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

– 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:


– 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!


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 🙂


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

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

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    MAMA’S PURPLE HEART (214 words)
    Anne Bromley

    TJ waited for the nurse to call, hoping it was time for Mama to come home from the hospital. Surely, her heart was better by now. After all, it was Valentine’s Day!

    But Papa said, “Not yet, TJ. Mama’s okay. But not yet.”

    “Then I have to go to work . . . fast!”

    TJ found the perfect piece of cardboard. He drew an almost perfect heart. He searched for a bright red marker but found only purple. That would do. He had a jar of glitter. That would do too.

    Papa peeked. “Looking good!”

    TJ thought and thought about what to write between the glitter and the glue. But no words came to him. “Time to go,” said Papa. “Visiting hours are almost over.”

    Sleet pelted the windshield as they rode across town to the hospital.

    As they raced to the entrance, TJ slipped and dropped his cardboard heart into a puddle.

    “Oh no!” He screamed. “My Valentine is ruined!”

    He carried the wet, messy Valentine to Mama’s room.

    “Just in time!” Papa sighed.

    Mama looked up with sleepy eyes.

    TJ gulped and handed her the purple heart. “Happy Valentine’s Day. Sorry it’s not so good.”

    Mama reached out to hug him. “It’s just like mine, sweetie, and it’s the best Valentine ever!”

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Valentine’s Day with the Deli Family
    by Sandra Bohman

    It was closing time at the family deli, when Jed shouted, “Hey, Pretty Feet, do you want to play tag?

    “Sure, Brainy Head,” said Pete.

    “Boys, enough with your name-calling, “ said Mrs. Deli. “Jed, you run in the corner for three minutes. Pete, you sing, I Won’t Call My Brother Names five times. I certainly hope you boys learn to get along. Valentine’s Day is almost here.”

    “Sorry, Mama,” said the boys hanging their heads.

    But on the way to bed, Pete flashed a calculator at Jed.

    And Jed flaunted a bottle of perfume at Pete. Both burst into laughter.

    “Do I need to come in and tickle you both?” said Mr. Deli.

    “No, Dad, we’ll behave,” said the boys.

    The next morning, Pete wrinkled up his nose when he picked up his shoes, “Ugh, Heavenly Breeze air freshener!”

    Jed gagged when he saw grape gummies arranged on his dresser in the shape of a head.

    Mom crossed her arms, “Keep up your shenanigans and there’s no liver and spinach for dinner.”

    “We’ll be good,” gasped the boys.

    On Valentine’s Day, Pete and Jed gave each other gifts wrapped in white butcher paper.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Noodlehead.”

    “You too, Picklefeet.”

    “That’s more like it,” said Mrs. Deli smiling.

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Valentine-Making Time

    by Robin Brett Wechsler

    (word count: 214)

    Since Groundhog Day had past, Punxsutawney Phil was stuck finding ways to fill the time until spring.

    He scampered with the squirrels, digging for acorns. But he got tired and the nuts tasted terrible.

    He roosted with the chickadees in tree cavities. But he sat there bored and squashed.

    He wandered into a yard as a girl trudged home from school.

    “Hi, Greta,” said someone at the door. “Why the sad face?”

    “I have no ideas for decorating my Valentine cards. And tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!”

    Phil flipped.

    He wasn’t sure about cards but he knew all about astonishing appearances.

    When the people went inside, Phil looked for leaves.

    He peeked in the window. Greta stared at stickers.

    Phil rounded up red berries.

    He peeked in the window again. Greta cried cutting out lopsided hearts.

    Phil placed pinecones perfectly with the rest in a heart shape on the porch.

    I hope she likes it, thought Phil.

    Hearing rustling noises outside, Greta opened the door. She squealed with delight at the sight.

    Then a gust of wind blew the art apart. Greta shrieked.

    Phil bolted for his burrow.

    But on the way, he heard Greta shout, “Thank you, groundhog! I’m going to make groundhog-themed valentines!”

    Phil slept the rest of winter with a wide grin.

  4. Brian Song (@bsonghimself) says:

    -Unexpected Valentine-

    Sam worked diligently on his Valentine’s card for Lila.
    It had hearts everywhere in red, pink, and purple. And in the middle in big letters Sam wrote,
    “Will you be my Valentine?”
    Sam pictured the scene when he would give the card to Lila. Lila’s face would light up. And they would walk through the halls holding hands.

    It was Valentine’s Day.
    Sam looked his best with his card in hand.
    Sam stood tall as he walked up to Lila.

    “Lila?” said Sam. “I wanted to give you this.”
    Lila read the card.
    “Sorry, Sam,” said Lila. “But someone already asked me.”

    Sam didn’t see that coming.
    Embarrassed and heartbroken, Sam walked away.
    He threw his Valentine into the trash and wanted to disappear.

    The final school bell rang and Sam was eager to go home.

    “Um, Sam?” a quiet voice behind him said as he walked out of class.
    As soon as Sam turned around he heard,
    “Will you be my Valentine?”

    It was the new girl.
    Sam looked down at the card she gave him. It looked familiar.
    It was the card he had made.

    Sam looked up.
    “My name is Jules,” she said holding out her hand.

    Sam took her hand and smiled as they walked down the hall.

  5. yangmommy says:

    The Valentine Tree

    Deep in the woods in a secret glade, there once grew a Valentine Tree. Inscribed upon each of its heart-shaped leaves were whispers of hope and dreams of love. The tree flourished for years under the care of the cupids.

    One hot summer’s day, it was Avril’s turn to watch the tree. But her heart wasn’t in her work. She’d much rather be cooling off in the creek. Surely the Valentine Tree would be alright by itself for a little while? After a final flyover, Avril zipped off to join her friends.

    A wild and wicked storm suddenly punctured the afternoon fun. Avril raced back, but she was too late.

    Broken hopes and dreams lay scattered across the ground. It was hopeless!

    Or was it?

    Maybe she could glue the branches back with sticky sap? Or tie them back on? Or plant the leaves? Avril spent all night mending the tree and tending her hope.

    And with the power that is love, the broken branches took to the soil. By morning, a blanket of newborn saplings covered the ground.

    Deep in the woods in a secret glade, there now grows an orchard of Valentine Trees. Born of love, rooted in hope, they are protected by a determined cupid who never gave up.
    May love embrace you all this Valentine’s Day!

  6. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Valentine Treat

    by Judy Valko

    (214 words)

    Mom was downstairs frosting Benny’s favorite cupcakes (chocolate) for his Valentine’s Day party.

    “Be sure everyone gets a cupcake,” said mom as she handed the container to Benny as he was leaving.

    “OK”, said Benny.

    “Have fun at school today” said mom. “I saved you a cupcake for a snack after school,”

    “Yum!” thought Benny.

    He grabbed his backpack and headed out the door.

    Next door, Mr. Huggins sat on his porch, alone as usual. Benny thought he must be at least 100.

    “Good morning,” said Benny. “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

    Mr. Huggins waved back. “Looks like you’ve got some special treats there,” he said.

    “Yep,” said Benny. “Chocolate cupcakes! See you later.”

    The Valentine’s Day party at school was tons of fun. Benny got 25 valentines, 16 Hershey

    kisses, and 5 pages of stickers. But all Benny could think about on the way home was that

    delicious chocolate cupcake waiting for him.

    When he got into the house, Benny grabbed his cupcake and was just about to take a bite.

    Next door, Benny could see Mr. Huggins sitting alone in his kitchen window. Benny made a


    On the front porch Benny rang the bell.

    “Hi,” said Benny. He held out the cupcake to Mr. Huggins.

    “I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day.”

  7. Anne Cavanaugh Sawan says:

    Eliza’s Broken Heart

    “Happy Valentine’s Day Eliza!” said George.
    “Hello George,” said Eliza.
    “What’s wrong?” asked George.
    “My heart, it’s broken,” said Eliza.
    Oh no, thought George! He couldn’t let his friend’s heart be broken, not on Valentines Day! He had to fix it, but with what? Then he had an idea!
    “Wait right here!” George ran home.

    “I’m back,” said George.
    “What is all this?” asked Eliza
    “It’s Valentines stuff, you know, to make you happy. Look, here are a few of the roses my dad gave my mom and some of the chocolate candy my mom gave my dad and here is a love note my sister got from her boyfriend. Yuck.”
    “Uh,” said Eliza. “Thanks, but did you bring any glue?”
    “Glue?” said George.
    “Yes,” said Eliza. “To fix the clay heart I made for you in art class.”
    “Ohhhh,” said George. “I thought you meant your real heart was broken.”
    George looked down. “I was hoping all this stuff would fix it.”
    “I know!” said Eliza. “How about we put the flowers in a vase, eat all this delicious candy and then go find some glue to fix my, I mean your, broken heart.
    George smiled, “And let’s bring this gross love note back to my sister.”
    “Definitely!” Said Eliza.

  8. Jim Chaize says:

    Porcupine’s Gift
    By Jim Chaize

    As Valentine’s Day approached, Porcupine was sad.
    He knew he’d get cards and maybe a gift, but probably not what he wanted the
    So, Porcupine decided to ask his friends.
    “A hug?” said Squirrel. “We can’t.”
    “Your quills are too prickly,” said Skunk.
    “I know. Why did I have to be a porcupine?”
    “Really?” said Skunk, “my nickname is Stinky Dinky?”
    “Mine’s Whats-He-Nutsy,” added Squirrel.
    “All I want is a hug.”
    That night, Porcupine drew cards for Squirrel and Skunk.
    He baked nut-berry muffins for their gifts.
    Porcupine was certain Squirrel and Skunk would smile at their
    cards, gobble up the muffins, and say “thank you.”
    And that would be all. No hugs.
    On that same night, Squirrel and Skunk made cards for Porcupine, and
    sewed together his gift.
    The next morning, Porcupine found his friends in the forest.
    “For you,” he said.
    His friends smiled at their cards, gobbled up the muffins, and said
    “thank you.”
    And that was all.
    Until Squirrel and Skunk yelled, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
    Porcupine read his card, “Valentine’s Day Suits You Perfectly,
    With Hugs, Squirrel and Skunk.”
    He opened his gift. His eyes twinkled.
    “Put it on,” said Skunk.
    Porcupine’s new bark suit was ideal, for hugs with his two best

  9. nancyriley7 says:

    Hope’s Valentine – 214 words

    Emma skipped to her porch munching a Valentine’s cookie. As crumbs dribbled down, a tongue reached out from under the steps. “What?” She scrunched down and a dog’s nose nudged her hand. Emma yelled through the door, “Mom, come quick!”

    “Goodness,” said her mom, kneeling next to Emma. “She’s starving. Let’s get her inside.”

    Emma reached in, “There’s . . . a puppy!” She clasped a wiggly, chocolate-colored pup in her hands. “Look, there’s a white heart on her forehead! I’m calling her, Valentine!”

    The dog snuggled up to Emma and her puppy. Something sparkled through her matted fur – a tag. Emma squinted and read, “Hope.”

    The dog’s tail thumped.

    “Are you Hope?” Thump. Lick. Emma called the number etched on the tag.


    “Hi, I’m Emma Willett. Do you have a dog named Hope?”

    “Heavens, she’s been missing a year. Is she okay?”

    “Yes, but very hungry,” said Emma, giving the woman her address.

    “I’ll be there soon.”

    Later, Hope whined as Emma greeted a silver-haired woman.

    Hope flew to her, wiggling from nose to tail. Joy lit the woman’s face, replaced by concern as the puppy scampered up. “I can’t keep them both. Would you like the puppy when she’s old enough?”

    “Oh yes!” cried Emma. “She’ll be my chocolate Valentine!”

  10. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Yellow and Blue Valentines (205 words)
    by Marty Bellis

    What do you do when your class Valentines
    need to be ready by quarter to nine,
    and the paper you have is yellow and blue
    and the marker you find is a sickly green hue?
    Do you cry, do you frown,
    do you let out a groan?
    Do you HOPE the party’s cancelled
    and everyone stays home?
    Do you make heart-shaped cookies
    and HOPE they’re ok?
    Now there’s a plan.
    But you best not delay.
    It will take a good hour.
    Do you have the right pan?
    Lots of sugar and flour,
    pretty sprinkles and butter?
    And a heart cookie cutter?
    Oh dear, don’t be sad.
    There’s no reason to mutter.
    That would be a big job
    and make lots of clutter.
    Don’t panic. Don’t freak.
    Yes, the outlook is bleak.
    Just go back to Plan A.
    It’s the thought, as they say.
    Bring out those scissors
    and snip, snip away.
    Yellow and blue hearts are better than none.
    They’ll be a bit different, and that might be fun.
    Now add a message, and then you’re all done.
    What if you say, “Happy Valentine’s Day.
    A red heart is fine. But I HOPE you like mine.
    It’s yellow and blue — made especially for you.”

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Tootsie the Wonder Dog’s Valentiny Poem
    by Kathy Brown and Tootsie too🐾
    word count 88

    Tootsie the wonder dog smells excitement in the air
    Woofity…woof, as she prances with flare
    I think a poem is something I wish to share

    Roses are red
    The ocean is blue
    Today is a greeeaaat day
    We must not boo-woo
    Woofity woof and yippee-yahooo

    Valentiny day is in full bloom
    It’s time to make heart shaped cookies
    And dance to some tunes

    As we open our hearts
    With kindness and caring
    Remember that today and everyday
    Is all about love and sharing

    Happy Valentiny Day!

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Sakie’s Flock by Gayle Veitenheimer

    Sakie crossed her fingers. “I hope I get lots of Valentines next week.”

    “My little blossom, we just moved. Friendship takes time, but you know the saying.” Her mother grinned. “If you make 1,000 origami cranes, your wish will come true.”

    “1,000?” Sakie wilted.

    Okaasan laughed. “I’ll help with the first one.”

    Sakie and Okaasan cut paper and folded it. And folded and folded and folded. Soon paper cranes soared through the house.

    At school, Sakie made cranes during free time.

    “What are you doing?” asked Jeffrey.

    “Origami. If I make 1,000 cranes, my wish will come true.”

    Jeffrey whistled. “Why cranes?”

    “Cranes stand for hope when things are hard.”

    “Could I make one?”

    Together they made cranes. Short, tall, fat, thin.

    Soon Natalie joined them. “Would you make one for me?”

    All week Sakie made paper cranes. Her fingers ached, but her flock grew. She fell asleep each night surrounded by hope.

    On Valentine’s Day, sacks with lacy hearts lined the classroom. Sakie had made hundreds of cranes, but 1,000? She couldn’t look.

    At the party, cranes soared through the room.

    “Aren’t you going to open your valentines?” Jeffrey dropped her sack on the desk. Thump. Swish. Shuffle. Sakie peeked inside.

    Envelopes filled the sack and her heart took flight.

  13. Deborah Agranat Sullivan says:

    Teddy’s Valentine’s Day (209 Words) – Deb Sullivan (sullyweston@me.com)

    Teddy lives on a shelf.

    Third row down, second space in.

    Plush poodle sits to his left.

    Fancy Franny to his right.

    “Look, Grampa” says Charlotte, bouncing down the aisle. “Baby Becky eats and pees!”

    “Isn’t that something,” says Grandpa.

“She’s perfect!” Charlotte beams.

    Teddy is a bear. He has no accessories. He doesn’t pass gas.

    He has never been called perfect.

    But tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. How thrilling to be loved on such a special day.

    One by one, children scan the aisles for their dream toy.

    PLUCK! There goes Lovable Lulu.

    SWIPE! Good-bye Hug Me Hippo.

    SNAG! See ya, Singing Susie.

    Teddy sits up straight, shaking with excitement as each child passes.

    “Please pick me,” Teddy whispers.

    “What about this guy?” says Grandpa, picking up Teddy.

    “C’mon gramps,” says Charlotte.

    “He doesn’t DO anything.”

    Grandpa quietly puts Teddy back.

    As the day wears on, the shelves thin out.

    “Five minutes until closing,” a worker shouts.

    Teddy shuts his eyes. If only….


    “You’re still here!” Charlotte darts down the aisle, scooping Teddy off the shelf.

    Grampa smiles.

    “Baby Becky peed on me,” Charlotte sniffles in Teddy’s ear.

    Then she hugs Teddy tight.

    “YOU are perfect.”

    Teddy’s heart swells. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Dear Daughter

    By Sandra Sutter

    Hope isn’t a four-letter word,

    A wish, or a prayer.

    People like Tony Thompson,

    Pulling your hair just as surely as he pulls your heartstrings,

    You need not cry about that.

    Vexing as it is,

    A boy like him

    Learns what matters when it’s much too late;

    Eleven years from now.

    Not just on a day like today,

    This Valentine’s Day.

    Inviting you to accept a card and candy.

    Names filled out on a blank space.

    Eager as you may be to accept this token,

    Stow it away, with hope that people can change, even Tony Thompson.

    Dear daughter,

    Always, not just today,

    You can be MY Valentine!

  15. Judy Sobanski (@jkspburg) says:

    MUMS THE WORM – 214 words

    Wendell Worm squiggled up to the Valentine’s Day cards.

    A sign said, SOLD OUT!

    “Oh NO!” thought Wendell. “How will I let Juanita Worm know I want her to be my Valentine?
    Worms don’t talk. We can only think.
    I have no feet so I can’t dance to show my feelings.
    I have no hands to write down a love poem.
    I hope I can think of some way to let Juanita know I want her for my Valentine!”

    Wendell thought and thought. Before long he was all twisted up into a knot. That’s when he came up with his plan.

    Soon, Juanita came inching up the sidewalk.

    “Here goes,” thought Wendell.

    He turned and squirmed until from one end to his other end he formed a heart.

    When Juanita saw what Wendell did she thought, “That’s the sweetest thing any worm has ever done!”

    She stretched herself straight across the heart to show Wendell that Cupid’s arrow had struck her, too. She loved Wendell!

    Together, Wendell and Juanita wriggled off to spend the rest of their lives together digging in the earth.

    Sometimes, on rainy days, whenever they get washed up onto the sidewalk, Wendell twists himself into a heart and Juanita stretches herself into an arrow…just to show their squirmy, wormy love.

  16. Jen Bagan says:


    By Jen Bagan
    (213 words)

    Po stuck the last of the cotton balls to his quills just in time to line up for the Valentine’s Day Rubber Raft Race-Off.

    Po had to admit that a rubber raft race was not an ideal event for a porcupine, but he had to impress Stella. She was the sweetest, shiniest, speediest seal he’d ever known … and she loved the water. When Stella witnessed his aquatic prowess, she’d surely be his Valentine.

    “Hey Puff Ball!” called Oscar. “I bet you pop that raft in five seconds flat!”

    Po ignored him. Otters were the worst.

    Suddenly it was time.


    Po rowed with all his might and pulled ahead of the pack.

    I’m doing it! I’m winning! he thought.

    He saw Stella cheering and surged ahead.

    But then …


    The raft was in tatters.

    Po thrashed and spluttered in a sea of cotton.

    This is not impressive, he thought.

    Po prepared to sink to the dark depths below.

    He waited … and waited.

    But Po wasn’t sinking. He was floating!

    He swished his paws this way and that. He was swimming!

    I never knew I could swim! Po thought.

    He swam across the finish line – dead last. But Stella was there waiting.

    “Now that was impressive,” she said.

  17. swimwarrior60 says:

    Charlotte’s New School (213 words) M. Rudzinski

    “Class, meet our new student …Charlotte.” .
    Charlotte forced a shy smile.
    “Do your best to follow along- glad you are here”
    Charlotte disappeared quickly behind a stack of new books on her desk.

    Charlotte dared not look around.
    Her tummy growled. Her hands felt icy.
    The morning lasted forever.
    Charlotte wished she was invisible.

    At lunchtime, students laughed and friends shared lunches.
    Charlotte just listened.

    She wished Sara was here.
    And her bus driver, Miss Lilly.
    And all of Lincoln School.

    After lunch, Charlotte stared at her Math paper.
    4 hearts + 18 hearts = ?

    Charlotte swallowed hard.
    Valentine’s Day!

    With moving and getting ready for school, she forgot about Valentines Day.

    “Class, you have a few minutes to finish any cards you have made.”

    Charlotte’s eyes blurred as she tried to think quickly.

    She found her scissors,
    some paper,
    And a red crayon.

    Carefully she wrote, “Your friend, Charlotte” as fast as she could, 16 times.

    As Charlotte slowly handed out the 16 hearts, she hoped someone might have one extra Valentine for her desk.
    But, at least, Charlotte had some valentines to give the class.

    Charlotte slowly trudged back to her desk.

    16 Valentines
    covered her new books.

    “Happy Valentines Day Charlotte!”
    everyone yelled.
    Moving is not so bad after all thought Charlotte.

  18. Anne Cavanaugh Sawan says:


    “I hope the Valentine Genie comes tonight,” said Teddy
    “The who?” said Eliza.
    “The Valentine Genie,” said Teddy. “You know like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. There must be a Valentine Genie.”
    Eliza shook her head. “There is no such thing as a Valentine Genie.”
    “We’ll just see about that,” said Teddy.
    The next morning Eliza opened her eyes. Teddy was sitting on her bed.
    “The genie didn’t come,” he said sadly.
    “I told you, there is …” Eliza stopped. “Let’s go downstairs. Maybe we will see something.”
    They peeked in the kitchen.
    Mom handed Dad a cup of coffee and Dad handed Mom a plate filled with pancakes.
    “Nothing,” whispered Eliza.
    “Nothing in the hallway either,” said Teddy, patting the cat and pouring some food into his bowl.
    “Let’s look outside,” said Eliza. “Come ‘on, I’ll help you with your boots.”
    Outside they saw Mr. Wilson.
    “Hey kids! Could you help me fill the bird feeder? Mrs. Wilson isn’t feeling well, but she loves watching these birds from the window.”
    Eliza and Teddy filled the feeder and waved to Mrs. Wilson.
    Eliza smiled. “You know what Teddy. I think the Valentine Genie did come and you know what she brought? Love.”
    “And pancakes,” said Teddy. “Race you back!”

  19. C Brandi Cooper says:

    Triple the Love by Brandi King Cooper 214 words
    Cindy’s dad married a woman who had triplets the same age as Cindy. She was excited and hopeful they would be the best of friends. But, they played mean tricks on Cindy. One night, she found they had sprinkled cereal crumbs between her sheets. She just grabbed her waste basket and brushed them off without a word. “Goodnight, Sara. Goodnight, Hannah. Goodnight, Emma.”
    Another time, the triplets made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for themselves and even one for Cindy. But when she bit into it…. yuck, pepper. She excused herself and went to the kitchen to make a new sandwich. When she returned, she gave each of the girls one of the chocolate chip cookies she had made earlier in the day.
    The next day was Valentine’s day and Cindy was determined to win the girls over. That night, she gathered all her fancy papers and pretty ribbons and made special cards for each of them. The next morning the triplets gave cards to their mom, her dad and to each other but none to Cindy. She ran to her room heartbroken where she saw all the pretty cards and paper flowers covering her bed. Then the three girls slipped into the room and hugged Cindy.
    Love wins! Three new sisters for Cindy.

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Emily’s Big Idea by Beth Wilcox

    Emily stood eyes glazed in front of a sea of red and pink cards in the store. I’ll never be able to find the perfect card Emily grumbled.
    She looked and looked and looked until her eyes became blurry and her legs were wobbly. She thought this special card can’t possibly be found.
    Emily walked away dragging her feet in the snow. The wind blew a small feather, which landed right on the top of her shoe. She quickly picked up the feather and put it safely in her pocket.
    Emily fidgeted at the table, thinking and thinking about the card.
    A big smile came over Emily’s face, the feather she thought, a card that’s not a card .
    She dumped out her playdough and got to work. Molding the best heart shape she could and popping the feather into the dough.
    Concentrating and focused Emily wrote on the heart with a uncooked piece of spaghetti. “You are the best mommy ever” I love all the delicious food you cook for me.
    Love Emily
    The next day Emily handed mommy the heart. Mommy snuggled Emily tight, I love that you thought to make me something so special.
    Emily beamed, and said” The perfect card turned out just perfectly”. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:



    By Mary Warth

    She read my face,

    with just one look.

    My bright red face-

    an open book!

    Red cheeks

    Red chin

    Red neck

    Red nose.

    She read my face

    And now she knows.

    I sent the card,

    without my name.

    but now my face

    takes all the blame.

    Red hearts

    Red paint

    Red “X”

    Red “O”s

    She read them all

    And now she knows.

    I hope that what my good friend read,

    will please, please stay inside her head!

    She gave a nod, a smile, a wink.

    My bright red face cooled down to pink.

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    The Valentine Hat

    By Gwen Hulley

    Zoey woke early to find a valentine. She wanted to share the day with someone special, but who?

    Wearing her Valentine hat would surely attract a special valentine!

    She soon saw Belinda the bird scrambling about picking up and dropping slippery worms.

    “Good morning! Do you like my hat?”

    “Sure, but I’m struggling to get these slippery worms up to my nest for my babies!”

    Zoey pulled off her hat, and filled it with worms.

    “Now I can fly the worms to my babies!” exclaimed Belinda. And she did.

    However, Belinda did not ask her to be her valentine.

    Next, Zoey ran into Sam the dog, squinting in the midday sun.

    “Greetings, Sam! Do you like my hat?”

    “Fine, but I’m busy searching for my best bone in this bright sun!”

    Zoey put her hat on Sam’s head to provide shade. Momentarily, Sam found his best bone sticking out from under a bush.

    “Fantastic!” Sam cried. Now I can enjoy my favorite bone on this special day!” And he did.

    Still, no valentine offer.

    Zoey moped home for dinner, but when she arrived, she was surprised to find Belinda and Sam shouting, “Be our Valentine!”.

    “You liked my hat?”

    “Not the hat, but that you used it to help us!”

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Winston Wins! (213 words) — Corine Timmer (www.bicadeideias.com)

    Winston the Woodpecker couldn’t sleep. He only had one thing on his mind—the redhead he had spotted the previous day. A crimson colour so deep, it had set his heart aflutter. She was the hen he wanted to invite to the Spring Ball.

    But he was not the only one.

    Some of his friends had noticed her too—and they were bigger and better drummers. Their neck muscles were stronger and their bills thicker and sturdier. They drummed for long periods of time without effort.

    How can I compete? Winston pondered. Everyone knew that the best and loudest drummers got the nicest hens—and this hen was dazzling.

    All through the night, Winston thought of a plan to win her heart. But it was not until the waste collectors arrived to empty the bins, that an idea popped into his mind.

    So, the next morning, instead of squabbling over a few dead tree trunks, Winston flew to one of the empty litter bins, gripped the rim, and started to drum.


    The surrounding trees and houses shook as the sound bounced off them. Winston drummed and drummed until he had caught the attention of all the hens. But he was only interested in the one.

    Had she heard him?


  24. heavenlyhashformoms says:

    Bamboo Panda”s Special Surprise!

    At the San Diego zoo, lived Bamboo! She cuddled with her daddy every day. One bright February morning, she wanted to give daddy a special Valentine surprise. She HOPED he would love it! It was green. It was crunchy. It was just-right munch. It was bamboo! She sealed her gift with a kiss from dad and signed it, “Love, Bamboo.” She began making a stick-stone heart when…
    Oh, no! Oh, no, no, no! Brother panda bear quietly munched on Bamboos special surprise! But, he had only made a mistake. Bamboo sadly took a walk in her enclosure….until she spotted a little girl above . The little girl blew Bamboo a Valentine kiss! With arms outstretched, Bambio caught the kiss! She ran to find her father. There he was. She stopped and blew HIM the kiss. “For you, Daddy! An angel’s kiss!” said Bamboo. Daddy smiled and looked up where he saw a little girl with a sign that read. “A special Valentine from me to zoo!”
    Liz Steffenson

  25. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Fabulous story, Susanna! Tugging at the heart strings and all. Boris is a sweetheart. Sniffle. My entry is not up to snuff, but I didn’t have time to fiddle with it anymore, sorry to say. Sometimes the muse is out to lunch—and dinner….thanks for hosting this big party! Cheers!

  26. mona861 says:

    Oh No! Where Did It Go? 204 words
    by Mona Pease

    Marci hurried.
    She sprinkled the heart with a gallon of glitter!
    Knock! Knock!
    Marci tucked the card away. Red was there. They were off to deliver Valentine’s to their forest friends.
    Red scampered to Gray squirrel’s hole and dropped cards in.
    Marci tiptoed into Bear’s den, hoping not to wake her.
    They stopped by Deer’s, and Mouse’s houses.
    Marci snuck up behind Owl who didn’t notice. He stared straight ahead.
    She stood guard while Red dropped cards in Fox’s den,
    Marci tried warning Red that Fox wasn’t home. He darted straight for them.
    She ran.
    Fox chased.
    Marci turned.
    Fox left.
    Red rushed to his friend.
    Marci stood. “Whew!” that was close.
    Red agreed. He decided that Marci needed her special Valentine right then.
    Marci looked in her sack for his.

    “Oh no! I lost the special, sparkly, card I made for you.”
    “Maybe we’ll find it on the way home,” said Red.
    “I hope we do,” said Marci.
    But they didn’t.
    Marci fished for her key.
    “Look! Your Valentine! I forgot that I hid it in my pocket.”
    “Ha, ha, ha,” laughed Red. Where else would a marsupial hide something special!”

  27. Christine Rodenbour says:

    Sweet Love
    by Christine Rodenbour

    Cupid got to fly, have his own holiday, and run around in nothing but underpants. Still, something was missing.

    Cupid wanted love. He wanted someone to smile when he smiled and bring him donuts when he frowned. Most of all, Cupid wanted Bella.

    But every time he got near her, he sweat. He shook. He forgot to breathe. It was hopeless. Until…

    …Cupid decided to break Rule #1.

    RULE #1: Bow and arrows are for making people fall in love. WITH EACH OTHER. (Not with Cupid).

    Cupid was leaving Dippity’s Donuts when he saw her. He drew his bow and fired. But he forgot his glasses and “Bella” turned out to be Pigeon.

    Later, glasses on, Cupid found Bella near the hot dog stand. Just as he aimed, Pigeon swooped in for a smooch and the arrow flew toward a fresh batch of wieners. Cupid left the clerk his last jelly-filled to say sorry.

    He found shade, to think and lick mustard from his elbow, when he heard…

    “Excuse me,” Bella said. “I’m sure you’re busy. But I have an emergency!”

    Cupid began to sweat. Then, nodded.

    “I ran out of donuts!”

    As Cupid hurried Bella toward the nearest bakery, he tucked his arrow away. Turned out he might not need it after all.

  28. Karla Jermy (@MNgirlUK) says:

    You Rock!
    Karla Jermy
    211 words

    Jonathan peeked eagerly in his Valentine’s box on the way out for recess. Empty! He tried not to be disappointed, but it wasn’t working.
    He plopped himself down in the front of a tree, scanning the playground, hoping to catch someone’s gaze. Then they might ask him to play. Nothing! He tried not to be sad, but it wasn’t working.
    He picked up a couple of rocks and made a circle on the pavement. He threw the rocks, one at a time, trying to make it land in the circle.
    No. No. Closer. Yes!
    “Nice shot. You made up a good game. Can I play with you?”
    Jonathan jumped around and tried not be scared. He nodded slowly, hoping it wasn’t a trick.
    They laughed, joked, and finished the game together until the bell rang to go back inside.
    After he hung up his coat, Jonathan stopped to have another quick look in his box. He didn’t expect to find anything…again…so he lifted the lid off quickly. But, this time something shook.
    Inside his Valentine’s box was a rock with a heart drawn on it. It was one of the rocks from the new game at recess.
    A smile stretched across Jonathan’s face.
    “You rock,” said a familiar voice behind him.

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