Be Brave, My Heart! – The 6th Annual Valentiny Contest Is Here!!!

[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

Valentinies rock

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
Author Name
(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:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using bravery and success in making us feel the bravery!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 😊
  7. 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!

(from Belcastro Agency’s website)

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!

Renee LaTulippe

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)

Dawn Young

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.

Kirsti Call

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)

Melissa Stoller

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction) from Becky Scharnhorst, author of the forthcoming MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)

Becky Scharnhorst

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)

Ellen Leventhal

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)

Rebecca Kraft Rector

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)

Julie Abery

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

Author Jenna Waldman

– 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)

  1. Not “IT” – Danielle Sharkan
  2. A Goosely Valentine – Danielle Sharkan
  3. Charlie and Sienna – A Friendship Story – Laura Roettiger
  4. Most Valuable Valentine – Anne Lipton
  5. A Valentine’s Day Quest in the Land of Moore – Gregory Bray
  6. Red-Green Valentine’s Day – Stephanie Amargi
  7. A One-of-a-Kind, Just-in-Case, Not-at-All-Pink Valentine’s Day – Amy Leskowski
  8. Love Is Stronger – Teresa Traver
  9. Valentine’s Gotcha Day – Jessica Hinrichs
  10. Carmela’s Valentines – Lu Pierro
  11. Bee Brave – Gennie Gorback
  12. Crushed – Corine Timmer
  13. Too Chicken – Sue Lancaster
  14. Shelly and the Path of Peril – Sue Lancaster
  15. Brave Hearts – Jamie Donahoe
  16. Step-Brother Battle – Brenda Whitehead
  17. I Woof You – Debra Daugherty
  18. My Valenchicken – Glenda Roberson
  19. A Neighborly Valentine – Meg King-Sloan
  20. U R Brave – Lindsey Hobson
  21. If I Were Brave – Rose Cappelli
  22. Elonso’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever – Susan Drew
  23. Dibble and Wiscowski: “A Cookie Valentine” – Bru Benson
  24. One Brave Balloon – Susan Schade
  25. The Wibbler – Tracy Curran
  26. Brave Bonnie – Shannon VanStraten-Sundlass
  27. Cupid, Junior – Linda Staszak
  28. A Valentine Visit – Julie Maria
  29. Cupid: The Love Fairy – Rachel Shupin
  30. Be Brave On Valentine’s Day – Sara Kruger
  31. Operation Moonbeam – Simon Yeend
  32. A Valentine Rose – Daryl Gottier
  33. The Ballad of Bad Bart – Carrie Boone
  34. The Brave Little Seed – Michelle S. Kennedy
  35. Something I Want To Say – Jeny Morales
  36. Stella & Sparky And The Last Valentine – Patricia Nozell
  37. Stella & Hank – Nicole Loos Miller
  38. Untangled Valentines – Janie Reinart
  39. The Wildflower – Ashlee Hashman
  40. The Color of Love – Allison Strick
  41. Puppy Love – Deb Buschman
  42. Super Brothers – Shannon Howarth Nelsen
  43. Brave For Gigi – Kelly Swemba
  44. Wannabe my Valentine – Cynthia Stacey
  45. Cupix – Bridget Magee
  46. U To The Rescue – Amy Heath
  47. Blob’s Valentine’s Wish – Deb Sullivan
  48. Violet & The Valentine’s Vampire – Sarah Meade
  49. Jana’s Valentine’s Visit – Sarah Meade
  50. Mole & Miss Vole on Valentine’s Day – Sarah Meade
  51. A Valentine’s Mouse In Our House – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
  52. Will you be my ninja – Elizabeth Meyer Zu Heringdorf (2 entries in one comment)
  53. Grouchy Grover – Rebekah Hoeft
  54. Brave In A Cave – Cedar Pruitt
  55. Cardy’s Valentine Story In All Its Glory – Sally Yorke-Viney
  56. My Kind of Valentine! – Megan France
  57. Lavender Buzz – Vicky Langdon
  58. Love Sick – Abi Island
  59. Be Brave! – Lisa M. Clewner-Newman
  60. I’m Not Afraid – Patricia J. Franz
  61. The Girl With The Candyfloss Hair – Simon Yeend
  62. Valentine’s Day on Halloween Hill – Abby Wooldridge
  63. W-R-I-T-E For Each Other – Elizabeth Muster
  64. Olive You Forever – Ann Ferrello
  65. The Pink Pro – Kelsey Gross
  66. Brave Brave Brave – David McMullin
  67. The Witch of Valentine Lane – Marietta Apollonio
  68. Gordon’s One-Footed Hop – Kelsey Gross
  69. Charmadillo – Lauri C. Meyers
  70. “Soon” – M.R. Haqq
  71. More Than Cookies – Halley M. Cormack, LCSW
  72. Fishing For Love: A DIARY – Amy Olsen
  73. The Lost Valentine – Jeannette Suhr
  74. Brave New Friends – Dawn Young
  75. Scaredy-Cat – Danielle S. Hammelef
  76. Hard To Love – Robin Currie
  77. Brave Hearts – Susan Klaren
  78. Across The Road – Rachel Dutton
  79. Knight of Hearts – Ellen Crosby
  80. Tootsee Tulip Bulb’s Love-Treat – Judy Caldwell Hughes
  81. Brave in the Basement – Jessica Whipple
  82. Caleb’s Heart – Anne Bromley
  83. Corn Dogs on the Corner – Colleen Dougherty
  84. Brave Heart – Rebecca Gardyn Levington
  85. Knock, Knock, Knock – Marty Findley
  86. Villain-tine’s Day – Laura Bower
  87. Take A Deep Breath – Elyse Trevers
  88. Only Three Words – B. A. Schlosser Hill
  89. A Stolen Valentine – Martha Holguin
  90. Class List – Elizabeth Volkmann
  91. Cards and Cookies – Jennifer Reichow
  92. Chalk Tears – Judy Brewer
  93. Nurse A Broken Heart – E. Elle Bea
  94. Bravely Soldier On – E. Elle Bea
  95. New Kid Blues – Darcee A. Freier
  96. Valentine’s Recitation – Keely Leim
  97. Mama Love. Dada Love. – Nancy M. Tichenor
  98. A Valentine’s Treasure – Ingrid Boydston
  99. An Itsy Bitsy Valentine – Maria Antonia
  100. Dino & Gigi – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  101. Hearts Trail – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  102. The Giant’s Valentine – Sheila M. Hausbeck
  103. The Loneliness Street – Nina K. Brown
  104. Brave Little Valentine – Charlotte Dixon
  105. Playdate – Margaret Aitken
  106. Octopus Hugs – Chambrae Griffith
  107. Conversation Heart Courage – Becky Kimbrough
  108. My Friend Nate – Karima Davis
  109. Jojo’s Valentine – Sarah Hawklyn
  110. “I Like You A Lot” – Julie Schnieders
  111. Unconventional Friendship – Sarah Hawklyn
  112. The Flavors of the Heart – Armineh Manookian
  113. The Candybot – Ellen Seal
  114. An Otter Love Story – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  115. Floret And The Fondue – Ashley Sierra
  116. Be Brave, Be Kind, My Valentine – Susan E. Schipper
  117. Cupid’s Booty Camp For BabyBoo – Ally Enz
  118. Playing To Win – Norah Colvin
  119. Super Special Valentine – Aundra Tomlins
  120. A Brave Change of Heart – Amy Nicolai
  121. Sarla Asks A Question – Sandhya Acharya
  122. A Trail of Ketchup and Mustard – MeiLin Chan
  123. Juliet and Romeo: Verona’s Valentine’s Celebration – Cristina Raymer
  124. A Little Atom – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez
  125. Oscar Octopus Plants A Garden – Isabel Cruz Rodriquez
  126. My Bestest Friend – Roberta Abussi
  127. My Every-Day-Valentine – Roberta Abussi
  128. Sarah’s Valentines – Rachel Zimmerman Brachman
  129. Lemur In Love – Sarah McDermott
  130. A Cocoon of Love – Jyoti Rajan Gopal
  131. Eggbert – Charlie Bown
  132. A Valentine For Mom – Patricia Martin
  133. Becca’s Brave Hearts – Marty Bellis
  134. Little Truck’s Daring Delivery – Kristin Kolp
  135. The Valentine On My Shoe – Catherine J. Lee
  136. No More Pink – Robin Currie
  137. Shiny Sharp Scissors – Katie Fischer
  138. Valentine Love Languages – Jaymie Dean
  139. Val & Jack – Karen Keesling
  140. Brave Heart – Tonnye Fletcher
  141. Valentine Delivery – Katie Brandyberry
  142. Apple Pie: Valentine’s Day Treat – Sarah Skolfield
  143. Brave Little Friends – Judy Sobanski
  144. Lone’s Very First Day – Jennifer Reinharz
  145. The Monster’s Valentine Buffet – Kelly Conroy
  146. Freddie Frog’s Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
  147. A Simple Valentine – P. J. Purtee
  148. The Wonky Heart – Stacy Burch
  149. Roses From Valentina – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  150. A Natural Valentine’s Day – Sharon McCarthy
  151. Miss Hedgehog’s Valentine Mission – Amy LaMae Brewer
  152. Blown Away – Diana Webb
  153. Zooming Valentine’s Day – Susan VandeWeghe
  154. Snack Attack – Melisa Wrex
  155. Heart Hands – Sarah Heaton
  156. Bigfoot’s Valentine – Kirsten Leestma
  157. Geronimo! – Lydia Loeber
  158. The Most Terrible, Awful, Icky Valentine Ever – Melissa Trempe
  159. Babies Share Bedrooms – Kristi Newsome
  160. 214 St. Valentine Way – Tracy Anderson Martin
  161. Six Secret Valentines – Una Belle Townsend
  162. The Bees and the Birdss – Paul Kurtz
  163. Someone Special! – Paul Kurtz
  164. Zombie My Valentine – Donna Kurtz
  165. The Owl and the Kitty-Kat – Donna Kurtz
  166. No Pictures! – Diane S. Scotti
  167. Blue Flower – Mary Warth
  168. New Line Valentine – Marcia Parks
  169. Leo Lionhearted – Jill Lambert
  170. Bravery Is From The Heart – Sophia Zafra
  171. A Heavenly Visit – Deborah Dolan Hunt
  172. The Bird And The Cat – Beth Winslow
  173. THE Valentine Question – Kate Rehill
  174. How To Be Valentines (With A Boa Constrictor) – Mary Noon
  175. Desi’s Daring Delivery – Darci Nielson
  176. New Best Friend – Sherri T. Mercer
  177. The Gift Tree – Ciara N M Greenwalt
  178. One Shot – Dazzle Ng
  179. Fuzzy Bum – Stacey Miller
  180. Arrrrr Is For Valentine – Sara Ackerman
  181. Valentine’s Day Rocks – Samantha Haas
  182. Cyrus The Bold – Patricia Corcoran
  183. Saying What I Really Mean – Nina Nolan
  184. Mr. Grumpy’s Valentine – Anne Sawan
  185. Heart Shaped Everything – Rathi Munukur
  186. You Can Do This Jonathan! – Martina Palkovicova
  187. Caveman Valentine – Jennifer Lowe
  188. Percy’s Valentine – Nancy Derey Riley
  189. Brave Hearts – Mary Rudzinski
  190. Legendary Valentine – Audrey Day-Williams
  191. In Front Behind – Diana Webb
  192. A Punny Valentine – Linda Staszak
  193. Love is an Ocean Away – Kimiko Wadriski Lumsden
  194. Valentine’s Day Rescue – Brigid Finucane
  195. Mission: Cancel Cupid Call – Kalee Gwarjanski
  196. The Valentine’s Quest – Karyn Curtis
  197. Seeking Courage – Bonnie Kelso
  198. Valentina and Valentino – Claire Lewis
  199. Will You Bee My Valentine – Ranessa Doucet
  200. A Valentine Ski – Clara MacClarald
  201. Dance Like An Eagle – Jyothi Nookula
  202. A Gift For Abuelo – JC Kelly
  203. My Tummy Valentine – Janice Kay Alexander
  204. Elijah and the Valentine – Susan Twiggs
  205. Assortment Phobia – JC Kelly
  206. A Beastly Valentine – Steve Jankousky
  207. A Valentiny for ME! – Karima Davis
  208. Friendship Cake – Dea Lenihan
  209. Be My Valentine – Liz Kehrli
  210. Love Story – Liz Kehrli
  211. Love Birds – Lisa Lee Furness
  212. Mr. Grumpy – Mary A. Zychowicz
  213. Feep and Meep – Echo Roben
  214. The Cave of Utter Darkness – Bill Canterbury
  215. Yellow Like A Mango – Imelda Taylor
  216. Melanie’s Back! – Shari Della Penna
  217. All About Heart – Anna Lunt
  218. Tilly’s Great Big Heart – Amy Flynn
  219. Insiya’s Valentine – Aditya Simha
  220. Corazon Does Not Cliff Jump – Kate Rehill
  221. We’re Still Brave! – Kelly Coutsoubos
  222. The Cupcake Who Dared To Be Different – Susanne Whitehouse
  223. 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!!!

  1. Danielle Rae (@DaniraeShark) says:

    Danielle Sharkan
    Not “IT”
    WC: 211

    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.
    Charlie barks.
    The hawk glares at him.
    Her ravenous eyes widen at the prospect of a heartier meal.
    Charlie whimpers.
    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.
    Charlie whines.
    He returns to the children,
    his heart heavy,
    but grateful,
    that this time
    he is not

  2. Danielle Rae (@DaniraeShark) says:

    Danielle Sharkan
    A Goosely Valentine
    WC: 214

    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.

  3. Anne Lipton says:

    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.

  4. Gregory E Bray says:

    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
    (208 words)

    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.

  5. stephamargi says:

    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.
    Especially chocolate.

    But the red hearts,
    red streamers,
    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.

    Someone knew!

    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.”

  6. Amy Leskowski says:

    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!”

  7. Teresa Traver says:

    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.”

  8. Jessica Hinrichs says:

    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.


  9. Pierro Lu says:

    Carmela’s Valentines
    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!”

  10. Gennie -Jenny with a G- Gorback, M.Ed. (@GennieGorback) says:

    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:

    Bee Mine
    by Bartlebee

    BEE Mine.

    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
    by Shelbee

    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.

  11. Sue Lancaster says:

    By Sue Lancaster
    213 words

    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!”

  12. Sue Lancaster says:

    By Sue Lancaster
    210 words

    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…”


    Oh no…!

    “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!”

  13. Jamie Donahoe says:

    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.”

  14. Brenda Whitehead (@BrendaW_Prof) says:

    By Brenda Whitehead
    214 words

    LINK TO BLOG POST (for a video bonus! :):

    “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!

    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…
    But NO.
    It’s coming.
    I feel…

    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.


  15. Debra Daugherty says:

    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.

  16. Glenda Roberson says:

    This is my corrected entry

    My Valenchicken (209 words)
    Glenda Roberson

    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.

  17. Meg says:

    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.

  18. Corine Timmer says:

    Oops! I spotted a couple of inconsistencies in my entry regarding capitalization. Here is the corrected version.

    Crushed – 214 words
    Corine Timmer

    “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.
    Rosie froze.
    Then, Rover started to sing.
    “Let me love you,
    Let me love you,
    Oh, baby, baby!”
    “Ok then,” Rosie said, smirking.

  19. Lindsey Hobson says:

    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.

    Steven sulked. 

    I always miss out on everything!

    The doctor’s office waiting room was decorated with hearts and cheesy cherubs. 

    Steven scowled.

    “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.

    Steven sighed. 

    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 –

    U R 


  20. rosecappelli says:

    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.

  21. susandrewwrites says:

    Elonso’s Best Valentine’s Day Ever
    by Susan Drew
    214 words

    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.

  22. readmybook2002 says:

    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.

  23. Susan Schade says:

    ONE BRAVE BALLOON (211 words)
    by Susan Schade

    A bright bunch of balloons celebrated Valentine’s Day at the zoo
    with a special surprise.
    They delivered…
    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.

  24. LittleCornishWriter says:

    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?”

  25. Shannon VanStraten (@MsV_writes) says:

    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.

    But… Charlie…

    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.

  26. Linda Staszak says:

    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.”
    Cupid sighed.
    “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!”

  27. Julie Maria (@juliemariabooks) says:

    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.

    “You coming?”

    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.”

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    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.”

    Cupid froze.

    “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.

  29. savoringeverymoment says:

    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.

  30. Simon Yeend (@SimonYeend) says:

    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.

  31. Daryl Gottier says:

    by Daryl Gottier
    214 words

    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.

  32. Carrie Boone (@PageDoor) says:

    The Ballad of Bad Bart – 129 words
    by Carrie Boone

    High noon
    Western town
    Bad Bart stares the sheriff down.

    Empty street
    Dusty square
    Tension crackles in the air

    Spurs jangle
    Fingers shake
    Bad Bart’s heart begins to quake.

    Buzzards fly
    Shadows in the clear blue sky.

    Down below
    Bad Bart stands
    Lasso twisting in his hands

    Palms sweaty,
    Mouth dry,
    Bad Bart catches Sheriff’s eye.

    Hesitation –
    Can he do it?
    Deep breath in–nothing to it!

    “Tell me, Sheriff Caroline,
    Will you be my Valentine?”

    Buzzards pause
    Wind stops
    Bad Bart’s stomach flips and flops

    Sheriff frowns
    Seconds drag
    Bart’s high hopes begin to sag

    Sheriff brightens
    Hope revives!
    Bad Bart’s dearest wish survives

    Sheriff says
    to her cowboy
    Words that fill his heart with joy:

    “Put aside your life of crime–
    Then I’ll be your Valentine!”

  33. Michelle S. Kennedy (@MichelleSKenned) says:

    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.”

  34. Jenny Larson Morales says:

    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.”
    “You’re welcome.”

    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.

  35. ptnozell says:


    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…”
    “BISON! RUN!”

    “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!”

    “Gaping mouth!”


    “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.

  36. Nicole Loos Miller says:

    By Nicole Loos Miller
    (212 Words)

    Stella was the perfect cat:
    And charming,
    And oh-so-soft.

    She was loved by all,
    Especially Hank.

    Hank was the perfect dog:
    And drooly,
    And oh-so-playful.

    He was loved by everyone…
    Except Stella.

    Hank tried to win
    Stella’s affection
    With rope-pulls,
    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,
    Stella SMACKED.
    And when he tried to give her a bath…

    Poor Hank.

    Then, one February day,

    She finally came back
    With a big plastic collar
    That went up instead of down.

    Stella was sore,
    And sad,
    And sleepy,
    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.

  37. Janie Reinart (@smile73777) says:

    Untangled Valentines-179 words
    By Janie Reinart

    This Valentine’s day is
    like my hair…

    One last time,
    I brush
    my bangs.

    Put on
    the gift
    from my sister—
    a new red

    She’s been
    in the hospital
    a lot.

    My sister
    no one
    will want
    to be her

    My sister
    no one
    will think
    she is

    of her hair
    fall out—
    on her pillow.

    we leave for

    I promise her
    —cross my heart—
    I will hold
    her hand
    the whole time…

    they tie her hair
    into ponytails.


    Then clippers

    My heart beats

    What’s left
    of her soft curls

    I clutch her hand.

    In minutes
    her little head is …

    I blink fast.
    my eyes
    And swallow

    Her small mouth
    into a half smile.
    “Want to rub my head for good luck?”

    I exhale.

    I take off
    my new headband.

    The words

    “Better than that,” I say softly.
    “I’m next.”

  38. ashleehashman says:

    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