What’s In Your Heart? – The 5th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Hang onto your conversation hearts everyone!  It’s time for . . .

The 5th 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 curious!  Your someone can feel curious themselves or make someone else feel curious.  The curiosity may be about a person, place, thing, quality, idea, event, or about whether something will happen or something is true or real, or anything else under the sun you can think up!  Think beyond the obvious!  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 curious (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 Friday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link to the list below.  There will be no regularly scheduled posts (Tuesday Debut, 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 no 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 19th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Friday February 21st or Saturday February 22nd depending on judging and voting time needed. (And there will be no Tuesday Debut, WYRI or PPBF that week either so that everyone will have time to read and vote and so that we don’t confuse PPBF with announcing winners.)  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using curiosity and success in making us feel the curiosity!
  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, so many wonderful things to choose from that will be of great help to you in your writing career!!!

Penny’s Two Cents – an incredible opportunity for any picture book writer!

Sometimes it’s helpful to chat with a published author about your writing journey. Penny Parker Klostermann is offering her two cents. The prize includes six thirty-minute Skype/Google Hangout sessions with Penny. The sessions can be used anytime during 2020. Ask her anything related to writing for children and getting published. Up to two sessions can be used for general comments on a manuscript (not a full critique). Penny doesn’t claim to have it all figured out, (by any means) but she’s happy to share her two cents based on what she’s learned and continues to learn on her journey as an author.

Penny Klostermann

Penny is the author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) (now available in board book and with matching pajamas! 🙂 ) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)

495eb-penny      Cooked-Up Fairy Tale

 – Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Rosie Pova, author of If I Weren’t With You (Spork 2017),  Sarah’s Song (Spork 2017), and the forthcoming Sunday Rain (Lantana Publishing, September 2020)

Rosie Pova                Sarah's Song

If I Weren't With You Sunday Rain

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (rhyming or non-rhyming) from Katey Howes, author of GRANDMOTHER THORN (Ripple Grove Press 2017), MAGNOLIA MUDD AND THE SUPER JUMPTASTIC LAUNCHER DELUXE (Sterling Children’s Books 2018), BE A MAKER (Carolrhoda Books, 2019), and the forthcoming RISSY NO KISSIES (Lerner/Carolrhoda Spring 2021)

KathrynHeadshots-20 (2)               Magnolia Mudd cover art Grandmother Thorn  Be A Maker

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)

Ellen Leventhal       Don't Eat The Bluebonnets

Hayfest     Lola Can't Leap

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Sherry Howard, author of ROCK & ROLL WOODS (Spork 2018)

Sherry Howard (4)Cover Rock and Roll Woods

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Lydia Lukidis, author of NO BEARS ALLOWED (Blue Whale Press 2019) and many educational titles.

Lydia Lukidis        No Bears Allowed

– a spot in Making Picture Book Magic (Interactive or Self Study version – winner’s choice) – an online picture book writing course from Yours Truly.  If you choose the interactive version, month to be mutually agreed on by me and the winner.


– Prize Pack #1 – a personalized signed copy of A MORNING WITH GRANDPA (Lee&Low Books 2016) by Sylvia Liu and the 2020 Guide To Literary Agents (which you may exchange for the Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market 2020 if you prefer)

MorningWithGrandpa_cover 2020 Guide to Literary Agents
Lee&Low New Voices Award 2013

Picture Book Prize Pack – a personalized signed copy of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE (HarperCollins 2019) by Ashley Franklin and a personalized signed copy of NOAH NOASAURUS (Albert Whitman & Co 2019) by Elaine Kiely Kearns

Not Quite Snow White      noah

Picture Book Pack From Chris and Chris: a personalized signed copy of EMILY’S IDEA (Sounds True, March 2020) by Christine Evans and a personalized signed copy of HEY, HEY, HAY! A Tale of Bales and the Machines That Make Them (Holiday House 2018) by Christy Mihaly

Emily's Idea HEY, HEY, HAY! Cover

Historical Women Picture Book Pack: a personalized signed copy of QUEEN OF PHYSICS: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Sterling Children’s Books 2019) by Teresa Robeson and a personalized signed copy of MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books 2020) by Vivian Kirkfield

queen of physics cover              Making Their Voices Heard
Asian/Pacific American Award Picture
Book and ALA Notable Picture Book

A SURPRISE PACK! – 2 additional picture books (not signed) donated by Darshana Khiani (who will have her own book, How To Wear A Sari, out in Spring 2021!): What Color Is Night? by Grant Snider and Caspian Finds A Friend by Jacqueline Veissid

What Color Is Night? Caspian Finds A Friend

Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazone, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊

And now, lovelies, it is time for my traditional sample entry, since I feel I shouldn’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do. . . 🙂

Steel yourself!

A Valentiny Mystery (184 words)

Mama’s working busily
Making something I can’t see.
“What’s that?” I ask her quizzically.
“Try to guess,” she answers me.
“It’s a little mystery.
I’ll give you clues.  Think carefully,
And figure out what it could be!
It’s something red.”

What could it be?

“Ribbon? Wagon? Redwood tree?”

Ooh! I love a mystery!

“It’s something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”

What could it be?

“Candy apple? Raspberry?”

Hmm… it’s still a mystery!

“It’s something heart-shaped perfectly,
And something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”

What could it be?

“A candy heart? A strawberry?”

Hmmm… it’s still a mystery!

“It’s something super sparkly.
And something heart-shaped perfectly.
It’s something sweet and sugary.
And something red.”

What could it be?

“A sparkle-sprinkled chocolate cherry?”

Golly! What a mystery!

By now, it smells deliciously!
I know it’s super sparkly. . .
I know it’s heart-shaped perfectly. . .
I know it’s sweet and sugary. . .
It’s something red. . .

What could it be?

“I’ve got it!” I say gleefully.
“I figured out the mystery!
It’s my Valentiny cookie!”
Made by Mama just for me!

I warned you. . . 🙂

Never let it be said that I’m not willing to embarrass myself for you! 🙂

And now you all hopefully feel filled with confidence in your own entries because certainly they are all FAR better than that!

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 Friday 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 90 fabulous entries posted in the comment section below!!!

Happy Valentines Week, Everyone! 💕

Scroll through the comments to find these wonderful stories! Titles are direct links.

  1. Shelly & Saul – Sue Lancaster
  2. Bags Of Love – Laura Howard
  3. Some Bunny Loves You – Laura Howard
  4. I Don’t Need A Valentine – Deb Buschman
  5. Sending Love – Chelsea Tornetto
  6. My Sunny Valentine – Glenda Roberson
  7. What Makes Your Heart Beat? – Beth Brody
  8. The Perfect Valentine’s Playdate – Deb Sullivan
  9. The Heart – Nina Nolan
  10. Love And My Teddy – Tracy Curran
  11. Crazy, Foolish Love – Tracy Curran
  12. The Chocolate Beast – Megan Walvoord
  13. How To Fix A Broken Heart – Paul Roncone
  14. Little Card’s Purpose – Theresa Kiser
  15. Valentine Story 2020 – Shariffa Keshavjee
  16. A Robot’s Valentine’s Day – Susan Summers
  17. Mystery Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
  18. The Hunter Games – Anne Lipton
  19. Cupid’s Love Trials – Katrina Swenson
  20. Will You Be Mine? – Ryan Roberts
  21. Signed Sealed Delivered – Delia Black
  22. A Shelter Dog’s Valentine – Anne Bromley
  23. The Curious Concoction – Stacey Miller
  24. Crabby’s Heart Speaks – Rebecca Loescher
  25. Valentine Clue – Alicia Fadgen
  26. Cupid’s Confusion – Alicia Fadgen
  27. Cupid’s World – Alicia Fadgen
  28. The Perfect Valentine – Maryna Doughty
  29. Jigna’s Valentine – Gabrielle Cardwell
  30. Moe’s Valentine’s Day Discovery – Kelsey Gross
  31. The Rose Thief – Margaret Aitken
  32. The Egg – Rebecca Woodall
  33. How Do You Write A Poem? – Belen Medina Cabot
  34. Missing Hearts – Bru Benson
  35. An Antique Valentine – Abbi Lee
  36. My Piggy Valentine – Claire Lewis
  37. Romeo And Jellyette – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  38. The Lost Valentine – Ellie Langford
  39. Mia Flying Heart Girl – Lily Erlic
  40. Squirrel’s Surprise – Darci Nielson
  41. Sylvia’s Special Valentine – Vanessa Cicarelli
  42. This Arrow Is Narrow – Linda Staszak
  43. Valentine’s Day Is Gross – Ranessa Doucet
  44. The Art Of The Heart – Wikki Krawczyk
  45. Valentine Equation – Claire Bobrow
  46. Cupid’s Diary – Ketan Ram
  47. Valentine Broccoli? – Susan Drew
  48. The Upside-Down Heart – Mary Munson
  49. Who Could It Be From? – Ashley Congdon
  50. The Curious Case Of The Valentine Gift – Heather Kauffman
  51. My Heart’s Wish – Melissa Stiveson
  52. The Unquestionable Valentine– Deborah Boerema
  53. Whose Valentine Could This Be? – Michelle Howell Miller
  54. Mailbox – Amy Flynn
  55. I Miss You – Jarmila Kurucova
  56. What Is That? – Jyoti Gopal
  57. Katerina The Caterpillar Solves A Conundrum – Dina Towbin
  58. Beetle’s Valentine – Chambrae Griffith
  59. Scales Of Love – Caroline Perry
  60. Cupid And Curtis – Jen Bagan
  61. What If…? – Susie Sawyer
  62. A Valentine Surprise – Corine Timmer
  63. Where Is Love? – Emmie R Werner
  64. Will She Or Won’t She? – Elizabeth Volkmann
  65. Mystery Marks – Mary Warth
  66. Roosters And Roses – Paul Kurtz
  67. Computer Bugs – Paul Kurtz
  68. Boys – Yecchh! – Donna Kurtz
  69. Eight Legs Of Love – Donna Kurtz
  70. Secret Stash – Mia Geiger
  71. The Curious Kitten – Elsie Duffany
  72. What’s Love? – Ingrid Boydston
  73. An Unexpected Valentine – Michelle S. Kennedy
  74. How To Find Your Valentine – Cindy Williams Schrauben
  75. Peck! – Andrea MacDonald
  76. The Mailbox Mouse – Roo Parkin
  77. Pandora’s Peek-Not Pact – Jenny Buchet
  78. Dear Cupid – Marty Bellis
  79. Curious Kip – Kirsten Pendreigh
  80. Bernard And Robin: One Adventure, Two Friends – Susan Twiggs
  81. Scraps Of Love – Charlotte Sheer
  82. When Love Gives You Wings – Kate Thompson
  83. What If . . . A Valentine’s Story – Kelly Pope Adamson
  84. Cookie Memories – Judy Sobanski
  85. Wanted – Jill Lambert
  86. Always. Every day. No matter what. – JC Kelly
  87. Ophelia Divine – Sofia Dibble
  88. Bee My Perfect Valentine – Kelly Pope Adamson
  89. Joy Finds Love – Olivia Rehfield

887 thoughts on “What’s In Your Heart? – The 5th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Claire Bobrow
    Valentine Equation (word count: 234)

    While dozing during math class, I snored a gentle roar

    and awoke to find a paper sticking out from Chapter Four.

    Across the top I read my name,

    “Dear Millicent,” it said.

    The rest of it was full of writing – purple, pink and red.

    Hooray! I thought. A valentine!

    Somebody out there cares.

    I laughed aloud – Who could it be? –

    but hushed when there were stares.

    The class went on forever, then I slipped into the hall.

    I pressed the paper to my heart, when came a gentle call –

    “Oh, Millicent!” The dulcet tones went floating overhead.

    I turned. My teacher beckoned! And my wishes turned to dread.

    “I slipped a paper in your book. You found it there, I hope?”

    I hunched and nodded slowly. She must think that I’m a dope.

    For suddenly it dawned on me – that’s not a valentine.

    It’s the pop quiz that we took last week – mistakes on every line!

    I straightened up and faced her, prepared to see a frown,

    but instead – surprise! – upon my head big smiles were raining down.

    “You aced the quiz. I’m proud of you! Keep up the awesome work.”

    She filled me full of confidence, no room for doubt to lurk.

    So I took her faith to art class and made something quite divine –

    To Teacher: I think you’re the best. Please be my Valentine!

  2. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Cupid’s Diary
    by Ketan Ram

    February 13, 2020
    Dear Diary
    With Valentine’s Day only hours away,
    There is still a bit of work to do…I wonder
    Could Michael like Peyton and
    Alice kiss Naythan?
    Would David ask out Mary and
    Sara give a rose to Harry?
    Should I get Lee to spread word
    that Billy is still free?
    But didn’t I hear him say
    he really likes Kim?
    Then why would Jenny say that Kim
    does not like him?
    What if Tim asked out Kate?
    No … ’cause she’s the type to turn down a date.
    Hmm, so that leaves Billy and Tim…
    I will shoot arrows for them!
    And what about someone for me?

  3. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Valentine Broccoli?
    by Susan Drew (word count 211)

    Ashlyn looked everywhere for where Mom hid the Valentine’s candy. What did she buy this year?
    Conversation hearts?
    Lollypop bouquets?
    Ashlyn looked under mom’s bed. Dust bunnies.
    She looked in the cabinet over the refrigerator. Tupperware lids.
    She looked on the basement shelves. Out-grown junk.
    Where could that candy be?
    …The broom closet!
    Off she ran.
    She was right!
    Ohhh….. a heart shaped box!
    She knew she should leave it alone. But she couldn’t!
    She shook the box. Nothing shifted.
    She opened it a smidge. She couldn’t see anything.
    She sniffed. Not chocolate.
    Ashlyn put the box under her shirt and tiptoed to her room.
    She made sure no one was in the hall, closed her door and then pulled off the lid.
    …Broccoli?…..BROCCOLI !!!
    The heart shaped box was full of BROCCOLI!
    Ashlyn’s hands shook. The heart shaped box shook. Broccoli fell on the floor.
    Hey… wait. A note.
    Dear Ashlyn – You curious little silly billy. Put this box back where you found it and quit looking for your Valnetines! If you don’t…. it’s BROCCOLI for you! Love, Mom
    Ashlyn put all the broccoli, and the note, back in the box. She took it back to its hiding spot. She vowed to quit looking for her real present!

  4. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Word Count: 198
    The Upside-Down Heart
    Mary Munson

    Heart was sad. While the other shapes played. He just sat and watched. He wasn’t as fast as Circle. He wasn’t as strong as Square. And, he never shined as bright as Diamond.

    “Come play,” Trapezoid said.

    “I can’t, I’m just not right,” said Heart.

    This made Trapezoid curious. Why does Heart think he’s not right? All shapes are perfect.

    But Heart didn’t feel perfect. He felt all wrong.

    One day, the shapes were practicing flipping and bouncing. Rectangle stretched just a little too much and bumped into Heart. Heart tipped over onto his side.

    Trapezoid noticed Heart get knocked over. She was curious why he wasn’t getting up. So she slid over.

    “Hey Heart, here’s some help.” Trapezoid slid under heart. She tipped him up straight.

    Heart felt a little better.

    All of the other shapes came to make sure Heart was okay.

    “Wow look how round you are,” Said Circle.

    “Look how shapely you are,” Said Square.

    “Look at your beautiful point,” Said Diamond.

    Heart didn’t look at any of that. He looked at all the shapes surrounding him. He felt loved. He felt right…almost even perfect.

    Moral of the story:
    Love will turn you around.

  5. Ashley Congdon (@AshleyCCongdon) says:


    Dragonfly returned home to find a yellow hexagon shaped card.

    Dear Dragonfly,

    Thanks for beeing my friend.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    From, –

    “Who’s it from? It’s smeared,” Dragonfly thought.

    Just then, Lovebug flew by.

    “Hi Lovebug. Happy Valentine’s Day! Did you leave this card for me?”

    “I didn’t,” Lovebug said, handing Dragonfly a red heart shaped card. “Here’s mine. I just passed Turtle. Maybe it’s from her.”

    “Thank you!” Dragonfly yelled as she set off to find Turtle.

    She spotted Turtle near the pond.  

    “Hi Turtle. Happy Valentine’s Day! Did you make this card for me?”

    “That’s not mine. This is!” Turtle said, pulling out a green shell shaped card. “I’m not sure who that’s from.”

    Dragonfly drooped her wings and flew towards home. 

    “Who sent the yellow hexagon shaped card? Who could it be . . .?”

    She stopped and examined the smudge.

    “It’s sticky. Sniff sniff. It smells. I know who sent it!,” Dragonfly announced.

    She dashed past the pond. She dove down and around until she landed on a flower.

    “Did you send me this Valentine’s Day card?” Dragonfly asked, anxiously. 

    “Yezzz,” Bee said. “I wrote, -From, Bee.”

    “Some honey smeared it,” Dragonfly said.

    “Sorry. I tried to make it scented,” Bee said, laughing.

    “Hehe. Thanks for bee-ing my friend too, Bee. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  6. heatherkauffmanpeters says:

    The Curious Case of the Valentine Gift
    Word Count: 209
    By Heather Kauffman

    Something rustled at Amada’s feet. It wasn’t Lovie. He purred softly on her pillow.
    Peaking over the blankets, Amada spotted a gift.

    “Is it a lollipop from Grammy?” she wondered. “Is it a microphone from the singer next door?”

    Lovie nudged Amada’s arm and meowed, as if to say, “There’s only one way to find out.”

    Amada tore open the package. It was a magnifying lens.

    “Who left this wonderful gift for me?”

    Amada spied a footprint in the cushy carpet near her bed. She followed the footprints into the hall. The prints led to Daddy’s office. Amada spied wrapping paper on his desk.

    “Hmm,” she said. Lovie nuzzled her leg and ran into the kitchen.

    In the kitchen, Amada spied strawberry pancakes.

    “Daddy knows strawberries are my favorite,” she thought.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day,” her dad said. “What’s in your hand?”

    Amada considered the clues she’d found – the footprints by her bed, wrapping paper in the office, a dad who always knows what she likes. Amada held up her magnifying lens.

    “It’s a gift from you,” she said and gave her dad a hug. “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

    “A hug from you is the best Valentine gift,” he said.

    “Hmm,” Amada thought, “I better investigate that just to be sure.”

  7. Melissa Stiveson says:

    Thank you so much for hosting this lovely competition!

    My Heart’s Wish

    By Melissa Stiveson

    Word Count: 214

    With a heart fair to bursting
    And butterflies floating in my tummy
    Fingers impatiently grasping each other
    I stand on the dock, gazing at misty waves crashing on silent rocks.

    A shimmering moon dances in the water.
    Splash, splash, splash go the fish.
    The ravens lean down from limbed perches
    Listening to my soul’s wish.

    Whispering, whispering, whispering into the night
    Weaving fairy dust around the trees and trailing into the sky.
    The ravens take flight, soaring with my wish, downy feathers brushing the stars
    Up, up, up they go.

    A gasping of breath as they fade out of sight.
    Where will they go? Will they come back?
    Will my heart’s wish come true?
    The silence is thick; not even a tiny cricket strokes it’s tune.
    Hush, hush, hush.

    Oh, it is so maddening! Fists clench and heart thunders.
    Nothing, nothing, nothing!
    The breeze blows icy tendrils across my face
    Urging me to go back.
    I stand my ground, heart open wide, eyes pleading.

    And then suddenly, the twinkling stars shower a burst of sparks from their lofty height all the way down to the ground
    Spiraling down, down, down.
    The ravens ca-caw their return
    Followed by a blinding light.

    The night awakens with song and dance
    And there it is! My heart’s wish.

  8. Deborah Boerema (@Deborah_Boerema) says:

    The Unquestionable Valentine (190 words)
    By Deborah Bence Boerema

    Cooper Clarke’s a curious kid.
    His favorite word is “Why?”
    “Why do fish swim?” “Why’s grass green?”
    “Why don’t penguins fly?”

    The calendar shows Cooper
    Valentine’s Day is near.
    A whole new set of questions
    Bombard his mother’s ear.

    “Why’s lace on the candy box?”
    “Why does Cupid have wings?”
    “Why aren’t there Valentine carols
    That everybody sings?”

    “Why are there hearts on Valentines?”
    “Why are cards folded in half?”
    Cooper’s continuous queries
    Make Mom want to groan and laugh.

    “Cooper, dear,” Mom says with a sigh,
    “I love your curious brain.
    But sometimes you ask questions
    I just cannot explain.”

    “That’s okay,” he says smiling.
    “I know you do your best.
    I’ll be in my room a while,
    And you can get some rest.”

    An hour later, Cooper’s back,
    A sly look on his face.
    He hands Mom a big, red card
    With Cupid, hearts, and lace.

    “I asked so many questions
    So I would make it right.”
    “I think it is just perfect!”
    Mom cuddles Cooper tight.

    “Do you know why I love you,
    My question-asking pro?”
    “I don’t need to ask you that
    Cuz I already know!”

  9. Michelle Howell Miller says:

    Whose Valentine Could This Be? (83 words)
    by Michelle Howell Miller

    Whose Valentine could this be?

    Is it yours, fox, down deep in your den?
    Is it yours, rooster,
    or yours, hen?

    Is it yours, hawk, high up in your tree?
    Is it yours, cricket,
    or yours, bee?

    Is it yours, shark, out there in the bay?
    Is it yours, turtle,
    or yours, ray?

    Is it yours, frog, afloat on the lake?
    Is it yours, fish,
    Or yours, snake?

    Whose Valentine could this be?

    there’s one for each of you,
    with love, from me.

  10. amyflynnnd says:

    By Amy Flynn

    Valentine’s Day was almost here.

    Mailbox was prepared. Her flag stood tall, her door opened smoothly, and her latch secured tightly.

    Notes started to trickle in early.

    Pink, purple, and red.

    Cheerful hearts.
    Flowery smells.
    Sweet treats.

    Each day, Mailbox’s girl, Chloe, peered inside to see what had been delivered. But she didn’t open any. Not until Valentine’s Day.

    With only a couple days to go, something unexpected arrived.

    A small envelope. It was…


    Mailbox gasped. She was not prepared for THIS. In all her years as a mailbox she’d never encountered an…Anti-valentine!

    “Who would send this?” Mailbox agonized, “and why?”

    When Chloe checked her that day, Mailbox shuffled the black note to the back. Chloe didn’t notice it.

    The following day, Mailbox tried to spit it out. But the mail carrier noticed, and the black note was returned.

    On Valentine’s Day, out of ideas and time, Mailbox braced herself for Chloe’s reaction.

    She heard the rustle of paper and then a small squeak.

    Unable to contain her curiosity, Mailbox peeked cautiously, only to gape in wonderment.

    Chloe was staring at the black valentine and…


    Catching a glimpse of the note over Chloe’s shoulder, Mailbox read,

    “Your favorite color. Happy Valentine’s Day. Love, Parker”

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    By Jarmila Kurucova

    The postman brings a letter
    He smiles and walks away
    I know I should feel better
    Perhaps another day

    Mom is almost an expert
    In holding back a tear
    While you fight in a desert
    She sleeps in sheets of fear

    Today I wear your red cap
    It falls over my ears
    I lost you in a time gap
    For months and then for years

    I cut the grass and pile the wood
    I’m Mom’s pride and joy
    I could do more, I know I should
    But I’m just a boy

    The dog goes nuts and God knows why
    He scratches at the door
    Mom looks outside and drops the pie
    It smashes on the floor


    We hug and cry then cry and hug
    The dog finished the pie
    We all stand locked in timeless snug
    Now the dog wonders… why?

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    What is That?
    by Jyoti Rajan Gopal
    (82 words)

    Baby waking
    Baby peeping
    Baby wondering
    Baby seeking…

    Baby hears 

    Hiss, hiss, hissing
    What is that?
    Tea pot whistling!

    Baby hears
    Bang, bang, banging.
    What is that?
    Grandma hammering

    Baby hears
    Jing, jing, jingling
    What is that?

    Sister dancing!

    Baby hears
    Tap, tap tapping
    What is that?
    Grandpa typing

    Baby hears
    Hum, hum, humming
    What is that?

    Baby smiling
    Mommy lifting
    Baby cuddling
    Mommy crooning
    What is that?

    Love, love, LOVING!

  13. dinatowbin says:

    Entry for Dina Towbin (dinatowbin@gmail.com)

    Katerina the Caterpillar Solves a Conundrum
    by Dina Towbin © 2020 (210 words)

    The Valentine’s Day Dance was approaching, and Katerina had a curious conundrum.

    All her fellow caterpillars were now butterflies and would be twirling around the room.

    How could she compete with their glittery splendor?

    Goldie wore polka dots under her gossamer wings.

    Alejandro was an Adonis Blue with wings as azure as the sky.

    Nehemiah was a Northern Brown Argus whose wings shimmered in the sunlight.

    But not Katerina.

    Katerina was still green and hairy, crawling on her 10 stumpy prolegs. She couldn’t fly. Not a bit.

    Her friends would be flying around, dancing in all their glory, but not no-winged Katerina.

    How could she go to the dance?

    She stopped and listened.

    And she heard the music—of leaves rustling, the pitter-pat of the rain, and the soft swish of the branches. She started to sway to the music.

    Of course! There would be music at the dance and a DJ.

    Could she be the DJ for the dance? DJs were fly.

    She couldn’t fly…but could she be fly? A curious conundrum.

    She’d be the fly-est bug in the bunch!

    What would she play? Hmmm.

    Tunes about flying! And some about crawling too for the new caterpillars who rocked.

    It would be a happy Valentine’s Day Dance after all.

  14. Chambrae Griffith says:

    I adore the Valentiny contest! Thanks, Susanna!

    Beetle’s Valentine
    119 Words

    Beetle bakes a Valentine,
    Frosting letters spell, ‘Be mine!’
    Picks a rose and ties a bow,
    Signs, ‘Love, Beetle— X and O.’

    Hopes to woo her with affection,
    Scuttles off with his confection.
    “Where could Caterpillar be?”
    Scours milkweed, checks each tree.

    Searches under, searches over,
    Every leaf and every clover.
    Sits beside her favorite flower,
    Waits for hour after hour.

    “Is she ever coming back?”
    Spots a small, brown hanging sack.
    “What is this?” Creeps close to see,
    “Caterpillar?” Couldn’t be.

    Turns to go, snap, “What’s that sound?”
    Startled, Beetle whirls around.
    Sack bursts open, color flies.
    Beetle can’t believe his eyes.

    Caterpillar, fluttering high,
    Now a lovely Butterfly!
    “Is that Valentine for me?”
    Beetle blushes, “Yes siree!”

  15. Caroline Perry says:

    Scales of love
    By Caroline Perry
    (214 words)

    Patsy was a pangolin,
    Home was an African plain.
    A solitary creature, she roamed all alone.
    “Antisocial and proud,” she’d exclaim.

    If tired or scared she’d roll into a ball,
    Her tongue was stupendously long.
    An insect hunter extraordinaire,
    She’d polish off ants with aplomb.

    Singular life suited her to a T,
    But she wondered how pack creatures fared.
    In a tree near her burrow, she noticed some birds,
    They were always entwined, and all paired.

    “We’re love birds,” they’d say, “Together for good.”
    They’d kiss, and then chirp from the heart.
    They’d groom one another, and share all their food.
    “We’d never be happy apart.”

    Patsy had never had such a pal.
    She was curious. How would friendship feel?
    “It’s not in the cards for me,” she’d accept.
    Then set out to find her next meal.

    February brought summer heat to the plain,
    Animals huddled in shade.
    Prides of proud lions and monkeys in troops,
    Their devotion made Patsy dismayed.

    She started to question her solo persuasion.
    Her scales took on a blue hue.
    She observed other creatures, all socially skilled.
    “Should I try starting anew?”

    On February 14th, the postman came by.
    A card had arrived from afar!
    ‘Happy Valentine’s Day,” the love birds had scrawled.
    “You’re lovable just as you are.”

  16. Jen Bagan says:

    by Jen Bagan (214 words)

    Not many people know, but Cupid has a distant cousin … Curtis. Cupid and Curtis look similar (both wear high quality silk diapers, both have pinch-able chubby cheeks and both love Valentine’s Day) but there is one important distinction. For every arrow of love Cupid fires, Curtis shoots a spitball of crankiness.
    “He’s so annoying!” Cupid complained to his mother. “Can’t he ruin Arbor Day instead? Nobody cares if people are cranky on Arbor Day.”
    “Talk to him,” said his mother. “Maybe he just needs a friend.”
    Cupid hadn’t talked to Curtis since the Marla Debacle. Years ago they each “called” Marla, refusing to let the other have the last shot. After countless rounds of love arrows and cranky spitballs, the hysterical girl was sent to the nurse. They had since agreed to different targets.
    Cupid thought of his mother’s words. Could it be that simple? He had to find out.
    Cupid flew to Curtis’ cloud and saw a stockpile of spitballs ready for tomorrow.
    “Why are you here?” Curtis grumbled.
    Cupid handed him a heart-shaped card.
    Curtis slowly accepted it and read aloud, “Will you be my friend? Love, Cupid”
    Curtis smiled and nodded.
    “Yes!” Cupid cheered. “So … see you tomorrow?”
    Curtis glanced at his spitballs.
    “I might take the day off.”

  17. Susie Sawyer says:

    Thank you, Susanna!!

    What if …?
    (154 words)
    By Susie Sawyer

    Jesse clicked the pen and stared at the blank sheet of paper, thinking about Cameron.
    What would happen if I made a Valentine just for you?

    What if I say something stupid?
    What if I hand it to you and you make a face?
    What if you open it, and read it, and think it’s silly?
    What if you crumple it up, and you never want to talk to me again?

    I probably shouldn’t do it.
    I probably won’t do it.

    But Jesse kept thinking…

    What if I say something clever?
    What if I hand it to you and you smile?
    What if you open it, and read it, and you really like it?
    What if you smile, and tuck it into your pocket, and we become friends?

    Should I do it?
    *I think I should.*

    Will I do it?
    I think I will.

    Jesse made a decision.
    I’m glad I did.

  18. corine timmer says:

    A Valentine’s Surprise (214 words)
    Corine Timmer
    “Mommy’s home,” Alpha chuckled.
    Fifi looked at Boris.
    Boris looked at Fifi, then at Alpha.
    For a rainy day she sure is cheerful, Boris thought.
    Alpha opened her shopping bag.
    She placed each item on the kitchen counter.
    Boris and Fifi perked up their ears.
    “Do you know what day it is today?” Alpha cooed.
    Boris and Fifi wagged their tails. 
    “It’s Valentine’s Day,” Alpha cheered,
    Patting both of them on the head. 
    “Mommy’s got a surprise for you!” 
    Alpha washed her hands and put on her apron.
    Boris and Fifi followed her every move as she
    Washed the peas and drained them.
    Peeled the potatoes and cut them into cubes.
    Washed the carrots and grated them, roughly.
    Then, she dropped them all together 
    Into a pot of boiling water.
    Next, she chopped an onion.
    Fifi looked at Boris, then at Alpha.
    Alpha placed her special stewpot on the stove.
    Then, she opened a little bag.
    It crunched between her fingers. 
    Fifi’s eyes popped out of their sockets.
    Oh, that scent! Could it be…?
    Woof woof! Boris barked. 
    Alpha fried the onions, 
    Mixed in the CHICKEN HEARTS,
    Added the vegetables and stock.
    Finally, she shouted, “Group hug!”
    Boris and Fifi jumped up at her legs.
    “Now, who’s hungry?” Alpha howled.

  19. Emmie Werner says:

    Emmie R Werner

    Word count @200 words

    Where Is Love?

    “Papaw, my homework is to find love,” I said, as he zipped my coat.
    “Where should we look?” He took my hand to cross the street.
    “What does it look like?” Papaw gave the man his apple.
    “Where should we start looking Papaw?” He took our neighbor’s garbage cans in.
    “How big do you think love is?” We finished the dishes for Mama.
    “Did you finish your homework?” Mama asked as she finished hers.
    “No, but Papaw said he would help me.”
    LOVE, I wrote, as I snuggled next to Papaw.
    “What should I write Papaw?”
    “Well, I’m curious, what do you think love might be?”
    I don’t know Papaw.
    What am I going to do?
    I have to do my homework.”
    “It’s ok. Think about your day. Was there anything that looked like love?”
    “You helped me with my zipper when it was stuck.”
    “Yes, because I love you. Anything else?”
    “You helped me cross the street.”
    “Gave your apple away.
    Took garbage cans in.
    Did dishes for Mama.”
    AND you are helping me.”
    “I found love Papaw…YOU!
    I Corinthians 13:4 …love is patient and kind.

  20. Beth Volkmann says:

    Will She or Won’t She?
    Elizabeth Volkmann (214 words)

    “I’ll clean up,” said Cara’s mom. “You address the Valentine’s cards.”
    “I might skip this year,” Cara whispered, but her mom didn’t hear.
    Every year Cara and her best friend Nora wrote out Valentine’s together.
    But not this year.
    Not after their big “nothing” fight.

    Cara slumped onto the rug and spread out the cards.
    She addressed, stuffed and stacked until she had one card left.
    “Should I give a card to Nora?”
    “Would Nora give a card to me?”
    The questions made her stomach hurt.
    “Time for bed, honey!”
    Cara tucked away the cards and turned out the light.
    “Worst Valentine’s ever,” she thought.

    The next day at school, pink and red hearts were everywhere – on the walls, the teachers, even the custodian.
    Cara’s stomach clenched.
    “Maybe I should’ve stayed home.”

    In class Nora was bent over her desk, reading.
    Cara quickly stuck her Valentines in the decorated folders.
    All day Cara wondered if her folder held a card from Nora.
    And worried what it meant if it didn’t.
    How could she and Nora not be friends?

    At 2 o’clock the Valentine’s party started.
    Cards from JohnMarisolHenryLenaJennyIsaacPetraRoberto …
    … until one envelope remained.
    With trembling fingers, Cara lifted the flap.

    In Nora’s handwriting, Cara read, “Love, Your BFF!”
    Cara beamed.

    Best Valentine’s ever, after all.

  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by Mary Warth
    213 words

    One wintry day Hedgehog found a curious piece of paper covered with strange marks.

    Hedgehog loved a good mystery, so he set out to make proper inquires.

    “Excuse me, Chipmunk, do you recognize these marks?”

    “No. Looks scratchy. I’d ask Raccoon.”

    “Want to come along?”

    “Sure! Grand- Chip always says, two heads are better than one.”

    So Hedgehog and Chipmunk set off.

    “Excuse me, Raccoon, do you recognize these marks?” asked Hedgehog.

    Raccoon studied the marks carefully and measured three times.

    “I conclude that mice made these marks.”

    “I don’t know any mice. Do you?”

    “Indeed. Come along.”

    So, Hedgehog, Chipmunk, and Raccoon set off.

    “Excuse me, Mouse do you recognize these marks?” asked Hedgehog.

    “Let me smell it…”


    “Smells like slobber. Definitely not mouse made.”

    “Are you sure it’s not yours?” insisted Raccoon.

    “If you don’t believe, me let’s ask Dog. He’s been to Kindergarten. I’ll show you the way.”

    So, Hedgehog, Chipmunk, Raccoon and Mouse set off.

    “Excuse me, Dog do you recognize these marks?” asked Hedgehog.

    “The invitation to my Valentine’s Day party! I was hoping someone would find it!”

    “Valentine’s Day, of course,” cried Chipmunk.

    “I was beginning to think no one would come,” said Dog.

    “We’re four some-ones,” said Raccoon.

    “And five friends,” said Hedgehog. “Mystery solved.”

  22. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Roosters And Roses
    by Paul Kurtz

    “This video game’s super-boring,” Bobby grumbles.

    Going outside, he looks around and frowns.

    “There’s no one to play with.”

    The front door of a house down the block opens.

    “Our new neighbor’s a girl? Yuckk!”

    She kneels on the sidewalk and draws with colored chalk.

    Curious, Bobby walks over.

    “Hey, a rooster.” His eyes widen. “Cool!”

    “I’m Rosa.” She smiles. “It’s called a gallo in Mexico where I was born.”

    “I’m Bobby. Wish I could draw like that.”

    “I’ll show you how.”


    Every day, they draw together.

    At first, Bobby is not so great.

    His cabra–goat–looks like a perro–dog–with horns.

    Rosa is patient. Bobby works hard.

    His vaca–cow–looks like one.

    And Bobby’s caballo–horse–seems so real he wants to hop in the saddle and shout “Giddy-up!”

    Student-Bobby and teacher-Rosa are both proud and happy.

    One afternoon Bobby has a surprise for Rosa.

    Drawn in chalk on the sidewalk is a wreath of red roses shaped like a heart.

    In the center it reads–



    Which means in English–



    Rosa giggles. “¡Que maravillosa!–How wonderful!”

    She kisses Bobby’s cheek.

    Bobby blushes redder than the roses.

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Computer Bugs
    by Paul Kurtz

    “Have you been using the computer, Danny?”

    “Yes, Dad. I’m looking for an online Valentine’s Day card for Mom.”

    “Come with me—now.”

    Uh oh. I follow Dad into the home office.

    “Look at the keyboard, son.”

    Tiny ants crawl over crumbs in cracks between the keys.

    “It’s fine to use the computer,” Dad says. “Just don’t eat cookies while you’re doing it.”

    “Okay, Dad.” Whew—I got off easy.

    In the middle of the night I wake up, yawning.

    What’s that clickity-clicking sound?

    Curious, I head downstairs.

    Why is the computer monitor on? No one’s around—too weird.

    After turning it off, I go back to sleep.

    Saturday morning the doorbell rings.

    I go to the front door. Dad is taking a huge package from the deliverywoman.

    “It’s for you, Danny. Did you order something?”

    “No, Dad.”

    The package rips open fast. Boxes wrapped in glittery, red paper slide out.

    I unwrap one.


    I pick one up. It’s heart-shaped and covered in red frosting.

    “Are these for your mother?” Dad says.

    “No, Dad. Really, I didn’t order them.”

    I find a greeting card. On the front is a red-frosted, heart-shaped cookie.

    Flipping the card open, I read–

    –To Danny–


    Your friends, The Ants

  24. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by Donna Kurtz

    Anne, Charlotte, and I go outside at recess.

    “All the girls are drooling over Ricky, the new boy,” Anne says. “Curious?”

    Charlotte nods. “Yes!”

    I wrinkle my nose. “Boys—yecchh!”

    We spot Ricky playing.

    Anne giggles. “Oooo! What dreamy, sparkly eyes.”

    “And adorable dimples,” Charlotte sighs.

    I frown. “Ughh! I bet he’s like all boys—smelly, farty, rude, and selfish.”

    We walk back inside.

    “Tomorrow’s Valentines’ Day.” Anne smiles. “I’ll make Ricky a special card with red-satin ribbons.”

    “Mine will be more special—with red-silk lace hearts,” Charlotte boasts.

    “Wasting time, work, and sweat on a boy?” I grumble. “You’re kidding, right?”

    At recess the next day, Ricky strolls toward us.

    Anne giggles. “Oooo! He’s going to thank me for his beautiful red-ribbon card.”

    Charlotte sighs. “No, he’s thanking me for his more beautiful red-lace card.”

    My nose wrinkles. “Boys—yechh!”

    Ricky’s eyes sparkle and his double-dimply smile flashes.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Emily,” he says. “Want me to teach you some cool skateboard moves after school?”

    I grin. “Sure!”

    “What?” Anne gasps.

    “Huh?” Charlotte grunts.

    Ricky leaves.

    “Why?” Anne howls.

    “How?” Charlotte wails.

    I giggle. “Boys don’t want ribbons or lace—I gave him a giant-sized chocolate candy kiss. After school, I’ll make sure he gives me a giant-sized real kiss back!”

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Eight Legs Of Love
    by Donna Kurtz

    “He’s late,” I grumble, pacing under our orange tree.

    Sunlight sparkles on a spider web between the branches.

    A huge garden spider settles in the middle.

    Curious, I move closer.

    “So pretty! You’ve got big, yellow spots that look like sunshine.”

    “Hi, Vicky,” says a boy’s voice.

    “Leo, I’ve been waiting an hour.”

    “I was doing something special.”

    I smile. “Really?”

    “I got my mom a Valentine’s card, flowers, and a box of candy.”


    “And what, Vicky?”

    “Anything for me?”

    “No—uh—” Leo points. “Look out—that big spider’s going to jump on your head!”

    He scoops up a rock.

    I grab it. “Go away!”

    “Al—all right.” Leo leaves.

    The spider scurries off the web and disappears.

    “Oh, you don’t have to go too.”

    Returning, the spider sets a red hibiscus petal in the middle of the web.

    “What are you doing?”

    The spider scurries back and forth with more petals.

    “You eat bugs, not flowers.”

    The spider stops.

    “Oh, how beautiful—you made a perfect, red Valentine’s heart for me. Thank you!”

    Leo walks up and holds out a card, flowers, and a giant-sized chocolate candy kiss.

    “Ha—Happy Valentine’s Day, Vicky.”

    “Thank you, Leo.” Giggling, I wink at the spider. “I have two sweethearts this Valentine’s Day!”

  26. Jessie Smith Duffany says:

    The Curious Kitten
    Elsie Duffany Age 12 (211 words)

    Each night, a curious tabby kitten sat huddled under a dark porch, staring longingly into a gleaming window in which a cat slept. He wondered what it was like to be that cat, and live in a house with a family, sleep in a warm bed, eat good food from a dish. He wondered about the family sleeping above him. Would he ever know what it was like? He fell asleep with the soft sound of rain echoing around him, and dreamt of children, petting him as he lay curled on a warm, cozy bed.

    He awoke to the sound of voices, and saw a little girl leaning over him. He looked up at her, timidly inching away. The little girl cried out; “Mommy, look at the kitty! Can we keep him?” The child gently lifted him off the ground and carried him to the house. The sound of purring filled the room as the family cuddled him near the warm fire. He finally knew what it was like to be loved. “Happy Valentine’s Day, kitty!,” said the little girl. “I will name you Valentine, and love you forever!” That night, Valentine fell asleep nestled close to his new friend, no longer so curious, feeling loved for the first time.

  27. ingridboydston says:

    What’s Love?
    213 words
    Ingrid Boydston

    Everywhere I look I see a cupid, heart or dove.

    It seems that love is all around, but who knows— what is love?

    It’s Valentines and I don’t know what love is all about.

    So this year I decided “Why not ask? I might find out!”

    “What’s love?” I asked my mother.

    She grinned and said “It’s you.”

    “What’s love?” I asked my sister.

    She sighed, “When someone’s true.”

    “What’s love?” I asked my brother.

    He yelled “Gross,” and ran away!

    “What’s love?” I asked my grandma.

    She said “Love is when I pray.”

    “What’s love?” I asked my puppy.

    He barked twice and licked my face.

    “What’s love?” I asked my cousin.

    “I don’t know,” he yelled, “let’s race!”

    “What’s love?” I asked my uncle.

    “When you fight, but you make up.”

    “What’s love?” I asked my teacher.

    She said, “Hmmm. Let’s look it up.”

    “Love means many different things, but love is always kind.

    Love forgives mistakes we’ve made. Some say true love is blind.”

    Valentines is so much more than just a love-ly day!

    I learned that love is happiness you want to give away.

    And now I know what love is, can you guess what I will do?

    I’ll send you all my love! Here’s “Happy Valentines” to you!

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    An Unexpected Valentine’s Day
    By Michelle S. Kennedy (214 words)

    She looked at him- curiously.
    He was writing so furiously!
    What was he doing,
    with his glitter and gluing?
    Now scissoring snippets
    were dropping small clippets.
    And making the floor
    very hard to ignore.
    She leaned in to see.
    “Could it be for ME?”
    With Valentine’s near,
    she smiled ear to ear.
    Just who was it for?
    She would have to explore…
    Sean finished at last.
    Her heart pounded- fast.
    And then the bell rang…
    Her heart felt a pang.
    Such dreadful suspense.
    She’d lost commonsense.
    The next day she waited
    for the card he’d created.
    It’s Valentine’s Day!
    He was coming her way…
    She glanced away- quick.
    She felt a bit sick.
    “Hi Maggie,” he said.
    Her cheeks turning red.
    “Can you give this Kiki?”
    Kiki? But Kiki was GEEKY!
    Kiki? She was so FREAKY!
    Maggie frowned and looked down.
    Now she felt like a clown.
    Her Valentine’s Day
    was going astray.
    “Um. Sure,” she said sadly.
    Her heart hurting badly.
    As she walked towards her friend
    she tried to pretend
    to be happy and bright,
    though feeling contrite.
    She bumped into Chad
    and boy was he glad.
    “Here Maggie! For you…
    This is long overdue.”
    She was caught by surprise.
    He had twinkling eyes…
    And her Valentine’s Day
    was again underway!

  29. Cindy Williams Schrauben says:

    By Cindy Williams Schrauben

    Today is known as heart day.
    Candy, cards, and art day.
    Never be apart day.
    The saddest day of all.

    You see, I have a wee glitch.
    A “Who’d be friends with me,” glitch.
    A drive me up a tree, glitch.
    No one loves a slug.

    And, I’m a super ick slug.
    An “EEK, she’s really sick,” slug.
    A lonely, slippery, slick slug.
    So, what’s a girl to do?

    I’d love to have a treat day.
    A party, laugh, and eat day.
    Emoji hearts and tweet day,
    But How? I’m all alone.

    Please! I need a soul mate.
    A wriggly rock and roll mate.
    A share a slimy stroll mate.
    There has to be a way.

    Maybe I could buy one.
    A love me ‘til I die, one.
    An apple-of-my-eye, one.
    But, nope! The day is done.

    I sing my that’s the end, song
    I didn’t find a friend, song.
    My, I can not pretend, song.
    someone sings along.

    At last, I’ve found some new pals.
    A few “I like you too” pals.
    Some trailing sticky goo pals —
    forever valentines.

    You ask me, “How’d you do it?
    Have faith and muddle through it!
    Never misconstrue it —
    Slugs make awesome friends.

  30. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Peck! (212 words)
    By Andrea MacDonald

    It was Valentine’s Day on the farm. But not everyone was celebrating.


    ‘This shouldn’t take long.’

    Peck peck!

    ‘Any second now.’
    Peck peck peck!
    ‘You know, a doorknob would come in handy.’
    Peck peck peck peck!
    ‘Did I say doorknob? I’d settle for a door.’

    Peck peck peck peck peck!

    With every peck of the beak, the egg shifted. But that was all.

    OK, sighed soon-to-be hatchling. I could be in here for a while.

    From her perch in the barn, Mother Hen watched and waited. Would this be a good egg, or a bad egg?

    ‘Any mom can tell you,’ the other hens clucked. ‘There’s ALWAYS a hard one and an easy one.’

    With smooth brown sides and a perfect shape, this egg certainly seemed like a good one. But how could anyone be sure?
    Just then, there was a humongous CRACK. Out tumbled baby chick.

    ‘Man, that place was rank!’

    He sized up Mother Hen.

    ‘You look like a pretty good mom,’ he said. ‘But I’ll have to take your word for it.’

    Mother Hen smiled.

    He might be a hard one, she thought, but he was definitely worth celebrating.

    ‘Happy Valentine’s Day!’ shouted the hens.


  31. Roo Parkin (@RooParkin) says:

    The Mailbox Mouse

    By Roo Parkin
    (210 words)

    Every single weekday morn,
    Before Marcel squeaked out a yawn,
    His mousey dreams abruptly fled,
    As mail rained down upon his head:

    Postcards, bills and pizza flyers,
    Catalogues of grim attire,
    Letters and the weekly news,
    Tickets for a glitzy cruise.

    One day the mail came tumbling in,
    By nine it reached his mousey chin,
    Envelopes of red and pink,
    Stickered hearts and glittered ink?!

    Marcel Mouse was stumped alright,
    He held that mail up to the light,
    He sniffed and snuffled every one,
    He tried to prise a few undone!

    A nosey nose, a prying paw,
    What WAS this mail? Who WAS it for?
    And when that metal door was flipped,
    Up the mailman’s sleeve he skipped!

    Did not know to where he hitched …


    THE CATTERY was on the list:

    Precious Purr was full of sighs –
    Another dreary Valentine’s:
    Words of love from Mr Tiddles,
    (Endless, tiresome, mindless widdle)
    Poetry from Twinkle-Claw,
    (Another fluffed-up feline bore).

    She’d heard it all – their words were dry,
    A certain mouse now caught her eye.
    A rodent with a lion’s guts,
    She liked his style – he made the cut!

    Marcel trembled, Marcel froze,
    Cursed his snoopy, whiskered nose,
    He missed his tiny, cluttered house,
    He wished he’d stayed … a mailbox mouse.

  32. yangmommy says:

    Wow, so much talent being showcased this year! Hope ya’l enjoy this little story, too:

    Pandora’s Peek-Not Pact (214-w)
    by Jenny Buchet

    I pinky-promised I wouldn’t peek
    But peek-not pacts are HARD to keep!

    That heart-shaped box
    Isn’t t ordinary
    In fact, it’s quite

    Look how it glimmers
    See how it shimmers!
    But I can’t open it now.
    I took a solemn vow.

    But what would happen if I did?
    Would I be an awful kid?
    My fingers are twitching…
    My hands are itching….

    My pinky just poked me
    (It nudged me in the knee!)
    It’s reminding me of my vow
    I cannot, shall not open it now.

    Maybe I’ll turn around
    And just go outside…
    No! I need to know
    What secrets are inside!

    What if the box opened by itself?
    Hmm, I think I know how I can help…

    The table is wobbling!
    The box is toppling!

    I’ll keep dancing a mighty beat then
    All the candy will fall at my feet!


    That didn’t sound like candies or sweets,
    Maybe it’s a mighty chocolate treat?

    I think I’d better take a look…
    WOW, it’s a big Valentine book!
    Look how the cover glimmers.
    See how the pages shimmer!

    This book is definitely
    Not ordinary
    In fact, it’s extremely

    I pinky-promised my Mama
    I hadn’t meant to peek.
    But who can resist such an
    Exceptional Valentine treat!

    Hugs to all!

  33. marty says:

    by Marty Bellis
    213 wc

    Dear Cupid,

    Just wondering…

    How good is your aim?

    How often do you practice?

    If you miss, do you try again?

    How many arrows do you have, anyway?

    Do you take requests? From anybody?

    Or, are you like Santa? Do I have to have been good?

    (I promise to try harder if you help me out.)

    Here’s my list of targets. It’s kind of urgent. Let me explain.

    1. Mr. Crabtree. I sorta trampled his prize tomato plants…totally by accident. (He’s a BIG man. It might take two arrows.)

    2. Dad. Minor dent, garage door. Nothing anyone else would notice But he will.

    3. Mrs. Crinkly. Her trellis is trashed. Ball went haywire. Craziest thing. ( I’d like to stay on her good side. She bakes great cookies. And gives you milk, too. Or did. Not sure now. )

    4. Mom. Her fudge cake. I tested it. Delicious. Apparently not for me.

    I’m usually a lovable kid, but today’s been an exceptionally bad day.


    Your friend, I hope!
    Dennis, as in Grateful (no, NOT the menace guy)

    P.S. Can you leave me some arrows? For when you’re on vacation?
    Thanks again,
    Dennis, as in Hopeful (and slightly Hungry)

    PPS. I’ll save you some cake and a cookie, if I can.

  34. kirstenpendreigh says:

    213 words
    By Kirsten Pendreigh

    Down, down, down went the dog brush.

    Up, up, up drifted Kip’s loose fur, little clumps catching in the bare branches of the lilac tree.

    A chickadee hopped over and pecked at the fur.

    “Hmmm,” thought Kip. “That’s odd. Do birds eat fur?”

    The chickadee flew into a hole.

    “Hmmm,” thought Kip. “That’s also odd. Do holes eat fur?”

    Back and forth flew the chickadee.

    Kip was curious!

    He peeked inside.

    There, was a soft nest made from his fur!

    Kip barked proudly.

    “My nest will be the coziest!”

    The chickadee began to lay her eggs.

    Her mate arrived to feed her.

    Kip helped.

    He dug holes for worms, rolled over logs for bugs, and made sure the bird feeder was full.

    It was tiring work.

    But one day, Kip heard tiny cheeps!

    “The babies!” He barked. “But why are they bald? Good thing my fur will keep them warm.”

    Every day, the babies got a little bit bigger.

    A little bit fuzzier.

    And a little bit bouncier.

    Finally, they were ready to fly!

    Kip stood below.

    One by one they hopped on his back, wobbled on his tail, and flew up, up, and away!

    Kip was sad to see the babies leave.

    But so proud!

    And still curious.

    Would they remember him?

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Bernard and Robin: One Adventure, Two Friends
    By Susan Twiggs

    Bernard was not your normal sloth. Instead of sleeping he studied maps. He asked his friend Robin a thousand questions. You see, Robin flew many places.

    Bernard decided to take a trip to the Great Mountain. Robin suggested he try flying. Bernard opened his furry arms and fell. Splat!

    He tried walking while Robin flew from tree to tree, but he grew tired. His snoring kept Robin wide-awake. Zeeyunk, zeeyunk!

    Robin thought and thought until he had a grand idea. He would trick Coyote into having Bernard ride on his back. Coyote imagined that Bernard would make a delicious feast, so he agreed. But instead of taking him to the Great Mountain, Coyote took him to his den. Bernard was delighted to meet Coyote’s family. This is exactly the type of adventure I was looking for, thought Bernard, a meal with new friends. But when the water began to boil, Bernard realized that he was the meal.

    He yelled for Robin who called for Eagle. While Coyote sharpened his carving knife, Bernard crawled to the mouth of the den. Eagle swooped down, grabbed Bernard with his talons and with Robin’s help, brought him home. Bernard dreamed peacefully.

    Robin’s friend, Crow, taught him to read and his future adventures were in the pages of books.

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Scraps of Love
    By Charlotte Sheer

    Jumping out of bed, Sergio announced, “Yay! Recycle day!”

    Papa’s bushy brows wrinkled his forehead. “You’re up early for a Saturday! Taking out the green buckets?”

    “Yup, but I have to beat the collection truck to everyone’s driveways!”

    Sergio slipped a clipboard under his arm, grabbed a pen, and went into the garage. He carried the last bin of moving day packing paper to the curb.

    “What do you think that boy’s up to?” Papa asked Curious, their cat, who watched from the windowsill.

    Balancing a battered cardboard box on top of his creaking wagon, Sergio stopped at each house on the street.

    “#6 Fitzpatrick”, Sergio wrote. “Good stuff!” he exclaimed, dropping a tennis magazine, ticket stubs, and birthday card into the box.

    Hearing his enthusiastic outbursts, neighbors peeked outside. They phoned each other, wondering, “What’s he looking for? They seemed all set when we helped them move in!”

    At home, Sergio stashed his trash treasures in a closet so Curious couldn’t shred them.

    Sergio spent hours shaping cardboard scraps into hearts. Each became the canvas for a paper collage created from each family’s own junk.

    On Valentine’s Day, Sergio delivered the personalized artworks to all the neighbors with a note that said, “Thanks for opening your hearts to my family. Your friend, Sergio.”

  37. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    When Love Gives You Wings
    By Kate Thompson (@writes_kate)
    206 words

    Winston wriggled, writhed and wormed
    beneath the squelchy mud,
    when suddenly his wormy den
    was shaken by a THUD!

    “Aaargh!” he cried, “Oh what was that?!
    I’d better go and see!”
    He popped above the ground and gasped,
    “A card addressed to me?!”

    The heart-shaped card was painted red,
    with blobs of green and blue.
    “But who’s it from?” said Winston,
    “Hmm… they must have left a clue!”

    He looked around and grinned,
    “Aha! A blobby painty trail!
    I’ll simply follow where it leads
    to find who sent my mail!”

    Winston wriggled onwards
    ‘til the trail came to an end.
    “Oh no!” he cried. “I’ve failed
    to find my Valentine’s Day friend!”

    He sat and hugged his special card,
    as tears filled up his eyes.
    But suddenly from up above him,
    someone yelled… “SURPRISE!”

    Out jumped Bee and Butterfly,
    as Winston grinned with glee.
    “Oh, thank you both! I can’t believe
    you made this card for me!”

    “It’s more than just a card!” they laughed,
    “Just pull on those two strings,
    and WHOOSH! the hearts will open up
    and make…

    … a pair of wings!”

    These days Winston wriggles, writhes
    and whooshes through the air,
    A flutterworm with two best friends
    who always will be there.

  38. Kelly A. says:

    What If…
    A Valentine’s Story by Kelly Pope Adamson
    (214 words)

    My Mommy and I have a secret. It’s called What If. What If is a special game Mommy and I invented to imagine what would happen if something was different about every holiday.

    What if Santa wore purple and drove a garbage truck?

    What if the Easter Bunny was an Easter Badger and accidentally ate all the eggs?

    Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Mommy gets out our special What If notepad.

    “What If…” I say, “there was a snowstorm of mail?

    “A flurry of valentines?!” Mommy asks.

    We shout out ideas.

    How would the mailman feel about this?

    Who are all the valentines for?

    Would we have to shovel out of them like a real snowstorm?

    The best part of What If is that my Mommy has a secret super power. Every holiday she makes our What Ifs come true!

    I go to sleep in my regular world but when I wake up I’m in a special What If world!

    Everywhere I look there are envelopes. Red envelopes. Pink envelopes. They’re hanging from the ceiling and dripping from the fan. There’s even a heart shaped shovel for me to dig my way out!

    “Happy Valentine’s Day!” Mommy shouts.

    I never have to wonder What If I had the best Mommy ever, because I already do.

  39. Judy Sobanski says:

    COOKIE MEMORIES – 214 words

    “Pour the flour in, Emma,” said Grandma as she stirred the dough.
    “Why are you making these?” asked Emma.
    “They’re Grandpa’s favorite. I always made him oatmeal scotchies for Valentine’s Day. He would give me a pretty card, and I would give him cookies!”
    “Grandma Lois, is he gonna give you a pretty card today?”
    “I don’t think so, sweetie,” said Grandma. “Grandpa has forgotten about Valentine’s Day for a few years. Sometimes he doesn’t remember you or me—but we still love him, right?”
    “Yep,” said Emma. “Will he remember your cookies?”
    “My, you’re Miss Curious today! He might not, but I hope he enjoys them anyway.”
    Later that day, Emma and her Grandma went to visit her Grandpa.
    Grandpa sat in his big, comfy recliner dozing.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Grandpa!” said Emma running into the room.
    Grandpa opened his eyes but didn’t seem to recognize Emma and her grandma.
    “Hello, Ed,” said Grandma. “Would you like a cookie?” She held out a tin of cookies. He picked one up and took a bite, closed his eyes and nodded slowly.
    “Thank you, Lois,” he said.
    “Grandma,” said Emma. “He remembered! Maybe Grandpa has a card for you.”
    “I don’t need a card,” said Grandma. “I just got the best Valentine’s Day gift, ever!”

  40. Jill Lambert (@LJillLambert) says:

    by Jill Lambert (214 words)

    Jose found a poster taped
    outside her den’s thick door.
    “Wanted: Someone to attend
    a picnic—food galore!

    If you’re willing, please observe
    the clues below your feet.
    Follow them, investigate,
    to find a sweet retreat.”

    Josie tried to analyze
    the poster’s cryptic script.
    Something seemed familiar
    in the way the letters tipped.

    She found a row of candy hearts
    along the grassy trail.
    Intrigued, she followed, wondering,
    “What will they unveil?”

    Josie noticed chewed off bits
    on one pink candy heart
    “ Hmmm! Whoever left these must be
    hungry, though they’re tart.”

    As she topped the hill, she swiveled
    round, absorbed the view.
    Josie spied some movement near
    a likely rendezvous.

    She loped downhill, tripped and rolled,
    until she finally stopped.
    Stunned, she waited, cleared her head,
    Her ears abruptly popped.

    The candy hearts led Josie to
    a meadow by the lake.
    Suddenly, she heard a whacking
    sound a friend might make.

    Kersplash! A beaver poked his smiling
    face above the water.
    “Will you join me for some lunch?
    You are my favorite otter.”

    Josie scurried over to
    the picnic he’d prepared.
    She loved her secret valentine.
    He showed how much he cared.

    Josie solved the mystery
    and found her truest friend,
    did not refuse the search for clues,
    observant to the end.

  41. writestuff99 says:

    Always. Every day. No matter what.
    JC Kelly (214 words)

    Johnny’s eyes kept POPPING open.
    He couldn’t sleep.

    “MOOOOOOOM,” he called out.

    Mom cracked open the door and whispered,
    “What?” into the darkened room.

    Johnny had a really important question
    that couldn’t wait till morning.

    “Will you always love me? No matter what?”
    “Always,” said Mom. “No matter what.”

    “Not just on Valentine’s Day?”
    “Every day,” said Mom.

    “Would you love me if I were a naughty puppy?”
    “I’d push you out of trouble’s way with my wet nose.”

    “What if I were a scared kitten?”
    “I’d lick you until you purred.”

    “What if I were a wiggly octopus?”
    “I’d wrap my tentacles around you and give you a big squeeze.”

    “What if I were a goofy giraffe?”
    “I’d twist my neck around yours and kiss the tippy top of your head.”

    “Would you still love me if I was a hungry little boy who ate all of my Valentine’s candy before bed?”
    “Always,” said mom.

    “Would you still love me if I ate… all… of…. your…. Valentine’s chocolates too?”
    “Well,”…. said mom, “first I’d nuzzle you with my wet nose, then I’d lick you, then I’d squeeze you with my tentacles, then I’d give you a kiss on the tippy top of your head. And, then I’d say: “I love you, and GOODNIGHT!”

  42. Sofia Dibble (@SofiaDibble) says:

    Ophelia Divine (214 words)
    Sofia Dibble

    Ophelia Divine,
    was in sixth grade, classroom nine,
    and had a secret valentine.

    The note was left unsigned,
    sweetly penned and sweetly pined.
    Who was this valentine?

    More notes kept coming everywhere,
    in her jacket, in her hair,
    in her lunch box, in her books.
    She analyzed each move, each look
    of kids in classroom nine.
    Who was this valentine?

    There was a note tucked in her shoes,
    Her name flickered on the news.
    In her journal, in her locket,
    in her dresser, in her pocket,
    In her teabag after steeping,
    Everywhere the notes were creeping.
    Creeping, creeping Valentine,
    Seeking, seeking Miss Divine.

    Just a prank, she supposed.
    But dead of night, she arose
    To see blue light across the floor —
    a gentle light across the floor —
    troubling, troubling to the core —
    yet too lovely, lovely to ignore –

    She wandered through that aerie night
    led by whispers, wind, and light.
    Ophelia Divine,
    Come out, come out, dear Valentine.

    In the graveyard, iron-gated
    A ghostly boy there awaited,
    Dressed in wisps, translucent blue,
    Flawless face and passion true.
    He gestured to a grave dug new —
    With her name etched on the tomb —
    Ophelia Divine!

    Her face was fading, fading blue
    When she tore away and flew —
    Get out, dear Valentine.

  43. Kelly A. says:

    Bee My Perfect Valentine
    By Kelly Pope Adamson
    (208 words)

    Roses are red.
    Violet means purple.
    Nothing rhymes with purple.

    Stevie crumpled up yet another piece of paper. It was useless. He was never going to be able to write the perfect valentine for his crush.

    Besides the purple fiasco, so far he’d had:

    I like you.
    Do you like me?
    I’m so glad
    We’re not family.


    Bee my Queen Bee?

    He was never going to write the perfect valentine. It was time to ask the expert for help.

    “Ok Google…how do I write a Valentine’s Day poem?”

    “Ok, How to Write the Perfect Valentine,” Google replied. “Bee curious. Get to know the buzz on your Valentine. What do they like?”

    Stevie thought of Meggie. Her dark hair always curled like perfect pasta swirls. Her freckles looked like peanut butter chips across her nose. Her voice washed over him like a wave of warm chocolate.

    A lightbulb went off in Stevie’s head.

    The next day he waited as Meggie opened her Valentine.

    “A brownie heart?!”

    Stevie held his breath. Would she like it?

    “I love it!”

    With just a little curiosity, some help from his mom in the kitchen, and the hive mind of Google, he’d made the perfect valentine. Could life bee any sweeter?

  44. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR LIV’EE (received on time even though I’m posting this AM)

    Joy Finds Love by Olivia Rehfield

    Hello this is your friend Joy and I am in a writing contest and need your help. I need 214 words of love to write a story about the word curious, and I am having trouble finding enough of them on my own. Would you please send me a word that means love to you as a clue as soon as you can because I only have till 11:59 on February 14, 2020 to submit my story, but remember just one word each. Joy, excited, sealed and stamped all the letters and sent them out in the mail and then she waited, and waited, and waited some more, each day that passed there was no reply’s in the mailbox and then on the last day February 14 there came 214 valentine letters that had only one word inside…they all said the word Joy In big letters. Well you can imagine Joy’s surprise when she saw all 214 Joy filled

    Valentines written with what their one word for love meant, to help their friend write a story about something curious. Maybe Joy didn’t have 214 different words to use for her story, but it took each and every word to tell a story about 214 curious clues that lead Joy to where love is found.

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