With Hopeful Heart! – The 3rd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Update February 19 – Sorry folks!  We need more time to make our decisions between all these amazing entries!  I will get the finalists up just as soon as I can!!!

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

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

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

Valentiny Writing Contest 2018

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 hopeful!  Your someone can hope for something good or something bad.  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 hopeful (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 enter 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 Wednesday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link on the form below.  There will be no Would You Read It or PPBF this week, so the post and the list of links will stay up 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!  susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com ) 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 🙂

The Judging: 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 19th (or possibly Tuesday February 20th if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced by Friday February 23rd. (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 hopefulness and success in making us feel the hopefulness!
  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, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it.
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 🙂

The Prizes:  Oh, boy, do we have some GREAT prizes!  I feel certain you are all highly motivated to compete for these!!!

– a PB manuscript read and critique from Nikki Garcia, assistant editor at Little, Brown!

Nikki-Garcia

Nikki Garcia

– a PB manuscript read and phone call critique with Nicole Otto, assistant editor at MacMillan Children’s Publishing!

Nicole Otto

Nicole Otto

– a PB manuscript critique from the superb multi-published award-winning author/illustrator Iza Trapani

Iza 2014          Old MacDonald
Iza Trapani was born in Poland and moved to the US at age seven.  Her relatives gave her a large Mother Goose Treasury, and she began learning English through those rhymes.  Little did she know that someday her dream would come true and she would become a children’s book author and illustrator.
    Iza’s best selling nursery rhyme extensions, including The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Shoo Fly and Row, Row Row Your Boat are widely used in schools and libraries across the U.S. and abroad. Old MacDonald Had a…Zoo?  is Iza’s latest release. She is currently at work on her 27th picture book, as well as a childhood memoir.
You can learn more about Iza and her books at:

http://izatrapani.com/blog
Facebook
Twitter

– a PB manuscript critique (ms not to exceed 800 words please) along with a follow-up phone call if the author is interested from the lovely and talented Katey Howes, author of Grandmother Thorn (Ripple Grove Press 2017) and Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe (Sterling Children’s Books 2018)

KathrynHeadshots-20 (2)               Magnolia Mudd cover art

– a PB manuscript critique from the fantastic Lynne Marie, author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – illustrated by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic, January 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — illustrated by Lorna Hussey (Sparkhouse Family, 2018) and Moldilocks and the 3 Scares (Sterling, pending) . Her stories, poems, folk tales and crafts have appeared in many magazine markets, including Family Fun, Highlights, High Five, Spider, Baby Bug and more. She was a first-round panelis for 2016 Cybils Awards and again, in 2017. In addition, she’s an on-staff writer for Jon and Laura Bard’s Children’s Book Insider and a book reviewer. She lives on a lake in South Florida with her daughter and Anakin, their little Schipperke, as well as several resident water birds. She has offers both critiques and mentorships for writers. You can learn more about her at www.LiterallyLynneMarie.com

Lynne          HH100th

– a PB manuscript critique (non-rhyming please) from the wonderful and amazing Melissa Stoller, author of The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection: Return To Coney Island (Spork 2017)

Melissa Stoller               Return To Coney Island

– a signed copy of Charlie Takes His Shot: How Charlie Sifford Broke The Color Barrier In Golf (Albert Whitman 2018) from fabulous author Nancy Churnin accompanied by a terrific Teacher’s Guide (created by Marcie Colleen)

Nancy Churnin               Charlie Takes His Shot

– a signed copy of Twinderella from Corey Rosen Schwartz AND a signed copy of The Enchanted Snow Globe Collection: Return To Coney Island from Melissa Stoller

Twinderella          Return To Coney Island

– a copy of Laura Purdie Salas’s brand new book Making A Living Writing Books For Kids

Making A Living

– a copy of the 2018 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (it’s only February – still very useful!)

Children's Writer's & Illustrators 2018

I can’t thank these authors and other industry professionals enough for their incredible generosity!  Please visit their sites, buy and recommend their books and services to your writer friends and/or friends with kids, write them nice reviews on Amazon, GoodReads etc if you’ve read and liked their books, and show your appreciation to them in any way you can!

Now.

I’m afraid the time has come for my sample (because I would never ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself 🙂 )

Brace yourselves for mediocrity 🙂  (I recommend a large quantity of chocolate to get you through – perhaps a dump truck load or so?) and prepare for the return of Boris and Irma (who appeared in the inaugural Valentiny 🙂 )

A Hopeful Kind Of Valentine
(214 words on the nose!)

Three days before Valentine’s, Irma made her list.

“I will make 32 valentines!” she announced. “How many are you making, Boris?”

“Zero,” said Boris.

“Spoilsport,” said Irma. “I hope Norman’s not a spoilsport.”

Irma cut construction paper.

“Are you making pink hearts or red hearts,” she asked.

“Neither,” said Boris.

“Party pooper,” said Irma. “I hope Norman’s not a party pooper.”

The day before Valentine’s, Irma decorated. Confetti hearts and glitter flew everywhere.

Boris ignored her.

But then she said, “I hope Norman will be my Valentine.” She sounded so wishful that Boris looked at her thoughtfully. He had doubts about Norman.

Boris made a list.

On Valentine’s Day, Irma clutched her valentines. “I hope Norman will give me a valentine,” she told Boris on the school bus.

Boris worried.

Tears rolled silently down Irma’s cheeks all the way home. She went right to her room.

Boris went right to work.

At dinner, Irma sat with her eyes downcast and said nothing.

Although Valentine’s was stupid, Boris didn’t want Irma to be sad.  If only his plan would work.

He set the pink-frosted, heart-shaped chocolate cake he had made in front of Irma.

“It’s not Norman, but Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said.

“It’s perfect,” said Irma, hugging him.

“Yuck,” said Boris, but he smiled.

❤               ❤               ❤               ❤               ❤               ❤               ❤

Everyone feeling better about their stories now?  I should certainly HOPE so! 🙂  After that horror show you can post yours with certainty that yours is better! 🙂

I can’t wait to read all of yours!  I’m SO looking forward to them!  I hope there will be LOTS – 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!!!  Also, have I mentioned the number of people who have gotten agents or sold manuscripts to editors based on the writing contest entries over the years?  There are quite a few!  One of these days I’ll figure out how many and do a blog post 🙂

So!

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!)  Please allow a few minutes and possibly refresh your browser before deciding that your link hasn’t posted and adding it a second time or emailing it to me.

Eager Readers – click on the links in the list to visit the blogs and read the stories.  And be sure to read the 76 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!

Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! ❤

Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories!

  1. Victoria’s Valentine – Susan
  2. Victor’s Valentine’s Day Surprise – Sharmaine
  3. You – Jennifer B
  4. the most amazing fantastic special Valentine ever – Erin
  5. The Lost Dog Dilemma – Chris
  6. Thank You – Katelyn
  7. Positively Paulina – Nancy
  8. A Day In The Life Of Cupid – Marty
  9. Rose And Tulip – M.S.
  10. The Valentine Monster Crash – Megan
  11. Valenswine – Susan
  12. Top Secret Valentine – Marie
  13. Tiny the Pony Wants to be Special – Kaye
  14. Grandma’s Cookies – Deborah
  15. This Will Be The Year – Sara
  16. Who Sent This Valentine? – Marie
  17. Hope In A Jar – Anne
  18. A Fur-Ever Valentine – Beth
  19. A Card With A Heart – Laura
  20. Upside Down Valentine’s Day – Ryan
  21. Not Alone – Amy
  22. Valentine’s Day Strike – Chambrae
  23. I Love Ewe – Kirsten
  24. A Valentine’s Day Adventure – Sarah H
  25. Adeline’s Hope – Carmen
  26. Snowy Owl Valentine Delivery – Kathleen
  27. A Valentine Snowman – Rebecca
  28. The Heart Art Contest – Marie
  29. The Right Valentine – Lauren
  30. The Red Envelope – Karen
  31. First Grade Love – Darcee
  32. Mama’s Purple Heart – Anne B
  33. Valentine’s Day With The Deli Family – Sandra
  34. Valentine-Making Time – Robin
  35. Unexpected Valentine – Brian
  36. The Valentine Tree – Jenny B
  37. Valentine Treat – Judy V
  38. A Purrfect Valentine – Mia
  39. Eliza’s Broken Heart – Anne S
  40. Porcupine’s Gift – Jim
  41. Hope’s Valentine – Nancy R
  42. Yellow And Blue Valentines – Marty
  43. Tootsie The Wonder Dog’s Valentiny Poem – Kathy
  44. Sakie’s Flock – Gayle
  45. Teddy’s Valentine’s Day – Deb
  46. Dear Daughter – Sandra S
  47. Mum’s The Word – Judy S
  48. Hope Floats – Jen B
  49. Charlotte’s New School – M.R.
  50. The Valentine Genie – Anne S
  51. Triple The Love – Brandi
  52. Emily’s Big Idea – Beth
  53. Red – Mary
  54. The Valentine Hat – Gwen
  55. Winston Wins! – Corine
  56. Bamboo Panda’s Special Surprise – Liz
  57. Oh No! Where Did It Go? – Mona
  58. Sweet Love – Christine
  59. You Rock! – Karla
  60. Picture Perfect – Tiffany
  61. Bunny Hugs – Nina
  62. Timberdoodle Valentine – Leigh Anne
  63. Valentine For Mom – Susie
  64. The Muddy Valentine – Karen
  65. Chocolaty Delight – Gina
  66. Valentine Handyman – Meg
  67. Daisy Power – Patricia
  68. Cupid’s Graduation Wish – Lucretia
  69. Huggle And Snug – Stephanie V
  70. My Valentine – Kurt
  71. Cupid’s Candy Craving—Marvin’s Valentine’s Surprise – Lucretia 
  72. A Pirate Valentine – Ingrid
  73. Lily’s Leg – Stephanie K
  74. If I Gave A Witch A Valentine – Amber
  75. Bunnies’ Heart-Shaped Hopes – Jen R
  76. Grumble’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever – Katrina

704 thoughts on “With Hopeful Heart! – The 3rd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

  1. Karen LaSalvia says:

    I’m so excited to enter my Valentiny! It’s the last day, but I did it. Hooray! And hooray for all who entered! It feels good to make a writing goal. Plus, there’s the thrill, the heartbreak, the satisfaction of cutting over 200 words. 🙂

    Here we go!

    The Muddy Valentine by Karen LaSalvia

    Tommy traced, snipped and pasted a valentine at his school desk. He needed it to be perfect. Earlier, as his Mom swept up shards of Grandma’s bowl, he had wanted to say, “I’m sorry,” but his Mom said, “Go. You’re late.”

    With a silver marker, Tommy wrote, “I love you.” A valentine was supposed to hold your love, but his “L” was crooked, the card edges rough and glue showed.

    As Tommy left school, a sudden wind filched the valentine. It fluttered and swooped. Tommy leaped and swiped. He chased until gasping. Then it stuck … high. Tommy swayed on a log. He had it! But he was falling and they plunged into a puddle. “I love you,” was unreadable.

    Reaching home, Tommy looked at the ruined, muddy valentine. Was his love still in there?

    “Mom, Mom! I thought I ruined your valentine, but …” Tommy told her about the sly wind, the long run, the treacherous log. “The ink’s blurry, but now that you know what I did to save it … I tried so hard. I hope you know what it says.” Tommy held his breath.
    “I do.” She squeezed him. “And I love you, too.”
    Tommy hugged her back. “I’m sorry I broke Grandma’s bowl.”
    “I know,” she said.

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR GINA

    Chocolaty Delight (93 words)
    by Gina Silvester

    Oh won’t it come quickly

    I really can’t wait

    February fourteenth

    a magical date

    A special Valentine

    from Mommy and Dad

    A special Valentine

    like none that I’ve had

    A heart shaped box

    in a bright red bag

    An overfilled basket

    my name on the tag

    A special Valentine

    made only for me

    A special Valentine

    oh what can it be

    A mountain of chocolate

    I take my first bite

    It’s super delicious

    and sweetened just right

    A special Valentine

    to show that they care

    A special Valentine

    the best kind to share

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MEG

    Valentine Handyman

    By Meg Mahoney

    213 words

    Mom’s been quiet since Grampa died. Sometimes I see tears on her cheeks.

    Dad says she’ll be ok, but that her heart is broken.

    I know that it must be serious because I know hearts are important. I wonder if it hurts.

    At school we decorated paper Valentine’s hearts. Mine ripped when I was cutting it out and I was mad that it was ruined. Miss Kelly taped it together but it’s not the same.

    I bring Mom some tape.

    She smiles, but she’s just not the same either.

    I bring her a Band-Aid. Band-Aids make my cuts feel better.

    Maybe it’s broken enough to need super glue.

    Maybe a hammer and nails. Or a screwdriver. Or a drill.

    I don’t know how to fix a heart.

    As I’m falling asleep I see my Valentine heart poking out of my backpack. When I tiptoe into Mom and Dad’s room to leave it for Mom, I find her sitting on the edge of the bed. I crawl up beside her and I hand her my heart. I climb into her lap and listen to stories about Grampa. When we snuggle I know her heart is less broken because I can hear it working: tha-thump, tha-thump. Maybe it was the tape?

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR PATRICIA

    Daisy Power

    by Patricia Finnegan

    You love me? You love me not?

    You love me? You love me not?

    Could this daisy know the answer?

    Last month, I had a giant jelly disaster.

    I really couldn’t clean it faster.

    I tried to make a sandwich after.

    You said, “What a peanut buttery disaster!”

    You love me? You love me not?

    You love me? You love me not?

    Does this flower have know-all super powers?

    Last week, I had the ultimate shower.

    My bubbles made huge soapy towers.

    The foam was on the wall for hours.

    You said, “What a soapy, slippery-slidey shower!”

    You love me? You love me not?

    You love me? You love me not?

    I hope this flower can explain

    Today, I played out in the rain.

    Mud followed after like a train.

    I don’t think dark brown leaves a stain.

    You said, “What a fudgy, mucky rain!

    You love me?

    You love me!

    How did this flower get so wise?

    Is that love I see in your eyes?

    Mama, since this flower never lies,

    I hope we can be valentines.

  5. Lucretia Schafroth says:

    Cupid’s Graduation Wish

    by Lucretia Schafroth (Word count: 214)

    Angel Academy buzzed with anticipation for their Valentine’s Day graduation. This year, everyone expected Cupid #11—Ciel to his friends—to be honored as the class’s top student.

    He’d whittled the straightest arrows—never nicking himself—in wood shop.
    He’d won ‘highest hoverer’ in gym class.
    He’d even aced Advanced Archery and Applied Physics.

    But Ciel had another distinction—as the tiniest cupid at school. And it wasn’t just his size everyone noticed…

    Ciel still had all his baby teeth.

    The Tooth Fairy had visited his classmates multiple times—so kids teased Ciel, calling him AADD—academically advanced, dentally delayed.

    More than any award, Ciel desperately hoped for a loose tooth—and a Tooth Fairy visit.

    He’d tried everything—wiggling his teeth, biting into apples…even asking a friend to throw heavy quivers at his mouth! No luck.

    As the students practiced for the ceremony, Ciel thought about his speech. His classmates lined up—sashes tied, bows taut, quivers stocked—and hovered to the stage, their fluttering wings jostling.

    “Careful, cupids!,” the principal cautioned. Lost in thought, Ciel didn’t hear the warning, crashing face first into the podium. Picking himself up, Ciel noticed something white on the floor—his tooth!

    The Tooth Fairy winked from above. Happy Valentine’s Day, she thought. See you tonight…

  6. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR STEPHANIE

    Huggle and Snug by Stephanie Vassallo

    Before the beginning, Huggle lived at home with Mommy and Mama. Huggle got all the attention and toys to himself. Huggle felt special. Still sometimes Huggle wished he had someone else to play with at home.

    Mama’s belly was getting rounder. Mama’s lap was getting littler. Baby Snug was growing inside. Mommy said Snug would be a Valentine’s baby.

    Huggle hoped for a little sister. Huggle could play with a sister. A girl could be a Valentine’s baby. Huggle hoped he would be the only boy. Huggle wanted to stay special.

    Mama made an appointment. Huggle and Mommy went too. At the appointment, the look-inside machine showed a boy. Huggle cried. Huggle’s whole body cried. Huggle wouldn’t be special anymore.

    Right then, Snug gave a thumbs up sign. Mommy said Snug’s thumbs up meant, “It’s ok, Huggle.” Mommy said Snug hoped Huggle would play with him at home. Mommy said a boy could be a Valentine’s baby. Mommy said Huggle would always be special. Huggle got quiet.

    On Valentine’s Day, Snug arrived. Snug peeked at Huggle. Snug held Huggle’s finger. Snug gave Huggle a lovey. Huggle loved his soft lovey. Huggle felt special. Huggle cuddled Snug. Huggle sang Snug a welcome song.

    Now Huggle can play with his little brother Snug at home.

  7. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KURT

    MY VALENTINE by Kurt Wetherill

    Will you help me with my valentine?

    I want it to be perfect because I’m giving it to someone really special.

    Should it be fancy with lots of glitter? You make life sparkle.

    Or simple with only words? Be my valentine.

    How do you feel about rainbows? You add color to my day!

    You think there should be hearts? How many? One? Two? Twenty? If I had more hearts to give, they’d all be yours.

    Perhaps one with a polar bear? Thanks for being the coolest!

    I like cats, but I also like aliens. Here’s one with an alien cat. You’re purr-fectly out of this world! Too much?

    How about one that rhymes?

    Roses are red.

    Violets are blue.

    You’re super awesome.

    And amazing too!

    Maybe something silly? Everything’s BUTTER with you!

    You can’t go wrong with a message from the heart. You’re the most wonderful person I’ve ever met!

    So many great valentines. I love them all, but it feels like they’re missing something.

    I didn’t put who they are to!

    To someone really special, YOU!

    Now they’re perfect, just like you. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LUCRETIA

    Cupid’s Candy Craving
    —Marvin’s Valentine’s Surprise

    by Lucretia Schafroth (Word count: 214)

    Marvin awoke, sniffing the air groggily. Ugh! Still winter…
    “Snack time!,” grumbled his tummy. Then, he remembered eating all his Christmas candy before his long nap.

    Massaging his twitching sweet tooth, Marvin thought, “I’ve gotta get sugared snacks—soon!”
    “Surveillance time!,” Marvin decided. Glittering hearts decorated several windows. Valentine’s Day was almost here! Marvin hoped that meant chocolate—his favorite.

    “Scheming time!,” Marvin grinned. Devising a mission, he nipped and snipped, gnawed and clawed until…
    “Perfect!,” he smiled.

    Once inside, sweet aromas guided his feet. Shimmying up a table leg, Marvin tucked himself behind a fluffy bear guarding two heart-shaped boxes.

    FWAP! Instantly, yapping and skittering feet approached.

    Marvin dove for cover.

    “Fluffy—Stop barking!,” said the eldest. Then, to her little brother—
    “C’mon! Let’s finish dinner so we can open our chocolates.”
    “Show time!” Marvin thought.

    “That’s a funny-looking Valentine…,” said the eldest, reaching for her box.

    “I wanna see,” said the boy, peering up.

    At that moment, Marvin leaped outward…
    launching into the air…
    flinging out his arms…
    and yelled, “HAAP-PPPY VALL-LENTINE’S DAY!”

    “CRAZY CUPID! RUN!” shrieked the kids. Dropping their chocolates, they scrambled out of the room.

    Nibbling on a scrumptious, velvety chunk while admiring his new snack supply, Marvin, the chipmunk, thought…
    ‘OPERATION CHOCOLATE HEART’…
    SUCCESS!

  9. ingridboydston says:

    Oh dear, time is running out so I will go ahead and post. This is lucky revision #13! Thanks again Susanna for providing such a fun and creative outlet for all of us!

    A Pirate Valentine
    209 word Valentiny
    By Ingrid Boydston

    A pirate valentine, my friend, is quite a sight to see.
    You do not see them often mate but if you’ll stick with me,
    I’ll show you the best valentine a pirate ever sent!
    The problem is I wrote it down, but don’t know where it went!

    It’s full of pirate poetry and lots of pirate verse.
    I kept it clean, except for “arrrrgh” I didn’t even curse!
    I burned the edges nice and black, drew X to mark the spot
    so my love can find me waiting…at the last place that we fought!

    I hope you’ll help me look for it! It’s worth a treasure chest!
    Of all the sweethearts in the world, I’ll arrrrgue mine’s the best!
    For though we have our differences and though we sometimes fight,
    we always end up making up and yes, she’s usually right.

    If you could help me find it friend, I’ll let you steer the ship.
    What’s that? You will? You’ll help me look? Then let’s begin our trip!
    We’ve got to find that present fast! We mustn’t dilly dawdle!
    I never should have put my valentine into that bottle!

    You see my bottle floating? Where? By pirates gosh and golly!
    And there’s my Valentine herself! My pirate parrot Polly!

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR STEPHANIE K

    LILY’S LEG (213 words) by Stephanie Routt Kotara

    Lily’s leg cast had been on for soooo long. Years!
    (Her brother Ben said it wasn’t years).
    Valentine’s Day was her next check up.
    “My cast has to come off,” she declared.
    “I miss baths and wearing pants and chasing Ben.”
    “Nope,” said Ben.

    Waiting was hard.
    To distract herself, Lily wrote out her Valentines.
    “What to do with the extra one…?”
    “Eat it?” said Ben.
    Lily remembered a flier in the doctor’s office: ‘Happy, hopeful? You might heal faster.’

    An idea!

    ‘Dear Leg,’ she wrote.
    ‘I miss you. I want us to swim and karate kick and sit crisscross applesauce.
    Please get well soon. You’re the best (except for my other leg)!
    Love, Lily.’

    Lily showed the special Valentine to her best friend Hannah.
    “A great idea!” said Hannah.

    At the check up, Dr. Walker told Lily she’d taken good care of her cast. “Your leg’s almost ready.”
    “Almost?” groaned Lily.
    “It needs a little longer to heal,” said the doctor.
    “Can’t be too careful,” Ben agreed.

    “Maybe your leg needs more than one Valentine,” said Hannah, as she helped Lily into school.

    “Surprise!” Lily’s classmates presented her with 20 Valentines, all dedicated to her leg.

    Lily beamed. “With these, I’ll be hopping around by Easter.”

    And she was.

    (Watch out, Ben!)

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR AMBER

    If I Gave a Witch a Valentine

    By Amber M. Bouchard

    WC 141

    What if I gave a witch a valentine?

    Would she hiss and yell?

    Would she cast a spell?

    She might turn me into a snake.

    She might bake me into a cake.

    She might swat me with her broom or zap lightening, Kaboom!

    What if I gave a witch a Valentine?

    Would she still be mean,

    Green,

    and mix potions on Halloween?

    I hope she wouldn’t.

    I hope she would hug and kiss,

    not yell and hiss.

    What if she didn’t cast a spell and her heart began to swell.

    I hope she would give a smile and talk while,

    not turn me into a reptile.

    What if there were no swats or zaps, but together we made cakes or frappes.

    So, I gave it a try.

    I gave a witch a Valentine.

    And in the end…

    …she became my friend.

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JEN

    Bunnies’ Heart-Shaped Hopes by Jen Raudenbush

    As fluffy, white flakes fell to the forest floor, two bunnies peered from their burrow.

    “It’s deeper than Papa’s ears!” squeaked Calliope.

    “But it’s gotta stop,” said older sister Marisol. “Vole’s Valentine’s Day party is tonight!”

    Mama cuddled the girls close. “By tonight, the snow may be too deep for your wandering bunny feet.”

    Calliope blinked back tears. “No candy hearts and valentines.”

    Marisol’s whiskers twitched. “No music and dancing.”

    Snow covered the ground like Mama’s quilt. But deep in her belly, Calliope nurtured a glow of promise.

    She carried that pinprick of light into naptime, where its embers grew and gleamed and danced in her dreams.

    Marisol pressed her pink nose against the outside door and shook her head. They’d never make it to Vole’s house!

    As her back leg thumped, an idea sprang up. She hoped she could hop to it in time.

    Calliope sighed and stretched. When she peeked outside, her eyes widened to the size of chocolate-covered strawberries.

    Red ribbons swirled like icing atop their family’s pine tree. Velvet hearts swayed from icicle-glazed tree branches. Animals’ song floated through the night sky, speckled with stars.

    Calliope’s heart swelled to bursting as she grasped Marisol’s outstretched paws.

    And the two swung in powdered-sugar circles…at their very own Valentine’s party.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      I have the strangest feeling that I’ve read and commented on this story somewhere else here. In any case, this story conjures really beautiful images. And I love measuring the depth of the snow by the length of Papa’s ears. Sweet story! Good luck!

    • Lynn says:

      I, too, read this here somewhere earlier and I thought I left a comment. This is a lovely story of making the best of things. I wish you well with your story.

    • Nancy Riley says:

      Your imagery is great! Snow deeper than Papa’s ears, covering the ground like Mama’s quilt, eyes the size of chocolate covered strawberries.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Ooh, what lovely images of their very own Valentine party, Jen! Sounds delightful! Love their names too 🙂 Love the line about the wandering bunny feet and the powdered sugar circles – lovely! 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the contest fun!

  13. Swenson Scribbles (@KS_scribbles) says:

    Grumble’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever
    by Katrina Swenson
    WC 210

    Outside of the village, just over the ridge,
    down the stone street and under the bridge,
    lives an old troll, full of gristle and gall.
    He answers to Grumble, when he answers at all.

    Grumble is grouchy each day of the week
    But holidays really put red in his cheeks.
    Christmas? “NO THANK YOU!” Thanksgiving? “NO WAY!”
    And don’t even mention that Valentine’s Day!

    Valentine’s brings out the townsfolk in force
    Trading “Be Mine’s” and “I love yous,” of course.
    Villagers always bring Grumble cards, too.
    “Grumble dislikes them! Grumble says EW!”

    “Valentines! VALENTINES! Give ‘em a shove!
    Grumble detests them! Grumble HATES LOVE!”

    This year, old Grumble declares with a groan,
    “Grumble is hoping they’ll leave him alone!”

    Valentine’s morning he wakes with a sigh,
    preparing to bellow at folks who drop by.
    But where are the visitors? All day he waits,
    but no one brings note cards or cookies on plates!

    Sweet simple silence is all that he hears.
    “Is Grumble mistaken? Should Grumble clean ears?”

    Each passing hour, old Grumble’s grin grows.
    “Silence smells better than some silly rose!
    More tasty than chocolate, much better than words!
    Prettiest valentine Grumble has heard!”

    The townspeople fist bump to hear Grumble say,
    “Thank you, you humans…now please, GO AWAY!”

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