[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!!!”
Charlie leaps through the backyard, energized by the fresh winter wind.
He finds Livi and Caleb who are tracing hearts in the sandbox.
“This Valentine’s for Mama and that one’s for Charlie!” Livi proudly shows Caleb.
Charlie’s heart is full.
Keeping one eye on the children, he sniffs around, when…
That pesky squirrel!
Charlie lunges towards the fence.
Squirrel scampers up the tree, snickering and sneering at Charlie.
Tail down, Charlie returns to the sandbox.
He continues sniffing around the yard, when…
A red-tailed hawk announces her arrival.
And lands on the fence.
Her beady eyes scanning for prey.
She peers at Squirrel, who then scurries further up the tree.
The hawk glares at him.
Her ravenous eyes widen at the prospect of a heartier meal.
The children gasp.
Squirrel starts to run away, but stops.
Something holds him back.
An unfamiliar feeling,
tugging at his heart,
at the thought of losing Charlie.
He jumps forward and twitches his tail.
The hawk turns her head.
Squirrel leaps onto the fence, and darts off into the neighbor’s yard.
The hawk right on his tail.
He returns to the children,
his heart heavy,
that this time
he is not
Oh no! I am glad we don’t know whether or not squirrel made it – I am hoping he did. But what a way for him to sacrifice!
You had my heart thumpin’, Danielle!
I’m glad my story made an impression!
I’m hoping the Brave little squirrel managed to escape!
Good job! 🙂
OMG! I hope the squirrel made it. But he is certainly a brave squirrel. Good luck.
I think squirrel slipped into a tight, safe place. Feeling the energy, tension, and heart! Well done.
Squirrel’s are usually pretty resourceful little critters 🙂
Love Squirrel’s bravery and the energy in this story. (For what it’s worth) I’m also imagining he got under a safe place to hide! 🙂
Thank you! 🙂
Terrific pacing – and great use of verbs! Lunging, scampering, sniffing….awesome action!
Thanks Deborah! 🙏🏻
That squirrel was brave to distract the hawk! I sure hope he got away! Great job of building the tension!
I’m so glad Charlie wasn’t it, but I hope Squirrel was IT either! Good luck!
Lovely story, so much energy!
A Goosely Valentine
When winter flurries sprinkled down,
across the sky, throughout the town.
A flock of geese marched one by one,
across the grass, beneath the sun.
They wished to form a grand design,
to celebrate St. Valentine.
The youngest made his big debut,
parading, as his courage grew.
He dreamt of showing off his might,
preparing for his premier flight.
But when they crossed a frozen lake,
his little wings began to shake.
Sliding fast, he blasted past,
poor Mama Goose, who looked aghast.
“Dearest Gus, it’s not a race,
stay in line, don’t lose your place.
Watch the flock and you will learn,
to spread your wings, when it’s your turn.”
Gus marched on, but soon fell back,
then splished and splashed into a crack.
The gaggle gently honked and quacked,
“It’s time to go, let’s stay on track.”
He watched his fellow geese take flight,
then mustered up his strength and might.
He flipped and flapped to no avail,
then lifted up his feathered tail.
With outstretched wings, he bent his knees,
then took off in the gentle breeze.
“Mama, Mama, look at me!
Thanks to you, we made a V!”
With a twinkle in her eye,
Mama watched her dear Gus fly.
That is how their grand design,
became a Goosely Valentine.
Beautiful, Danielle. This one’s come a long way in two weeks!
Aw, that was beautiful. I loved it!
How clever! Well done.
Love it! It’s full of great images and fun language.
I love the uniqueness of your story and the personality of the young goose. Great job with your rhymes as well! Good luck!
Thank you! I learned a lot about geese while writing it too, such neat birds!
I love the changes you made with this one! I think you nailed both themes – Valentines & bravery! Well done! (You can’t help but root for little Gus!)
Thanks Molly! Go, Gus, Go!
Beautiful! Lovely, lyrical language.
Loved Gus!! Great rhyming as well! 🙂
What a touching story – go Gus go!
Thanks! It was on an observation of a flock of geese nearby!
I love that the “V” stood for Valentine! Nice job with the rhyme! Good Luck!
Aww! Sweet story and nice rhyme! Good luck!
Love this, Danielle! What a lyrical and unique Valentine’s story!
That’s cute, I like how the flying V is the valentine!
I’m so excited for the Valentiny contest! Thanks Susanna.
Charlie and Sienna – A Friendship Story 211 words
Charlie loved his human, and when she left, he spent long, lonely hours waiting by the window.
As leaves landed on the porch, Charlie noticed Sienna.
She nibbled on the pumpkins. Charlie admired her tail, her delicate movements. He wished Sienna would notice him. But when the pumpkins disappeared, so did Sienna.
Charlie wondered if she would ever return. Had he missed his chance?
Snow swirled. Wind whirled. Charlie’s human couldn’t leave.
Outside together, she shoveled while Charlie buried his face deep in the piles. The human made a snowdog near Charlie’s window. Carrot nose, pinecone eyes, and a bird seed mouth. She strung cranberries to create his leash.
Once again inside, Charlie snoozed by the window.
His ears perked. He blinked hard. Once. Twice. Sienna!
Perched on her haunches, Sienna pressed her nose to the window. She turned to the snowdog. And back to Charlie. Sienna pulled the carrot up to the window and nibbled under Charlie’s adoring gaze.
Had she noticed him all along?
Time to make his move.
Would she wait for him or run away?
He mustered his courage and went out to the yard. He sat silently next to his snow counterpart, nudging the cranberry leash into a heart for Sienna.
Without a sound, friendship formed.
A sweet story about a mysterious friendship. I enjoyed reading it. Love the cranberry leash (and heart). Good luck!
Thank you, Corine! ❤️ happy Valentine’s Day❣️
Love this one! I’m a sucker for dog stories! Well done and good luck! 🙂
Thank you! Dogs have a way of teaching us about love. ❤️
Aww, what a sweet story! I had my face pressed against the window, watching to see what would happen!
Thank you so much❣️
Doggie love:) What a sweet story.
Sweet and Valentine perfect 🙂
Such a sweet story and the cranberry heart at the end is the perfect ending.
Thanks so much❣️
Awww….this one left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Nicely done!
Thank you❣️ That’s what I was going for. Especially nice on this below zero morning 🥶
I’m so glad Charlie and Sienna got to meet up again!
Thanks! He’s a very friendly dog. 💕 Happy Valentine’s Day❣️
I love the story, but especially the last line, “Without a sound, friendship formed.” Nice! Good luck!
Thank you❣️It was a fun story to write.
Most Valuable Valentine – 213 words
by Anne Lipton
This year I’ll make baseball cards instead of valentines,
to honor a brave player who transcended racial lines.
Henry Louis Aaron batted well above his weight,
his legend soaring over those who needled him with hate.
Henry grew up poor but loved, down south in Mobile Bay.
Thwacking bottle caps with sticks, he’d pop them far away.
Though he had no bat or glove, he had great strength within,
but he was barred from Little League because he had dark skin.
Henry’s high school had no team, so he went semi-pro.
When he unspooled his mighty swing, he made the crowd go “Oh!”
Henry slid into home plate, and he’d sew up the win,
yet some hotels and restaurants would not let Henry in.
Henry Aaron never quit, his hopes pinned to his dream,
working hard to do his best, to always help his team.
With his eyes glued on the ball, he’d shut out racist jeers,
and with the cracking of his bat came loud, wholehearted cheers.
Henry was the Home Run King, a diamond for his court.
He rose above the foul done him and championed good sport.
My ball-entines will be a hit, a home run, no debate,
because they’re threaded through with love and not a stitch of hate.
This ball-entine is a hit! A great entry. Good luck!
You knocked it out of the park, Anne. Love this!
I love your concept! So many amazing things raveled in one! A biography, a poem, Valentine’s Day, bravery…well done! 🙂
Now that it definitely thinking out of the box (but not pitcher’s box). What a great tribute you have told! Well done.
I love this subject matter! What a creative idea for Valentine’s Day (and I agree with Molly–so many awesome things in one). Good luck!
They cheered for him when he helped their team but wouldn’t treat him as an equal. A painful look at his life but beautifully told.
YES! Home run king. Truly a brave hero.
So many beautiful layers to this entry and the last line is a home run!
Wow! Well done “Ball-entine” !!! 🙂
Wow, true bravery lies here. Love the stitching and unspooling of these threads.
What a timely tribute! Beautifully done…
Ann, you are AMAZING! A Valentines story, a NF story, internal rhyme, enjambment, AND under 214 words… Geez!!! AWESOME!
Thank you, Michelle!
Ball-entines! Such a great way to end the tribute. Very creative, well done!
Wow! Thank you for writing this story. Love!
Anne this is so impressive! You checked a lot of boxes with this one! Great job!
Your ball-entine is a hit! You packed so much heart into your story. Good luck!
Wow! Such a powerful story that needs to be told.
Nicely done. Wonderful history lesson embedded in a ‘love letter’ of sorts. Bravery indeed!
I like the whole thing but those last two lines really hit it out of the park.
I hope I’m doing this correctly. =) Here’s my entry. Thanks as always, Susanna.
A Valentine’s Day Quest in the Land of Moore
Gregory E Bray
Darkness fell across the land of Moore. Wil was so close to the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for his mother he could taste it. All he had to do was brave the last three obstacles and it would be his.
He bounded over the squishy rocks of Coucherton like a kangaroo.
He scaled the cliffs of Libraria like a lizard.
Finally, he leapt like a sugar glider and grabbed the spinning blades of Windamore. He gripped the blades tightly and waited for the perfect opportunity to grab the gift.
The more the blades spun, the dizzier he became. He felt his grip slowly releasing. This was his only chance to grab the gift.
He stuck his arm out as far as he could and, “SHWACK!” the gift was in his grasp. He shouted, “Excelsior!” and released from the blades landing on the top of the cliffs of Libraria.
The darkness quickly disappeared with a bright flash of light.
“Wil!” his mother shouted. “What are you doing on top of the bookcase?”
“I rescued your Valentine’s Day gift. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“Thank you honey. But that box of candy is for you.”
“Even better,” Wil said with a smile. He landed on the couch and tore into the candy.
There’s not a mountain too tall that candy can’t resolve. I like Wil!
That is true, especially for my son. Thanks, Corine.
If there’s a Wil, there’s a way! So glad he was successful in his quest! Fun story!
Lovely! What quest. It reminds me of my GC. He’s into laser blades and swords. Well done.
Ha ha ha! Great imagination!
Thank you, Colleen.
Fun and clever! Well done 🙂
Love Wil’s imagination! Such a clever story.
Cute, cute story! 🙂
Hah! Fun similes keep the action going…and satisfying ending, for sure.
Ha ha ha! I love the Cliffs of Libraria! Good luck!
Love the unusual words giving a sense of adventure – very clever
Coucherton, Libraria! Love it. A fun and energetic story.
Very vivid description!
Red-Green Valentine’s Day – 213 words
by Stephanie Amargi
It was Valentine’s Day,
and Cedar was nervous.
It wasn’t because he didn’t like Valentines,
flowers, or chocolate.
He adored those things.
But the red hearts,
and red roses that decorated Cedar’s classroom?
They all looked green to him
because he was color blind.
Well, Cedar could see color.
He just saw it differently.
And he was afraid to tell his friends.
Everyone was passing out their Valentines and talking excitedly.
Cedar tried so hard to join in the fun
that he almost didn’t notice his desk
and the jumble of colorful cards:
orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black.
Every color. Except red.
Cedar’s heart thumped in his ears.
His palms were sweaty.
He shut his eyes tight, blocking all the colors out.
Then he felt someone’s hand on his shoulder.
His friends were standing there
–and they were smiling.
“We could tell,” said Skye.
“We don’t mind that you see differently,” said Marcel.
“It helps us see differently, too,” said Ella.
Cedar gazed at the beautiful cards
and felt something lifting inside him.
Like a sleepy eye, his heart slowly opened
to warm, soothing light.
Its color, Cedar knew, was love.
“What do you think, Cedar?”
He took a deep breath.
“I adore them.”
Oh my gosh! Lovely story and also I LOVE your MC’s name!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Thank you, Cedar!
I love stories of acceptance! Nice!
Lovely! A story with a huge heart.
What a beautiful story. “It helps us see differently, too”-brilliant!
Your story is so sweet!
What terrific friends….and unique twist to Valentine’s Day too! Well done!
I love the way you dealt with color-blindness using kindness and empathy! Wonderful story!
This is so sweet. Love, “Like a sleepy eye, his heart slowly opened . . .” Good luck!
💛Such an important topic that is often forgotten. Good job!💛
Aww, I love stories with empathic friends.
Very nice story. What good friends Cedar has!
A One-of-a-Kind, Just-in-Case, Not-at-All-Pink Valentine’s Day—214 words
by Amy Leskowski
“Pink?” asked Mr. Hue. “Pink? Wow. Absent on Valentine’s Day.”
“No!” Yellow trembled. She’d counted on Pink’s perfect attendance.
“Relax,” said Blue. “Be proud! Free! Brave!” Easy for Blue to say. She’d earned her stripes on Independence Day.
“If Yellow chickens out, I’ll find a fill-in.” Purple’s egg-cellent planning made Easter celebrations rise above all others.
“Yule probably want me to do it.” Red’s right. If it weren’t for Green’s luck nabbing St. Patrick’s Day, Red would’ve said “Be Mine” to Valentine’s Day instead of being boxed into Christmas.
Orange treated himself to Halloween, Brown prepared Thanksgiving, and Yellow delighted in being the never-needed, just-in-case color.
“It’s Yellow’s turn to shine,” said Mr. Hue.
Yellow paced. Wondered. Maybe?
Yellow brainstormed. Drafted. Dull.
Yellow erased. Retried. Better.
Yellow polished. Practiced. Beamed. Brilliant!
But at 2:14 p.m., Yellow panicked and hid.
She braved a peek.
Red’s cheer had disappeared. Orange seemed scared. Green pinched herself. Blue burst into tears. Purple hunted for Yellow. Brown looked thankful to not be involved. Mr. Hue’s face lost color.
Wow! Valentine’s Day needs me. Yellow brightened.
She teetered to the stage, toting her not-at-all-pink, not-at-all-heart-shaped decorations—and sparked a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day celebration:
“P-pink’s nose is red.
He’s s-sick with the flu.
For once, my s-stars
can be V-v-v-valentines too!”
Nice story! Poor pink being sick on his big day.
Thank you! I do feel bad Pink missed out on all the fun, but I guarantee he’ll hear about it when he is better! And who knows, maybe Yellow and Pink can work together on Valentine’s Day next year!
So clever! Go yellow!
I love all of your language and play on words! Colors ALWAYS make wonderful characters! Good luck! 🙂
Aww thank you, Molly! I appreciate it 🙂 I do love colors as characters!
Clever! Love the concept and word play.
Love the cast of “colorful” characters and hooray to a non-traditional color for Valentine’s Day!
Thank you!! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Yay for yellow..and love the message that any color can shine on Valentine’s Day!
Thank you, Deborah! 🙂
I love the wordplay and fun, colorful characters! Hope Pink recovers quickly!
Thank you!! Pink is all better now, thankfully. Just a quick bug 🙂
Very cute! So glad that Yellow got to be the star, even if Pink was not in the pink! Good luck!
I love the wordplay in your comment 🙂 Thank you!
I’m glad little yellow star got to shine
Thank you! 🙂
I love this twist on Valentine’s day. Colors are so intertwined with holidays that this is a perfect play on expectations. Yay yellow! 🙂
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Such an unexpected story, love the way they all have their own holidays!
So cleverly done. I love the creativity of this! Yay for Yellow!
Aww thank you!!
Thanks for the opportunity to share this story!
“Love is Stronger”
“Not scared, are you?” my cousin Dylan asks.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of,” I say. I still shudder as we pass through the gates.
Inside, trees cast shadows that startle me, but I try to be brave.
Our feet break the crust of the February snow. We seek cover behind a hedge.
“He’ll see the footprints!” I whisper.
“Too late now!” says Dylan. We scurry from the hedge to hide behind a mausoleum.
“It’s cold,” I grumble. And creepy.
“Shh!” Dylan whispers. “Not so loud.” Silently, we wait. And shiver.
I’m glad the sun is high in the sky. If this place gives me chills now, what would it be like at night?
Dylan gasps. “There he is!” We watch as an elderly man trudges through the gates, his snowboots sinking deep with every step.
Snow covers the names on the graves, but he doesn’t need the name to find the right spot. He lays down his bouquet. “Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.”
Then he turns his head, as if he hears something. We duck down. But it’s too late. He clomps toward us.
“Come home, kids,” he says, “and get some hot cocoa.”
“Grandpa, why do you still give Grandma flowers, even though she’s dead?” I ask.
“Because love is stronger than death.”
A sweet and original story about the strength of love. I enjoyed it.
Great twist at the end, although it was a bit creepy at the beginning. Well, Susanna mentioned coming up with something unexpected. This sure was.
This is such a unique idea! I love that you have creepy vibes at the start – definitely not something you would expect for Valentine’s Day…but it SO works! Well done! Good luck!
Powerful and bittersweet story!
Beautiful! Love never dies.
I was not expecting Grandpa! Enjoyed the suspense and the powerful ending.
So true. Love conquers all…even death. A lovely story!
What a sweet story. Good luck!
Love is stronger – excellent images
Valentine’s Gotcha Day (213 words)
By Jessica Hinrichs
Valentine sat in her kennel, nervously thumping her tail against the floor.
Was today the day? She’d gotten her hopes up before, but everyone always said her fur was too scruffy, her nose was a funny shape, and her size was just too much to love.
Day after day, she remained at the shelter, watching families adopt her friends and hoping one day it would be her turn too.
Just then, Valentine’s ears perked up. She heard a girl’s voice. Her heart beat faster as the girl approached.
“Look, Mommy!” The little girl squealed. “Her fur is red! Her nose is shaped like a heart! And there’s a lot of her to love! She’s perfect.”
The little girl knelt down and smiled—the prettiest smile Valentine had ever seen.
Valentine’s eyes pleaded with her. Could this be my Gotcha Day? I’m too scared to even hope. Be brave! She trembled, but she held the little girl’s gaze.
As if the little girl understood, she reached out her hand and gently whispered, “Sweet Valentine, will you be mine?”
Will I ever! Valentine’s fears faded in a split-second and she lunged into the little girl’s arms, peppering her face with wet kisses.
The little girl giggled. “You’re the best Valentine ever!”
No, thought Valentine, you are.
What a great title! There’s a valentine for everyone out there. I’m glad Valentine and the little girl found each other. A cute story.
This touched my heart like only a dog story can. Well done!
I love your story!
Valentine is the PERFECT puppy! I love your story, friend! Good luck to you! As always, rooting for you! ❤
Rescue stories always tug at my heart! Nice job, Jessica:)
Nothing finer than adopting a pet–best Valentine ever for all.
So sweet! ❤
Awww, this was really sweet! Good work.
I’m a pushover for any story with a dog. So glad Valentine had her “Gotcha Day!”
Love that Valentine got her girl! Good luck!
Wonderfully touching. Thanks for sharing this.
by Lu Pierro 211 words
Carmela stared at her homemade Valentine cards on the kitchen table.Her stomach
gurgled and her heart raced.Would her classmates laugh at them?
She made a Valentine card for everyone in her class using lace and ribbons and
scraps from her mother’s sewing bag. She drew hearts and cupids and wrote funny sayings
in her best English. She even made one for her teacher
Her mother helped her make envelopes from recycled paper. “In Mexico we call
Valentine’s Day El Die del Amor y la Amistad, a day of love and friendship,” her mother said.
Carmela hid her valentines in her backpack. She was ashamed that they weren’t store
After math class, Mrs. Hoffman said,“time to hand out your valentines.”
Carmela received lovely store bought cards with fancy envelopes.
“Where’s your cards?” Miss Hoffman asked.
Carmela thought of telling her teacher she forgot them, but that would be a lie. Somehow
she found her courage.
“I want you to open yours first,” she whispered, handing her teacher a small read envelope.
In it was a heart made with lace and ribbon.
“Beautiful,” said Mrs. Hoffman holding it up for the class to see. “I love a heartfelt
homemade card. “
“Where’s ours?” asked her classmates. We want one too!”
Sweet, I could feel her pain when she thought her cards wouldn’t be good enough and then acceptance and even joy!
Beautiful story. Homemade cards are straight from the heart.
Love Carmela’s bravery and big heart!
Your story made me smile. ❤
Carmela’s courage paid off. I’m so happy her classmates and teacher appreciated the time and thought she put into her valentines! Nice story!
The best gifts come from the heart. Very nice story. Good luck!
Oh so sweet. Thank you for sharing this!
It can take a lot of bravery to share your creativity when you’re that age. Your writing is evocative, I can really feel along with her.
So happy you enjoyed this story. 🙂
BEE BRAVE – 214 Words
By Gennie Gorback
The hive was a-buzz about this year’s Valentine’s day writing contest. Well, except Beatrice.
Two years ago, Beatrice had an idea for a poem. She’d call it: “The Pollen Not Taken.” But thinking about someone else reading her work made her knees knock and her stripes wobble. She broke out in hives and never finished a first draft.
Her cousin won that year:
It was sweet. It was succinct. It was bee-utiful!
Last year was even worse. She considered entering her poem, “Buzzing Through the Woods on a Snowy Evening.” But doubt wormed its way into her brain and stuck like honey. She never even submitted it.
Another cousin won:
Bee My Valentine
BEE My Valentine.
The judges thought it was genius.
This time would be different. Beatrice spent the entire year busily building up her confidence. She joined a critter critique group. She attended Snail Silverstein’s writing courses and a webinar hosted by Laura Ingalls Spider.
She was determined to be brave and enter the contest. Her antennae shook as she finished her poem, “How Do I Love Bee?” She was filled with fear… but she submitted it anyway.
Beatrice was proud. It didn’t matter what the judges thought, she already felt like a winner.
I love this super cute and clever story!! ❤️ 🐝
There’s a good message here. The important thing is not to win but to participate. Well done!
Super cute. I love Beatrice’s an-tenacity! Very fun and original.
I love this, especially the ending. I love that we don’t know if she won the contest or not. Good luck!!
We’ve all been there, Beatrice!!
Clever! Well done.
This is clever and delightful, Gennie!
What a fun story and good for Beatrice!! Glad she is ready to share her stories with the world 🙂
Such a clever twist! Great job! Guess we all need to “bee” brave! 🙂
So full of humor and delightful! I really enjoyed reading it. And where would we bee without our critter critique group?
Love the play on the the authors’ names. Beatrice made me hap-bee! ❤
Great job! Your story made me smile and is a great message, even for us adults to “bee” brave! 🙂
I think we can all relate to Beatrice. Such a clever story!
Very clever! I hope it makes a beeline to the winner’s circle! Good luck!
Love this, how bee-utiful! Great play with bee-related terminology, wonderful character in Beatrice.
That was a lot of fun to read, so much wordplay!
I love your little bee poet, Gennie
This is so cute! “Snail Silverstein” – Hahaha! Good luck!
I like the pace and suspense in this unusual friendship story. I can picture all the scenes. Wonderful! I do hope Squirrel and Charlie meet up again.
I love this! Original and fun! Good luck!
By Sue Lancaster
Hartley’s Farm was strewn with streamers and brimming with balloons.
“It’s Valentine’s Day,” said Rooster. “The day to tell someone special that you care.”
“There is someone special,” replied Chicken. “But I’d never be brave enough to tell them.”
“Why not?” asked Rooster.
“I’m too… well, chicken,” sighed Chicken. “I wish I had some of your bravery. While I cower at the back of the coop, you’re up front wowing the crowd. You could have your pick of any poultry here.”
Rooster returned to Chicken a little later.
“I have something for you,” he said. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“For me?” Chicken blushed. She took the small bag and tugged at the bow with her beak.
“It’s empty!” she chuckled, peering inside.
“It’s some of my bravery,” replied Rooster.
Chicken looked confused. “But I can’t see anything.”
“Bravery isn’t something you can see,” said Rooster. “You just have to really, really believe it’s there.”
“How?” asked Chicken.
“Take a deep breath,” said Rooster. “And tell yourself over and over: I’m braver than I think.”
“I’m braver than I think,” repeated Chicken and then, blushing again, she leant over and gave Rooster a peck on the cheek.
“Thank you,” she cooed. “You really are so special…
Oh wow, I guess that means it’s working already!”
So cute. I loved this, “I’m too… well, chicken,” sighed Chicken.
Fun and filled with heart 🙂
Aww! This sweet story really made me smile.
This is such a charming story!! So sweet and adorable with a bit of a folktale feel to it!
Ahh such a sweet story!!! 🙂
Such a charming story!
I’m cheek-to-cheep in love with this story. ❤
Great idea to wrap bravery in a bag – nice job!
So sweet. I love that Chicken gathered the courage to tell Rooster how she felt! Great job!
Very cute! And a great way to show hoe to be brave. Good luck!
This was so fun to read. A chicken chicken! Good thing Rooster was there to give her some support.
Awwww, both of them ❤
Wonderful! I love this story and your great alliteration and word choice. Very nice.
SHELLY AND THE PATH OF PERIL
By Sue Lancaster
It was Valentine’s Day and Shelly had woken up super early.
She was off to deliver a secret message to Saul, the special snail in her life.
“I’m so excited!” she squeaked.
But there was a problem.
To get to Saul, Shelly had to cross the dreaded PATH OF PERIL.
Many a snail had tried and failed to cross it safely.
Shelly took a deep breath and slid cautiously onto the path…
A ginormous muddy boot thumped down beside her.
“Yikes! That was close.” Shelly shrieked. “But I MUST be brave…”
She slithered slightly further…
Super-spinny stroller wheels sped past.
“Eeeeeek! I don’t like this one bit.” Shelly squealed. “But I MUST be brave…”
She slipped a smidgeon further…
Big bicycle wheels belted by.
“Ahhhhhhh! This is awful.” Shelly screeched. “But I MUST be brave…”
“Phew! Just someone stepping on a dry leaf,” Shelly sighed.
Slowly but surely, she reached the other side.
Shelly slid unseen to Saul’s step and left a silvery snail trail outside:
To my Saul mate – will you be my Valentine?
Feeling pleased with herself she slithered out of sight.
But then her tentacles trembled as a terrible thought crossed her mind…
“Oh no, now I’ve got to get home!”
oh, now with two fun stories, it’d be hard to choose a favourite!!
I loved this, hope it becomes a book someday. Well done!
I enjoyed your entry! Good luck.
It’s a dangerous world for snails but love conquers all. I can picture Shelly’s slimy Valentine’s message. I enjoyed your story.
Some wonderful alliteration, and “Saul” mate is a clever pun! Good luck 🙂
I don’t think I’ve ever read a story about a snail! I like it!
What a brave little snail, I feared for her during her great adventure! Glad it was the leave that crunch! I wonder what happens on her way home!
Love this story-fun and clever!
Love this clever premise, catchy title, and the ending that made me chuckle!
This was so fun! Good job!
Loved “Saul-mate! 🙂
I was cheering for Shelly the whole way through (and hoping her trip back is safe!).
Hah! I like the fun sounds throughout…and cute twist of an ending too
Love the line Saul Mate! LOL! Good luck with this one too!
This great for reading out loud!
I gasped at CRUNCH, and that ending is hilarious.
Oh my goodness! What a perilous expedition, what bravery reached for and expended, all to leave a message…and then have to get home (without even seeing her Saul mate?!) Well done, Sue! 😊
Ooooh….does Shelly make it? Ha…very cute.
I love “Saul Mate”. Very cute! And love the ending!!!
Sue, (I almost wrote Shelly) this is great fun to read and I enjoy your whimsical alliteration! Good luck! I bet you can plump this up into a picture book! Go Shelly!
Brave Hearts – 210 words
by Jamie Donahoe
Rory looked up at the red, heart-shaped balloon stuck in the tree. The cast on his arm made him clumsy, had made him lose hold of the balloon. If it escaped from the tree, he could hear his sister saying, it would endanger wildlife and wreck the environment. It would also ruin his valentine plan.
Jake jumped off his skateboard. “Why so glum?” Heart aflutter, Rory pointed to the balloon. “It’s Valentine’s Day.” “Maybe I can help,” Jake offered. He hoped the answer was no; he was scared of heights. He really did not like climbing trees. He didn’t even enjoy jumping on trampolines. His heart sank as he heard, “That’d be great. Thanks.”
Jake took a deep breath and began to climb. He hoped Rory couldn’t see how terrified he was. The branches shifted and the balloon moved a bit, forcing Jake to take another deep breath and climb even higher. Stretching, he snagged the string, climbed down carefully without actually looking down, and handed Rory the balloon.
“Did you buy it for someone special?” Rory looked down at his sneakers, took a deep breath, and looked Jake straight in the eye. He hoped Jake couldn’t see how terrified he was. “Yes,” he said. ”I bought it for you.”
Great ending. I enjoyed your story. Jake was brave to climb that tree.
Awesome Jamie! Great message about friendship.
Aw, Jake was brave for Rory and Rory was brave for Jake. Love blooms:)
Sweet story 🙂
Love flies high! ❤
Nicely done! Great end. Good luck!
Thanks – good luck to you too!
You do a great job at putting us in their shoes.
Awww, so sweet AND brave!
This is so very funny!
Glad it made you smile.
By Brenda Whitehead
LINK TO BLOG POST (for a video bonus! :): brendawhiteheadwrites.com/post/a-valentiny-story-step-brother-battle
“Will you be my Valentine?”
His mommy LOVES my daddy’s line.
His mommy’s fine, but HIM? A PEST!
Always claiming HE’S the best!
Now BOOM! Today’s the wedding day!
A Valentine’s Day LOVE display.
So NOW, along with my new MOTHER,
Comes the MOST annoying BROTHER!
“Sis!” he calls, “You’re going DOWN!
Today I’LL win the wedding crown!”
“Oh no you won’t! You bear the rings,
But I’LL win with my flower flings!”
I HAVE to win the “aww’s” today,
So BROTHER (yuck!) will STAY AWAY!
But if HE wins? He gets my room!
I WILL NOT LET HIM BE MY DOOM!
The music starts and we prepare.
He grips his box, I fluff my hair.
But when he gets his marching cue,
He freezes up—what will he do??
At first I’m THRILLED! I’ve won it now!
But something rises up somehow.
I fight it, picking at my glove…
I move beside him, grab his hand.
“Let’s pretend we had this planned!”
Brave together, off we start.
New beginnings, beating hearts.
“Sis!” he goads, “My VALENTINE!”
I SOCK him in the Conga line.
“Okay, BROTHER, boogie down—
Let’s see who wins the DANCING crown!”
Daddy, mommy, me, the PEST.
Brand-new family. Love’s the BEST.
So apperently my copy/paste of the blog post link left off the https! Here it is again: https://www.brendawhiteheadwrites.com/post/a-valentiny-story-step-brother-battle
Yes. Love’s the best 🙂
Isn’t it? Thanks for reading! 🙂
Love the rhythm in your language and Sis’s change of heart. Such a great story!
Thanks, Armineh! 🙂
Sweet story! ❤
This is delightful! Love the Valentine’s wedding and new family love. Beautiful.
Thank you so much, Sarah! ❤
Ha! What a funny blended family story, Brenda! Love the wedding on Valentine’s Day.
Haha, thanks, Shannon! I was inspired by my own Valentine’s Day flower girl experience…talk about a wedding on theme! 😀
💛Great concept and fun rhyme!💛
Thank you, Dawn! ❤
Great fun story of step-sib rivalry! Love it. Good luck!
Thanks so much, Nancy!
I love a story about the bond between siblings, and I love how you showed that growing love in a blended family.
Thank you, Katie! ❤
This is adorable! I love the brother/sister love-hate relationship you painted so well! And all in rhyme… And exactly 214 words. Well done!
Thank you so much, Michelle! I definitely have an inside track on the big-sis little-bro relationship with my own little bro experience. 😉
Love the step-sibling love! Such a fun read!
Thank you, Audrey! ❤
I Woof You – 205 Words
by Debra Daugherty
While her teacher read to the class, Amelia glanced over at Oliver and sighed. He’s cute. I hope he gives me a valentine at the party tomorrow.
That night, Amelia addressed her valentine cards. She chose a special card for Oliver. It pictured a dog with the caption ‘I Woof You’.
The next day, Amelia slipped her valentines into her classmates’ mailboxes. She squirmed as she watched Oliver open her card. His reaction was not what she expected. He burst into tears.
He hates my valentine, but why?
Amelia handed her heart-shaped cookie to Oliver. “I’m sorry you didn’t like my card.”
“Huh? Oh, the dog one was from you?”
Amelia’s eyes flickered. “Yes, I thought you knew.”
“I don’t dislike it. My dog died last week. The dog on the card reminded me of him.”
“Oh, so that is why you cried?”
“You saw?” A huge frown covered Oliver’s face. “You must think I’m a big baby.”
“No, not a baby, brave. You’re not afraid to show your feelings.”
“Yeah, you’re right. I am brave.” He gave her half the cookie. “Thanks for the card. I woof you, too.”
Amelia wanted to shout and turn cartwheels, but took a bite of her cookie instead.
I wuv this! Good luck.
Ahhh! So sweet.
We always taught our boys it’s not weak to cry. I love that you’re sending that message here. Nice! Good luck with your story, Debra!
That IS bravery. Love the sweet ending.
Thank you, Sarah.
So touching. I woof it! Good luck!
That's really sweet!
I totally woof this! And I love the twist.
Thanks, Echo. I’m glad you liked it.
Thank you, David.
Debra, this is really sweet! Also a good message about not jumping to conclusions!
Thanks, Audrey, for this insightful comment. I’m glad you liked my story.
This is my corrected entry
My Valenchicken (209 words)
My Valentine gave me a gift
tied up with cotton twine.
‘Twas just a plain old cardboard box,
but how could I decline?
I heard some scratching and a cluck.
The box flew open then.
To my dismay and utter shock,
out popped a speckled hen.
I’d never told my one true love
I have a fear of fowl.
And so he wouldn’t notice it,
I quickly hid my scowl.
He’d built a little coop for her,
with wooden box to nest.
“You’ll get a tasty egg a day!”
This gift was not his best.
I thought I’d get a chocolate heart.
How could he stoop so low?
So truth be told, I’m really hurt.
I’ve lost my loving glow.
He ate his perfect gift from me,
and licked his chocolate lips.
Romance has finally flown the coop.
He needs some boyfriend tips!
I’ll bet she’s laid an egg by now,
that scary Valen-hen.
I reach for her, then chicken out,
but need to try again—
With trembling hands, I check for eggs,
but find a work of art.
Beneath her feathered chicken butt,
there lay. . . a perfect heart.
This really was a thoughtful gift,
and no distasteful joke.
For every day, my breakfast eggs
display a heart-shaped yolk.
A heart-shaped yolk every day! What a great ending. A special gift for a special person!
Thank you, Corine!
Cute, funny, and with a twist at the end. Love it!
Aw, I love the heart-shaped yolk! And I can relate to those questionable gifts!
Thanks, Colleen. I think every woman can!
Good humor and a surprise ending (and all in rhyme!) Well done, Glenda!
Thank you! So much!
Hilarious AND heartwarming! You’ve written such a clever and original Valentine’s poem, Glenda, which beautifully illustrates the unexpected rewards of overcoming one’s fears and seizing the egg.
Thanks a bunch!
I appreciate your kind words, Anne. Thank you!
Funny and clever! Definitely need to give the guy some boyfriend tips! Lol
Thanks! Most boyfriends could use some tips in the romance area.
Bah hah hah. I love this clever chicken-y tale!
Thanks so much, Nicole! I appreciate you.
So delightful and funny! Love the wordplay and ending image.
Thank you, Sarah! You and all my critique sisters are a blessing.
Funny, touching, and great rhyme. Good luck!
Thanks so much, Nancy!
That was a cute twist!
Thanks! I had so much fun writing it.
Wow, that’s one special chicken! Adorable story, Glenda, well done!
Thank so much!
Hahaha! Well done Glenda! I did not see where this going and laughed out loud. Also, “This gift was not his best.” made me laugh.
Thank you and yay! I thought it was hilarious, but you never know if someone else will.
I love it. It made me chuckle….or was that a cluckle. Good Luck!
A Neighborly Valentine – 212 words
by Meg King-Sloan
Sophie was at home on a snowy afternoon making Valentine’s Day cards to take to school. She used construction paper and a purple colored pencil and wrote notes to her classmates and teacher.
Sophie’s brother came in and asked, “Ready to make a snowman?” “No, I’m too busy.” She kept writing. Besides, their cranky next door neighbor, Mrs. Desmond, constantly complained about the noise they made and warned them “I’ll tell your mother.” She never smiled and Sophie and her brother tried to play as quietly as possible, even in February.
When Sophie finished her cards she still had a piece of construction paper. She could make one more and wondered who to give it to. Then she thought about Mrs. Desmond, who lived by herself. Would she want a card? Sophie decided to make her one and added a note, put on her jacket and walked next door. Before she started up the sidewalk she hesitated. Would Mrs. Desmond be angry? Sophie decided to be brave, walked up the steps and rang the doorbell.
Mrs. Desmond answered the door. “I made this for you for Valentine’s Day,” Sophie said politely. She heard Mrs. Desmond say, “Thank you.” Sophie looked up at her. She didn’t look cranky at all. She was smiling.
I can relate to this one, Meg! We had a cranky neighbor who used to yell if our ball went in her yard. We would freeze before running to get it. One day she called me over and gave me a pair of ice skates that were her daughter’s because she said I looked like her. It didn’t stop her from yelling at us when we went in her yard to retrieve items, but she wasn’t all bad! Nice story, Meg! Good luck:)
Thank you Colleen!
I think a lot of kids can relate to having a cranky neighbor. Good luck!
Thank you so much Rose!
Love Sophie’s bravery, the story’s sweetness, and the nice title.
Thank you Sarah!
I love Sophie’s thoughtfulness and bravery to make a card for the grumpy neighbor! Good luck!
Thank you very much Nancy!
Aww, sometimes people are cranky because they feel alone. I love how Sophie thought of making a card for Mrs. Desmond.
How brave of Sophie! I enjoyed reading this. Good luck!
Meg, this is lovely. I think we’ve all had that neighbor, but perhaps not eh bravery to reach out with kindness.
Oops! I spotted a couple of inconsistencies in my entry regarding capitalization. Here is the corrected version.
Crushed – 214 words
“Who’s your secret crush?” Fletcher said.
“Rosie,” Rover said.
“I like the way she moves.
Those lean black legs,
coated in fine hairs, and
that red stripe on her butt. Oh, and
her eyes! Have you seen her eyes!?”
“She’s dangerous,” Fletcher said. “Haven’t you heard?”
“Heard what?” Rover said.
“She doesn’t like boys,” Fletcher said.
“Tickle her the wrong way and she’ll eat you.”
“I don’t believe it!” Rover said. “Rosie?”
“Why don’t you tell her how you feel then?” Fletcher said. “I dare you!”
Rover’s legs shook as he crawled closer to Rosie’s web.
She was twice his size. But that didn’t stop him.
“What long legs you have,” said Rover.
“The better to catch you with,” replied Rosie.
“What lovely eyes you have,” said Rover.
“The better to watch you with,” replied Rosie.
“What big fangs you have,” said Rover.
“The better to pierce you with,” roared Rosie, as she leapt from the center of her web and chased him.
Rover ran, but tripped over an anchor thread.
At once he turned around, put his weight on his back legs and
raised his front legs in the air.
Then, Rover started to sing.
“Let me love you,
Let me love you,
Oh, baby, baby!”
“Ok then,” Rosie said, smirking.
U R BRAVE – 214 words
By Lindsey Hobson
“But I want to stay at the party!” Steven said when his mom picked him up early from school.
“I’m sorry… we can go for ice cream after your appointment.” she offered.
I always miss out on everything!
The doctor’s office waiting room was decorated with hearts and cheesy cherubs.
“Hi, Steven!” said the receptionist. “It will be just a few minutes.”
He flopped down in a chair by the TV, but it was playing the same movie as always.
Scanning the room, he noticed a little girl staring at him, wide eyed.
He touched his smooth head. He was used to people staring at him… well almost.
His mom squeezed his shoulder and whispered, “Remember how scary it was on your first visit?”
Steven nodded. That gave him an idea.
Opening his backpack, he shuffled things around until he found a nice clean sheet of paper.
He folded, unfolded, and folded it again until it was perfect…well, almost.
Then, he uncapped a marker and added the final touches.
“Steven? Dr. Roby will see you now.”
As he walked by the little girl, Steven handed her the homemade Valentine.
She opened it and smiled.
Inside was a heart with big block letters that said –
Awww! What a sweet story.
I love this heartwarming and poignant story!! ❤️
This one got me. What a sweet story. Thank you, Lindsey!
Thank you very much!
Such a heartwarming ending! Love how the main character is brave AND encourages someone else to be brave, too. Good luck!!
Thank you so much!
Oh, such a wonderful story with so many layers! I love it.
Very sweet. I love how you set the scene in the doctor’s office and the phrase “cheesy cherubs.”
Reminds me of my pediatric ICU nursing days. So sweet. And the ending is like the candy heart messages! Nicely done.
Thanks, Jill! Glad you liked it!
Oh, so sweet. Steven was so brave and caring. Good luck!
That one hits right in the feels, that’s such a sweet valentine ending.
Thank you ❤
Lindsey, this made me tear up (which I mean as a compliment, of course). 😉
Thank you Audrey. I’m glad you liked it 💕
If I Were Brave – 213 Words
by Rose Cappelli
Because it’s Valentine’s Day…
If I were brave, I’d tell Chloe I think she’s cool.
But I’m not brave, so I’ll just decorate this box with leftover Halloween bat stickers.
If I were brave, I’d make a humongous heart with rocks in her front yard.
But I’m not brave, so I’ll just draw a dinosaur (my specialty) for inside the box.
If I were brave, I’d buy her that big box of chocolates in the window of Campbell’s Candies and not eat any.
But I’m not brave (and I spent my allowance yesterday), so I’ll just add these two gummy worms.
If I were brave, I’d dig for diamonds in a deep, dark cave.
But I’m not brave, so I’ll just use this ring I got from the gumball machine.
If I were brave, I’d ask grumpy Mr. Marple for roses from his garden.
But I’m not brave (and it’s winter), so this insect wing I found last fall will have to do.
Because it’s Valentine’s Day…
If I were brave, I’d tell Chloe I think she’s cool.
But I’m not brave, so I’ll just leave this box by her back door.
And when Chloe lets Jasper out, maybe she’ll wave. And smile.
Then so will I…
…‘cause maybe I’m brave after all.
This is so good! Such great specificity and lovely sentiment!
I love how he used his imagination to fill the box with goodies. He is indeed brave. Well done.
This is so sweet, Rose! I loved the line about the insect wing. What a special box of treasures!
So cute, Rose!
Thanks, Heather! Ihadfun with it!
He is brave after all:)
Thanks for reading!
This is charming and delightful. I enjoyed the all the fun details.
Thanks, Sarah! Good luck!
I love the detailed pieces to this, Rose, and the parentheses! Such brave actions by this MC all along!
Thanks, Jen! Good luck!
Thanks so much for reading, Sara!
I got tickled at the ‘ideas.’ Made me smile. Nice work!
You really captured the kid-ness kindness and what is being brave. Good luck!
Thanks so much!
Great use of repetition, and the humorous asides (“and it’s winter”) really cracked me up.
Rose, this is the sweetest… so sentimental, so brave!
Thanks so much!
This is great and funny! Also, bat stickers make great and unusual valentine’s cards! 🙂
I love your sweet story, Rose! So brave 🙂
Elonso’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever
by Susan Drew
Little Elonso Rooster chewed on the end of his pencil. He didn’t have any ideas for the essay contest. The winner would be announced at the Valentine’s Day party.
First prize was a shiny heart medal. It was sure to impress Henny.
The henhouse was in an uproar!
A Big Red Fox! The most fearsome creature imaginable.
“Hey!” Elonso yelled before he even thought about it. “You get away from my friends!”
The fox turned slowly and looked at Elonso.
“You look delicious!”
Elonso backed up towards the door. “I AM delicious and I have nice juicy thighs!”
The fox’s eyes widened. He drooled.
Elonso edged in front of the open doorway. “I’m fabulous with gravy!”
The fox couldn’t take it anymore and lunged at Elonso.
Elonso jumped aside. The fox sailed through the opening. Elonso slammed the door and threw the bolt.
Breathing hard, he went back to his perch. His heart was beating too fast to write anymore. Elonso gave up. He hung his head dreamed of love.
At school the next day, Henny won the contest with her essay – How Elonso Rooster Saved The Henhouse. She pinned her shiny heart medal on Elonso. She gave him a peck on the cheek.
It was the best Valentine’s Day ever.
Love the action, excitement, and sweet ending.
I love that Elonso impressed Henny with his bravery and character over his writing skills! Great job! Best of luck!
Aww! Love the, “peck on the cheek!” Good luck!
Yay for Elonso!
Brave Elonso! Cute story. Great humor and sweet ending. Good luck!
Very gripping with a sweet ending. Nicely done.
Dibbles and Wiscowski: “A Cookie Valentine.” 187 Words
By Bru Benson
Dibbles saw them first; heart-shaped sugar cookies in the bakery window.
“I like chocolate chip cookies,” Wiscowski, her pet cow, said. “I like to dunk them in milk.”
“Let’s get both cookies! ” Dibbles said.
“Can I help you?” the baker asked.
“We want two Valentine heart-shaped cookies, please, one chocolate chip, and one sugar,” Dibbles said.
“That’ll be four cents,” said the baker.
Dibbles only had two cents. Not enough to buy both cookies.
“I can give him milk to eat with the cookies,” Wiscowski said, “Would that help?”
Dibbles looked at all the cookies again.
“How much is ONE cookie?” Dibbles asked.
“Two cents,” the baker scowled, tapping his fingers on the counter, “Well?”
Dibbles looked straight into the baker’s eyes.
“I’ll take the broken half of that sugar cookie and the broken half of that chocolate chip cookie to make ONE Valentine cookie,” Dibbles said,” then we both can have the cookie we like.”
“That was a brave Valentine’s Day idea,” Wiscowski said while Dibbles paid for the cookie.
Then Dibbles and Wiscowski dunked their half of the cookie in milk before eating them. YUM.
Dibbles is pretty smart!
Sweet ending and delightful characters.
Love your character names: Dibbles and Wiscowski! How clever! Best of luck!
Fun story and I love their names! Good luck!
What a sweet solution!
I wonder if Wiscowski is named after Wisconsin, that great dairy state.
Smart and sweet! Love it.
ONE BRAVE BALLOON (211 words)
by Susan Schade
A bright bunch of balloons celebrated Valentine’s Day at the zoo
with a special surprise.
A card to the kangaroo,
a love letter to the llama,
and chocolates to the cheetah.
They gave flowers to the flamingos,
cupcakes to the crocodiles,
and poems to the penguins.
The zoo was buzzing with happiness.
The balloons beamed!
they rounded the corner and spotted the porcupine cage.
Their spiny coats shimmered in the sunshine.
The balloons froze.
The sharp quills stood up like needles in the air.
The balloons starred with frightened eyes.
The porcupines smiled and waited.
The balloons tossed the cards, but they fell short.
They tried to float up and drop them, but the wind wasn’t blowing.
The porcupine smiles faded into frowns.
The balloons shrugged their shoulders.
Sad sobs echoed through the air.
The balloons slowly backed away.
one balloon whispered, “Everyone gets a valentine.”
The others gasped as he grabbed the cards.
He took a deep breath, and inched closer.
His knees knocked together with each slow step.’
He crawled into the cage and carefully handed out the hearts.
The balloons cheered, while the porcupines grinned.
“How about a hug?” they asked.
“No, thanks!” answered the brave balloon as he bolted back to the bunch.
This story made me smile. I like the creative premise and funny ending line!
Nice job with ‘initial consonance’; the visuals are so vivid. Well done.
One brave balloon made the best of a prickly predicament! Good luck!
The whole thing made me laugh.
LOVE balloons with shoulders and knees!! Very creative!
The Wibbler- 214 words
By Tracy Curran
Deep in the depths of the dark, dark fridge
something RED was wibbling and wobbling.
The birthday party was in full swing and SHE was to be the star of the show.
She could sing, she had great moves–easy peasy! But she just couldn’t do it!
Jelly had heard rumours about these birthday celebrations. There were murmurs from the sausage rolls and panic from the pizzas; something about the star of the show having a rather unhappy ending…
Jelly wibbled with confusion and wobbled with uncertainty. Everyone sounded happy. Shrieks of laughter floated outside the door. How bad could this be?
Jelly stopped her wibbling and stood FIRM. It was time to be brave!
But next door in the deep freeze, Ice-cream was having a MELTDOWN! She heard worried whispers…
“Be brave, Ice-cream!”
“Stop being drippy – no tears from the star of the show!”
Jelly quivered with delight. Ice-cream was the star of the show too! She didn’t have to face this alone.
It was time! The door flung open and hands reached in.
Jelly held FIRM. Next to her, Ice-cream appeared. He was frozen firm too except…one little drip dropped onto the plate.
Jelly nudged him.
“Don’t worry Ice-cream. We’re together. Time to be brave!
Besides, how bad could this be?”
Haha, cute take on it!
This is a fun premise and very funny ending!
Ha ha! Could get bad! Good luck!
How bad could it be indeed?
Fun wordplay! I love the standing firm and having a meltdown.
This is such fun – I love all the clever puns!
Brave Bonnie – 214 words
by Shannon VanStraten-Sundlass
“Best. Valentine’s Day. Ever!” thought Bonnie, practically floating across the gym to join Charlie’s Capture the Flag team.
Charlie was the smartest, nicest, funniest boy in class. Bonnie was too nervous to even smile at him.
Tweeeeeet! The whistle interrupted her daydreams.
“Game on!” She smirked and sprinted to her spot.
Zig, zag, zip! Bonnie was a flag-defending ninja master!
Twirl, twist, TAG! She captured those trying to take her team’s treasure.
Swoosh! Something speedy flew toward the flag.
Zig, zag, zip! He zoomed across the gym.
Twirl, twist… TAG! Charlie was captured!
Bonnie wanted to rescue him, but she was just a defender…
Defense was her thing. Defense was safe.
Bonnie plotted a perfect plan.
Zig, zag, zip! She zoomed across the gym.
Twirl, twist, TA-DA! She triumphed without being tagged!
“You’re free!” Bonnie smiled at Charlie.
Charlie smiled back.
Brrring! The bell interrupted and the students swiftly scattered.
All day Bonnie replayed the game in her mind, practically floating from class to class.
As she packed up, she noticed a red card resting above her hook.
Roses are red
our team flag was blue.
You saved me from capture
what a brave thing to do!
Your Grateful Valentine,
“Best. Valentine’s Day. Ever!” thought Bonnie, practically floating home.
“All day Bonnie replayed the game in her mind…” perfectly captures school crushes! Nice story, Shannon!
Great story, Shannon!! It’s such a fun setting for a Valentine’s Day story! I love Bonnie’s character and that she gets to practically float home with such a great day! 🙂
What a fun, sweet story! Love the action and happy ending.
Great job! I love all the action words. Good luck!
You packed a lot of emotions and motions into there and it read so smoothly.
Great use of onomatopoeia!
Aww. Action-packed and satisfying. Love the Zig, Zag, Zip refrain.
Great job, Shannon!
Super sweet and action-packed! I feel the crush!
What I love is that you showed “The Crush” through sports. It didn’t have a mushy feeling; it felt real. Good job!
Cute! I like that Bonnie used her skills to show her bravery.
What fun! Thanks!
By Linda Staszak. 207 words
Papa Cupid handed his bow and arrow to his son. “Here you go. I’m retiring.”
Young Cupid trembled. “I’m not ready. I can’t fly high ‘cuz I’m scared of heights, and my aim’s not good, and…”
“Just be brave,” Papa Cupid called as he flew away toward a warm beach.
“I can’t,” young Cupid whined.
Easter Bunny hopped by. “You can do it,” he said.
Cupid knew Bunny would help, but he only hopped—not good for bows and arrows.
The Tooth Fairy was a good flier, but he was too busy with teeth.
Santa’s elves were magical, but their recording said: “On vacation–call back in the spring.”
Cupid closed his eyes, wobbled into the air, and thunk—hit a branch.
“I can’t do this,” he said, and he threw down the bow.
“But you have to,” Bunny said. “It’s Valentine’s Day.”
“Be brave,” he whispered to himself.
He took a deep breath and flew his highest. He aimed and…
“Yip, yelp,” squealed a dog.
“Oh no,” Cupid cried.
But Bunny jumped and pointed. “You did it! You flew high, and look…”
The lost dog and a lonely boy had found each other.
Cupid beamed. “I am brave! I knew I could do it!”
Very clever and cute. I love how the other holiday animals urged him on.
Thanks for your kind words!
What a cute take on a story! It’s so fun having all the holiday symbols encouraging him on, well, except for the elves but they do need a vacation at some point!
So sweet! Love the inclusion of all the holiday friends. 🙂
I had so take the leprechauns out–too many words!
This story is delightful! Love the characters included and the sweet ending.
Thanks, this is always so much fun!
Very fun! Love the ending with the boy and dog. Good luck!
I love that cupid helped the boy and dog find the love of friendship!
Everybody can use some help sometimes! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sweet, nice surprise ending too!
A VALENTINE VISIT (206 words)
By Julie Maria
“Almost ready Bubbelah?”
“A little more glitter and….done!” Sarah closed the card. “I don’t know if I want to go. Can you give my card to Bubbie?”
Mom gave Sarah a squeeze. “Are you sure?…How about you come and decide later if you go in or stay in the hallway. Deal?”
Sarah chewed the inside of her cheek, “Deal.”
In the backseat, Sarah watched the trees and fields turn to sidewalks and buildings. They were getting close. Will Bubbie be happy and know who I am or will she be confused and cranky? Mom says she can’t help it, but it’s scary…Sarah took deep breaths to try and untie the knots in her stomach as Mom parked the car.
The smell of old books and cleaning supplies filled the foyer. She rubbed Bubbie’s card as she watched the number above the elevator doors. 4..5..6..DING.
Sarah breathed deeply. “Coming.”
“What do you think?”
“I’m going to stay here for now.” Sarah said as she handed Mom Bubbie’s card.
“Okay Bubbelah. Be back soon.”
Sarah tugged on her shirt…chewed her nail…’I really want one of her hugs’…peeked into Bubbie’s apartment.
“Happy Valentine’s Day Bubbie, sorry I’m late.”
Sweet story that will ring true for so many!
I’m happy Bubbelah found the courage to meet her Bubbie. I’m sure gran was delighted to see her.
Aw, this is sweet and an honest look at what a child must feel when their Bubbie changes.
What a heartwarming story Julie, good luck!
I’m so glad Sarah changed her mind in the end. I also wrote about a child scared about visiting a grandmother. I enjoyed reading your story.
I remember those nursing home stomach flutters, you did a great job capturing that feeling.
Nice. You portrayed this anxiety/fear very well. Good luck!
ENTRY POSTED FOR RACHEL
CUPID: THE LOVE FAIRY- 211 words
by Rachel Shupin
As dawn broke one February 14th long ago in Fairyland, young Cupid sprang out of bed, eager to discover his fairy job assignment. Fairy Godmothers would find magic wands in hand, Tooth Fairies would uncover tooth boxes under their pillows, and Forest Fairies would spot bows and arrows beside their beds.
“But, I’m not a Forest Fairy,” said Cupid, eyeing his new weapon.
“Don’t be silly,” his mother replied.
Cupid ventured into town where the fairy children gathered for training. He tiptoed past the Forest Fairies straight to the Fairy Godmothers.
After breaking seven magic wands while practicing his bippity-boppities, Cupid knew he was not a Fairy Godmother.
So, Cupid snuck into Tooth Fairy training.
After setting off every alarm while practicing breaking and entering, Cupid knew he was not a Tooth Fairy.
Cupid dragged his wings to the Forest Fairies.
“Cupid! You’re late for archery practice.”
“Is there a problem?”
“I’m not a Forest Fairy, sir.”
“HA! You have a bow and arrow. Use it.”
“Sir, weapons are not for me. I want to spread love…to….THAT’S IT!”
“Don’t be silly.”
Cupid held his bow and arrow close.
“I’m a Love Fairy,” Cupid said, then blew a kiss and fluttered away for the first ever Valentine’s Day.
Don’t put Cupid in a category! I love that he stood his ground:)
Pure sweetness! ❤
I always wondered how he became the Love Fairy! Good luck!
It’s great how even before he knew what he was he knew himself enough to know what he wasn’t. What a fun origin story!
BE BRAVE ON VALENTINE’S DAY: 214 words
By Sara Kruger
Penelope was decorating cookies with her grandma for her class Valentine’s Day party.
She was nervous. “What if everyone laughs at the Valentines I made?”
“Penelope Joy. Your Valentines are adorable! However, whenever I’m nervous, I practice being BRAVE.
Tell yourself you are BEAUTIFUL, and REMEMBER that all your friends have struggles. ADVOCATE for someone, by helping them yourself or getting a grown-up to help them. Be a VOICE for someone who has a hard time speaking up. And ENCOURAGE someone who is feeling down.”
The next day, as Penelope handed out her Valentines, one of her classmates snickered. But she remembered her grandmother’s words. She took a deep breath and reminded herself she was beautiful.
She looked around. All her classmates had struggles, which could be why they would laugh at her Valentines.
She saw Reggie reaching for something. “Ms Heart,” she said, “Reggie needs help.”
Then she noticed Clive trying to get the teacher’s attention. “Ms Heart, Clive wants you.”
Grace was alone in the corner. “What’s wrong?” Penelope asked.
“I forgot my Valentines at home!” Grace cried.
“I’m sure they were amazing,” Penelope said. “You can hand out my cookies, ok?”
Grace wiped her eyes. “Thanks, Penelope.”
Penelope finished passing out her Valentines and smiled. It felt good to be BRAVE.
Grandma’s lessons put to use! What a nice story:)
Penelope Joy spread the joy…and love. Sweet story. ❤
So sweet, Sara. I love Grandma’s lesson.
What a wonderful acronym for BRAVE! So sweet, good luck!
Such a sweet story. We need more people like Penelope!
A unique and sweet story! And what a kind soul Penelope is, loved it.
Love BRAVE. Very sweet story.
Oh so nice to think of others and helping yourself along the way! Good luck!
I love how she used grandma’s advise in her own way and even let someone else hand out the cookies, so sweet!
Operation Moonbeam – 213 words
By Simon Yeend
The floorboard creaked and he froze. His heart galloped, boom-boom-boom. He strained his ears to listen for any noise.
No movement. Good. No witnesses to deal with.
He reached the door he wanted and turned the handle. Slowly. He peeked inside. They were both asleep. The man, snoring. Gross!
He crept like a cat towards the bed. The room smelled of aftershave. Yuck! The package suddenly felt heavy in his hand. He gripped it tighter.
A shaft of moonlight lit up the woman’s face. She looked so peaceful. He couldn’t believe he was actually going to do this. And get away with it. His gloves itched. But he needed them. No sticky fingerprints. No proof.
He did it faster than he expected. Quiet. Efficient. No struggle.
He left the room as silently as he’d entered. His Baby Shark slippers making no sound on the carpet. He slid past the first door in the corridor. His little sister’s bedroom. Skipped past the next, his big brother’s. And into the familiar third door. He stepped carefully around his toy truck and hopped into bed. He cuddled Grizzlee, his favourite teddy. And rested his tired little head on his Spider-Man pillow. Spidey would have been proud. Mission accomplished. Mom’s secret Valentine’s Day heart-shaped cookie successfully delivered.
I was wondering where this was going! I love how it’s all dark and mysterious and then changes to the definition of childhood. Nice twist ending!
Thanks Colleen. Glad you liked it!
Sweet story! The “Baby Shark slippers” were a nice detail. 🙂
Nice use of the senses! AND onomatopoeia. You weaved in things that a child may relate to (Baby Shark, Spider-Man). Well done.
Very cute! Love the Baby Shark slippers. Fun. Good luck!
Love the tension building, building and then… wait sticky fingerprints? And then the reveal of the slippers. It captures a child’s thoughts so well!
A VALENTINE ROSE
by Daryl Gottier
GULP, Valentine’s Day was coming . . . fast!
Invitations were delivered.
Bleachers lined the cafeteria.
And Rosie had a lump in her stomach.
Her class was singing an I Love You song to their families.
Rosie had to walk in front of everyone with a big glittery heart.
She hadn’t raised her hand, she’d done just the opposite.
But she was the tallest so Mrs. Bain chose her.
All the guests would see the sign, which meant they would all see her.
At rehearsal she hid behind the sign and walked into Mrs. Bain.
She tried being invisible, Mrs. Bain noticed.
The night before the big day, Mom said, “It’ll be fine.”
Dad said, “You’ll be perfect.”
Her brother said, “You’ll probably trip.”
She hadn’t even thought about tripping, GULP!
She pretended to be sick.
She stayed awake so the morning wouldn’t come so soon.
It came anyway.
When Rosie got on the bus, she saw Lexi staring out the window.
“My mom can’t come,” she said when Rosie asked what was wrong.
‘I wish I didn’t have to look out and see she’s not there.”
Carrying the sign wasn’t so bad after all, thought Rosie.
She talked to Mrs. Bain.
Standing tall, Rosie and Lexi lifted the big, glittery heart together.
Kindness not only helped Lexi, but helped Rosie as well. I like this sweet story, Daryl! Good luck with the contest:)
I love the heart warming ending. I especially love how “helpful” her brother was! 😉
Love the character interactions and sweet ending.
Very sweet. I’m glad Rosie helped her friend. Good luck!
How wonderful that she didn’t just face her fear but was also able to reach out and help someone else. Lovely story.
The Ballad of Bad Bart – 129 words
by Carrie Boone
Bad Bart stares the sheriff down.
Tension crackles in the air
Bad Bart’s heart begins to quake.
Shadows in the clear blue sky.
Bad Bart stands
Lasso twisting in his hands
Bad Bart catches Sheriff’s eye.
Can he do it?
Deep breath in–nothing to it!
“Tell me, Sheriff Caroline,
Will you be my Valentine?”
Bad Bart’s stomach flips and flops
Bart’s high hopes begin to sag
Bad Bart’s dearest wish survives
to her cowboy
Words that fill his heart with joy:
“Put aside your life of crime–
Then I’ll be your Valentine!”
This is terrific!!!
Thanks! I’m stressing b/c somehow I lost a line break when I posted it. Hopefully everyone can see that it’s just a formatting thing.
Yes, Carrie, I’m sure everyone will know to blame it on wordpress! 🤣
I can feel the tension, and what a fun twist at the end! A setting and characters you wouldn’t normally associate with Valentine’s Day. Well done!
cute and oh, so clever!!
Such a fun story! I love it, Carrie. Great job!
This is so cute, Carrie! I love the format, the characters and the twist ending. “Put aside your life of crime-Then I’ll be your Valentine!” Awesome!
So clever and so funny! And it rhymes, too! So well done!
Sheriff Caroline, so original! And love her message, I h a fun read!
Thanks for the kind words!
Wait, I did not see that coming! Clever and unique, great job!
Thanks so much!
A great twist ending. This is terrific!
This story made me smile! Love the unique setting, cute characters, and delightful ending.
Aw, thank you!
This ‘Western’ twist is adorable.
Love this! Very unique! Good luck!
That’s great rhyme and rhythm!
Love the twist and that ending made me giggle 😀
My kids have been reading a few of the entries over my shoulder and this got a lot of laughter!
Aw, thanks! Glad your kids enjoyed it, too.
The Brave Little Seed (WC 211)
By: Michelle S. Kennedy
Once there was a little seed
who’d wake each day with hope.
“Is today my day to sprout?”
But sadly, it was— NOPE.
“How is it, that I do not grow?
I just don’t understand.”
And so, she sat there on the ground.
“This isn’t what I planned.”
A tree was hearing her complain.
“Hey Seed, your dream’s in vain!
To grow, you must go IN the earth,
and mix with dirt and rain.”
Little Seed exclaimed with “Ughs!”
“I’m scared of dark and bugs!
Of grime and slime, and most of all,
of WORMS and GERMS and SLUGS!”
Tree answered back and kindly said:
“I know you’re feeling dread.
But if you want to grow my dear,
Go underground instead!”
Little Seed had dreams to bloom.
And so, she dug her tomb.
She braved the dirt but stayed alert,
to keep from bugs and doom.
“Valentine’s is weeks away.
Goodbye, Tree! See you soon.
If I grow up a flower stem
you’ll see me sway and swoon!”
Days went by and rained poured down,
and seeped within the dirt.
Slowly, Little Seed came up—
a teeny, tiny spurt.
“Welcome back!” Tree said to her.
I knew you’d find your way!
How special that you chose to bloom
on Valentine’s today.”
Aw, I love the story of this brave little seed!
Thank you, Carrie!
Yay for Little Seed – she certainly grew in the story, in more ways than one! Nice job!
Thank you, Deborah!
Sweet little seed! Such a wonderful story! 🙂
Thank you, Susan!
I love this story, what a brave little seed–sometimes we have to get buried to grow!
Thanks Brenda! I’m glad you like it!
I love this sweet story, Michelle, especially all of your internal rhyme! A spurting seed is just what we need as we all look forward to spring!
Aw! Thank you, Jill!
“Dug her tomb” is an AMAZING line. Go, seed, go!
Thanks Jen! I had fun with this one!
Adorable characters and story with all the creepy, crawly, and charming feels! I love Little Seed’s outsize attitude (“NOPE.” LOL) and her very relatable fears, along with the friendly bond and banter between Tree and Seed.
Thank you, Anne!
Sweet story and creative main character!
Aw! Thanks Sarah!
Love the little seed! Loved worms and germs and slugs. Good luck!
Thank you, Nancy!
I love the imagery of having to face her fears and dig down in order to grow and mature!
Thanks so much, Katie!
Sweet story of learning and growing. And I love all the rhymes – great job!
Something I Want to Say – 204 Words
by Jeny Morales
Raúl es mi mejor amigo.
We trade toy cars and tacos,
share sandwiches and secrets,
find treasures and trouble,
make messes and memories.
Este día de San Valentín—
when everything shines pink like chicle
and smells sweet like mermelada,
I have something I want to say—
something I need to say.
And today might be the perfect day to say it.
I say it to Mami every morning.
I say it to Papi every night.
But is it okay to say it to a friend?
Under the pomegranate bush, my hands shake as
I pass Raúl the glittery red Corvette
he’s been eyeing for months.
“This is so cool! Is it for me?” he asks.
“It’s your favorite. It should be yours.” I say.
“Ay, gracias, Samuel.”
I can do this, I think.
My corazón beats like a wild drum.
“And I want you to have it because…
well, because…I love you.”
Beside us, a pomegranate plops to the ground.
Raúl looks at me with wide eyes.
Is it okay I said that?
“Yo también te quiero,” he says.
Relieved, I sigh. He smiles.
He drapes an arm around me and we head home.
Dos mejores amigos who love each other.
This was so lovely. I love when I get to experience other languages, and I appreciate that you didn’t italicize it. This is one of my favorites so far. Rooting for you!
Thank you so much, Mandi!
Much appreciated, Sarah!
Very soft and gentle story. Good luck!
Thank you, Nancy!
Aww, it’s so important to tell our friends we love them, I’m glad Samuel decided to do it.
Me too. I’m all for normalizing expressions of affection (especially between boys). Thanks for reading, Katie!
Beautiful written! ¡Me encanta!
STELLA & SPARKY AND THE LAST VALENTINE – 213 words
by Patricia Nozell
Stella and Sparky delivered Valentines to the library Ready Readers, to young patients at Cancer Care, and to wounded soldiers at the Veterans Hospital. When they finished, one card remained.
“Let’s give it to Mrs. Stinkenblum.”
“That grump never smiles!”
“That’s why she needs it!”
“But she lives on the other side of the valley.”
“Easy-peasy! I’ll nudge the paddock gate open. You sniff out the trail. We’ll cross the snowy fields, tiptoe past the wolf’s den, and be there in no time!”
“What’s that noise, like the snorting of…”
“Whew! That was close! But the rest should be easy-peasy.”
“Once I dig out of this snowbank.”
“What’s that noise, like the rumbling of…”
“Whew! That was close! But the rest should be easy-peasy.”
“Once we scale these boulders.”
“What’s that noise, like the growling of…”
“THE WOLF! RUN!”
“Whew! That was too close!”
“I. Give. Up!”
“But we’re so close. Be brave!”
“Look! Mrs. Stinkenblum’s house!”
“Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“What’s that noise?”
“Snorting? Rumbling? Growling?”
“With hairy arms!”
“Slimy red nose!”
“Stella! Sparky! It’s me, Mrs. Stinkenblum, in my furry robe, with such a bad cold. Ahhh-choo!
But this lovely Valentine is the perfect medicine. Thank you!”
Wide smiles spread across everyone’s faces.
Haha, poor Mrs. Stinkenblum! This is fun, good luck!
I love Stella and Sparky’s determination to get that valentine to Mrs. Stinkenblum! Not so easy-peasy after all! Fun story, Pat!
This is so much fun! Love the engaging voice throughout, the action, and the ending. And of course the names!
What a journey to Mrs. Stinkenblum’s house! Good job.
Even grumpy people need love! How nice of Stella and Sparky to go to such great lengths to deliver a card to Mrs. Stinkenblum. It made her forget all about her bad cold.
Cute and fun read. Great surprise ending! Good luck!
STELLA & HANK
By Nicole Loos Miller
Stella was the perfect cat:
She was loved by all,
Hank was the perfect dog:
He was loved by everyone…
Hank tried to win
And slobbery bones,
Even his favorite stuffie.
But Stella flattened her ears,
Wrinkled her whiskers,
And turned her tail.
When Hank came near,
Stella’s claws came out.
When Hank whimpered,
When Hank howled a love tune,
And when he tried to give her a bath…
Then, one February day,
She finally came back
With a big plastic collar
That went up instead of down.
Stella was sore,
And it broke Hank’s heart.
He gathered his courage,
And his bones,
And his stuffie.
He risked a HISS,
And a SMACK,
And even a SWIPE,
To put his offering at her feet.
Stella opened one eye.
She considered him closely.
Enough room for a large dog
(If he stayed very quiet).
Hank barely dared to breathe.
Stella started to purr.
It was the best Valentine’s ever
Because he spent it next to her.
I LOVE this, Nicole! Your cat depiction is spot on, and well, I love cats!
Thank you, Glenda! I love cats, too. Even the catty ones 😉
Nicole, I have 3 cats living with our epileptic dog, so I can relate to this. My female was fixed and when she came back home, Blacky licked her tummy. Well done.
Your descriptions were so spot on I can see them easily in my mind! Nice story, Nicole!
That’s lovely to hear! Thank you, Colleen!
What a great description of the small, telling details of their interactions!
Aww, so sweet, Nicole, great job with the voice! Good luck!
My favorite part–‘scooted to the right.’ Stella clearly made room for Hank (in her bed AND in her heart). Lovely.
What a sweet love story! Good luck!
Ahhh this is really sweet!
Untangled Valentines-179 words
By Janie Reinart
This Valentine’s day is
like my hair…
One last time,
from my sister—
a new red
in the hospital
to be her
of her hair
on her pillow.
we leave for
I promise her
—cross my heart—
I will hold
the whole time…
they tie her hair
My heart beats
of her soft curls
I clutch her hand.
her little head is …
I blink fast.
Her small mouth
into a half smile.
“Want to rub my head for good luck?”
I take off
my new headband.
“Better than that,” I say softly.
Your story is very touching, just beautiful.
Thank you, Patricia❤️
What a great last line, “I’m next.” I really enjoyed your story, Janie:)
Thank you, Colleen. I changed it several times and liked that one best.
Oh my goodness! I think I held my breath through most of that! Beautiful, story!
This is just beautiful, Janie! Two character being brave. You made me all teary. Lovely writing!
Beautiful Janie. Your story touches my heart and soul. Lovely lyrical language. ❤
Lyrical and lovely.
As a pediatric nurse practitioner, this resounded with me. Reminds me of my favorite patient. He was so brave (and never once did he make a comment about losing his hair). Nice title, too. Well done.
💛True testemony of sisterly love!💛
Wonderful story of bravery!
oh wow. so heartfelt.
So very sweet and touching. Good luck!
What a great beginning! This took my breath away. Your layout accentuated that further. Well done!
Now I’m tearing up, that was lovely.
This is wonderful, Janie!
THE WILDFLOWER – 214 words
By Ashlee Hashman
One bright day as the south wind blew,
a wildflower seed caught the breeze and flew.
She danced on the wind with a heart full of hope
till she came to a sign that hung from a rope.
“Gillingham’s Greenhouse: Order today!
Only two months until Valentine’s Day!”
She nestled herself down among the small sprouts,
but began to have deep and discouraging doubts.
The rude roses tittered “You don’t belong here!”
The catty carnations looked down with a sneer.
She watched as the other sprouts burst into bloom
and glared at her own tiny petals with gloom.
“The roses were right!” she said with dismay.
“No one wants wildflowers for a bouquet.”
But deep in her roots she clung to a thought:
“I’ve got something to offer the others do not.”
“You roses are classic and beautifully dressed.
Carnations, your colors are some of the best.
I know I’m not mainstream, that’s easy to see,
but I dare to be different. I dare to be me!”
With a twirl of pride, she presented herself
at the front of the store’s most popular shelf.
A woman came in the very next hour
and said, “What a fresh and wonderful flower!”
And so, by the end of that Valentine’s Day,
everyone wanted a wi