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!


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.



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.


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.


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!!!


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

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

  1. Juliann Caveny says:

    Valentine’s Day Confession (214)
    by Juli Caveny

    I’m excited and I’m nervous.
    Today is Valentine’s Day.
    I’ve waited for this moment,
    so now I can finally say…

    I love you, Toby.
    You’re such a sweetheart.
    You can sing my favorite song.
    We’ve been good buddies in the past,
    but it’s time that I move on.

    I love you, Asa.
    You’re so handsome.
    You brighten up my days.
    We’ve hammed up in every photo
    but we must go our separate ways.

    I love you, Cheri.
    You’re a true artist.
    You’re work is filled with joy.
    We’re a picture perfect couple,
    but I admit it’s been a ploy.

    I love you, Dustin.
    You’re incredibly smart.
    You have talent beyond belief.
    We’re 98.5% compatible,
    that’s why I’ll make this brief.

    I love you, Jermaine.
    You’re so athletic.
    You can out race all the best.
    Together, we set a school record,
    but now I’m out, I need a rest.

    I love you Waite.
    You’re sentimental.
    You have the biggest heart.
    We’re the yin and yang of third grade
    which is why it’s time we part.

    I love Bertie, Ted, and Terrance,
    Mike, Matt and Jeff.
    I love Samantha and Tobios.

    But today I must confess.
    Of all my friends I love the most…

    …I love myself the best.

  2. Sherry Howard says:

    Prince Froggie Went A’ Courtin’

    His heart still raced and rocked.
    He’d almost gotten caught.
    Away he’d hopped so fast,
    without a backward glance,
    that he would never know—
    his present, placed just so,
    had gone to Lil instead.

    Oh, yes, Lil felt such dread.

    His true love had been gone,
    over croaking at the pond,
    but Lil’d been passing by
    and spied that juicy fly
    waiting for her friend,
    a fabulous godsend!
    Lil’d snatched that juicy treat,
    So yummy, sweet to eat.

    And now it was too late.
    Can’t give up what she ate.
    Lil’s friend, the princess frog,
    the sweetest polliwog,
    would never know the prince,
    her crush, his eminence,
    had left a gorgeous gift,
    but Lil had been too swift.

    So if you are a prince,
    and left a special fly,
    I apologize to you—
    I cry, I cry, I cry.
    Your princess doesn’t know,
    I’m too afraid to tell.
    Be glad she didn’t eat it-
    I’m not feeling very well.

    Sherry Howard

  3. Joel Chalmers says:

    Valentine’s Remorsel
    By Joel Chalmers

    I bounced to school. I had found the perfect present for my valentine Valerie. My favorite chocolate candy covered in fuchsia foil. I had to keep it hidden until lunch when we would exchange presents.

    I kept it safe through reading and art. I took a peak at it during math to make sure it was still there. During snack, I took it out just to hold it. Only science and writing to go before lunch. But I couldn’t wait. I slid it out and savored it when writing began!

    I felt mortified right after I swallowed the last tasty morsel. I would have to hide during lunch. My first real Valentine, and I messed it up 30 minutes before we exchanged gifts. I still had a card, but without the perfect chocolate candy I was doomed.

    The lunch bell rang, I scouted places to hide. Before I could find a proper place, here comes Valerie, my would-have-been first Valentine.

    “Hi Va-va-valerie,” I said sheepishly giving her the card. Then I explained everything down to type of chocolate candy I had intended to give her.

    “That’s ok, Valentine.” she says. “I brought two of that very candy for you. Now you eat one, and I will have one too. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  4. Corine Timmer says:

    Yay! It’s time for the Valentiny Contest again. Thanks, Susanna. I enjoyed your story. Here is my entry.

    Sophie Builds a Bridge 213 words
    Corine Timmer

    “What’s that smell?” Emily said.

    Mia stuck out her tongue.

    “Aniseed licorice,” she said.

    “Ani what?” Emily asked.

    “An-i-seed licorice,” Mia repeated.

    “It stinks,” Emily said.

    “Do you want to try one?” Mia asked.

    Emily pulled a face.

    “We are not allowed sweets in class,” Tobias remarked.

    But nobody paid attention to Tobias.

    “I like the smell,” Sophie said.

    Mia turned around and stared at Sophie.

    Sophie lived on a farm and often smelled of straw.

    Sophie smiled at Mia. Mia didn’t smile back.

    Mia looked at Emily, and the two giggled.

    Sophie bowed her head. She pretended to read but her mind wandered.

    Then, she raised her hand. With the other, she rummaged in her backpack.

    “Yes, Sophie?” Miss Coles said.

    “Can I please share my candies?” Sophie asked.

    “Well,” replied Miss Coles, “as it’s Valentine’s Day . . . Yes!”

    Mia lowered her eyes. Her cheeks burned.

    Sophie stood up and opened her candy bag.

    Everyone gathered around, except Mia and Emily.

    There were candies in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

    “Do you want one?” Sophie asked, as she approached the friends.

    Emily chose a raspberry gummy bear. Mia studied the candies.

    Then, all at once, she beamed at Sophie.

    There! In Sophie’s candy bag . . . BLACK LICORICE WHEELS!

  5. Colleen Owen Murphy says:

    Let the guilty parties be revealed! Best of luck to all authors and thank you once again Susanna for offering this contest!

  6. Johanna Speizer says:

    Charity’s Chocolate Bath

    Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and Charity loves chocolate. She can eat chocolate chips by the handful.
    “Charity, go take your bath.” Mom calls from the living room.
    What about a chocolate bath? Charity wonders.
    Chocolate chips — they would just float around.
    Chocolate syrup — maybe.
    Mom’s fancy cocoa powder — Perfect.
    She shakes some into the tub. Suddenly, all of it splashes down into the water.
    Charity remembers, Oh no, that cocoa powder was a Christmas present from Grandma!
    “Ok, time to get out and brush your teeth,” Mom says. “Charity! Are you ok? Why is the bathtub brown?”
    “I’m sorry Mom,” she starts to cry. “I just wanted to take a bath in chocolate.”
    Mom sees the empty box and sighs. “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.”

    Early the next morning, Charity rummages through the craft box for supplies.
    Dear Mom,
    I’m sorry I used all your fancy cocoa powder. Please forgive me. You’re my favorite Valentine.

    She puts it next to the coffee maker.
    After breakfast, Mom gives Charity her Valentine basket.
    Tucked behind some candy is a little bottle. Charity’s Chocolate Bubble Bath.
    “Really Mom?”
    “I made it last night after you went to bed,” Mom says.
    “Can we try it out tonight at bath time?”
    “Absolutely, Sugar.”

  7. Glenda Williams Roberson says:

    Candy Hearts

    Thatcher is her secret crush.
    Rosa knows it’s not returned.
    He’s in love with Marnie L.
    Can this nonsense be unlearned?

    Recess. Rosa sneaks inside.
    Steal her valentines, and quick!
    Marnie’s cards tucked in her pack.
    Stomach queasy, feeling sick.

    Party time and treats galore!
    Candy hearts for everyone.
    You’re so nice; my sweet; be mine.
    Guilty feelings weigh a ton.

    Rosa takes Miss Potts aside.
    Tearful, she explains her crime.
    Glad that Rosa feels remorse,
    “You can fix it. You have time.”

    Sneaking she retrieves the cards.
    Box and cards both hit the floor.
    Looking like they all fell out,
    Stolen cards are gone no more.

    Rosa helps pick up the cards,
    So relieved that she confessed.
    Lesson learned and all is well.
    Guilty feelings put to rest.

    Rosa opens up her box.
    There’s a giant card inside.
    Thatcher signed it with a heart.
    In an instant, starry-eyed!

    Just when Rosa’s feeling smug,
    Marnie opens her huge card.
    Thatcher signed it X X O.
    That boy better be on guard!
    Rosa shows her Thatcher’s note.
    Both go tell him, “Adios!”
    They become the best of friends.
    No more boys, because they’re gross.


  8. Jill Shields Purtee says:

    by Jill Purtee
    210 words

    “Come on. Let’s play Scrabble,” the elf starts to babble.
    “I’d love to, but I cannot stay.
    Please look at the date.
    I cannot be late.
    As you know, it is Valentines Day.”

    “Pull that box from the shelf,” says the jolly old elf.
    “I am certain it’s your favorite game.”
    “You tempt me, St. Nick.
    I’ll play if it’s quick.
    If I’m late, it is you I will blame.”

    “To start now is stupid. I’ll be late,” says Cupid.
    “But you know how I like to win.”
    He giggles and smiles
    and lays down his tiles.
    Hurry, Santa. It’s your turn. Begin.”

    Santa scratches his beard and says, “Just as I feared.
    You were right. You’re going to be late.
    This is awful. Absurd.
    I can’t make a word.
    One more minute. I’ll find one. Please wait.”

    They ponder and worry. “Now I’ve got to scurry.
    I think that I figured a way.
    This may work out dandy
    for handing out candy.
    It’ll work if I borrow your sleigh.”

    Cupid borrows the sleigh. Makes a quick get-a-way.
    Santa stays and wallows in shame.
    And when Cupid returns.
    They each take their turns.
    Without pressure they finish the game.

    C U P I D
    C A N D Y
    A R R O W
    B O W
    V A L E N T I N E
    K I S S E S

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Momo on Valentines Day by Shariffa Keshavjee

    Valentine’s Day was sunny on the Athi Plains, where Geno and Alid lived with Momo the Monkey, their pet.

    They were baking heart shaped cookies. Momo helping to mix the dough. Licking some too !

    “This is fun!” They said adding heart shaped sweets, Momo perched on Geno’s shoulder.

    ‘“We will all be eating cookies, but the monkeys at the Animal Orphanage won’t get any”.Alid said sadly.
    “Mama, can we take some to the Orphanage? ‘Geno implored.
    “On a Thursday afternoon? No”. said Mama. It’s exhausting driving there and back.”

    “Please Mama, please!” They chanted.
    We can renew Momo’s permit. “Geno persuaded.
    “No is No!’”Mama said.
    Dejected the children sat, not eating the cookies.
    Momo came up with the car keys.

    Guilt set in.
    “Oh alright “Mama relented. Off they went to the Orphanage.

    The warden was delighted to see them.
    “Come! I have a surprise!”

    “We rescued this injured mother and baby.” Mr. Kobo explained. A cute baby vervet peered from under the belly.
    Momo jumped up and down the cage Other monkeys followed him. They loved it.
    “What a perfect Valentine ! See she can jump about again.”Mr. Kobo said.

    “This is the best Valentine’s Day ever!” Geno said
    “I love you Mama, Alid and Momo!”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Cute story, Shariffa! I enjoyed seeing Momo back for another adventure 🙂 How sweet that Momo and the kids felt so sad about the orphanage animals that they couldn’t eat their cookies. I’m glad Mama felt guilty and took them to celebrate Valentines Day! Thanks for joining in the contest!

  10. Anneberly says:

    A Valentine’s Party at School
    By Anneberly Andrews


    Kit’s desk is located in the back corner of the classroom, away from everyone else. She’s self-conscious, because skunks release a powerful spray when they feel threatened. But Kit has never felt threatened while at school.

    Cub and Pup are best friends. Together they made valentines for the school party.

    They remembered Mrs. Rabbit saying to bring thirty valentines to share with their classmates.

    At school, the young animals were so excited to pass out their valentines, Mrs. Rabbit began the party early.

    Mrs. Rabbit invited the young animals to pass out their valentines in pairs. Cub and Pup went last, both of them did not have a valentine to give to Kit. Tears formed in her eyes. She put her head down, and mumbled, “It’s because I’m a skunk.”

    Sadness swept over Cub and Pup. “Mrs. Rabbit, can we collect our valentines, and start again? We miscounted.”

    Mrs. Rabbit agreed.

    They collected their valentines and began again. The end result was the same. Tears streamed down Kit’s face. They didn’t have any more to hand out. “Mrs. Rabbit, we thought we had thirty valentines, we only have twenty-nine,” their voices cracked.

    “Kit we’re sorry. We’re so very, very sorry.”

    They quickly made her a special valentine, and invited her to be their friend.

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Secret Mission Valentine by Ramona Persaud

    “Time for bed honey,” called my mother.

    I eagerly close my book, “Ok, I’m ready for you to tuck me in Mama.”

    “And what do you do after I tuck you in?” she asked.

    “Stay in bed. Unless I’ve to go potty. Which I don’t. So there’s no reason for me to get out of bed, no way,” I reply.

    “Uh-huh,” says Mama.

    And I usually stay in bed, but tonight I have a secret Valentine’s Day mission.

    I wait until I hear her footsteps going down the stairs, then I quietly climb down the stairs of my bunk bed. I jump from the second to last step.


    My body freezes. I forgot about Mama’s ears. She hears everything.

    I wait, poised to dash up my stairs.


    I turn on my small lamp then reach for red construction paper. I fold it in half and draw a heart on the front. It’s a little crooked.


    I drop everything, scoot up the ladder, and dive into bed.


    I forgot to turn off the lamp.

    The footsteps fade away.


    Back down I go.

    The clock on my shelf says 9:15.

    I yawn.

    Glue, glitter, crayons. I work quickly.

    Happy Valentine’s Day Mama.

    You are awesome.

    Love, Rohan.

    The End

    • kaleegwarjanski says:

      Great story! I love the voice. Particularly the lines: “I forgot about Mama’s ears. She hears everything” and “It’s a little crooked.”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Sweet, Ramona! I can just imagine Rohan’s excitement to make something secret and special for Mama, his anxiety that he might be caught, his determination to get it done! Lucky Mama 🙂 Love the details of his crooked heart and thinking that 9:15 is really late! 🙂 Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun!

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    IT WASN’T ME! by Susan Valli

    214 words

    Sammy Bean was in his room,

    And this is what he heard:

    ‘Come right down now, Samuel,

    We need to have a word!’

    Oh, no! Had they discovered,

    He’d spilt water on the floor?

    That he’d smashed a mixing bowl?

    And smeared chocolate on the door?

    He ran guiltily down the stairs,

    And looked them in the eye.

    Assuming his best angel face,

    He thought, ‘Deny, deny, deny!’

    ‘I definitely didn’t do it!

    I’m sure it wasn’t me.

    My alibi is watertight.

    I was reading near the tree.’

    ‘It must’ve been someone else,

    Whatever ‘it’ may be.

    It must’ve been the puppy.

    It was anyone but me.’

    ‘What d’you think we think you’ve done?

    You may want to admit it.

    Maybe ‘it’ was something nice,

    And we want to thank who did it.’

    ‘Or maybe it’s what you haven’t done,

    That’s leading to these questions.

    Homework? Tidy up your room?

    D’you have some more suggestions?’

    ‘Oh, no, I think I’ve done all that.

    Well, as much of it I could.

    I just didn’t do what I shouldn’t do,

    And I did do what I should!’

    ‘So it wasn’t you who made the cake,

    That we’ve just found on a tray,

    Wishing your friends and family

    A Happy Valentine’s Day?

    Oh, yes, that was me.

    214 words

    Susan Valli

  13. Sarah Meade (@SarahJWMeade) says:

    By Sarah Meade
    Word Count: 214

    February 14
    12 PM
    This little piggy went to market.
    Poppy shopped for party supplies.
    Paper plates. Check.
    Napkins. Check.
    Cups. Check.
    Heart-shaped balloons. Check.

    1 PM
    This little piggy stayed home.
    Penny worked hard crafting valentines.
    She decorated with glitter and stickers.
    Penny pulled cupcakes from the oven.

    2 PM
    This little piggy had roast beef.
    Presley sliced meat and made sandwiches.
    He prepped party snacks.
    He stirred the pink punch.

    3 PM
    This little piggy had none.
    Paula Jane had no food to prepare, but she had a stellar sound system.
    PJ mastered music.
    Yes, PJ was the DJ.
    She checked her playlist.

    This little piggy cried “wee, wee, wee” all the way home.
    Patrick panicked.
    He’d forgotten all about the party.
    Patrick was in charge of games. He had zero. And zero ideas.
    What would his pals say?

    5 PM
    Party time!
    Patrick pushed open the door.
    “Hi!” said Penny, handing Patrick a valentine.
    “Hi. Um… thanks.”
    “Sandwich?” said Presley.
    “Um… thanks.”
    “I’m playing your favorite song,” said PJ.
    “Um… thanks.”

    Patrick felt sweaty and sick.
    “Um… everybody? I forgot the games.”
    His pals paused.

    “No problem!” said Poppy.
    “We can play charades,” pointed out Penny.
    “Or Parcheesi!”
    “Or just dance!”
    Patrick smiled.
    “Thanks, pals.”


  14. Sarah Meade (@SarahJWMeade) says:

    By Sarah Meade
    Word Count: 214

    Jess and Tess put the finishing touches on their Valentine’s Day surprise.
    Mom and Dad would be downstairs any minute.
    “They’re coming!”
    The girls giggled in the dining room.

    Dad said, “Red stuff all over the countertops? What a mess!”
    Jess glanced at Tess.

    Mom said, “Yikes! Is that water on the floor? What a mess!”
    Tess frowned at Jess.

    Dad said, “What’s all over the table? Glue? And is that…”
    Mom gasped.
    “Glitter? What a mess!”
    Jess and Tess hung their heads.

    “Jess! Tess! What about this mess?”
    The girls stepped into the kitchen.
    “It’s just–” started Jess.
    “We wanted–” Tess began.
    “Just clean it up,” said Mom. Dad sighed.

    The girls sniffled and got to work.
    Tess mopped and wiped.
    Jess scrubbed and swept.

    Mom and Dad walked into the dining room.
    “Oh my.”
    Jess and Tess heard whispering.

    The girls tiptoed into the dining room.
    Their Valentine’s Day surprise was on display.
    Valentines with MOM and DAD in sparkling glitter hearts.
    A vase of pink carnations.
    And breakfast parfaits with red berries and yogurt.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mom and Dad,” said Jess.
    “We’re sorry about the mess,” said Tess.

    Mom’s eyes glistened. Dad’s too.
    “We’re sorry, too,” said Dad.

    Mom and Dad hugged the girls.
    “We love our messy valentines.”


  15. Cheryl Secomb says:

    Wilfred’s Valentine’s Day
    by Cheryl Secomb (214 words)

    Wilfred was forgetful.

    Not all wombats were forgetful. Willamina never forgot anything.

    Like birthdays. Wilfred felt the guilt crawl up from his toes to his nose. She’d forgiven him.

    “I will not forget Valentine’s Day tomorrow!”

    Wilfred planned to gather Willamina’s favorite roots first thing in the morning so they would be crunchy and fresh.

    He left himself reminders

    on his pillow,

    in the toaster,

    and in his boots.

    On Valentine’s Day morning, Wilfred set out to gather roots.

    But then, young Kangaroo asked him to help find his bouncy ball,

    and Mrs. Koala showed him her garden,

    and finally Mr. Platypus stopped him to chat.

    “What a nice walk I’ve had!” said Wilfred. “But I feel like I’ve forgotten something.”

    Later, Willamina showed up at his door with a book by Wilfred’s favorite mystery author, Winston Wallaby. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Wilfred!”

    Wilfred remembered.

    He stuttered and muttered and managed to say thank you.

    Then Wilfred admitted, “I forgot. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t forget the person I love most.”

    “You love me?”

    “Did I forget to tell you that?”

    Willamina laughed and kissed him on the cheek.

    So they went on a Valentine’s picnic.

    “These roots are so crunchy and fresh!” said Willamina.

    Wilfred smiled.

    It was a Valentine’s Day he would never forget.

  16. Anne Cavanaugh Sawan says:

    A Box Full Of Love

    Max gave the heart shaped box a big shake.
    How could all of the candy be gone? He meant to eat only one piece but it had tasted so good…
    “Hola, Max,” said Papi. “What is that in your hand?”
    “Nothing,” sighed Max. “It was going to be a Valentine’s Day gift for Mama but, I ate all the candy so now it’s just an empty box.”
    Papi opened the box. “This box is not empty,’ he said.
    “Yes, it is,” said Max.
    “No,” said Papi. “You thought of Mama and wanted to make her happy and that is what love is, thinking about others and wanting to make them happy. So you see, this box is full of love. Now how about we go to the kitchen and make Mama some special Valentine’s Day cookies? You get the flour and I’ll get the eggs and sugar.”
    On the kitchen counter Max noticed another heart shaped box.
    “What is that?” he asked
    “That?’ said Papi, furiously mixing the eggs and sugar together. “Ahhh…That is another box of love for Mama.”
    Max smiled. “You ate all the candy too, didn’t you Papi?”
    “Si,” said Papi. “Now, hand me the flour so we can finish these cookies before Mama gets home. Rapido!”

  17. Marcia Z. Parks (@MZ_Parks) says:

    No Sweethearts
    Marcia Parks
    WC: 214

    “No Sweethearts?”

    “Sorry, no Sweethearts. Discontinued—until next year.”

    He was devastated. Mom loved Sweethearts on Valentines Day. Evan had promised Dad faithfully, cross-my-heart, that Mom would have her candy if he was still in Afghanistan.

    Now they were unavailable. For the first time in years, the cashier said. Evan felt terrible. He had promised! Promises were important, not to be broken.

    Could he make sweethearts? Evan searched the candy aisle where he spotted Smarties candy rolls in one of the bulk bins. Perfect! He bought one roll for practice.

    Back in his room, Evan cut a notch in one piece. Not bad! Then he carefully began to shape the point. It was a little lopsided, but it did look somewhat like a heart. He made more; most of them cracked. This was going to take a lot of rolls!

    He picked up a fine-tip marker and printed “FOR YOU” in tiny letters. As he wrote, ink sank into the candy. Instead of words, there was only a red smudge.

    He absolutely had to keep his promise to Dad, even though discontinued candy wasn’t his fault.

    Evan found pale colored papers. He spent hours cutting out tiny hearts and printing messages. “LOVE.” “HUG ME.” “DREAM.”

    And, most of all, “NEXT YEAR.”

    Dad would understand.

  18. Jill Lambert (@LJillLambert) says:

    The Missing Pupcake
    By Jill Lambert
    (213 words)

    Brayden loved both of his dogs just the same.
    They weren’t alike–one was wild, one was tame.
    Mona made mischief, she didn’t know, “NO!”
    Lisa obeyed because Brayden said so.

    Brayden created some Valentine treats,
    a doggy dessert made with eggs, oats, and beets.
    The piping hot pupcakes were spread out to cool
    all over the counter, but underneath—DROOL!

    “Let’s grab a pupcake while Brayden is gone,”
    Mona said. “I’m too short! Let me climb on.”
    Lisa looked back toward the door with remorse.
    Mona whined, “Help me out! You be my horse!”

    Lisa stood steady while she climbed aboard.
    Mona stretched upward, then seized her reward,
    nearly inhaled the first pupcake she saw,
    leaped down from Lisa’s back, “Got it! Hurrah!”

    Lisa slunk out of the kitchen to hide.
    She acted guilty, but Mona felt pride.
    Brayden came in, heard their skittering feet,
    glanced at the counter, saw one missing treat.

    “Mona and Lisa!” he cried in dismay.
    “I baked those pupcakes for Valentine’s Day.
    Which of you took it? It’s time to confess!”
    Lisa looked hangdog, her eyes blinked distress.

    Brayden inspected them, solving the puzzle.
    Mona had cake crumbs all over her muzzle.
    “Mona, you’re busted! Now you go to bed!”
    Then Brayden gave Lisa two pupcakes instead.

  19. JessicaReinerHarris says:

    Cupid and Bob
    By Jessica Reiner-Harris
    212 words

    The clock tick-tocked. The Assignment was coming soon, and Bob knew he’d get chosen, as usual.

    Cupid, on the other hand, had never gotten The Big Mission. He didn’t even look up from his desk when
    Archangel Michael flew into the office.

    “CHERUBS! The Big Mission this year is to make humans fall in love, using these magical arrows. You have T-minus 5 minutes before the mission begins. Aim true… CUPID.”

    With dramatic flair, Archangel Michael disappeared.

    Cupid SQUEALED with shock and joy, and jumped so high that he knocked his coffee all over himself! He sprinted to the locker room to clean up and put on his never-before-worn mission clothes.

    Bob had never lost the mission before.

    Bob was shocked.

    Bob got an idea.

    He tiptoed to the locker room and grabbed Cupid’s missionwear while Cupid showered.

    Bob stopped. The guilt threatened to overwhelm him. But then…

    It didn’t.

    He grabbed Cupid’s work suit too. He thought he’d blocked Cupid’s rise to success.

    He hadn’t.

    Cupid went on his mission anyway, wearing only his undies. And now, the little cherub we all know and love is the star of Valentine’s Day.

    Bob, however, was reassigned due to poor sportsmanship. Now he’s a candy corn tester in the Halloween department. Poor Bob.

  20. Marcia Z. Parks (@MZ_Parks) says:

    The Important Pink Washcloth
    Marcia Parks
    WC: 214

    “It’s only a washcloth. It’s not important. She carries it around wet. Yuck!”

    That’s what Henry said when Mom asked him where it was. He knew, only he wasn’t going to tell.

    He said it less firmly when Dad asked. Maybe he shouldn’t have hidden it.

    Sierra and her washcloth got too much attention.

    He was tired of everybody stopping to watch when Sierra took unsteady steps clutching her washcloth.

    “Oh, how cute!” or “She’ll only walk with that?” Talk bothered him, too.

    So, he hid it.

    It was time to move the pink, heart-shaped washcloth where someone might find it—then he wouldn’t have to confess.

    Under the cushions. Oops! Mom had already looked there. Sierra was fussing.

    Inside the pot drawer; Sierra loved playing with pots.

    Sierra wailed for her washcloth. Dad ordered pizza so they could keep looking.

    “Henry—help!” He didn’t want to be the finder. Sierra was fussing too much for him to somehow get her to open the drawer.

    Wishing he had never hidden it, Henry desperately tried one last place.

    “Pizza’s here! Wash hands,” Mom opened the fridge. “Oh! What’s this?”

    Mom was surprised. Dad was hungry. Sierra cried because her washcloth was cold.

    Henry felt very relieved. He really did love his sister, washcloth and all.

  21. Kate says:

    Sorry for the double-post! I decided to do a blog post instead, which I submitted through the form. You can delete this one if you prefer. Thanks for the contest and the great prompt!

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Katie Schwartz

    I have never moved before
    I just stand there at the door

    Teacher shows me to my seat
    I just look down at my feet

    “Annie, show Ben ‘round the place”
    Annie’s smile lights up her face.

    “playground lunchroom library
    platform for the spelling bee
    here’s a pencil, post-it-note
    can I take, hang up your coat??!”

    I rename her, Bossy Flossy!

    I feel blue. ‘Til Teacher speaks
    to Jenny. Red hair, rosy cheeks!

    “Hand out the list, Valentine’s Day
    Is only seven days away!

    Remember students, one for each”
    I barely listen to her speech!

    Jenny dances desk to desk
    Stops to do an arabesque!

    I feel happy, even sappy!

    The Day arrives, I have to smile
    My handmade card tops Jenny’s pile.

    Annie’s last, her pile is small
    She sits, just staring at the wall

    Plain cards, smudges, some were frayed!
    None were special, none homemade.

    She’d smiled at me, on that first day
    I hadn’t cared, I’d walked away!

    I am hushed. And very crushed!

    Hmmm,“Annie, maybe you’d help me?
    I’m worried ‘bout that spelling bee

    My spelling’s mostly a disaster
    Call me the misspelling master!”

    A splendid spreads ‘cross her face
    She is plucky! She has grace!

    I’m smilin too! A happy start
    to true-blue friendship – heart-to-heart.

    • Michelle Donny Kennedy says:

      Katie! Nice job- You captured the essence of a child who sometime tries too hard. So glad that in the end that the new kid saw the “good” in Annie and made friends with her! Sweet story!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      What a lovely job you did showing Annie’s honest, open, friendliness, and your MC being so easily swayed by Jenny’s grace and beauty. Of course he felt guilty when Annie, who truly deserved special valentines, didn’t get much. I’m glad he figured out who his true friend really was 🙂

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    A Penny for His Thoughts
    By Charlene Bogner Taber

    It was Valentine’s Day at school. Paulie Possum had a crush on his classmate Penny Possum, but he felt shy about telling her.

    Luckily, Paulie had an idea. During recess he stayed in the classroom and busied himself with crayons, markers, scissors, and red construction paper.

    After school he hurried to climb a tree that he knew Penny would be passing by on her way home. When he saw her approaching, he hung by his tail from a branch and lowered the large, heart-shaped sign he had made during recess. It read: “Could you possumly be my valentine?”

    “Oh, Paulie,” said Penny in dismay. “I’d love to be your valentine, but I feel guilty because I didn’t make one for you.”

    “That’s okay, Penny,” replied Paulie.”I’m just happy you said yes!”

    Then Paulie climbed down from the tree, and, carrying the big valentine between them, the two waddled home together on valen-tiny feet.

  24. anneuro says:

    The Girl with the Dragon Choo-Choo
    By Anne Lipton
    207 words

    There once lived a dragon who flew far and wide,
    torching the fields of the green countryside.

    He roasted the railroad and toasted the trail,
    but when he got home, he was draggin’ his tail.

    “Oh, Mama Dragon, why do I feel moody?”
    “Because firepower entails a great duty.”

    The next day, the dragon swooped down on a girl,
    with buckets of ashes she scooped up to hurl.

    “Oh, dreadful dragon, please fly away!
    You’ve already ruined my Valentine’s Day.

    “You flambéd my flowers and blew blooms apart.
    My roses are blackened and so is my heart.”

    The girl dug the dirt and heaved with soft cries,
    as heavy scales lifted from smoky-grey eyes.

    “Oh, Mistress Greenthumb, pray what can I do?
    My wings weigh with guilt for the wrong I’ve done you.”

    “I’ve planted my patience with each seed I sow.
    You can’t harvest time for my garden to grow.”

    “I’ve dug deep,” said the dragon, “to get back on track.”
    Then he puffed clouds of smoke to warn of attack.

    He powered his fire to shape candy hearts.
    He melted fine chocolate and caramelized tarts.

    The girl rode the dragon from scorched earth to sky.
    He sped like a train—only this train could fly!

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Aixa Perez-Prado
    Mommy and Daddy got married on Valentine’s Day.
    They were in love.
    They loved each other so much they had a baby.
    Then they both fell head over heels in love with me.
    Love surrounded all three of us like a cozy blanket.
    Then something changed.
    Instead of smiling, they were frowning.
    Instead of laughing, they were shouting.
    I didn’t like the sounds that love leaves behind when it goes away.
    Where did love go?
    Did it fly away?
    Did it get lost in the universe?
    Did it fall in to a deep hole in the earth?
    Did it sink to the bottom of the ocean?
    Did I make their love go away?
    Sometimes I don’t listen.
    Sometimes I don’t behave.
    Was it my fault their love went away?
    Mommy and Daddy said it wasn’t.
    But I wanted their love back.
    I missed it.
    Then one day I found it!
    It was here all along.
    I feel it when I think of Mommy and Daddy.
    I see it in their eyes when they look at me.
    Their love for each other is inside of me now, and that can never go away.
    Valentine’s Day is every day right inside my heart.

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Sucker – by Megan Hoffman

    am a sucker.
    Valentine’s sucker.
    am here to confess.
    broke a heart.
    Valentines Day.
    is my greatest regret.
    was all alone.
    the corner of the box.
    Mine was her name.
    straightened my wrapper.
    made my way across the box.
    eyes locked.
    felt the earth move.
    moved so much that we were tossed about the box.
    and chocolate hearts were thrown around us.
    was hurled into the corner of the box.
    the cards and candies settled, I saw her.
    was broken in two.
    strange five armed creature reached into the box.
    took her pieces away.
    is in a better place now.
    remain to tell her story.
    keep her memory alive.
    will always,

  27. Susanna Leonard Hill says:



    By Nina Nolan

    Our Maya is the best cat. Ever.

    She snuggles.


    And knows what your heart wants to say.

    When I wake up crying from a bad dream, she licks the tears off my face.

    That’s when I know the bad dream wasn’t real.

    And kitty kisses are.

    But I made Maya mad.

    It’s Valentine’s Day, so I thought she would love to wear a huge red ribbon.

    With a bow.

    I was wrong!

    Because she ran away.

    She goes on backyard adventures every day.

    But she’s always home for dinner.

    Except today.

    Maya was gone. And it was all my fault.

    I looked everywhere.

    And called her name.

    I even put her dinner out on the porch, so she might smell it and want to come home.

    No Maya.

    I kept staring at her cat door, telling myself she’d be home soon.

    But soon came and went. A bunch of times. And still no Maya.

    At bedtime, I didn’t want to go to my room without her.

    But, there, in my bed…

    was Maya.

    With five little kittens.

    I was wrong!

    She didn’t run away because she was mad at me.

    She had kittens!

    All snuggling with her.

    Being hugged by a huge red ribbon.

    With a bow.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Aw! I can see why your MC was worried and felt guilty for upsetting Maya, Nina, but nice that it turned out to be nothing but a misunderstanding. And now she has more kitties to love 🙂 Thanks for joining in the contest fun!

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    ALEX & APPLE SOLVE THE CASE (214 words) By Nicole Loos Miller

    Mrow! Apple, feline best friend extraordinaire, dropped an empty, heart-shaped box at Alex’s feet.

    Alex bent down. “Uh oh. Mama bought these chocolates for Grandma.”


    “Valentine’s Day is tomorrow? We’ve got to get to the bottom of this!”

    Alex found the magnifying glass while Apple cleaned her claws. The Interspecies Detective Agency was on the case.

    “Let’s start in the kitchen. Mama put the chocolates on top of the fridge. ”

    Apple jumped onto the counter and sniffed at chocolate smudges.

    “Fingerprints! Good job, Apple.”

    Alex used the magnifying glass while Apple stalked and pounced.

    More fingerprints stained Papa’s coffee mug.


    “It’s definitely weird,” Alex agreed.

    “What’s weird?” asked Papa, walking into the kitchen.

    “I think we just solved the mystery of Grandma’s missing chocolates.”

    “Oh….her, um, missing chocolates?”

    “Poor Grandma,” sighed Alex.

    Mew, agreed Apple.

    “She’ll think we forgot her.”

    “Okay, already. I did it! I ate them!” said Papa.

    “Papa!” Alex scolded.

    “I’m worried about my big presentation and thought chocolate would make me feel better. It didn’t.”

    Mmmm. Apple twitched her tail.

    “I already bought her more but asked your mom to hide them.”

    Alex laughed and hugged Papa. “You’ll do great.”

    Meow! Apple agreed.

    The Interspecies Detective Agency never held a grudge. And they were very good huggers.

  29. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Tamu, the Thieving Cat (Paka Mwizi)! by Ketan Ram

    On the Swahili isle of Lamu,
    lived an old tabby named Tamu.
    A lonely mosque cat was he,
    who lived vicariously
    through amorous cat couples nearby.

    Each February Tamu yearned for
    long gone Siamese Taberi.
    He dreamt of her day and night,
    Taberi forever in sight.
    Could he cure his broken heart?

    While dozing it came to mind!
    He’d make a Valentine’s shrine,
    filled with objects of the heart.
    No sooner would he start!
    He embarked with dusk’s prayer call.

    To homes and dukas Tamu slunk,
    hiding behind bed, shelf and trunk.
    He crept ’round like a robber
    grabbing Valentine’s clobber,
    not a twinge of regret!

    Valentine cards, fresh roses and treats,
    ruby heart jewelry, love letters, pink sweets,
    Cupid statues, lace and trinkets galore,
    he never imagined such a score!
    Tamu sentimentally adorned the shrine.

    His last foray, February 13th night,
    Tamu stole to his heart’s delight.
    A young girl woke to his kerfuffle.
    She spied the tabby with loaded duffle,
    and bellowed loudly, “PAKA MWIZI!”

    Thief Cat!

    Tamu froze; his heart sunk low.
    Laden with guilt, he had go!
    He dropped his sac,
    vowed to give his hoard back,
    in time for Valentine’s Day.

    By dawn’s prayer call,
    Tamu had returned it all.

    The shrine was now deep in his heart.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Fun story, Ketan! I love the unusual setting and character. And something about the story reminds me just a tiny bit of a kind of Valentine’s Day Grinch – stealing Valentines but then repenting and putting it all back in time for everyone to enjoy and holding the love in his heart. Nice job 🙂

  30. Writer on the run says:

    Late Night Snack
    by Mary Rudzinski (Writer on the run)

    Bear stared at the moon. His tummy rumbled.

    He stumbled to the kitchen, looking high and low for something yummy.

    His tummy grumbled louder.

    Aha! Rabbit’s box of Valentine chocolates!

    “ Rabbit won’t mind if I have just one!”, and Bear gobbled a chocolate-covered cherry.

    Juice dribbled over his chin and chocolate whirled in his mouth.


    Bear snuck one more candy, and then another.

    The sun came up, Bear crawled back in bed, his tummy full.

    Bear opened one eye, and Rabbit glared back.

    “You ate all my chocolates!”

    “I did?” whined Bear.

    “You DEVOURED my Valentine present!”

    “Well,” Bear offered, “if it’s any comfort, those chocolates were not that good!”

    Really?!” gasped Rabbit.

    “I’m sure you can get a new box somewhere!”

    Rabbit’s eyes watered. He slumped away.

    Bear hid under his blankie.

    Rabbit’s chocolate was scrumptious, but now Bear’s tummy AND his heart ached.

    “I’ve ruined Valentines Day,” Bear whispered.

    “How can I get money to buy new chocolates for Rabbit?” Bear sat and pondered.

    “My bike!”

    Bear pedaled into town.

    After dinner Bear stared at the ground.

    “Umm, I …. Sorry about this morning. Here.”

    Rabbit smiled and opened a new box of chocolate cherries.

    “Wait,” said Rabbit, “This is for you!” Bear laughed and tightened his new bike helmet!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Poor Bear! So hard to resist chocolate-covered cherries! Especially when you’re starving for a midnight snack! Bear certainly felt guilty…and took steps to make things right. Glad it worked out in the end 🙂 Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun, Mary!

  31. Susan Schade says:

    By Susan Schade (206 words)

    The Conversation Hearts were tired of being sweet.
    This year, they wanted to be funny.
    They planned a playful prank for the Valentine’s Day party.
    They mixed up their letters and muffled their laughter.
    Kids shuffled in and sat around the table.
    Fast fingers reached inside the bag.
    As the first heart was picked, they waited for the giggles to begin.
    “You stink” the first child read.
    “Dog Breath” read the second.
    “Bug Off” and “Booger Face” came next.
    The hearts shook with silent laughs.
    But to their surprise, the children sobbed.
    The hearts stared at each other.
    “It was just a joke,” one whispered.
    The children’s cries carried through the room.
    Cupcakes cringed and Gummi Bears glared.
    The hearts no longer laughed.
    Their sugary shells ached.
    Their insides were crumbling.
    The hearts had to save the party.
    They snuck off to make a phone call.
    Soon the delivery arrived.
    The card on the giant pizza box read,
    “I love you with every PIZZA my heart.”
    The party resumed with hot, cheesy slices on heart-shaped plates.
    The children chattered while they chomped and forgot about the hurtful hearts.
    The hearts sighed with relief and scurried back to the bag.
    Afterall, they were best at being sweet.

  32. Rachel Funez says:

    by Rachel Funez
    213 words

    Porcupine just wanted a peek. Her best friend, Rabbit, had been working on his Valentine’s surprise all week. Porcupine wanted to know who it was for, but Rabbit only twitched his nose and shook his long ears.

    “You’ll see soon enough.”

    Porcupine checked over her shoulder. The coast was clear. She pressed her quills flat and squee-eezed through Rabbit’s burrow hole.

    Porcupine’s nose caught the rich scent of chocolate. Her stomach growled jealously. Rabbit’s cakes were divine. No one loved them more than Porcupine!

    With her body blocking the burrow hole, it was too dark to see inside. Porcupine wiggled and emerged with a loud POP …


    Porcupine jumped. Had Rabbit booby trapped the burrow? She turned to retreat.


    Porcupine froze!

    All was quiet. Slowly, she opened her eyes, and looked around the dimly lit room. … She was surrounded by mangled balloons.

    Porcupine’s heart sank as she realized what she’d done.


    “Oh, Rabbit. I’m so sorry,” she wailed. “I’ve ruined everything!”

    Rabbit shook his long ears and sighed. He hopped away.

    Porcupine’s eyes filled with tears.

    Then Rabbit returned. “You didn’t ruin everything,” he said.

    Rabbit showed Porcupine the chocolate cake – it was still divine. On the top it said, “Be mine, Porcupine.”


  33. Chambrae Griffith says:

    Love Bug at the Zoo
    By Chambrae Griffith

    I’m know I’m just small, but I must confess,
    I am the love bug who caused this huge mess.
    I shouldn’t have gone out on Valentine’s Day,
    I infected the zoo, I got carried away.
    I’m sorry my nibbles caused such a commotion
    My bites are much stronger than any love potion.
    Now Monkey is gaga and Parrot is squawking
    “I love you, I love you…” she doesn’t quit talking.
    Poor Panda is spellbound, and Seal is lovesick,
    and Frog is enamored with bright red lipstick.
    The meercats are staring, with googley-eyes,
    at Penguin, who suddenly really loves fries.
    Giraffe has gone ape, and Ape is obsessed,
    he keeps blowing kisses and pounding his chest.
    Lion’s in love, and Emu is entranced
    by Flamingo’s new fondness for ballroom style dance.
    Bear is bewitched, and so is Baboon.
    Zebra saw Peacock and started to swoon.
    Peacock keeps prancing to get Snakes attention
    But Snake has been charmed, and there’s more I won’t mention.
    The bites will wear off, they’ll be fine before morning,
    But watch out for love bugs, we strike without warning!

  34. Jessica Whipple (@Jessicawhippl17) says:

    Stan’s First Valentine’s Day | 213 words

    This year, Stan got a family. It had sisters, parents, a house, and Stan is still learning how it all works. Take Valentine’s Day, for instance.

    “People love hugs,” the fish suggested.

    Yes! That’s what Stan would do for Valentine’s Day.

    At 7:15 when the twins left for the bus, Stan reared up and threw his paws onto their shoulders, grinning. But the girls just gave a firm “Down,” grumbling to each other about dogbreath.

    This would be harder than it seemed.

    “Just tell ‘em you dig ‘em,” cooed a lovebird in the vet’s waiting room. At home, Stan went straight out back.

    But that didn’t turn out well either, and Stan went to his crate with his tail between his legs and dirt between his toes.

    So he tried the cat’s idea, using his paws to make shapes in the litterbox. “This can’t be right,” he thought, but if he’d learned anything from that lovebird, it was that words can be confusing.

    When Mom saw what he was doing, Stan realized his mistake: The cat hadn’t said “Write in litter,” he said “Write a letter!”

    Feeling guilty for making everyone mad, Stan knew his first Valentine’s Day was a mess all around.

    But at least his heart was in the right place.

  35. The Diary of a Country Bumpkin says:

    I found this challenge rather late and had no time spare so I re-wrote part of my latest children’s book which I have nearly finished called Tom’s Dad. It was just before I finished that I noticed it should be a Valentine story………too late now!

    TOM’S DAD.

    Tom was very proud of his dad especially when it came to school sports day for he knew his dad would enter all the parents events, even if he didn’t win them.
    The first event he entered was the pole vault which he attacked at such speed that he shot over the top of the bar and landed some distance away in the long jump pit.
    His jump was the longest recorded that day, but as he had landed doing the pole vault the judges felt it wrong to give him a prize.
    “I do feel dizzy,” said Tom’s dad, “I wasn’t expecting to fly quite so far, I’ve never done the pole vault before, perhaps I’ll stick to running races from now on.”
    At the start of the 100 meters sprint Tom’s dad went off like a rocket and shot into the lead, it looked as if he would win the race but just as he was getting to the finish, his shorts fell down round his ankles and while he stopped to pull them up all the others passed him and finished the race.
    “I do feel guilty for not winning,” said Tom, but his son who was very wise said, “It doesn’t matter dad, we love you whatever you do.”


  36. Barbara Farr Renner says:

    By Barbara Renner (200 words)

    It’s Lovebird’s Valentiny Ball
    Where birdies flock to find a date.
    The music plays; the dancers call,
    A place to pick your sweet new mate.

    The Booby taps upon the floor,
    He pounds and beats his big blue feet.
    The maidens giggle and stomp some more
    So he can peck the prettiest cheek.

    The Peacock spreads his tail so wide
    It spreads with blue and gold and green.
    He fans his feathers with regal pride,
    While peahens strut and poke and preen.

    The Wren hops through the crowded room,
    His guilt is showing upon his face.
    “I’m sorry I’m late; I’m full of gloom.
    I almost didn’t find this place.”

    “I’m small and plump and plain old brown.
    I hate to dance; my tail’s a blob.
    There’s nothing to show on top my crown.
    I guess I’m just an ugly slob.”

    He lowers his head and turns around,
    Then hears a coo, a beautiful tune.
    He hops and looks to find the sound
    And sees a chick who makes him swoon.

    “I love you, Wren, you’re my true choice.
    I heard your song; you sure can sing.
    Let’s fly away; let’s join in voice,
    My valentine to you I bring.”

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      What an original point of view, Barbara! So creative to think of writing a lovebirds’ ball! Love how you worked in the different birds, and that wren, who felt plain, is still loved by someone for who he is, and has his own talents! Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun!

  37. RebeccaTheWriter says:

    Love LOVES Love.
    By Rebecca Gardyn Levington
    212 words

    Love LOVES love.

    “Everyone should love everyone! All the time! Always!” Love says.

    One day, at recess, Love overhears his friends arguing.

    “STOP hogging the swing!” says Mabel.

    “It’s MY TURN!” says Maddie.

    Love’s heart hurts.

    “Don’t fight,” Love pleads. “You’re best friends!”

    “Not anymore!” says Mabel.

    “Not EVER!” shouts Maddie.

    I MUST fix this, thinks Love. “Everyone should love everyone! All the time! Always!”

    Love demands that Mabel and Maddie…


    make Valentine’s Day cards for one another,

    create a list of nineteen compliments (“Minimum!”),

    stare deeply into each other’s eyes for seven and half minutes (“No cheating!”),

    braid each others’ hair,

    sing “If You’re Happy and You Know it!”

    and perform a tap dance routine.

    Nothing works.

    Loves belly aches.

    “But…Everyone (sniff) should love everyone…all the time (hiccup)…. always,” he cries.

    “I should’ve tried harder. Now they’ll NEVER be friends…AND ITS ALL MY FAULT!”

    The next day, Love slumps into school.

    Mabel and Maddie walk in…

    …holding hands.

    “You’re friends again?” asks Love. “I KNEW I could do it! It was the tap-dancing, right?”

    “Yes, we’re friends,” says Mabel. “But it wasn’t anything you did.”

    “We just missed each other,” says Maddie.

    “Aw, I love love!” says Love. “Everyone should love everyone. All the time….

    Always.” 🙂

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Very creative to write from the POV of Love, Rebecca! I love all the things Love makes Mabel and Maddie do – such an entertaining list 🙂 – and that in the end it wasn’t any of those things that brought them back together, but their actual love for each other. Cute story!

  38. maryvanderplas says:

    214 words
    by Mary Vander Plas

    What would you do if you were a lonely Sasquatch on Valentine’s Day?
    Would you creep up on campers who are enjoying the great outdoors?
    “Be Mine? Grunt Grunt.”
    No, you wouldn’t because it would cause a monstrous mess and then you’d feel guilty.
    Would you secretly surprise some fishermen savoring the day on a secluded lake?
    “Be Mine? Grunt Grunt.”
    No, you wouldn’t because it would be a drippy debacle and then you’d feel guilty.
    Would you mingle with a mix of tourists at a famous monument?
    “Be mine? Grunt Grunt”
    No, you wouldn’t because it would be absolutely alarming and then you’d feel guilty.
    Even stone-faced presidents would head for the hills.
    If you were a lonely Sasquatch on Valentine’s Day you’d probably disappear to the deepest, darkest, most secret part of the forest. You’d wish you had someone to share Valentine’s Day with, but you wouldn’t believe in yourself enough to make that happen.
    You’d probably creep deeper and deeper into the thickness.
    You might stop to take a nap or have a snack.
    You’d try to appreciate the peace and quiet.
    You’d try not to think about Valentine’s Day.
    Then suddenly you’d hear something. Something rare but familiar, in the deep dark forest.
    “Be Mine? Grunt Grunt.”

    • Jose Cruz says:

      My January manuscrit for 12×12 was a Sasquatch story, so I’m happy to see the old cryptid in another cute adventure. Love the image of Mt. Rushmore fleeing in terror (getting a Monty Python/Terry Gilliam vibe from that). Great work!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Aw! Cute story, Mary! Love all the imagined things the Sasquatch doesn’t do because they’d make him/her feel guilty! And you made me feel his/her sadness and loneliness. I’m glad it turned out that there really is someone for everyone 🙂 Thanks for joining in the contest!

  39. Sherry Peace (@SMPeaceWriter) says:

    By Sherry Peace
    212 Words

    It was a perfectly ordinary day at Amelia’s house until all the Valentine’s candy disappeared from the heart box.

    There was no time to get angry. This mystery needed to be solved, and Amelia was the right detective for the job!

    She carefully inspected the box and noticed a smudged chocolate fingerprint.

    Ah ha!

    Too small to be from her parents, it must be from her brother.

    She ran to his room. “Did YOU eat all the candy?”

    “No way! I only ate one – see!” He held up the crumpled wrapper as proof.

    If her brother only ate one, who ate the rest? Amelia noticed her dad chewing something.

    Ah ha!

    “Dad, did YOU eat all the candy?”

    “Me? I’m innocent! I ate the one coconut chocolate – that’s the only flavor I like.”

    Amelia thought it over. That left one suspect, who was currently hunched over the kitchen sink.


    Her mother stiffened and slowly turned around, her eyes wide and brown smudges all over her face.

    “Did YOU eat all the candy??”

    Her mom’s eyes darted back and forth, and then her shoulders slumped. “Yes, I’m guilty. I just love chocolate so much!”

    But then her face lit up and she reached under the cabinet. “Luckily, I bought a second box!”

  40. yangmommy says:

    My Muddy Valentine
    by Jennifer Buchet

    Kip always threw the perfect parties and her Hearts-a-Lot gala was no exception. Perfect food, perfect games, perfect décor.
    Yet despite all the fun with friends, Kip felt…strange. She missed her best mate. But sludge and sweethearts don’t mix. They mess.


    This couldn’t be. Swampy was at the door!
    Kip ducked down. Maybe if Swampy didn’t see her, he would leave?


    Perhaps Swampy would go if he thought no one was home?
    Kip tried hushing her guests. But it was too difficult stopping a swinging piñata.


    Kip slipped behind the curtain. She wished with all her heart that Swampy would go away. After all, mud and Valentines don’t mix. They mess.

    Swampy was persistent.
    Kip held her breath. Her stomach filled with stones. Kip wished Swampy would give up!

    At last, Swampy trudged away. Kip noticed package on the porch from Swampy.
    A bouquet of beautiful marsh flowers.

    Kip reminded herself that slime and cupids don’t mix. They mess.
    Don’t they?

    Now Kip wished with all her heart that her best monster mate was here to celebrate!
    She flung open the door and raced after Swampy to apologize.

    Kip always through the perfect parties. After all, what’s a little muck and mire between friends!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Cute story, Jennifer! I could feel Kip agonizing over the mismatch between her beloved friend and her precious party! Her guilt was clear, and I’m glad she saved the day by running after Swampy. It’s true – friendship matters most 🙂 Thanks for joining in the contest fun!

      • yangmommy says:

        Ah, thx Susanna. Not my best work but I beat back that guilt monster & wrote something under the deadline, LOL! Really love the challenges you put together!

  41. janycejoy says:

    By Jan Anderson
    152 words

    Sometimes I get distracted
    When picking up my toys;
    Sometimes in the library
    I make a lot of noise.
    And sometimes when you call me
    I fail to close the door
    And leave a lot of footprints
    Across the kitchen floor.
    I’m guilty, too, of running,
    When you just told me, “Walk!”
    And though I should say, “Yes, Ma’am!”
    Sometimes I give backtalk.
    And when you think I’m sleeping,
    I’m really in my bed
    With picture books and motor cars
    All around my head.
    But sometimes when you offer me
    A song when I am sad;
    Or join me in a belly-laugh
    Whenever I am glad;
    Or comfort me when feeling sick,
    Or cheer me when alone,
    Or hold me so I hear your heart
    Because I’ve just come home –
    My ought-to’s fade like daydreams
    With just one valentine thought:
    Of how you always love me,
    In spite of my “forgots”.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Aw! What a sweet sweet story, Jan! It’s hard to be good all the time, but isn’t it wonderful to know you’re unconditionally loved even if you’ve done a few things you feel guilty about. Nice job. Thanks for joining in the contest!

  42. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Word Count: 199

    The Heart-Shaped Balloon

    By Amy Beseth

    Today I woke up with a balloon by my bed.

    Big. Heart-shaped. Sparkly and red.

    I jumped for joy and danced with delight.

    Big. Heart-shaped. Sparkly and bright.

    When something felt funny in the pit of my tummy

    Who was it from, Daddy and Mommy?

    How do I show them that I love them too?

    Nothing is as special as my heart-shaped balloon.

    The cupboards had only noodles and bread

    I looked in the closets and under the bed

    An umbrella, three coats and a tangled old kite.

    But not like my balloon, so sparkly and bright.

    A lone slipper, some dust and my stuffed kangaroo

    Will not be enough to say, “I love you.”

    I plopped on the couch with a tear in my eye

    With nothing to give and no present to buy.

    Mommy and Daddy came to my side,

    “I don’t have a gift for you, “I cried.

    They calmed me with a warm embrace

    Smiled and wiped the tears from my face.

    “You are our heart. You are sparkly and bright

    You make us feel joy and dance with delight.

    You have given us the most special gift too.

    Our Valentine’s Day present is you.

    • Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:

      This is a sweet story. A very relatable story for children. How my oldest is. And love the last line! Good luck!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Sweet story, Amy! I love your little MC’s delight, and then her guilt over not having a gift in return. So like a child to worry that way, and so like parents to reassure that the child is all they need. Thanks for joining in the Valentiny fun!

  43. Susanna Leonard Hill says:



    By: Kim Madison-Dovel

    Tater Tot Tilly baked a dill pickle
    For the Valentine party at James
    Junior High.
    He was so excited to share his new
    ‘til the class began yelling,
    “It smells like feet!”

    Tater Tot Tilly plopped down his
    Took a deep breath then let out
    a sigh.
    “Cookies are tasty.
    Cupcakes, too.
    I thought I’d surprise you with
    something new.”

    Polly Snew spoke.
    And the class agreed.
    “A new party tradition
    is what we need!”

    Around the table.
    Around one pie.
    They each had a fork.
    And gave it a try.

    “Pickle pie is strange.
    It looks kind of weird.”
    Tater’s face turned red.
    He then disappeared.

    “What’s that smell!”
    asked Arthur Abel.
    “It’s black; it stinks!
    It’s under the table!”

    It’s not the pie at all.
    Nor dirty feet.
    It’s the stink of Sam’s skunk.
    Not Tater’s treat.

    “Oh my, oh my!
    We weren’t very fair.
    Let’s make a Valentine
    To show him we care.”

    Pickle pie is
    The crust crunchy
    We are all very
    We misjudged
    your treat.

    Tater saw his friends’ efforts.
    Read their pink paper heart.
    Accepting their apology
    Made a new friendly start.

    Tater Tot Tilly baked a dill pickle
    A new Valentine tradition at James
    Junior High.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Oh, my, what a mix-up! I’m glad they discovered the true source of the bad smell and made amends for their guilt by being kind to Tater Tot Tilly! And who knew Pickle Pie would be delicious enough to start a new tradition?! 🙂 Thanks for joining in the fun, Kim!

  44. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    By Emma Wood
    (214 words)

    Mr Bear had an idea. He sprang out of bed, whizzed up a honey and cranberry smoothie, and poured two glasses.
    “What day is it today?” asked Mrs Bear.

    “Thursday, I think,” said Mr Bear.

    Mrs Bear growled. “I’m going to take a shower.” And off she stomped.

    Mr Bear wondered if he’d poured too much honey into the smoothie. But that was ridiculous! There was no such thing as TOO MUCH honey.

    It must be because it’s Thursday, he thought. Thursday is not yet Friday, and that can be disappointing.

    Mr Bear had an idea. He washed the dishes, took out the trash, and swept the floors.

    Mrs Bear didn’t say a word.

    Mr Bear had another idea. He snipped some hydrangeas and arranged them in a vase. He attached a note: For Mrs B., the most radiant flower of all.

    Mrs Bear’s face lit up. “You did remember!”


    “That it’s Valentine’s Day!”

    Mr Bear’s shoulders drooped. “No, I forgot. I didn’t organize anything special for you.”

    “You did!” said Mrs Bear. “You made breakfast, finished the chores, and picked me flowers. For no reason except that you are a lovely bear.”

    They shared a bear hug.

    “So what did you get me?” asked Mr Bear.


    Mrs Bear needed an idea.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Oh my goodness, Emma! This is delightful! Love the line “It must be because it’s Thursday, he thought. Thursday is not yet Friday, and that can be disappointing.” – isn’t that the truth?! And I love that she appreciates him for being lovely and they share a bear hug 🙂 So sweet and cute! Thanks for joining in the contest!

  45. Amy Epstein Brazda says:

    Alma’s GREEN Valentine’s Day
    By Amy Brazda
    Word count – 214

    Valentine’s Day isn’t my gig.
    I don’t dance a jig.

    In Texas, I do my share…
    as the fave at barbeques and fiestas…
    No host would forget me there!

    My insides are green,
    and on the holiday of love
    it’s the most RED you’ve ever seen!

    I’m sad when shoppers walk by…
    left on the produce aisle
    to cry, cry, cry.

    Juan always takes a few of me…
    to turn me into
    his famous guacamole.

    “Come on Alma, lil’ avocado.
    On Valentine’s Day, so sad you are…
    I know.

    This holiday you’ll smile.
    Wave goodbye to your friends
    in that heaping pile.”

    We entered the town’s recreation hall,
    where everybody was having a ball!

    Juan opened the door for me to see.
    HOLY GUACAMOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Everything was green as could be!
    Like St. Patty’s Day a month early!

    Balloons, heart cookies, tacos with mounds of lettuce…
    All decorations in GREEN hues!.
    Did you hear the news?

    It was the doing of Ricardo, the RED salsa!
    “Oh, Alma, I didn’t want you to feel blah!

    I’m so happy to feel guilty this one time,
    so I’m going to end this valentine rhyme!”

    I felt loved deep in my pit…
    Juan scooped me out and threw me in the bowl…
    to enjoy the GREEN celebration…every bit!

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      Now telling a Valentine guilt story from the POV of an avocado is pretty unique, Amy! I did not see that one coming! 🙂 I’m glad Alma felt loved and appreciated and got her green valentine! Thanks for joining in the fun with this very original story!

  46. Amy Epstein Brazda says:

    Ahava’s School Valentine Surprise
    By Amy Brazda
    Word count – 214

    I’m Ahava, third grader at Malev School.
    I LOVE Valentine’s Day!
    My name means “LOVE” in Hebrew.

    On Valentine’s Day, I’m sad.
    Christian friends skip to school with valentines to give.
    I help my BFF, Lilly, make them.

    I wish Malev’s kids could celebrate,
    even though we’re Jewish.
    This year’s holiday falls on Shabbat, .

    when we have chapel and must sit boy then girl.
    I’m between Josh and Max.

    But, I still LOVE the service
    because Rabbi Rubenstein (Ruby for short),
    makes our time fun,

    throwing out candy like he’s a Jewish pinata,
    dressing up like Bible dudes, rapping prayers,
    and pretending to talk to G-d on his cell phone!

    Today, he was not peppy.
    He yawned
    and yawned.

    We hurried back to class and opened the door.
    HOLY SHALOM-Y!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Red balloons, pink confetti, heart cookies, strawberry punch!

    Mrs. Mandel smiled.
    She’s gonna get in BIGGGGGG trouble!
    But, finally…Valentine’s Day!

    Suddenly, bounding through the door was Rabbi Ruby!
    “I’m the Valentine culprit here.
    Guilty as charged!”

    In the night he created our first Valentine’s Day!
    I pulled from my pocket a valentine I made with Lilly,
    a glittered red Star of David (usually blue).
    “I LOVE you, Rabbi Ruby!
    Valentine’s Day was perfect!”
    “A new tradition for ALL at school!” he announced.

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