my fish tank, young lady?”
    “I’m helping Myrtle.” Steffie pointed. “The decorator crab. She needs camouflage to hide her from that spiky puffer fish.”
    “Would you help me pick more friendly fish for the aquarium—and Myrtle?”
    Steffie beamed. That’s exactly what a marine biologist would do.

  31. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    THE TINY VALENTINE by Lauren Colantoni

    Every February, Valentine’s Day cards from all over gather around the mailbox and wait to be sent to their rightful homes. You can feel the excitement getting stronger as each card introduces itself. The cards are all stunningly beautiful.

    As the cards slip into their shiny envelopes, a tiny voice can be heard from the crowd. “Excuse me? I…I’m here, too,” the tiny voice squeaks. Just then, a tiny card slowly makes its way from behind the mailbox. It’s so small, you can barely see it. The rest of the cards look appalled.

    “Who would want you?!” demands an angry card. Not knowing what to do, the tiny card climbs the mailbox and jumps inside. The rest of the cards try to stop it, but it’s too late. The tiny card has been mailed away.

    The next day is Valentine’s Day. And on a tiny street, in a tiny town, a tiny old man sits alone in his tiny house. He is lonely. So, when he receives an envelope in the mail, he is confused. Inside the card, he reads:

    Here is a valentine made just for you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    And for the first time in a very long time, the tiny man grew a GIANT smile.

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