Oh, Guilty Heart! – The 4th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

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

The 4th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

valentiny writing contest 2019!

~ for children’s writers~

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 feels guilty!  Your someone can feel guilty themselves or make someone else feel guilty.  They may feel guilty for good reason, or just because they think they should!  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 guilty (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 tomorrow Thursday 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 PPBF for the duration of the contest so this post and the list of links will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you would like to enter but don’t have a blog you are welcome to paste your entry in the comment section below (please be sure to include your byline so that if your posting handle is writesbynightlight1 or something I’ll be able to tell who you are!)  If anyone has trouble commenting, which unfortunately happens, please email your entry to me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com and I’ll post your entry for you. But please don’t send attachments!  Just copy and paste your story including byline into the email.  Also, please only post your entry once – either in the comment section of my blog or on the link list or by emailing me and asking me to post it.  Multiple postings of the same entry get confusing. 🙂
P.S.  Although I try to stay glued to my computer 24/7 I am sometimes forced to leave my desk.  If you haven’t commented on my blog before, your comment won’t show up until I approve it.  It may take a little while if I’m away from my desk.  Likewise, if you send me an entry to post, I promise I will do it as soon as I can!

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 Wednesday February 20th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Friday February 22nd or Saturday February 23rd depending on judging and voting time needed.  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 guilt and success in making us feel the guilt!
  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, the awesomeness!  Such great prizes to motivate you!  With thanks to all who donated!

“Skip The Slushpile” AND get a Query Letter Critique from Charlotte Wenger, associate editor at Page Street Kids, the picture book division of Page Street Publishing. She earned her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Simmons University (then College) and is a board member of the Mazza Museum’s National Advisory Board of Visitors. She enjoys working with debut picture book authors and illustrators and is excited about the 19 Page Street Kids picture books pubbing in 2019.

 
Find Charlotte on Twitter at @WilbursBF_Char, and learn more about Page Street Kids via www.pagestreetpublishing.com, Twitter: @PageStreetKids, and Instagram: pagestreetkids.

Charlotte will read the winner’s picture book manuscript of choice, then send an email letting you know she’s read your story and including one thing you did well and one thing you might work on to improve the manuscript.  In addition, she will give you a query letter critique.  Like all editors, she has a hectic schedule, so she will aim to fulfill the prize within 2 months of receiving the manuscript.

Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the incredibly talented, multi-published author/illustrator Iza Trapani!

Iza 2014  Old MacDonald

Picture Book Manuscript Critique by the Queen of KidLit411 herself, Elaine Kiely Kearns, author of Noah Noasaurus, forthcoming April 1, 2019 from Albert Whitman!

elaine  noah

– Top Ten Reasons for Rejectiona 52 minute webinar from Alayne Kay Christian, author of Butterfly Kisses (picture book) and the Sienna The Cowgirl Fairy series (chapter books), and Content and Developmental Editor of Blue Whale Press.

Alayne butterfly kisses

Webinar Description: If you want tips on some corrective action that you might take to improve your chances of submission success, and/or if you would like to deepen your understanding of plot and arc, this webinar is for you.

(And if you’re interested in seeing what else Alayne has to offer, like her Writing For Children Webinars and Courses page on FB and keep an eye out for upcoming offerings!)

 

15-30 Minute Your Questions Answered Phone Call – with Ryan Sias, author/illustrator of Balloon Toons: Zoe And Robot, Let’s Pretend, Sniff Sniff!, and the Woof And Quack beginning reader series (Green Light Readers), and the Super Doodle Series. He has worked in animation, film, and television, including Sesame Street 🙂

Do you have questions about writing, revising, submitting, whether or not to try for an agent, what happens after the sale, or anything else publishing industry related?  If so, this is your chance to ask away and get answers from a professional!

85044-ryan_headshot  SniffSniffcover-300x300  woof and quack snowy doodle

 

Query Letter Critique by Heather Ayris Burnell, creator of the Sub It Club and author of Bedtime Monster, Kick! Jump! Chop! The Adventures Of The Ninjabread Man, and the Sparkly New Friends early chapter book series from Scholastic!

heather burnell  Kick Jump Chop

2-Pack of Personalized Signed Picture Books from amazing author Melissa StollerScarlet’s Magic Paintbrush and Ready, Set, Gorilla!

Picture2  Picture1 gorilla

The Writer’s Tool Box: Creative Games And Exercises for Inspiring The “Write” Side Of Your BrainAND a $10 Amazon Gift Card

writer's toolbox

Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2019 – by Robert Lee Brewer AND a $10 Amazon Gift Card (2 available)

Children's Writer's Guide 2019

I can’t thank these authors 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.

The time has come for my sample.

It could have really benefited from the 65 words I had to cut out of it to make the 214 word limit! I’m warning you now – have some chocolate handy to help ease the pain of reading it 🙂

Valentine Fair and Square (214 words)

Flora and Miles liked all the same things.

Climbing trees.

Fishing.

Baseball.

And peanut butter ice cream with marshmallow sauce.

Unfortunately, Miles didn’t know Flora existed.

But Flora had a plan.

For days she toiled, making the Best Valentine Ever.

Valentines morning, she put her valentine on Miles’s desk.

Miles would notice her now!

But then Isabella put hers on top!

It was HUGE.

It was FANCY.

It came with a whole box of candy.

DISASTER!

There was only one thing to do.

When Isabella wasn’t looking, Flora grabbed the huge, fancy, pink valentine and hid it behind the bookshelf.

During Attendance, Flora’s middle felt pinchy.

She hadn’t stolen it, she told herself.  She’d only moved it!

But during the Pledge, her heart felt twingy.

She so wanted Miles to like her. He had to like her valentine most!

But by Morning Announcements Flora’s thoughts were poking her in the brain.  Sharply.

Isabella probably worked as hard on her valentine as Flora had.

Flora flooded with guilt.

She didn’t want to hurt Isabella.

She didn’t want Miles to like her when she’d been deceitful.

So she put Isabella’s valentine back.

“Hey!” said Miles, holding up a valentine.  “This is the Best Valentine Ever!”

It wasn’t fancy pink.

It was a climbing-tree-fishing-peanut-butter-cup-and-mini-marshmallow-covered baseball-glove heart.

Flora’s.

Alrighty then!

I feel GUILTY for writing such drivel 🙂  But surely you are all feeling a surge of confidence, emboldened to share your stories, now that I have posted this travesty for all the world to see!  Never let it be said that I’m not willing to make a fool of myself for you, my friends!  🙂

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 you still have until midnight tomorrow 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!!!

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 92 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!

Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! ❤

Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories!

  1. Valentine’s Day Confession – Juli
  2. Prince Froggie Went A’ Courtin’ – Sherry
  3. Valentine’s Remorsel – Joel
  4. Sophie Builds A Bridge – Corine
  5. Charity’s Chocolate Bath – Johanna
  6. Candy Hearts – Glenda
  7. Cupid’s Valentine Scrabble – Jill
  8. Momo On Valentine’s Day – Shariffa
  9. A Valentine’s Party At School – Anneberly
  10. Secret Mission Valentine – Ramona
  11. It Wasn’t Me! – Susan
  12. The Little Piggies Celebrate Valentines Day – Sarah
  13. Messy Valentines – Sarah
  14. Wilfred’s Valentine’s Day – Cheryl
  15. A Box Full Of Love – Anne
  16. No Sweethearts – Marcia
  17. The Missing Pupcake – Jill
  18. Cupid And Bob – Jessica
  19. The Important Pink Washcloth – Marcia
  20. Valentine’s Day Smiles – Katie
  21. A Penny For His Thoughts – Charlene
  22. The Girl With The Dragon Choo-Choo – Anne
  23. Where Does Love Go? – Aixa
  24. The Sucker – Megan
  25. I Was Wrong – Nina
  26. Alex & Apple Solve The Case – Nicole
  27. Tamu, The Thieving Cat (Paka Mwizi)! – Ketan
  28. Late Night Snack – Mary
  29. A Way With Words – Susan
  30. A Spiny Valentiny – Rachel
  31. Love Bug At The Zoo – Chambrae
  32. Stan’s First Valentine’s Day – Jessica
  33. Tom’s Dad – ???
  34. The Lovebird’s Valentiny Ball – Barbara
  35. Love LOVES Love – Rebecca
  36. Sasquatch: In Search Of A Valentine – Mary
  37. The Case Of The Missing Valentine’s Candy – Sherry
  38. My Muddy Valentine – Jennifer
  39. Sometimes To Always – Jan
  40. The Heart-Shaped Balloon – Amy
  41. Tater Tot Tilly’s Valentine Treat – Kim
  42. No Ordinary Thursday – Emma
  43. Alma’s GREEN Valentine – Amy
  44. Ahava’s School Valentine Surprise – Amy
  45. An ImPURRfect Valentine Surprise – Deborah
  46. Last Valentine’s – Tonya
  47. Vivi’s Heart – Pai
  48. A Valentine For Papa – Keely
  49. A Valentine Party To Remember – Judy
  50. A Valentine For Prince Donald – Jim
  51. Tiny Crush – Amy
  52. The Valentine’s Day Mess & Cure – Joyce
  53. Hillary’s Heart – Deborah
  54. The Perfect Valentine – Susie
  55. Change Of Heart – Jeannine
  56. The Presents – Kirsten
  57. Teacher Valentine – Rosemary
  58. Happy Valentine’s Day To Everyone – Michele
  59. Conversation Smarts – Lauren
  60. Twenty Chocolate Kisses – Patricia
  61. A Little Heart – Lynn
  62. Guess Who? – Marty
  63. Big Sister For The Day – Alison
  64. Puneet’s Valentine Birthday – Johannah
  65. Ella And Emma And The Valentine Verdict – Cindy
  66. A Valentine For Valentina – Lara
  67. The (Not So) Great Revenge – Darcee
  68. The Glass Heart – Gabriella
  69. All Wrapped Up – Mia
  70. A Valentine’s Day Breakfast “Trip” – Susan
  71. Raisins Or Frosting – Ashely
  72. Buffa-lonely Love Day – Jennifer
  73. Bookworm’s Valentine – Dee
  74. The Saga Of Cupid – Linda
  75. Celebrate Every Day With A Poem – Kathy
  76. Puppies Can’t Eat Chocolate – Jan
  77. Something Special – Deb
  78. Spoon In Hand – DL
  79. The Unkeepable Promise – Juliana
  80. Guilty As Charged – Michelle
  81. Valentines For All – Marjorie
  82. Mom’s Valentine – Scott
  83. How It All Began – Linda
  84. The Coconut Covered Chocolates – Carmen
  85. Valentine Dilemma – Ranessa
  86. Who Will Be Mine? – Susie
  87. Blue Whale’s Big Heart – Susan
  88. Chadwick The Zombie Cooks Up A Valentine – Katrina
  89. Noses Are Red – JC
  90. The Tattle Tale – Karen
  91. An Extra Special Valentine – Margaret
  92. Operation Chocolate Hearts – Lucretia

388 thoughts on “Oh, Guilty Heart! – The 4th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!

  1. Tonya Lippert says:

    Word Count: 138

    Last Valentine’s

    by Tonya Lippert

    Last Valentine’s, we were friends.

    Now we have other friends.

    I see you play hopscotch.

    You see me play four-square.

    We see each other seeing.

    And then we look away.

    I know it’s my fault.

    I told Christina and Teresa you always wear your yellow t-shirt.

    I told them I pretended to be your friend.

    Guess I wanted them to like me.

    But they whispered it to you, and you left.

    They left.

    I missed you the most.

    I still miss you.

    Will you give me another chance?

    Please?

    My teacher said Valentine’s Day is about more than love. She said it’s about forgiveness, too.

    I hope you will forgive me.

    I’ll never say that I’m pretending to be your friend.

    I’ll always wear a yellow t-shirt, if you want.

    Look!

    I’m wearing one now.

    • Patricia Finnegan says:

      In my mind, I could picture these two children eyeing each other as they went through their days and, in my heart, I felt the regret and guilt, the narrator felt. I hope they get together and wear their yellow t-shirts together:-)

    • Jose Cruz says:

      A heartfelt story well-told, and one that hits home. Don’t we all recall those regretful moments when we betrayed a friend’s trust? Thanks for tackling this topic.

    • Colleen Owen Murphy says:

      Tonya,
      Well told tale of regret. This is definitely something that happens between children.

      Good luck in the contest!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Such a poignant story, Tonya! I could really feel the pain of that torn friendship, and your MC’s guilt and regret. Haven’t we all done things that seemed like a good idea at the time, without really thinking through the consequences, and then realized we made a mistake. I hope these two can find their lost friendship and dress in sunny yellow together again!

  2. Pai Rosenthal says:

    (Word will say the word count is 216 because it is counting the S S in Miss as separate words. It is exactly 214 words 🙂

    VIVI’S HEART
    pai rosenthal
    word count – 214

    Yay! Vivi was excited! It was time to make valentines and Miss Amy had called the class over to the table strewn with papers, markers, doilies, glue bottles, and GLITTER. Miss Amy asked them to think of someone special before starting. Mamy! Vivi’s grand-maman came to mind immediately!

    DEAR MAMY, she wrote, and then began her work of art: Her circle head, curly black hair, brown eyes, wide arms, two legs, and a little heart right where it belonged. Now for the glitter! But the glue was stuck. “Miss Amy!”

    Miss Amy tried. She squeezed and squeezed – First a drip, then a drop, then a huge fat PLOP as the cap popped off! Now, where Vivi’s heart should have been was a lake of white goo!

    Miss Amy looked at Vivi. “Oh, sweet Vivi! I’m so sorry!” Tears bubbled up in Miss Amy’s eyes. Vivi looked up. “It’s okay, Miss Amy. When things go wrong, maybe they are really going right. I have an idea.”

    At the end of the day, the classroom emptied and Miss Amy finally sat down. There was a card on her desk.

    DEAR MAMY it began.
    I
    S
    S

    I LOVE YOU!

    And there was a picture of little girl, arms spread wide, holding the world’s biggest, most sparkly heart!

    pai rosenthal

    • Colleen Owen Murphy says:

      Aww. Way to go Vivi, making Miss Amy feel better.

      I definitely have been there and done the glue plop before, and you told the tale well.

      Good luck in the contest!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      What a sweet story, Pai! Vivi really does have a big heart. Favorite line: “When things go wrong, maybe they are really going right.” – Vivi is wise – life is what you make it – lemonade out of lemons 🙂 Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun!

  3. Pai Rosenthal says:

    *Posting this way moved my I S S over! They were under the M!!
    Note to self: Get a blog of my own so this doesn’t happen!

    pai

  4. leimabean says:

    A Valentine for Papa
    (213 words)

    It’s been almost a year since we said goodbye to Mama.

    I’ve never been able to see all that Mama and Papa saw together in the night sky. Sometimes I think I never will.

    All year Papa and I have looked up at the constellations of stars to remember her.

    Last year in April, we hid together from the Large Bear Ursa Major just like Mama used to do.

    In July when Papa told me Scorpius was scuttling across the sky, I’d shiver.

    In November Papa pointed to Cassiopeia. He said that she wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Mama.

    In January Papa pointed out Orion’s belt and Taurus pawing the ground before his charge.

    Tonight is a chilly February night. As Papa points to Canis Major, I reach for his hand,
    “I need to tell you something, Papa.”

    “I’m listening.”

    “I can’t see what you and Mama saw in the sky.”

    Papa smiles gently, “My child, sometimes all it takes is a little imagination.”

    I gaze into the universe. A few diamonds sparkle back, and a shape starts to form.

    “I see something, Papa! Can you?”

    “Tell me!” Papa says.

    “It’s a Valentine heart in the sky just for you! Mama’s very own constellation.”

    “Yes. A big, beautiful heart! For both of us.”

  5. Judy Sobanski (@jkspburg) says:

    A Valentine Party to Remember (208 words)
    By Judy Sobanski

    Ed Elephant wondered, what’s going on here?
    The note that he found said, ‘A Party!!’ —”Oh Dear!
    It’s Valentine’s Day and I guess I forgot!”
    He twisted his trunk in a knot with distraught.
    “There’s no time for cards or candy or flowers.
    The party is set to begin in two hours!”
    He searched through his cupboards for something to fix.
    There wasn’t one brownie or single cake mix.
    No pretzels, no popcorn, no tortilla chips,
    No hummus, or onion or artichoke dips.
    “So all I can offer is PB & J?
    Guess that’s what I’m making and taking today.
    I can’t exchange valentines—I’m so regretful.
    Just how could this elephant BE so forgetful?”
    Ed packed up the sandwiches, napkins and plates,
    and drove to the party in Foxwood Estates.
    He walked in the door to a boisterous chorus,
    “Happy Valentine’s Day! Have you brought something for us?”
    “Well,” stammered Ed. “I don’t have very much.
    I didn’t bring candy or cookies and such.
    I only have sandwiches—PB & J.”
    His friends shouted, “PB & J??? HIP HOORAY!
    “But I don’t have valentines for anyone.”
    “Hey, that’s OK. We’ll have plenty of fun.
    We organized contests and games. You can bet,
    this Valentine party you’ll never forget!!”

  6. jimchaize (@jchaize1) says:

    A Valentine For Prince Donald
    By Jim Chaize

    Prince Donald expected every princess to fall in love with him.
    Some were attracted to his riches, others to his unbelievable stories.
    One loved the way he said, “I’m the best at everything!”
    But sooner or later, as sure as birds tweet in the sunshine, his temper flared.
    He’d say things that hurt people’s feeling, even made them cry.
    “We’ve spoiled him,” said the Queen.
    “Guilty as charged,” said the King, “ but he still deserves to fall in love.”
    Donald’s parents visited the castle wizard.
    “We hoped he’d be kind and find someone to love,” said the Queen.
    “Cast a spell,” demanded the King. “Make it happen!”
    “Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day,” said the Wizard. “He’ll fall in love and be the
    happiest boy in the kingdom.”
    The next morning, Donald’s parents brought him to the Wizard.
    The Wizard waved his wand and uttered mysterious words.
    Donald’s eyes twinkled. A smile bloomed.
    “It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m in love,” he announced.
    “Oh, joy!” declared the Queen.
    “Sound the trumpets!” ordered the King.
    “Wait!” said the Wizard. “Where is he going?”
    They followed Donald to his bedroom.
    “There’s my precious,” said Donald.
    “Where?” asked the Queen.
    “Who?” asked the King.
    “Him!” said the Wizard.
    The reflection in Donald’s mirror smiled and winked.

  7. Amy Flynn says:

    Tiny Crush
    By Amy Flynn

    I left her a Valentine note first thing in the morning. “I think you’re nice” it said.

    I shared my cookie with her at lunch.
    I played tag with her at recess.

    I left her a Valentine note in the afternoon. “I think you’re smart” it said.

    I sharpened her pencil for her when it broke.
    I sat next to her on the reading rug.

    I snuck a Valentine note into her backpack. “You are my favorite” it said.

    The next morning in line she whispered to me, have you been writing me Valentines?

    I smiled.
    I blushed.

    It was me.

  8. joyceschr says:

    The Valentine’s Day Mess & Cure by Joyce Schriebman (207)

    Dear Mom and Dad,

    When you wake up,
    you’ll see your tea and coffee cup.
    (Don’t worry, ‘cause the broom worked well for cleaning up the plate that fell.)

    I made you toast with jam and butter, wiped the crumbs but left some clutter.
    (Couldn’t get some sticky spots off counters, tables, chairs, and pots.)

    A napkin holds a chocolate heart that you can simply break apart.
    (Yes, there were two, but I concede, how much dark chocolate does one need?)

    This card is trimmed in frilly lace to put a smile upon your face.
    (Oh, by the way, the sewing kit? It now needs straightening up a bit.)

    I hope your Valentine’s Day fun is nicer ‘cause of what I’ve done
    (and sort of wondering if you might, push back my time for bed tonight?)

    XOXOXOXOXOXO

    P.S. Uh-oh…I’m feeling bad. I wanted you to be so glad
    but went about it like a jerk and caused you both a lot of work.
    I wasn’t such a thoughtful kid. I should have cared—not like I did.
    When you wake up, let’s make a plan, and I’ll correct what goofs I can.

    With Love and Kisses,

    You Know Who (I love you both a bunch, I DO!)

    • Colleen Owen Murphy says:

      This is a fun story Joyce! My favorite stanza is the one about breaking the single chocolate apart because the son ate the other one!

      Good luck in the contest!!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Love the story told in the form of a note with the good parts first and the not-so-good parts in parentheses underneath. So cleverly written, Joyce! We can all appreciate a child who had good intentions… but ended up making a mess 🙂 I felt the guilt, and the desire to make amends, but love how irrepressible this little MC is with that bouncy ending! Thanks for joining in the fun!

  9. Deborah Hunt PhD,RN/Author (@debdoll25) says:

    Montaukdeb (dhunt@cnr.edu)

    Hillary’s Heart
    By Deborah Dolan Hunt

    Hillary munched on the salty chips.
    “That’s not a healthy snack.”
    “Who said that?” Hillary jumped off the couch.
    “It’s me. Your heart. That food is bad for me.”
    “Heart’s can’t talk,” said Hillary. “They only go lub dub lub dub.”
    “Happy hearts do. But I’m a sad heart.”
    “Why are you sad?” asked Hillary.
    “You don’t love me.”
    “Yes, I do,” said Hillary.
    “If you loved me you would eat healthy food.”
    “What kind of food?” asked Hillary.
    “Sweet, juicy fruits.”
    “Blah,” said Hillary.
    “Green, leafy veggies.”
    “Yuck,” said Hillary.
    “Boo, hoo.”
    “Can I do something else to make you happy?’ asked Hillary.
    “You could go play in the yard.”
    “But this is my favorite show!” Hillary stamped her feet.
    “Boo, hoo.”
    “There must be something else,” said Hillary.
    “You could drink water instead of soda.”
    “I never drink water,” said Hillary.
    “I guess I’ll just be sad forever.”
    Hillary sat down and grabbed a handful of chips.
    “Boo, hoo, hoo.”
    “Please stop crying,” said Hillary. “It’s Valentine’s Day and hearts are
    supposed to be happy.
    “Only you can help me be happy.”
    Hillary looked around. “What if I had a strawberry?”
    “That would help.”
    Hillary grabbed a berry. “This is yummy.”
    “Lub, dub, lub dub!”

  10. Susie Sawyer says:

    THE PERFECT VALENTINE
    (214 Words)

    By Susie Sawyer

    Sonia taped the heart-shaped rock to the pink paper.

    “Mr. Carlson will love this,” she said. “Now I just have to think of the perfect message.”

    Mr. Carlson was Sonia’s favorite teacher. He smiled at every kid each morning. He kept extra pencils in case someone forgot theirs, and he always had time to listen. But Sonia’s favorite thing about him was that he loved rocks, just like she did.

    “I’ve got it!” She wrote out her message and tucked the valentine into her backpack.

    The next day at school, her classmates passed out their valentines. Many had brought one for Mr. Carlson too.

    Toby’s had a fancy pop-up rocket ship.
    Nora’s had colorful tissue paper flowers and hearts.
    Roberto gave him a box of special chocolates he had made with his Grandma.

    Sonia set her valentine on Mr. Carlson’s desk. Suddenly, she felt embarrassed. The other valentines seemed so much better than hers.

    “What’s this?” He picked up her valentine. “Sonia, is this one from you?”

    “It’s silly. I shouldn’t have given you a rock.”

    “This isn’t silly! I love rocks, and YOU love rocks. That makes this the perfect valentine … from YOU!”

    Then he read the message – YOU ROCK!

    Mr. Carlson laughed. “Thanks, Sonia. This valentine rocks! And so do you!”

  11. Jeannine Pao Brown (@jpaobrown) says:

    Change of Heart (214 words)
    by Jeannine Pao Brown

    “Valentine’s Day is dumb,” said Fred as he walked in from recess.

    “Yup,” said Steve.

    “I didn’t even bring valentines. I don’t HEART anyone or whatever.”

    But once the class party began, valentines piled onto Fred’s desk. Nineteen, twenty, twenty-one. Whew! At least he wasn’t the only one who didn’t give out valentines.

    Then Steve walked up.

    And handed Fred a valentine.

    “Really, Steve?” asked Fred.

    “Yup,” said Steve. It was just a simple note: “Hey Fred, you’re a pretty good friend. Later, Steve”

    That’s twenty-two. Fred was the only one who didn’t give out valentines.

    There were hearts, candies, sparkles, and more candy. Andrew taped a car on his. Stacy gave tiny bear-shaped erasers. Sindy made slime for the whole class!

    Twenty-two little packages of fun decorated Fred’s desk, and Fred didn’t have anything to give back. Not yet.

    He grabbed paper, cut twenty-two hearts, and started writing.

    “Thank you, Stacy, for the erasers. You are very nice. Your friend, Fred”

    “Andrew, I like race cars, too! Smell you later, Fred”

    “Steve, you’re a pretty good friend, too. HEART (winky face), Fred”

    By the end of the party, Fred had given everyone a valentine.

    “Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad, I guess,” he said, walking out the door.

    “Yup,” said Steve with a smile.

  12. Kirsten Ealand says:

    The Presents
    (214 words)

    by Kirsten Ealand

    Nanna’s stay was like a big, warm cuddle. She played games, told stories and patted Addie’s hair every night while she fell asleep.

    On Valentine’s Day Addie and her sister Maya hurried home from school because Nanna was buying them I-love-you presents. Addie tore off her wrapping. Inside was a wind-up box that played Happy Birthday.

    ‘Addie, can you believe your birthday is almost here?’

    Addie smiled and snuggled Nanna.

    Maya opened her present slowly, saving the paper. Inside was a small fan. Maya pressed a button and the fan whirred around and air blew out. Real air just like the fan in Mummy’s bedroom. Then Maya pushed another button and the fan whirred faster and her hair flew.

    ‘Can I have a go?’ asked Addie.

    ‘Okay’.

    ‘Let me hold it.’ Addie grabbed.

    ‘It’s mine,’ said Maya. ‘Play with your present.’

    ‘But I want a fan.’

    Addie’s eyes widened, her lip quivered. ‘I hate the stupid music box. It’s for babies!’ Addie looked at Nanna and ran to her bedroom.

    Addie sobbed into her teddy because she didn’t get the fan, but mostly for the look on Nanna’s face. She knew she was acting like a baby, but she couldn’t help it. Maybe the music box was the right present for her after all.

    • Colleen Owen Murphy says:

      It is often the case where a child thinks her sibling’s present is better than her own. You certainly made me feel Addie’s remorse when she reflected on her Nanna’s reaction.

      Good luck in the contest.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      You certainly captured sibling behavior beautifully, Kirsten! How one often wants what the other has, and how the one who has it likes to wield her power – “it’s mine!” I felt Addie’s frustration when she said she hated the music box, and her guilt and sadness for making Nanna feel bad. Nicely done.

  13. supermario6 says:

    Rosemary Basham

    Teacher Valentine

    Miss Tucker taught me all I know.
    She’s beautiful and smart.
    From that first day of second grade
    I felt it from the start.

    I made the perfect valentine
    A pink and lacy heart.
    I wrote the sweetest verse inside
    “Till next year when we part.”

    But now I must take back my card
    And from our love depart.
    Ashley D. just smiled at me
    I’m stung by Cupid’s dart.

  14. michelemeleen says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day to Everyone
    By Michele Meleen
    Today was going to be the best Valentine’s Day ever!
    I gave out cards to all my friends at school.
    I gave Grandma some candy after school.
    Mom made my favorite dinner and I gave her flowers.
    Dad made my favorite dessert and I gave him a picture.
    I even hid heart-shaped treats in my hamster’s cage.
    Then, my neighbor, Miss Bonnie, stopped over with a box of chocolates. I forgot to make her a Valentine! That’s when I remembered I also forgot to make one for:
    -My other neighbor, Dr. G
    -My other, other neighbor, Mrs. Holt
    -Miss Amy at the library
    -Mailman Terry
    -That lady at the bank who gives me suckers
    -That lady at the grocery store who gives me cookies
    -The guy who drives the big truck to bring us packages
    I can’t believe it; I forgot to make Valentines for everyone!
    How can I show everyone I love them when Valentine’s Day is almost over?
    I’ll need paper, and crayons, and tape, and a stick.
    “It’s time to get ready for bed.” says Mom.
    “Can you help me put this sign in the front yard first?” I ask.
    “Depends, what does it say?” asks Mom.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!”

  15. picturebookplaydate says:

    CONVERSATION SMARTS
    Lauren Neil (214 Words)

    “Learn your letters,” the teacher said,
    While the students goofed around.
    “You never know, it could save a life.”
    Only one heard her warning sound.

    They all awoke on Valentine’s Day,
    The day they had waited for.
    The world was bright and cheery,
    Then they heard the fated roar.

    The first to go was YOU’RE THE BEST.
    I LOVE YOU was gone in a flash.
    YOU’RE SO FUN tried to run.
    And YUM! YUM! tried to dash.

    All were gone without a trace
    Things were looking bleak.
    “The end has come, we’re all done!”
    EVER AFTER cried with a shriek.

    DREAM and TOO SWEET shivered.
    HEART OF GOLD watched in fear.
    Could anything stop his demise
    At the Valentine’s feast this year?

    A stroke of genius, one little rub,
    His survival was assured.
    No one would eat FART OF GOLD
    At last he could rest, secured.

    “I told them to learn their letters,”
    his teacher said with a sigh.
    A guilty tear rolled down her cheek.
    “I really, really tried.”

    Then MUCH ADO emerged.
    She’d added an extra “DOO DOO”.
    2000 HUGS was 2000 HOGS
    TRUE LOVE became TRUE FLU.

    The teacher cried in triumph.
    She’d managed to save a few.
    If letters can do that for sweethearts
    …what could they do for you?

  16. Patricia Finnegan says:

    “Twenty Chocolate Kisses”
    (213 words)
    by
    Pat Finnegan

    “Perfect! Twenty chocolate kisses for the twenty students in my class,” Tiny said.

    She carefully taped a kiss to each Valentine she had addressed.

    Finally, there was one kiss left, but no card.

    “I left somebody out,” she moaned.

    She checked and double-checked the cards.

    She wrote lists of names. Every list had nineteen names, not twenty.

    “Who am I forgetting?” she cried.

    That night, she dreamed of chocolate kisses pointing fingers at her and calling her mean.

    Breakfast didn’t help her remember the twentieth name.

    Walking to school didn’t help.

    Looking around the classroom didn’t help.

    She stared at the floor.

    “Who am I leaving out?”

    “Whose feelings will I hurt?”

    The Valentine party circle formed.

    As music played, everybody marched around the mailboxes, putting a card in each mailbox they passed.

    Everybody sang but Tiny.

    “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” Tiny mumbled over and over.

    Finally, there were no cards left in Tiny’s hand.

    The music stopped.

    She was standing in front of the last mailbox.

    Holding her breath, she peeked at the name on the mailbox—TINY.

    “I’m the person I left out,” she exhaled.

    She had given a kiss and a card to nineteen friends.

    And at home, the twentieth kiss was waiting for the twentieth student—Tiny.

  17. katzlynn says:

    A LITTLE HEART
    By,
    Lynn Katz
    207 Words

    Dear Mommy,
    Happy Valentines Day. I’m sorry.
    Love,
    You Know Who

    Dear You Know Who,
    Why are you sorry? What did you do?
    Love,
    Mommy

    Dear Mommy,
    I made you a beautiful Valentine. I know you love hearts.
    Love,
    James

    Dear James,
    I have a card for you too. Why are you sorry? Did you break something?
    Love,
    Mom

    Dear Mommy,
    I didn’t break anything. I know you love chocolate. Daddy and I have chocolate for you!
    Love,
    James

    Dear James,
    Chocolate is lovely. Did you lose something?
    Love,
    Your mother

    Dear Mommy,
    I’ll give you a clue: it’s a noun.
    Love,
    James

    Dear James,
    I’m in no mood to play 20 questions. Did you get in trouble at school?
    Mom

    Dear Mommy,
    I’ll give you another clue: It will grow back.
    Love,
    James

    JAMES! I don’t like this game. Did you give the cat a haircut?

    Dear Mommy,
    Good guess. I’ll give you one more clue: I told the barber I wanted my head bald, like your head. But we left a little heart.
    Love,
    Your favorite son,
    James

    Dear James,
    You are my only son and I love you so much. Happy Valentines Day!
    Love,
    You Know Who
    PS: Please tell Daddy he’s in trouble!

  18. marty says:

    GUESS WHO?
    by Martymi6

    Who made their bed and fed the cat?
    Almost.

    Who cleaned up when the milk went splat?
    Well, close.

    Who carried out the trash with care?
    Oops, whoa!

    Who fixed the baby’s messy hair?
    Oh no.

    Who put a drawing at your place?
    Rub, scrub.

    Who found a flower for your favorite vase?
    Mop slop.

    Who saved a foil wrapped chocolate kiss?
    Yum, yum.

    And set it where you couldn’t miss?
    “Dear Mum”

    I guess you figured out it’s me.

    I’m guilty, as no doubt, you see.

    I tried to think of something good

    but it didn’t turn out quite as it should.

    My valentine surprise is done.

    With hugs and kisses from your son.

  19. AlisonMarcotte says:

    BIG SISTER FOR THE DAY
    By Alison Marcotte
    (209 words)

    My big sister Sophia has it so good. She gets to go to Big Sister Classes, and I don’t.

    But this Valentine’s Day, Sophia has a cold, so I get to go instead. It’s the best Valentine’s Day gift ever!

    In Big Sister Class, I sized up the other Big Sisters. They didn’t scare me. First, we watched a movie about being a Big Sister. Piece of cake. Next, we took a tour of the Big Sister Place and saw real babies that were just born. Easy peasy. But then, we took care of a baby doll. I had to feed, hold, and dress her. This was tough.

    How did Sophia make it look so easy? I wanted to be a Little Sister again. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so mean to her. And, wait a minute… Why was Sophia learning how to take care of a baby? I’m not a baby!

    At home, Sophia asked me how Big Sister Class went.

    “I’m pooped!”

    “It gets easier with time.”

    And then one day, Mom came home with a bundle: a baby, a real newborn!

    Sophia and I got to meet him—Ryan.

    I was now a Big Sister for a lifetime!

    • AlisonMarcotte says:

      Not sure if I’m allowed to change my entry, but I thought of a few revisions since this morning, so here’s my updated story. (And this time, I reached exactly 214 words!) Thanks.

      BIG SISTER FOR THE DAY
      By Alison Marcotte
      (214 words)

      My big sister Sophia has it so good. She gets to go to Big Sister Classes, and I don’t.

      But this Valentine’s Day, Sophia has a cold, so I’m going instead. Best Valentine’s Day gift ever!

      In Big Sister Class, we watched a movie about being a Big Sister. Piece of cake.
      Next, we took a tour of the Big Sister Place and saw real newborns. Easy peasy.
      Then, we took care of a baby doll, feeding, holding, and dressing her. This was tough!

      How did Sophia make it look so easy? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so mean to her. And, wait a minute… Why was Sophia learning how to take care of a baby?

      Lastly, we made Valentine’s Day cards for the Little Siblings we’d be welcoming into the world soon—but I made a card for someone else.

      At home, Sophia asked me how class went.

      “I’m pooped!”

      “It gets easier with time.”

      “But I made you this.” I gave her my Valentine. “I hope you feel better.”

      Sophia smiled. “I do now!”

      Months later, Mom came home with a bundle: a baby, a real newborn!

      Sophia and I got to meet him—Ryan.

      I was now a Big Sister for a lifetime!

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JOHANNAH

    Puneet’s Valentine Birthday (Johannah Luza)

    “Wake up Puneet. You’re late for school,” shouted his mom. “You haven’t even signed the valentines for your classmates yet.”

    Puneet’s eyes opened. He lifted the covers. “What valentines? Today’s my birthday. They should give me presents!”

    “Puneet, we’ll celebrate tonight. But today is the Valentine party.”

    Crawling out of bed, Puneet frowned. “Wish I hadn’t been born on Valentine’s Day.”

    “You’re special,” his mom said with a hug. It’s a day filled with love.”

    “Love, schmuve! Who cares!” He dressed, tossing the unsigned cards into his backpack.

    “I’m making laddu for your birthday,” his mom said on the drive to school. Puneet remembered those days in India when Grandmother made laddu for everyone’s birthdays. But he still wouldn’t smile.

    Grabbing his backpack he jumped from the car. “Happy birthday,” his mom called out.

    Taking his time Puneet opened his classroom door. “Happy Birthday Puneet!” The voices were loud and balloons reached the ceiling. And there on his desk was a birthday cake. Puneet smiled.

    Then he remembered the unsigned valentines. It was too late to sign them.

    But it wasn’t too late to apologize to his mom. He raced home after school, made a valentine and signed it, “I’m sorry.”

    This Valentine’s Day was going to be Puneet’s best birthday ever!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It’s hard to have a holiday birthday! So easy to feel that it gets lost in the other celebrations. How nice that Puneet’s classmates took the time to make him feel special and that he could enjoy his birthday in spite of a little guilt 🙂 Thanks for joining in the contest, Johannah!

  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR CINDY

    Ella and Emma and the Valentine Verdict

    Ella and Emma discussed
    that sending “heart” cards was a must.
    But as Valentine’s neared,
    Ella worried and feared.
    Her craft-making skills were a bust!

    Ella enjoyed the outside.
    She cherished the swings and the slide.
    When sporting a hat
    with her baseball and bat
    was never for pitcher, denied!

    Now Emma desired the arts,
    creating sweet Valentine hearts.
    With paper and glue,
    she knew what to do
    and put to use all of her smarts.

    The day for card making arrived.
    From items, they were not deprived.
    With rickrack and lace,
    and crayons that erase,
    ‘twas a wonder that Ella survived.

    For Emma soon noted a tear
    from Ella’s wet eye to her ear.
    At that instant she fret
    with both guilt and regret
    that she’d boasted no craft-making fear.

    “I should have been kinder,” she said,
    “when I realized your craft-making dread.”
    “Consumed by success,
    I ignored your distress.
    Now I’m riddled with heartache instead.”

    Ella ran to embrace her dear twin.
    “Let’s resolve this dilemma we’re in.
    With no bragging or boast,
    a true friendship will host
    the real love we both cherish within.”

    With the guilt and the shame in decline,
    their differences helped them to shine.
    Let’s put this to rest…
    The heart-making contest?
    Won! (with both sister’s design)

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LARA

    “A Valentine for Valentina” – by Lara

    Valentina hated Valentine’s Day.

    Every year her mother sent her to school in a red dress with a giant red bow in her hair.

    Every year the mean girls teased her

    And the mean boys made kissing sounds.

    “I go by, ‘Val,’” she told her teacher.

    But Mrs. Rogers-Henderson insisted on using her proper name.

    Valentina wanted to be called Anne like Anne Shirley from “Anne of Green Gables” or Posy like Posy Fossil from “Ballet Shoes.”

    Nobody listened.

    One Valentine’s Day, she had enough!

    When the bus arrived at school, she ducked around the corner and went to the park.

    She sat in the cold watching the squirrels while she ate her lunch.

    Suddenly, a police car pulled up.

    Frantic, her mom leaped out. “Are you ok? Why aren’t you in school?”

    She hugged Valentina. “I was worried sick.”

    Valentina started to cry. She hadn’t meant to worry her mother.

    “I’m sorry,” she said. “I just can’t stand those kids picking on me.”

    “I know,” said her mother. She reached into her pocket and handed Valentina a beautiful heart-shaped valentine covered with lace and ribbons.

    Valentina read the card and smiled. “Being loved wouldn’t solve her problems,” she thought, “But she knew she wouldn’t have to face them alone.”

  23. Darcee Freier says:

    The (Not So) Great Revenge

    By Darcee A. Freier 214 words

    Roma loomed over me. “Give me your cookies.”

    She had a fondness for Mama’s homemade snickerdoodles. I handed them over. Nothing else to do. Roma had clobbered me more than once. As crumbs dribbled down her chin, I plotted revenge.

    “Psst. Don’t give Roma a Valentine,” I whispered to Jenny. “Pass it on.” You could always count on Jenny to pass on a secret. I watched my suggestion spread around the room. Even the boys suffered from Roma’s wrath.

    At the Valentine’s party, Alex started to drop a Valentine in Roma’s box. I gave him the mean eye. He moved on. We played games, ate store-bought cookies and finally opened our boxes.

    Most every card came with candy. I hardly glanced at who they were from as I dug in. But I did sneak a peek at Roma. Two Valentines. Ha! And one was from Teacher.

    Then I noticed Roma’s face was redder than Teacher’s Valentine. Would Roma explode?

    No, a tear crawled down her cheek.

    I was flabbergasted. Twinges of guilt poked around in my guts. I turned away, quick. But not quick enough, my candy didn’t taste so sweet.

    Then I surprised myself. I walked right over to Roma. I patted her back. “There, there,” I said, and handed her a chocolate.

  24. Gabriella Gela Kalaitzidis says:

    The Glass Heart
    By Gela Gabriella Kalaitzidis – 195 words

    I took this glass heart from my sister. She said it was special.
    I took it even though it wasn’t mine to take.
    I took it so I can have what Sophia has, so I can be like her.

    But this is not a special heart. This heart has no powers. This heart has no secrets, it’s only cold glass in my hand… and I am not like my sister.

    Now I don’t want this glass heart.

    I will throw it in a well.
    I will feed it to a lion.
    I will build a rocket ship and launch it into outer space.

    Sigh… This glass heart is stuck with me. It’s getting heavy, heavy like my arms.

    I knock on her door, I look at my toes, I bite my nails.

    “I’m sorry I took your glass heart” I say to my sister.
    Sophia looks at me for a long time, in that special way that only teenage sisters do.
    She gets taller, I get smaller.
    Then Sophia says:
    “You can keep that little glass heart, because you’re my special little sister.”

    Now we’re both special.
    I don’t even need the glass heart.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Love this sweet glimpse at the complicated nature of sisterly relationships, Gela. So understandable that she’d take the heart because she longs to be like the sister she admires, then feel bad about it, and realize that the heart won’t make her like her sister. Love the line “She gets taller, I get smaller.” – haven’t we all felt like that when we’ve done something we shouldn’t have?! I’m glad they ended up better off than they began 🙂

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MIA

    214 words
    All Wrapped Up
    By Mia Geiger

    The holiday was almost here;
    a chance for me to shine.
    I’d show my mom how much I care,
    ‘cause she’s my valentine.

    So Daddy gave me sixty cents;
    ten nickels and a dime.
    The store was stuffed; I couldn’t choose!
    He said to take my time.

    And then I spied it right away;
    some choc’late on a shelf …
    an extra-fancy type of thing
    she wouldn’t buy herself.

    I wrapped the gift up nice and neat,
    with bows on every side.
    I knew that when she opened this,
    I’d feel a sense of pride.

    I couldn’t wait to see her face,
    but later on somehow …
    My tummy grumbled really loud;
    it needed something NOW.

    I wondered if my mom would mind
    if someone took a bite …
    I can’t! That’s mean! And it’s unfair!
    But … tummies growl at night!

    The big day came and I was scared.
    My hands began to sweat.
    “I’m sorry, mom,” I said real low,
    and then our brown eyes met.

    “I knew you’d love this choc’late treat,
    it’s shaped just like a rose …
    My tummy wouldn’t let me stop,
    so here are just the bows.”

    “But look,” I said, and smiled wide.
    “It’s money from my drawer.
    The candy store stays open late;
    let’s go and buy some more!”

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SUSAN

    A Valentine’s Day Breakfast ‘Trip’

    205 words

    Molly has a funny feeling,

    Wriggling in her tummy.

    She’s made a very big mistake.

    She’ll have to tell her mummy.

    The feeling doubles, jumps about,

    As she looks at the big mess.

    Heart shaped toast, bright red jam,

    Are splattered on her dress.

    A pool of juice surrounds her feet,

    Her socks are feeling sticky.

    She moves her foot but it stays stuck,

    And Cat begins to lick it.

    The tummy feeling leaps about,

    As if sailing on a boat.

    The bright blue tray beneath her feet,

    Is beginning now to float.

    As Cat nibbles the jammy toast,

    It becomes a captain’s hat.

    Sticky boat, sticky girl,

    And a very sticky cat.

    The cat jumps on the bobbing tray,

    And shouts out, ‘All aboard!’

    The wooden tray just grows and grows,

    And sails right through the door.

    They sail along the ocean street,

    Crowds shouting, ‘Here’s the winner!

    God bless the good boat Valentine,

    And all who sail within her!’

    Molly’s tummy somersaults,

    As they sail back to her door,

    Where mum and dad stand cheering.

    So Molly jumps ashore!

    Her tummy stops its bouncing.

    It’s beginning to feel stable.

    Fresh toast, fresh juice and great big smiles

    Are soon present at the table.

    205 words

    Susan Valli

  27. Ashley Pierson (@AshleyAnPierson) says:

    RAISINS OR FROSTING
    214 words
    by Ashley Pierson

    Cookies out on full display, with heart shaped beauties right on top.

    “You get your own row and your own holiday. But hey, we’re fine on the bottom shelf,” said Oatmeal Raisin.

    “All the frosting, sprinkles and cute writing, who can compete,” Oatmeal Raisin blabbered.

    “Hello, everyone, it’s nice to meet you,” said Valentine cookie.

    “You won’t be here long,” Chocolate Chip said.

    “Rub it in,” said Peanut Butter cookie.

    “Someone will be in for all of us,” Chocolate Chip added.

    “Easy for you to say chocolate chip,” said Sugar cookie. “You’re the most popular,”

    “He is dreamy,” said Shortbread cookie.

    “Shh, someone just came in,” said Peanut butter.

    Chocolate chip was boxed up and handed over to a smiling lady.

    “Not surprising that he’s gone. I’m sure you’re next Valentine. Who can resist your looks

    compared to my shriveled raisins,” said Oatmeal Raisin.

    A hand placed Oatmeal Raisin in a box, along with Valentine.

    “We’re in a box, together!” said Valentine.

    “Of course, you’re on top. That’s okay; you’re much prettier than I am,” Oatmeal Raisin said

    with a sudden squishy feeling inside.

    “Oatmeal Raisin, It’s not what we look like on the outside that matters,” said Valentine.

    Oatmeal Raisin blushed, Valentine was right. Cookies were made to be enjoyed, raisins or

    frosting.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Fun, original POV, Ashley! I love this whole world-of-the-cookie thing you’ve got going on here! Of course Chocolate Chip is the most favorite, and the pretty special Valentine cookie too. But you know what? Oatmeal raisin are MY favorite :). Like Valentine Cookie said, it’s not what they look like, it’s what’s on the inside that counts 🙂

  28. Jennifer Broedel (@JBroedelAuthor) says:

    Buffa-lonely Love Day
    214 words
    By Jennifer Broedel

    At the zoo, it’s party time:
    zebras clamor, monkeys climb.
    Elephants hang decorations—
    time for Love Day celebrations.

    Sending cards, they’re all gung-ho…
    all except for Buffalo.

    Looking for her valentine…
    Doesn’t find one!
    “So what?! FINE!”

    Scrunched-up nose and pouted lips,
    tucks her hooves into her hips.

    “Such a wild, rambunctious crowd,
    much too lively, much too loud.
    Had enough of this commotion.
    Too much lovey-dove emotion.”

    Quick, she trots around the zoo,
    making others cranky too.

    Creeps up to the three baboons…
    POP! There go their three balloons.

    Finds two penguins on the ice…
    steals their heart-shaped pebbles (twice).

    One bear’s heart cake—Where’d it go?
    Who would smash it?
    “Buffalo!”

    Party ruined: roars and growls.
    Buffalo just sits and scowls.

    Buffa-lonely, all alone.
    “Still no cards, still on my own.
    Wrecked their party, made them mad.
    What a rotten day I’ve had.”

    Maybe if she sent a letter…
    she might feel a little better.

    “Sorry that I wrecked your bash,
    and tossed your goodies in the trash…
    See, I found it pretty hard
    when all but me received a card.”

    Party mix-up, at the zoo…
    “You got no card? We never knew!”
    “Buffalo, look here and see:
    your valentine fell in this tree!”

    Buffalo is so excited!
    Party re-do… All invited!

  29. MD Knabb says:

    BOOKWORM’S VALENTINE – 207 words
    by Dee Knabb

    Assigned to the reference section, Dewey often wiggled elsewhere.

    A steady diet of facts did not satisfy him. Adventure, space travel and funny picture books were

    too delicious.

    “Why are you on my shelf?” asked PB.

    “Visiting you, my best friend,” said Dewey.

    PB looked worried.

    “I promise not to devour all the words this time,” said Dewey.

    But once he delved into an old favorite, he gobbled it up.

    PB cried, “No, Dewey You promised.”

    Dewey hung his head and dragged himself home. Guilt made his insides upset.

    How could he apologize?

    He crawled, coiled, and counted his choices…candy? roses? a surprise? No – a valentine.

    He crept inside an outdated reference book, inched along a page, and nibbled certain letters

    but left others.

    He removed the page, rolled it up, and tied a ribbon around the scroll.

    His stomach felt better. His heart soared. Off he wiggled to PB’s shelf.

    “I’m still mad.”

    “I was wrong,” said Dewey, “I made this for you.”

    PB opened the sheet. While letters were missing, a message remained.

    ‘I’m sorry, PB.
    Can you forgive me?
    You are my best friend.
    Can we try again?
    Love,
    Dewey’

    “Okay,” said PB, “lets gl to your shelf.”

    THE END

  30. Linda Staszak says:

    THE SAGA OF CUPID
    By Linda Staszak 212 words
    Cupid stretched his feathered wings,
    He grabbed his trusty bow,
    Slung arrow quiver on his back,
    And he was good to go.
    Now off to find a lonely soul
    He hoped he wouldn’t maim,
    For once a year was not enough
    To ensure perfect aim.

    Cupid let an arrow fly,
    It sailed into the dark.
    Quacking ducks jumped from the pond
    And flew out of the park.
    The second arrow sailed away.
    He heard a tiny wail.
    Arrow two had sliced right through
    A bunny’s fuzzy tail.

    “So sorry,” Cupid shouted,
    “this is not what I had planned.
    My purpose is to bring some love
    To all throughout the land.”
    He hadn’t thought it would be hard
    To find someone to help.
    Another arrow zipped away,
    Followed by a yelp.

    “I work alone,” Tooth Fairy groaned,
    “I don’t want any friends.”
    He gathered up the scattered teeth,
    While Cupid made amends.
    Cupid slumped and hung his head,
    The end was drawing near.
    He had to spread some love around
    Or wait until next year.

    And then he yelled, “Oh whoop-dee-doo!”
    He zoomed into the air.
    “The answer’s always been here,
    the answer’s everywhere.
    I figured out, to share some love
    without inflicting pain,
    I’ll scatter flowers from the sky,
    like Valentiny rain.”

  31. Kathy Mazurowski says:

    Celebrate Every Day With A Poem

    Dragon wrote about birthdays, puppies, and even flowers. Her motto, “Celebrate every day with a poem!” Her poems would rhyme, or not, have patterns or not. Her friend, Val always said, “Dragon is the best poet.”
    School was having a Valentine’s Day card with poetry contest, awarding prizes ,including a crown. Students would craft a Valentine card with their poem inside.
    Dragon strutted around the classroom. “I celebrate every day with a poem. The crown is mine.” Students worked on their poems.

    “Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Will you be my Valentine?”

    Dragon snorted, “That doesn’t rhyme, and the meter is off.”

    “You are my friend,
    until the end.”

    “Rhyming doesn’t make it a poem,” Dragon puffed.

    Dragon rhymed, counted syllables, and revised. She cut and glued, but something was missing. “What are you celebrating?” Dragon asked herself.
    Valentine’s Day arrived. The competition was fierce. Val took home the crown for her crafty, heartfelt card to Dragon.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day to my Best Friend,
    You’re a poet to the end!”

    Dragon earned an honorable mention for her haiku birthday card to Val.

    celebrating you
    your kindness shines like your smile
    happy birthday friend

    “Celebrating my friend’s birthday was more important than a crown,” Dragon smiled.

  32. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR JAN

    Puppies Can’t Eat Chocolate

    By Jan Westmark

    Scruffy couldn’t wait for Valentine’s Day.

    “I want a heart-shaped box of candy,” he said.

    Scruffy knew his stomach would be happy when he ate each piece.

    “Puppies can’t eat chocolate. It’s bad for them,” his mom said.

    Scruffy was shocked. And very sad.

    “Why does chocolate have to be bad for puppies?” he groaned.

    On Valentine’s Day Scruffy saw a beautiful heart-shaped box on the counter.

    Scruffy was upset. He wanted to cry.

    He decided to be a bad puppy and hide the box since he couldn’t eat chocolate.

    His family was surprised the box was missing. They started searching.

    Scruffy didn’t help look for the box.

    “My stomach hurts,” he said.

    “Scruffy, did you hide the box?” his mom asked.

    Scruffy didn’t answer. He pretended to chase his tail and scratch his ear.

    Scruffy felt very bad.

    Then the box was found.

    “I was sad I couldn’t have chocolate so I hid it. I’m really sorry,” he said.

    His mom hugged him. And his mom forgave him.

    She pushed the box toward him. “It’s for you.”

    Scruffy was surprised. He felt happy.

    He opened the heart-shaped box. It wasn’t chocolate. It was filled with heart-shaped dog bones.

    Scruffy tasted one and his stomach started dancing. Scruffy did, too.

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Scruffy.

  33. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DEB

    SOMETHING SPECIAL
    207 Words
    By Deb Sullivan

    Every year on Valentine’s Day, Mom left Lola something special. Lola felt warm and

    fuzzy just thinking about it. She dreamed of finding candy coated confections and caramel delights.

    Today was the big day! Lola rose before the sun and scrambled downstairs. In the kitchen,

    she spied a toaster and Chip’s dog bowl. She saw cans and containers. But nothing

    special.

    Last year on Valentine’s Day, Lola found an assortment of treats at her breakfast spot.

    This year, Lola found a bowl and a spoon.

    Zipping to the pantry, Lola looked in drawers and behind bags. She saw pasta and dog food.

    But nothing special.

    Maybe Mom forgot Valentine’s Day. Last weekend, she forgot her keys at the

    supermarket. (She also forgot to buy the Sugar Snaps Lola put on the shopping list.)

    Maybe Mom was mad because Lola didn’t eat broccoli. Or clean her room.

    Maybe Lola didn’t deserve something special….

    Lola’s chin quivered as she headed upstairs.

    Climbing back in bed, Lola heard a growling sound. She creeped towards the hall

    closet and opened the door. There was Chip….chewing on a heart shaped box.

    “Yikes!” said Mom, coming from her room. Then she giggled. Lola did too.

    She hugged Mom. Tight.

    Something special indeed.

  34. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR OLIVIA

    “Spoon in Hand” – by DL Rehfield

    NO Wait!!!
    What are you doing!?
    This is not where I live.
    I do not recognize you
    You feel rather small.
    And that is not what I am meant to do.
    Is that what I think it is- MUD?
    You think you can hide
    I saw what you did,
    I’m telling Grandma
    You took me outside.

    No Wait!!!
    It will be alright.
    I am just borrowing you
    for a short time.
    I have this important task
    and I need your help.
    The Chickens are hungry
    A feast we must make,
    But if you won’t help me
    I fear a mistake.
    It is almost supper time
    And we cant be late

    No Wait!!!
    You took me without asking
    And you know that is wrong,
    Go ask Grandma
    before its to late.
    Then we will see
    If she says its okay
    For us to play.

    No Wait!!!
    That would take too long.
    The Chickens are hungry
    And waiting to be feed.
    The shells the grain
    The seed and the Mud.
    So here we go…
    Stirring stirring
    Scoop scoop scoop
    Patty patty
    They are fed

    No Wait!!!
    I lost my spoon!
    I only borrowed yours!
    Grandma I put it back!
    The spoon in question
    Grandmas hand,
    Smack smack smack.

    No Wait!!!
    I think it’s to late.

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR Juliana

    The Unkeepable Promise
    By Juliana Savia Clayton
    @kidlit_writer
    211 words

    “I promise not to be happy when I move,” Opie said as she hugged her best friend goodbye.

    “I promise not to be even a little bit happy staying here,” Beppino replied.

    One year later, Beppino had kept his promise. He was not happy.

    Red hearts and pink Cupids hung from every window on his way to school. Beppino felt the start of a smile and quickly frowned instead.

    Remember your promise to Opie, he thought.

    When he got to school, his desk was piled high with Valentine’s Day cards and candy.

    “Awesome!” he exclaimed.

    He didn’t mean to feel happy – but he did.

    His insides squirmed uncomfortably. What would Opie say if she knew?

    When he got home, he saw a letter with his name on it.

    “Dearest Beppino, I’m sorry to tell you that I am pretty happy in my new town. You are still my best friend, but I met some new friends. I tried not to like them, but I just do. I’m sorry we made that silly promise. Let’s both be happy, okay? Your Valentine, Opie.”

    Beppino grinned. Tonight, he would write Opie back. But right now, he wanted nothing more than to play outside with his friends. So he did. And he was happy.

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MICHELLE

    GUILTY AS CHARGED
    By Michelle Kennedy (WC 214)

    Penny Sue had a crush
    that made her heart flutter.
    Each time she saw Jake,
    she’d stammer and stutter.

    She wanted to tell him,
    but speaking was hard.
    “I’ve got it!” she thought.
    “A Valentine’s Card!”

    She grabbed pen and paper,
    drew a big heart,
    gluing globs full of glitter
    on top of her art.

    The big day arrived-
    It was Valentine’s Day.
    Penny Sue was all smiles,
    bright-eyed and gay.

    She walked up to Jake
    and gave him her card.
    His face became flushed.
    She’d caught him off-guard!

    Turning and running,
    he went out of site.
    Penny Sue was confused.
    “Something’s not right!”

    “What did I do?
    I scared him away!”
    Then sadly she frowned,
    feeling shattered and grey.

    Next time she saw Jake
    it wasn’t the same.
    Instead of heart tingles,
    she only felt shame.

    Another day passed.
    A day turned to four…
    Penny Sue then decided
    she’d like Jake no more!

    She crossed off his name
    from her book and her folder.
    Next time she’d see Jake,
    she’d give a cold shoulder!

    One day at lunch
    Jake sat by her seat.
    He passed her a note
    and a dark chocolate treat.

    “Do you like me still?”
    She quietly read.
    “Guilty as charged!”
    She laughingly said.

  37. Marjie David (@marjiedavid) says:

    VALENTINES FOR ALL
    By Marjorie David – 209 Words

    Megan gripped her class list in excitement for the Valentine’s party at school.
    At home she sorted and selected cards. Then she signed, stuffed, and stacked envelopes.
    Mom double-checked as the Valentines piled into a bag.
    “Megan,” said Mom, “You are short one card.”
    Megan’s head hung. “I did not make one for Angela. She is mean.”
    Mom said, “I know, but Angela IS part of your class.”
    Megan scribbled out a card and dumped it in the bag.
    At school she slipped her cards into everyone’s Valentine holder, but not Angela’s card. It remained in her bag.
    During the party the holders were passed out. Excitement rose as cards were opened.
    Megan glanced at Angela. She only had a few cards. Her head was down.
    Was she crying? Serves her right, she thought, but Megan felt guilty. Angela’s card lay heavy in her bag. Her tummy knotted.
    Megan pulled out the card. Going to Angela’s desk she stammered, “I…I…. I’m sorry. I didn’t give you your card. Here, this is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
    Angela looked up her voice quivering, “You can put it in my holder.”
    Megan started turning away, when Angela said, “Wait! Here is yours.”
    “Let’s open them together,” smiled Megan.
    Angela smiled back.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It can be hard to be nice to someone who isn’t nice to you, but sometimes there’s a reason and you never feel bad for being kind. I’m glad Megan and Angela warmed toward each other at the end. Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun, Marjorie!

  38. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SCOTT

    Mom’s Valentine

    by Scott Kinder

    It was Valentine’s Day. Everyone brought their gifts for Mom to the table. I would have had one, but…

    I forgot.

    Steven was the first to present his gift. A box of Crunchy Munchies, Mom’s favorite.

    My palms began to sweat.

    Isabella was next. She made Mom a necklace out of her tiny rubber doll collection. It was pretty weird looking, but of course, Mom loved it.

    My face was heating up.

    Dad picked Mom flowers from Summer’s Field where they had their first date. Mom cried.

    Oh, how could I forget Valentine’s Day?!?

    The last to go was my baby sister Lily. She gave Mom a lump of clay. That’s right, a lump of clay! How could Mom like that? But somehow, she did.

    I could barely look at my mom with a mouth full of Munchies and all those tiny dolls around her neck. Their faces seemed to be mocking me.

    In bed that night, as I waited for the day to end, Mom came to my room. She was holding a box of chocolate covered gummies. Who gave her those? I wondered. She was smiling the biggest smile I’d ever seen. She handed me the chocolates and said, “Will you be my valentine?”

    I was shocked. Speechless.

    I was…

    in love.

  39. Linda Evans Hofke says:

    I usually write funny stories and poems but since this is a Valentine’s Day contest I tried to add a bit more heart to it. And it is exactly 214 words. Yay! Thanks for the challenge, Susanna.

    How it All Began
    by Linda Hofke

    I remember my first Valentine’s Day. Renee came home angry and…

    …well, uh, it was kind of my fault. I felt terrible. I couldn’t even look her in the eye. I simply put my head down and contemplated what to say. Then it came to me:

    Dear Renee,
    Roses are red. Violets are blue.
    I’m sorry I gnawed on your new leather shoe.
    And I’m sorry about the stinky moustache
    I got when I nosed my way through the trash.
    And about that puddle by the back door–
    though I tried very hard, I could hold it no more.
    But I promise, tomorrow I will do better.
    Love,
    Shamrock (your new Irish Setter)

    But, apparently, she doesn’t speak dog. She didn’t understand a thing. What else could I do? I crept away, low and slow, and bunkered under the bed.

    Later, Renee came in with the dog crate. Off we went in the car. I whimpered as we approached the pound. And then…

    …we drove right past it and ended up at a dog park. We played and ate treats and snuggled.

    That was a long time ago. I behave now–well, most of the time–and Renee loves me, no matter what. Not just on Valentine’s Day. Every day. And I love her.

  40. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR CARMEN

    Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD
    THE COCONUT COVERED CHOCOLATES

    (211 words)

    Georgina couldn’t wait to buy her sister Maria three Valentine’s Day gifts.

    She was going to bring them to Maria at the hospital.

    Maria was recovering from an operation.

    Georgina and her dad went to the store.

    A beautiful card.

    Georgina printed her name carefully in it.

    A red and pink balloon.

    Georgina chose the prettiest one.

    And a box of coconut-covered chocolates.

    Georgina’s favorite kind of chocolates.

    That night Georgina stared at the chocolates on her night stand. They smelled very good, so good that she opened the box and ate them all!

    Next day at the hospital her parents asked Georgina to hand her sister her gifts.

    First Georgina gave Maria the card. Maria read it aloud.

    “Georgina, I like the way you printed your name,” she said.

    Then Georgina gave her the red and pink balloon.

    “Let’s tie it to my bed,” Maria suggested.

    “Where are the chocolates, Georgina?” Mom asked.

    Georgina looked down at her toes. She turned purple. Everyone stopped talking.

    Tears!

    Sobs!

    Little shoulders shook!

    “I ate them! I’m SORRY!” Georgina wailed.

    Maria hugged her baby sister.

    “I know you meant well, Georgina and I’m glad you told the truth’.

    Georgina nodded, wiped her tears, and exclaimed, I’ll never eat any of your chocolates again!”

  41. ranessadoucet says:

    Valentine Dilemma
    By Ranessa Doucet
    214 words

    Violet woke up and put on every piece of red clothing she owned. It was Valentine’s Day after all! She ran downstairs before anyone else woke up and made beautiful valentines for mom, dad, and even her dog. She did NOT make a valentine for her brother, Max. Yesterday, he called her “stinky face” and borrowed her FAVORITE red race-car without asking.

    Violet’s mom came downstairs and squealed with excitement when she saw her heart-shaped card. Violet’s dad came downstairs next and gave her a big hug when he saw the cool valentine she made for him.

    Finally, Max came downstairs hiding something behind his back. “Surprise!” he said, and he handed Violet the biggest, sparkliest card she’d ever seen. It even said “I love you” on it.

    Violet’s heart sank. She looked at her brother’s proud face and felt guilty about not making a card for him. Although he wasn’t very nice to her yesterday, Max still loved her and Violet still loved him. Violet knew what she had to do. She ran to her room, grabbed the red race-car, and stuck a bow on it. She handed it to Max, and said “Happy Valentines Day!”. His face lit up like a disco ball, and Violet’s heart skipped a beat.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Cute story, Ranessa! I think Violet used to live at my house – I definitely had a daughter who was capable of putting on every single piece of red clothing 🙂 I felt her excitement over Valentines Day, the believable sibling relationship between her and Max, and her guilt when he was nicer than she was 🙂 Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun!

  42. Susie Sawyer says:

    Who Will Be Mine?
    (36 Words)

    By Susie Sawyer

    Victor’s much too pushy.
    Alex picks his nose.
    Liam is a messy eater.
    Emmitt chews his toes.
    Noah’s always talking.
    Theo likes to fart.
    I feel bad, but
    None of them will
    Ever have my heart.

  43. Susan Halko says:

    Blue Whale’s Big Heart
    by Susan Halko
    214 words

    Of all the animals in the world, Blue Whale had the biggest heart.
    That’s why he couldn’t wait for Valentine’s Day, when he’d be in warmer waters with Ruby.
    Every year, Blue swam from the north, and Ruby swam from the south.
    They met in the middle at the Valentine’s Sea of Love Dance.
    But this year, two weeks into his journey, Blue realized he forgot to say goodbye to his pet, Fish.
    “Oh no!” he thought.
    Blue’s heart sang for Ruby, but when he thought about Fish, it ached.
    And as he swam, it grew heavier.
    He had to turn around.
    “I’m sorry, Fish,” he said when he reached home.
    “Hey–you could come with me!”
    Fish held on tight as Blue cruised to the dance.
    When they arrived, Ruby was not there.
    Blue’s heart sank like a 400-pound anchor.
    “No!” he blubbered.
    “She’s gone!”
    Then he heard a beautiful sound.
    “Sorry I’m late!”
    It was Ruby!
    “I got halfway here and realized I forgot to say goodbye to Amber.”
    A small fish waved from behind Ruby.
    Blue handed Ruby a bouquet of kelp. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
    “Happy Valentine’s Day,” said Ruby, and she gave Blue a box of chocolate krill.
    Fish and Amber exchanged shy glances.
    Then they all danced their hearts out.

  44. Katrina Swenson says:

    Chadwick the Zombie Cooks Up a Valentine
    (199 Words)

    By Katrina Swenson

    Chadwick the zombie was often alone,
    feeling quite lonesome and blue.
    While all of his peers nibbled brains, eyes, and ears,
    Chadwick baked bread and cooked stew.

    “Nobody gets me,” young Chadwick complained.
    “But next week is Valentine’s Day!
    Instead of fresh hearts I’ll bring raspberry tarts,
    That should bring new friends my way!”

    Valentine’s came and his classmates gave out
    boxes of brains and warm bile.
    Chadwick left sweets at the kids’ assigned seats
    then waited to see them all smile.

    “Ew!” “What is this?” “Who’d bring sweets to a party?”
    Chadwick felt tears in his eyes.
    His classmates went still when they saw those tears spill,
    ashamed as they heard his soft cries.

    Norbert, a boy in the back of the class
    squeamishly reached for his treat.
    He screwed up his face, then he took a small taste…
    and smiled! “This is good! Let’s all eat!”

    Zombies were gobbling those tarts in a flash.
    “Chadwick, good job!” “Crust has flake!”
    Chadwick then heard these delectable words:
    “Hey, could you teach us to bake?”

    Chadwick the zombie was often with pals,
    smiling for hours on end.
    Blending and stirring, kneading and whirring,
    mixing up fun with his friends.

  45. writestuff99 says:

    Noses are Red…
    (213 words)
    by JC Kelly

    Taylor pulled out every drawer, searching for any shade of red and pink marker she could find. Crayons and pencils too. She dug all the way to the bottom of her craft bins, searching for the perfect pieces of lace and pink ribbons.

    She did her happy dance when she found pink glitter and heart-shaped stickers. And, yay, glitter glue! Nothing is better than glitter glue.

    Armed with a stack of construction paper and rolls of pink washi tape, she was ready. She covered the floor with red paper and set to work.

    The scent of markers and glue quickly filled the room. And the air sparkled with a haze of pink glitter.

    Valentine’s Day is all about sharing, but Taylor had already shared something with Momma…the world’s worst cold. She had to make it up to Momma by making THE WORLD’S LARGEST VALENTINE’S DAY CARD.

    When Taylor stepped back to admire her work, she suddenly noticed a trail of glitter, dried-out markers, empty glue bottles and piles of bare sticker sheets picked clean of glittery hearts. She hoped that she hadn’t accidentally created the world’s largest, pinkest mess.

    Just then, Momma shuffled by, blowing her nose. With a whisper of a voice, she croaked, “I love it. Thank you!”

  46. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KAREN (received on time)

    By: Karen M. Greenwald
    Word Count: 214

    The Tattle Tale

    Emma grinned sheepishly. “Mom, can I have one of the chocolate caramels early?!”

    “Why do you think I bought you Valentine’s Day candy?” Sarah hadn’t told anyone about the heart-shaped sweets…

    “A little birdie told me.”

    “Emma!” She shook her head. “I warned you about lying again.”

    “But I’m not!” Emma shouted.

    “Now, you’re grounded…and I’m returning the candies to the store. You don’t belong rummaging through other people’s things.”

    Tears streamed down Emma’s face. She whispered her protest again. “Honestly Mom, a little birdie told me!”

    “Go to your room, young lady.” Sarah sighed. “Perhaps your imaginary spy-birdie can tell you why lying hurts everyone.”

    Stomp! Stomp! Stomp!

    Sarah heard Emma climb all fourteen steps.

    After school on Valentine’s Day, Emma went back to her room.

    Sarah joined her there later. “Can you tell me the truth yet, because I have a special Valentine’s dinner we shouldn’t waste.”

    “Mom,” she said. “You deserve an apology…from someone.” Emma pulled out a golden cage topped with a shiny big bow.

    “Hi Sarah,” said a squeaky voice. “I’m your Valentine’s Day gift from Emma. She told me to stay put. But yesterday I snuck out and found the candies…Will you forgive me?”

    A shocked Sarah hugged her daughter. “A little birdie really did tell you!”

  47. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MARGARET (received on time)

    An Extra Special Valentine – Margaret Taylor

    Janie skips down the hall. Pausing, she peeps into the Special Ed room. In the corner, she spies Skipper reclining in his weird looking chair.
    If Frankenstein needs a wheelchair, he can borrow Skipper’s. It’s bad enough that he can’t walk or talk. But, to have to ride in that contraption is totally uncool!
    Chanting, “Roses are red, violets are blue. Riding in Skipper’s crazy chariot is something I wouldn’t do.” Janie races to her classroom.
    Slamming her backpack down on a messy desk, she tugs the zipper. Gently, she slides out a large envelope. Opening it she pulls out twenty Valentines. She spent all day Saturday selecting the color, shape, and design for her masterpieces. Some are red, some are pink, and some are purple. Lacey paper hearts adorn a few. Others have red glitter hearts. They are all different, uniquely designed for each classmate.
    Gazing at the assorted shapes of colored cards, she swallows the lump in her throat. Then she reaches for the most beautiful of all the cards. With a determined look, she slips out of the classroom.
    Softly, knocking she enters the Special Ed room. With a timid smile, she hands Skipper the card. “Will you be my extra special Valentine?” she whispers. Slowly, he nods.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It can be easier to make fun of something that makes you uncomfortable than to embrace it. I’m glad Janie had a change of heart and I bet Skipper really appreciated it! Thanks for joining in the contest fun, Margaret!

  48. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LUCRETIA (received on time)

    OPERATION CHOCOLATE HEARTS – Lucretia Schafroth
    (Word count: 214)

    Marvin’s nose twitched, nudging him awake. He stretched, sniffing the sweet-smelling air.
    YUMMM! His sweet tooth tingled.
    Surveillance time!

    Glittery hearts sparkled in windows. Chubby cherubs looked ready for an ambush…
    he knew that meant…VALENTINE’S DAY!
    —And that meant candy, especially his favorite, CHOCOLATE!

    Candy caper time!

    Inside, sweet aromas guided his feet. Marvin hid near his target. Massaging his twitching sweet tooth, he reviewed his plan.

    “Psst! That box’s mine,” said a voice.
    “Whozzat?” Marvin whispered.
    “A chocolate fanatic…,” it responded. “…on a stake out!”
    “That’s my target!” Marvin clarified.
    “I got here first!” it hissed.
    “I’m not leaving…,” Marvin stated.
    “GET. OUTTA. HERE!”
    “Make me!” he sneered.
    OUCH! Marvin stumbled backwards…
    FWAWP!

    Skittering feet approached. YIP-YIP!
    “You wrecked my mission,” Marvin seethed.
    “Me? It’s your fault!” she fumed, massaging her twitching cheek.

    Idea time!

    “SORR-RRY!” he whispered. “I’m Marvin—and I’m irritable when I’m chocolate-deprived!”
    “Haha! MYRNA…I’m totally guilty of that, too!” she chuckled.

    “Wanna work together?” Marvin asked. “…split the loot?”
    “Fifty-fifty?,” she asked.
    “Exactly!” He shared his plan.

    YIP-YIP!
    “Mighty watchdog!” laughed the girl, scooping it up. “Time to open my chocolates!”

    “Showtime!” Marvin winked.
    “NOW!”

    Marvin and Myrna leaped outward…
    shouting, “HAAP-PPPY VALL-LEN-TINE’S DAY!”

    “CRAZY CHIPMUNKS!—RUN!”

    Sharing nibbles with Myrna, Marvin thought…
    OPERATION CHOCOLATE HEARTS…SUCCESS!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Cute story, Lucretia! I may be related to Marvin – my sweet tooth tingles all the time 🙂 I’m glad he and Myrna found a way to work together to successfully complete Operation Chocolate Hearts! Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun!

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