[For those trying to post, you must click on the Blog Post Title to get on the blog post page and access the comments]
Roses are red
Violets are blue
And so do YOU!
Like galloping hooves, our brave hearts are pounding with excitement and anticipation (or maybe trepidation!) because it’s time for. . .
The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest
~ 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 brave!
- They can be brave about asking someone to be their Valentine, of course, but they can also do something brave to get a Valentine (the person or the gift), or do something brave to help a friend. They could be brave about giving something up, or brave about asking someone they’re not sure they like to be their Valentine just to be nice. . . sky’s the limit! 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 brave (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.
- You are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 😊
- No illustration notes please!
Post your story in the comment section below (preferred) or on your own blog between right now this very second and Sunday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT. If you only post on your own blog, add your post-specific link to the form list at the bottom of the post. This post with all the entries in the comment section and the list of links for those who prefer to post on their own blogs will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you have difficulty posting your entry to the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! [susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com
We discussed changing the entry posting. The majority voted to have all the entries in one place here in the comment section, so we’re going to give that a try. But there were some who wanted to continue blog-hopping, so I’m going to include a link list for them at the bottom of the post. For those who are willing to post in the comment section but also plan to post on their own blogs, you are most welcome to post the link to your blog in your posted entry here (see example below.) That way people can come visit you if they want to but can also read most of the entries in one place on my blog if they prefer. It is certainly easier for the judges to have as many entries as possible in one place. We’ll try it this way one time and see how it works. We can always go back to the old system 😊
(So a sample entry might look like this:
ENTRY TITLE – word count
(link to your own contest entry blog post if you have one and would like to share it)
Amazing wonderful Valentiny Contest story.😊
Dudley’s Brave Valentine – 212 words
by Violet Hill
It was almost Valentines Day and Dudley’s heart had sunk to somewhere near his big toenail.
(etc etc amazing story continues)
I know how hard you all work on your entries and how anxious you are to be sure your entry is posted, but please try to be a little bit patient if you’re waiting for your entry to show up in the comments or on the list of entries. I try never to get up from my desk during contests but sometimes it’s unavoidable. 😊
The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 12 top choices which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Thursday February 18th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.) The winner will be announced Monday February 22nd 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:
- Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
- Creativity in using bravery and success in making us feel the bravery!
- Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
- Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
- Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
- Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 😊
- How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines. If you don’t follow agent and editor submission guidelines they won’t even read your submission.
The Prizes: Talk about a pounding heart! Just look at these fabulous prizes!
Hannah VanVels – Agent, Belcastro Agency – PB MS Critique
Hannah will offer one lucky winner a PB MS critique. The winner may submit fiction or nonfiction, rhyme or prose – Hannah is open to anything!
Winner’s choice of Renee LaTulippe‘s Lyrical Language Lab Intensive Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course OR a one-hour ZOOM consultation with Renee to get feedback on a manuscript of your choice, ask questions about writing in rhyme/lyrical prose, or spend however you like!
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, Fiction) from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019), COUNTING ELEPHANTS (Running Press Kids, March 2020), and THE NIGHT BAAFORE EASTER (WorthyKids January 26, 2021)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) from Kirsti Call author of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall (Mazo Publishing, January 2019), Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee, September 2020), as well as COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) which will release in 2021.
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017), and SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES (Spork, October 2020)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction) from Becky Scharnhorst, author of the forthcoming MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of A Flood Of Kindness (WorthyKids April 2021), DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction, fewer than 800 words) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 16, 2021) (which means it’s coming out in the middle of our contest!😊) and the forthcoming LITTLE RED (Aladdin, Simon & Schuster, Spring 2022) and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonfiction PB or rhyming PB) from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019), YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020), LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020), THE OLD MAN AND THE PENGUIN (Kids Can Press, December 2020), and the forthcoming LITTLE PENGUIN and LITTLE ZEBRA (Amicus Ink, March 2, 2021) and SAKIMOTO’S SWIM CLUB (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)
A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by gifted author and former Holiday Contest prize winner, Jenna Waldman, author of the forthcoming Larry’s Latkes (October 2021) (originally written for the Holiday Contest!) and Shark-bot Shalom (August 2021) She is on twitter at @SarafinaDesign
– Either a signed copy of WHEN A TREE GROWS OR a Picture Book Manuscript Critique – winner’s choice! – from Cathy Ballou Mealey, author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Sterling April 2019) and the forthcoming SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)
– a personalized signed copy of SUNDAY RAIN from author Rosie Pova PLUS a personalized signed copy of DEAR GRANDMA from Yours Truly.
– a personalized signed copy of DON’T HUG DOUG: (He Doesn’t Like It) from author Carrie Finison PLUS a personalized signed copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY from author/illustrator Nancy Derey Riley!
– a personalized signed copy of The Night Baafore Easter from author Dawn Young PLUS a personalized signed copy of Hop To It: Poems To Get You Moving from poet Sarah Meade!
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 birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊
Now! Put your heart into it and bravely post your entries!
I can’t wait to read your stories!!!
Eager Readers: Check out the comment section for all the fabulous entries, and the link list at the end to visit the blogs of the authors who wanted to post on their own home turf 😊
ENTRIES IN THE COMMENT SECTION: (all entries are linked)
- Not “IT” – Danielle Sharkan
- A Goosely Valentine – Danielle Sharkan
- Charlie and Sienna – A Friendship Story – Laura Roettiger
- Most Valuable Valentine – Anne Lipton
- A Valentine’s Day Quest in the Land of Moore – Gregory Bray
- Red-Green Valentine’s Day – Stephanie Amargi
- A One-of-a-Kind, Just-in-Case, Not-at-All-Pink Valentine’s Day – Amy Leskowski
- Love Is Stronger – Teresa Traver
- Valentine’s Gotcha Day – Jessica Hinrichs
- Carmela’s Valentines – Lu Pierro
- Bee Brave – Gennie Gorback
- Crushed – Corine Timmer
- Too Chicken – Sue Lancaster
- Shelly and the Path of Peril – Sue Lancaster
- Brave Hearts – Jamie Donahoe
- Step-Brother Battle – Brenda Whitehead
- I Woof You – Debra Daugherty
- My Valenchicken – Glenda Roberson
- A Neighborly Valentine – Meg King-Sloan
- U R Brave – Lindsey Hobson
- If I Were Brave – Rose Cappelli
- Elonso’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever – Susan Drew
- Dibble and Wiscowski: “A Cookie Valentine” – Bru Benson
- One Brave Balloon – Susan Schade
- The Wibbler – Tracy Curran
- Brave Bonnie – Shannon VanStraten-Sundlass
- Cupid, Junior – Linda Staszak
- A Valentine Visit – Julie Maria
- Cupid: The Love Fairy – Rachel Shupin
- Be Brave On Valentine’s Day – Sara Kruger
- Operation Moonbeam – Simon Yeend
- A Valentine Rose – Daryl Gottier
- The Ballad of Bad Bart – Carrie Boone
- The Brave Little Seed – Michelle S. Kennedy
- Something I Want To Say – Jeny Morales
- Stella & Sparky And The Last Valentine – Patricia Nozell
- Stella & Hank – Nicole Loos Miller
- Untangled Valentines – Janie Reinart
- The Wildflower – Ashlee Hashman
- The Color of Love – Allison Strick
- Puppy Love – Deb Buschman
- Super Brothers – Shannon Howarth Nelsen
- Brave For Gigi – Kelly Swemba
- Wannabe my Valentine – Cynthia Stacey
- Cupix – Bridget Magee
- U To The Rescue – Amy Heath
- Blob’s Valentine’s Wish – Deb Sullivan
- Violet & The Valentine’s Vampire – Sarah Meade
- Jana’s Valentine’s Visit – Sarah Meade
- Mole & Miss Vole on Valentine’s Day – Sarah Meade
- A Valentine’s Mouse In Our House – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
- Will you be my ninja – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
- Grouchy Grover – Rebekah Hoeft
- Brave In A Cave – Cedar Pruitt
- Cardy’s Valentine Story In All Its Glory – Sally Yorke-Viney
- My Kind of Valentine! – Megan France
- Lavender Buzz – Vicky Langdon
- Love Sick – Abi Island
- Be Brave! – Lisa M. Clewner-Newman
- I’m Not Afraid – Patricia J. Franz
- The Girl With The Candyfloss Hair – Simon Yeend
- Valentine’s Day on Halloween Hill – Abby Wooldridge
- W-R-I-T-E For Each Other – Elizabeth Muster
- Olive You Forever – Ann Ferrello
- The Pink Pro – Kelsey Gross
- Brave Brave Brave – David McMullin
- The Witch of Valentine Lane – Marietta Apollonio
- Gordon’s One-Footed Hop – Kelsey Gross
- Charmadillo – Lauri C. Meyers
- “Soon” – M.R. Haqq
- More Than Cookies – Halley M. Cormack, LCSW
- Fishing For Love: A DIARY – Amy Olsen
- The Lost Valentine – Jeannette Suhr
- Brave New Friends – Dawn Young
- Scaredy-Cat – Danielle S. Hammelef
- Hard To Love – Robin Currie
- Brave Hearts – Susan Klaren
- Across The Road – Rachel Dutton
- Knight of Hearts – Ellen Crosby
- Tootsee Tulip Bulb’s Love-Treat – Judy Caldwell Hughes
- Brave in the Basement – Jessica Whipple
- Caleb’s Heart – Anne Bromley
- Corn Dogs on the Corner – Colleen Dougherty
- Brave Heart – Rebecca Gardyn Levington
- Knock, Knock, Knock – Marty Findley
- Villain-tine’s Day – Laura Bower
- Take A Deep Breath – Elyse Trevers
- Only Three Words – B. A. Schlosser Hill
- A Stolen Valentine – Martha Holguin
- Class List – Elizabeth Volkmann
- Cards and Cookies – Jennifer Reichow
- Chalk Tears – Judy Brewer
- Nurse A Broken Heart – E. Elle Bea
- Bravely Soldier On – E. Elle Bea
- New Kid Blues – Darcee A. Freier
- Valentine’s Recitation – Keely Leim
- Mama Love. Dada Love. – Nancy M. Tichenor
- A Valentine’s Treasure – Ingrid Boydston
- An Itsy Bitsy Valentine – Maria Antonia
- Dino & Gigi – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
- Hearts Trail – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
- The Giant’s Valentine – Sheila M. Hausbeck
- The Loneliness Street – Nina K. Brown
- Brave Little Valentine – Charlotte Dixon
- Playdate – Margaret Aitken
- Octopus Hugs – Chambrae Griffith
- Conversation Heart Courage – Becky Kimbrough
- My Friend Nate – Karima Davis
- Jojo’s Valentine – Sarah Hawklyn
- “I Like You A Lot” – Julie Schnieders
- Unconventional Friendship – Sarah Hawklyn
- The Flavors of the Heart – Armineh Manookian
- The Candybot – Ellen Seal
- An Otter Love Story – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- Floret And The Fondue – Ashley Sierra
- Be Brave, Be Kind, My Valentine – Susan E. Schipper
- Cupid’s Booty Camp For BabyBoo – Ally Enz
- Playing To Win – Norah Colvin
- Super Special Valentine – Aundra Tomlins
- A Brave Change of Heart – Amy Nicolai
- Sarla Asks A Question – Sandhya Acharya
- A Trail of Ketchup and Mustard – MeiLin Chan
- Juliet and Romeo: Verona’s Valentine’s Celebration – Cristina Raymer
- A Little Atom – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez
- Oscar Octopus Plants A Garden – Isabel Cruz Rodriquez
- My Bestest Friend – Roberta Abussi
- My Every-Day-Valentine – Roberta Abussi
- Sarah’s Valentines – Rachel Zimmerman Brachman
- Lemur In Love – Sarah McDermott
- A Cocoon of Love – Jyoti Rajan Gopal
- Eggbert – Charlie Bown
- A Valentine For Mom – Patricia Martin
- Becca’s Brave Hearts – Marty Bellis
- Little Truck’s Daring Delivery – Kristin Kolp
- The Valentine On My Shoe – Catherine J. Lee
- No More Pink – Robin Currie
- Shiny Sharp Scissors – Katie Fischer
- Valentine Love Languages – Jaymie Dean
- Val & Jack – Karen Keesling
- Brave Heart – Tonnye Fletcher
- Valentine Delivery – Katie Brandyberry
- Apple Pie: Valentine’s Day Treat – Sarah Skolfield
- Brave Little Friends – Judy Sobanski
- Lone’s Very First Day – Jennifer Reinharz
- The Monster’s Valentine Buffet – Kelly Conroy
- Freddie Frog’s Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
- A Simple Valentine – P. J. Purtee
- The Wonky Heart – Stacy Burch
- Roses From Valentina – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
- A Natural Valentine’s Day – Sharon McCarthy
- Miss Hedgehog’s Valentine Mission – Amy LaMae Brewer
- Blown Away – Diana Webb
- Zooming Valentine’s Day – Susan VandeWeghe
- Snack Attack – Melisa Wrex
- Heart Hands – Sarah Heaton
- Bigfoot’s Valentine – Kirsten Leestma
- Geronimo! – Lydia Loeber
- The Most Terrible, Awful, Icky Valentine Ever – Melissa Trempe
- Babies Share Bedrooms – Kristi Newsome
- 214 St. Valentine Way – Tracy Anderson Martin
- Six Secret Valentines – Una Belle Townsend
- The Bees and the Birdss – Paul Kurtz
- Someone Special! – Paul Kurtz
- Zombie My Valentine – Donna Kurtz
- The Owl and the Kitty-Kat – Donna Kurtz
- No Pictures! – Diane S. Scotti
- Blue Flower – Mary Warth
- New Line Valentine – Marcia Parks
- Leo Lionhearted – Jill Lambert
- Bravery Is From The Heart – Sophia Zafra
- A Heavenly Visit – Deborah Dolan Hunt
- The Bird And The Cat – Beth Winslow
- THE Valentine Question – Kate Rehill
- How To Be Valentines (With A Boa Constrictor) – Mary Noon
- Desi’s Daring Delivery – Darci Nielson
- New Best Friend – Sherri T. Mercer
- The Gift Tree – Ciara N M Greenwalt
- One Shot – Dazzle Ng
- Fuzzy Bum – Stacey Miller
- Arrrrr Is For Valentine – Sara Ackerman
- Valentine’s Day Rocks – Samantha Haas
- Cyrus The Bold – Patricia Corcoran
- Saying What I Really Mean – Nina Nolan
- Mr. Grumpy’s Valentine – Anne Sawan
- Heart Shaped Everything – Rathi Munukur
- You Can Do This Jonathan! – Martina Palkovicova
- Caveman Valentine – Jennifer Lowe
- Percy’s Valentine – Nancy Derey Riley
- Brave Hearts – Mary Rudzinski
- Legendary Valentine – Audrey Day-Williams
- In Front Behind – Diana Webb
- A Punny Valentine – Linda Staszak
- Love is an Ocean Away – Kimiko Wadriski Lumsden
- Valentine’s Day Rescue – Brigid Finucane
- Mission: Cancel Cupid Call – Kalee Gwarjanski
- The Valentine’s Quest – Karyn Curtis
- Seeking Courage – Bonnie Kelso
- Valentina and Valentino – Claire Lewis
- Will You Bee My Valentine – Ranessa Doucet
- A Valentine Ski – Clara MacClarald
- Dance Like An Eagle – Jyothi Nookula
- A Gift For Abuelo – JC Kelly
- My Tummy Valentine – Janice Kay Alexander
- Elijah and the Valentine – Susan Twiggs
- Assortment Phobia – JC Kelly
- A Beastly Valentine – Steve Jankousky
- A Valentiny for ME! – Karima Davis
- Friendship Cake – Dea Lenihan
- Be My Valentine – Liz Kehrli
- Love Story – Liz Kehrli
- Love Birds – Lisa Lee Furness
- Mr. Grumpy – Mary A. Zychowicz
- Feep and Meep – Echo Roben
- The Cave of Utter Darkness – Bill Canterbury
- Yellow Like A Mango – Imelda Taylor
- Melanie’s Back! – Shari Della Penna
- All About Heart – Anna Lunt
- Tilly’s Great Big Heart – Amy Flynn
- Insiya’s Valentine – Aditya Simha
- Corazon Does Not Cliff Jump – Kate Rehill
- We’re Still Brave! – Kelly Coutsoubos
- The Cupcake Who Dared To Be Different – Susanne Whitehouse
- Lucy’s Brave Lifelines – Karen A. Kelly
This form ONLY for people who prefer to post on their own blogs and are ONLY posting their entries on their own blogs!
2,380 thoughts on “Be Brave, My Heart! – The 6th Annual Valentiny Contest Is Here!!!”
ENTRY POSTED FOR BILL
The Cave of Utter Darkness
Whale and Barnacle went everywhere together.
Diving! Breaching! Splashing! WHEEEE!
They were inseparable.
Whale decided to surprise Barnacle with a Valentine card.
But how could he make one without Barnacle noticing?
Whale would have to make the card inside… THE CAVE OF UTTER DARKNESS!
Whale had never swum in there. Anything could be lurking.
He took a deep breath. His fins fluttered.
“Whale? Where are you taking us?”
“Just in there.”
“No no no, that is… THE CAVE OF UTTER DARKNESS!”
“If we stick together, we will be brave,” Whale spouted.
“Oh, this is much too dark.”
“Whale, what’s that noise?!”
“Are you writing something?”
“Don’t be silly. Okay, let’s blow this hole.”
Whale raced out like a whirlwind. Nobody whiles away a moment in… THE CAVE OF UTTER DARKNESS!
Whale gave the card to Barnacle.
“‘You are my friend.’ Whale, this is the best Valentine card ever.”
“And I made one for you too!” said Barnacle.
“You did? ‘Dear Whale, you are my best friend. Will you be my Valentine? Check box YES or NO. Please check YES. With highest regards, Edward James Barnacle, Jr.’”
“I made it when you were asleep.”
“Yes, Barnacle, I will be your Valentine.”
And off they went together: Diving! Breaching! Splashing! WHEE!
So cute and fun. Love The Cave of Utter Darkness! Good luck!
ENTRY POSTED FOR IMELDA
YELLOW LIKE A MANGO (214)
By Imelda Taylor
My heart is not red like most people say. My heart is yellow like the sweet, sweet mango my mummy got for me.
I want to show mummy that I love her too. But I’m not big enough to shop for a mango. I can’t go to town nor have money of my own. Yet, I really want to give mummy a mango.
Our neighbour’s garden has several mango trees. They’re full of mangoes, some are green, some are red and some are yellow. I don’t need lots, just one sweet one will do.
I’m too little, I can’t climb that tree. But I need to do it. I need to get one. I need to ask our old scary neighbour. Knock, knock, knock I go. She opens the door and looks down at me.
“Well, what brings you here?” she asks. “Please, can I have one mango from your tree for my mummy?” I say in a trembling voice.
Her eyes widened, my heart raced. As I swallow the lump in my throat she says, “Of course my dear, you wait here.”
She fetches some mangoes not one, not two, but three! She’s not scary after all. I’m so glad she’s nice. Now I have enough hearts for my daddy and me too.
My heart is yellow like the sweet, sweet mango my mummy got for me. Love it!
What beautiful use of language!
Cute, What a brave little Valentine.
Very sweet. I’m glad the child was brave enough to ask her neighbor for the mangos. You captured the child’s emotions well. Good luck!
Melanie’s Back! – 214 words
by Shari Della Penna
Melanie thought she’d outlived her hat collection when she stuffed it all in a box and stashed it in her closet.
She stared at her 8-year-old reflection. Her chocolate colored eyes stared back. Same nose, just the right length to balance a spoon. Same grin. Same chin.
Dangle earrings brushed her neck as she turned her head side to side.
Her head. Melanie moved her hands from the ridge above her eyes to her crown and down to her nape. Not a hair anywhere. Just a smooth, round head. She breathed deep.
She imagined the medicine, like knights, joust through her veins week after week since Thanksgiving. She imagined herself strong.
Finally the magic word: remission.
Now back to school: Valentine’s Day.
Pulling what she needed from her closet, Melanie dressed and packed her backpack. She imagined herself daring.
. . .
Melanie stepped into her classroom. Chatter turned to silence. One huge gasp greeted her.
Every eye stared—even Mrs. Bioni’s.
Melanie turned away and rummaged through her backpack. She gathered her strength, stood, and jumped a 180 to face her class, arms outstretched, clown hat disguising more than her round, bald head.
Her grin looked convincing.
Her class’s gasp turned into a gaggle of giggles.
Melanie bowed deeply and joined in.
Very sweet, and very brave indeed! Loved the ending.
I love how she imagined herself strong and it gave her real strength.
What a brave and fun little girl. Good job and good luck!
All About Heart- 213 Words
By Anna Lunt
River, the young turtle, was awake early. She nibbled crunchy leaves into hearts to share with her chipmunk friend, Hickory.
They weren’t pretty red and they weren’t fresh green, but River nibbled away to show her love.
Finally, twenty hearts were strung around the tree by Hickory’s burrow.
The hearts fluttered.
The wind got stronger.
The wind got even stronger and all those nibbled hearts flew away.
“Come back!” River called but leaves don’t listen. They go where the wind blows.
“Okay, plan B. What’s plan B?” River laid down to think.
She thought and thought. “B-b-b-bake! I’ll bake a beautiful cake! What could go wrong?”
Bravely she set forth.
Gathering. Crushing. Pouring. Beating.
The batter sure tasted good.
River set the timer and left it to bake while she snoozed.
“River! What’s that smell?” Hickory said, coming out of his burrow.
She had slept too long.
River rushed slowly to remove the cake from the oven.
The heart-shaped cake was black and even a turtle couldn’t bite it.
“Wow, you did this for me?” Hickory asked.
“It was supposed to be a lot yummier,” River said.
“You are a great friend! How about we make another together!” Then Hickory added, “This time, I’ll watch the timer.”
Friendship sure tastes good!
I like the idea of a less-than-perfect Valentine’s Day during which the gifts are forgiveness, patience and perseverance.
I love your theme of friendship here. Sweet story. Though I do love to bake, I know how daunting it can be for most people!
What a sweet image of patiently working towards making something special for a friend.
Sweet story and I love your characters names! Good luck!
Tilly’s Great Big Heart – 211 words
By Amy Flynn
Tilly’s heart was great-big.
She carried it everywhere.
Wrapping her friends in warmth,
protecting them with strength,
Sharing it when her friends were lonely.
Yes, Tilly’s heart was great-big, and shared freely until…
One day someone stole her heart and left it bruised, broken, and unbearably heavy.
Now, carrying around her great-big heart seemed dangerous…too dangerous.
So she decided to protect it.
She built a big, strong box and tucked it inside, bolting the box shut.
Padlocks. Ropes. Barbed wire.
It was safe.
No longer bruised.
…but now, even heavier.
Because, while her heart was safe…
She was unbearably lonely.
Tilly had a great-big heart and now, she had a great-big decision to make.
Keep her heart locked up?
Or let it out?
Tilly thought and paced.
She researched and talked.
She cried great-big tears.
She needed her heart with her, even if it was dangerous.
She couldn’t hide it away anymore.
She flipped the bolts and opened the box.
But to Tilly’s surprise, her heart was not alone in the box. Nestled beside it was her great, big bravery.
Tilly tucked her heart under one arm, her bravery under the other and danced off to find her friends.
It’s a brave thing to open up ones heart after it’s been broken. Well done, Tilly.
Hooray for Tilly! I love this story of bravery and you crisp engaging writing style. My favorite part is when she flips the bolts and unopened the box.
Tilly is a strong one to re-open her heart. Glad she did!
This is delightful. Love that ending line, too.
You paint such a vivid picture of Tilly’s feelings, lovely.
This is so touching. Hard to open up your heart again once it has been bruised and broken. I’m glad that Tilly did. Good luck!
Insiya’s Valentine – 213 Words
By Aditya Simha
Insiya stared at the blackboard in her 5th grade classroom, where an oblivious Mr. Thompson was busy writing out something in what looked like Klingon. Well, it was just an algebraic formula, but regardless, it looked indecipherable for Insiya.
“Psst.. Insiya!” whispered Shaan from the desk next to her.
“What?” she whispered back.
“I have a Valentine’s Day gift for you!” said Shaan.
Insiya blushed and said, “I’m sorry, but my parents said, I can’t celebrate Valentine’s Day!”
Shaan stared at her with a bemused expression, “Huh! Why not?”
Insiya replied, “They said, it goes against our religion! So, I can’t!”
“Oh, okay!” Shaan murmured, “So, should I give this to someone else? Yulia or Kiara, maybe?”
“Yeah, that’s okay!” Insiya replied, feeling slightly disappointed.
Shaan must have sensed the disappointment in her voice, because he replied, “No! This gift was for you, and I will give it to you, if not today, then sometime in the future.”
Insiya beamed at Shaan, and he beamed back at her radiantly……
Skip ahead a decade and three quarters
“This happened seventeen years ago”, whispered Insiya to her little newborn bundle of joy snuggling in her arms. “That’s when I knew Daddy was going to be my Valentine forever!” She then tenderly kissed her little Alia.
How very sweet! This sounds like it could have been a true story!!!
This is very sweet, particularly that surprise ending!
I like how he immediately respected that she wasn’t going to celebrate and didn’t complain about her parents, that is a forever valentine. ❤
Such a sweet love story. Nicely done.
Corazon Does Not Cliff Jump– 213 words
by Kate Rehill
Corazon and Latido had been best friends since always.
They did almost everything together –
except cliff jump.
Latido’s cliff jumping made
Corazon cringe and crumple just watching him.
Corazon inched towards the edge,
but shivered and shook.
She just couldn’t take the leap.
Latido’s hand holding, secret best friend songs
and bribery couldn’t help Corazon.
On Valentine’s Day, Latido brought Corazon
a heart shaped box filled with chocolates, candies and a note.
Latido wrote, “To unlock your bravery to jump,
stand at the edge of the cliff
and say these words three times fast –
’I am loved, I am brave.’”
I promise that magic will meet you in the water.”
Corazon believed in the note, her best friend,
and started to believe in herself.
She tiptoed to the edge.
She almost turned around but stopped.
“I am loved. I am brave.” Her quick breaths calmed.
“I am loved. I am brave.” Her hands stopped shaking.
“I am loved. I am brave.”
Freedom air swirled around her.
She smiled as wide as the river.
She opened her eyes to see pink glittery water
swirling into purple, red, maroon
Magenta fish came up under her
and carried her to the river’s edge.
“Latido! Let’s jump in again!”
I enjoyed reading this story very much. I read it aloud and now my son keep saying “I am loved. I am brave” as he jumps off the furniture. 🙂
That’s a great motto for kids.
What a surprise ending to the jump and story! I was not expecting the glittery water, it’s very valentine-y.
I knew that corazon was heart, but then I looked up latido and it said heartbeat. Love it and I love the words she said. Good luck!
ENTRY POSTED FOR KELLY
We’re Still Brave! – 214
Cora, moving through the hospital’s arteries, stopped at a sign that had a heart.
“Is this the Valentine’s room?”
Her mother opened the door.
Cora opened her activity bag.
She didn’t know what to expect with this doctor, so she focused on decorating cards.
The nurse poked her head out. “Cora.”
Her chest beat with uncertainty.
Another girl checking in for her appointment, looked nervous. Her grandma asked, “are you still going to be brave?”
Cora’s mother suggested she say hi.
“No.” Saying hi right now felt scary.
Inside a room, the nurse told Cora she was brave.
“I’m actually nervous.”
“Well, we can’t be brave unless we’re nervous.”
Cora said nothing.
“Brave heroes stand up to things that scare them.”
“I don’t like how ‘brave’ feels then.”
The nurse, attached a pulsometer and said, “You’ll see at the end how you didn’t melt away like a chocolate candy. Or how you didn’t fall to pieces like an old rose.”
Cora felt herself relax a bit.
When it was over, she proudly walked out with a sticker in hand. No longer nervous, she wondered if she wasn’t brave anymore.
Seeing the other girl again, Cora blurted, “Hi! Happy Heart Day!” She handed her a card.
The girl gave an uncertain smile.
“We’re still brave!”
This is a sweet story! I like how Cora changed her mind at the end and realized she was still brave despite not feeling nervous anymore.
Going to the heart doctor can be quite scary for kids, you captured that nervousness well. And that ending was very sweet.
The Cupcake Who Dared to Be Different – 212 words
As long as Pidge could remember, which was about two hours now, she was destined to be a pink frosted cupcake in the display case of the local coffee shop.
Pidge was brand new to the baked goods world, but she was no dummy… she saw the white frosting and red food coloring nearby and knew the whole batch of them would soon be covered in sweet sticky grossness. So how did a freshly baked cupcake know she hated frosting? She just did. Down deep in all her ingredients, Pidge knew she did not want to be covered in anything.
As her insides cooled, she quickly formed a recipe for success. Once her batch was slathered in frosting, placed in a box, and headed towards the coffee shop, Pidge started to spin. Round and round she twirled until every last bit of frosting had flown off her top.
“There must be a mistake?” exclaimed the coffee shop owner opening the lid of the box, “I ordered a dozen Valentine’s cupcakes … but no worries, I have just the spot for this one.”
Pidge was placed in the glass case next to some other similar treats. She smiled and puffed out her top when she saw the sign next to her that read: MUFFINS.
A creative entry with an unusual POV. I like how Pidge takes control of the situation and manages to end up next to the muffins. Deep down in all her ingredients, she knew she didn’t want to be a pink frosted cupcake. 😊
Cute! I like Pidge’s creative solution, the fun ending, and the humor throughout.
“Deep down in all her ingredients”
You did a great job showing the inner feelings of a cupcake! It made me laugh.
I love Pidge’s clever solution to her frosting problem. A cupcake destined to be a muffin . . . great metaphor for real life too!
You captured the emotion of the visit very well. I’m glad they were still brave. Good luck!
Great point of view and really isn’t a muffin a cupcake without frosting? Nice job! Good luck!
Lucy’s Brave Lifelines – 212 Words
By Karen A. Kelly
“Hey Eleanor, I think Lucy is hurt! She is limping on her back legs over by that big pink house!”, Pepper cries out to his sister.
“Oh my, I think she was hit by a car! We need to get her help NOW!”, Eleanor wimpers while pacing back and forth in worry.
Pepper and Eleanor start racing around the house trying to find ways to help their friend Lucy!
“MEOW MEOW MEOW!” with her front paws kneading the couch, Eleanor yells to her human, hoping to get her attention!
“GROWL GROWL GROWL!” Pepper snarls at his human while scratching her leg hoping she will know what they want!
Their human leaps out of her chair and yells at her desperate calicos, “WHAT IS IT??! That hurt!!”
Pepper and Eleanor shrug and glance at each other in confusion.
Both dash to the large front window and start tapping with their paws hoping their human will look out and see Lucy hobbling along the lush green lawn across the street!
“OH NO! LUCY! She is hurt! I need to tell her owner! You two stay here!” Human excitedly tells her panting calicos.
Later that day, Lucy’s human knocks on the front door. “Pepper and Eleanor, you both are Lucy’s brave heroes. We love you!”
Oh my, glad that turned out well. Best wishes!
. . . CONTEST CLOSED . . . CONTEST CLOSED . . CONTEST CLOSED . .
Thanks so much for a fun contest, Susanna!
Your rhyming story is so well done, and adorable. Love it!
So clever. I love the list of things cats love. And a sweet ending, too — great story!
Thanks so much, I appreciate the kind words!
This story is delightful! Love the humor throughout and hilarious title.
Thank you, Sarah. Hope you’re doing well and good luck!
Love Leroy with his valentines sealed with a kiss! Cool story and great rhyme. Good luck!
Love it, Mia!
I’m so glad that Billy found how to be brave and that everyone celebrated. Good luck!
Very fun! Love the play on words and that Cat, Dog, and Heater are friends together fur-ever. Good luck!
Thanks a bunch, Nancy! You, too!
Lisa, this is soo good! “Liony legs” makes me smile. This is super fun to read out loud! Brilliant.
A very cute story and your rhyming is well done! Nice job and good luck!
Oh Jen, this is outstanding and so funny! Well done 🙂
Thank you, Jen! 🙂
MIND BLOWN!!! I love Mars rover stories, and wrote one about Percy finding Opportunity:)
Tomorrow is the big day!! Fingers crossed for Percy and Gen!!!
Yours is my favorite entry:)
I love this unique take on the bravery theme – great rhyme and metre too!
WOW! There are so many wonderful stories. I wish I had time to read and comment on all of them! Kudos to all! Thanks Susanna!
So sweet! I love that last stanza!