[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!!!”
VIOLET & THE VALENTINE’S VAMPIRE
By Sarah Meade
Violet Monster invited everyone to her Valentine’s party.
Except . . . her new neighbor.
He gave Violet the skeevy-creepies.
Nobody knew his name, but his initials were on his mailbox: V.V.
He was mysterious.
And scary, even for a monster.
Violet’s Valentine’s party really ROCKED.
But Violet felt the skeevy-creepies.
The lights flickered.
“WHAT’S HAPPENING?” Violet screeched.
The music stopped.
The other monsters stared.
Violet shook with shock. “Who did this?”
Someone stepped into the light.
Violet gasped. “Vampire!”
“It’s Vincent,” he said. “I don’t DO Valentine’s Day.”
He wink-blinked and —
“V.V. must stand for VALENTINE’S VAMPIRE,” said Violet, “because he’s trying to suck the FUN out of February fourteenth!”
She stomp-tromped next door.
When she passed V.V.’s mailbox, she gave it a good kick.
Something fluttered out.
She picked it up.
Nope, a birthday card.
Today was Vincent’s birthday?
Violet took a deep breath . . .
The door opened.
“It’s your birthday?” Violet asked.
“Yep.” Vincent groaned. “I never get a birthday party.”
“I’m sorry,” Violet said.
Violet smiled. “How about I throw you one?”
For the first time since Vincent moved in,
Violet didn’t get the skeevy-creepies.
She felt the fluffy-fuzzies.
“Happy birthday, Vincent Valentine!”
“He sucked the fun out of February 14th!” Hahaha. Love it, Sarah!
Thank you, Glenda! 🙂
Loved this. She felt the fluffy-fuzzies.
Love the skeevy-creepies! What a fun story!
“Skeevy-creepies” and “fluffy-fuzzies” makes me smile! Another delightful story. I love the sense of mystery — it really helps build tension. Valentine’s Day and a birthday party = a winning combination for kids!
Thank you, Kelsey! I had fun with those words.
I love any Valentine’s Day story that ends with fluffy fuzzies! Nice work and Happy Heart Day!
Thank you, Becky! You too!
“Skeevy-creepies” awesome! Love it:) I like your different approach to Valentines Day, a vampire! Nice!
Thank you, Colleen!
So much fun wordplay and I love the holiday crossover! I adore the empathy component and start of a new friendship too!
Oooh, I love the idea of “holiday crossover!” Thank you, Nicole.
I’m clearly not alone when I say your vocab – skeevy-creepies, stomp-tromped, fluffy-fuzzies – rocks, like Violet’s Valentine’s Party! Love the cool vibe!
Thanks so much, Deb!!
A great story arc and great use of language – I love it!
Thank you so much, Claire!
I feel for Vincent. It’s awkward to share one’s birthday with Cupid. I’m glad Violet turned her Valentine’s party into a birthday party for her new-found friend. He wasn’t so scary after all!
Thank you, Corine!
What a sweet ending! No more sucking the fun out of Valentine’s Day! Good luck!
Aw, poor Vincent- love how he “sucked” the fun out!
🙂 Thank you!
This is so good, Sarah!!
Thank you, David!
Such a creative story!! You build up the tension and then surprise us with a sweet ending–well done! And I really love your descriptive words! The “skeevy-creepies” and the “fluffy-fuzzies” are going to be a thing now!
LOL Thank you, Kristy! That makes me feel the fluffy-fuzzies. 🙂
JANA’S VALENTINE’S VISIT
By Sarah Meade
Mom sings along to love songs on the radio as she drives.
Jana stares down at her sparkly red fingernails.
They match her Valentine’s Day dress.
She thinks about last time,
even though she doesn’t want to.
How scared she’d been.
The strange smells,
She doesn’t want to go back there today.
When the car stops,
Jana feels her breath catch.
“I’m scared,” she whispers.
“I’ll be with you,” Mom says.
Jana carries her valentine in shaking hands.
up the sidewalk,
through the sliding doors.
The strange smells,
She slides behind Mom,
tries not to breathe,
Outside Gram’s room, they pause.
“See? You’re OK,” Mom says.
Jana nods, her face hot.
She goes to Gram’s bed.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she whispers.
Gram’s same small smile.
Jana places the valentine in Gram’s hands.
“Thank . . . you,” Gram murmurs.
She grabs Jana’s hand and squeezes.
“Pretty. . . nails,” Gram whispers.
Jana smiles. “Sparkly red like valentines. It’s your favorite holiday.”
“Gram?” Jana says. “Want me to paint your nails, too?”
Gram’s face lights up.
Jana’s hands don’t shake at all as she begins to paint.
So tender and sweet!
This one is my favorite of yours, Sarah! You transported me to the hospital/palliative care unit.
Thank you, Glenda!
Afraid of the changes and the loss of Gram but finds a way to make Gram smile. What a sweet story, Sarah!
Thank you, Colleen!
Oh my! Now I’m in tears. You packed so much emotion in so few words. So heartfelt…and brave. Kudos!
Thank you so much, Rose! I appreciate your kind words.
Such a sweet, poignant story, Sarah, with such believable and well written emotion for Jana. A scary, sad situation that she faced with courage. I love the ending – just right. Not such a turn-around that it feels too easy, but enough that it’s clear how much better they both feel, how much this means to them. Nicely done 😊
Thank you so much, Susanna! I appreciate your specific feedback and kind words.
What a tender story, Sarah – I felt Jana’s anxiety on the car ride to see Gram…such relatable emotions. Wonderfully uplifting ending too.
Thank you so much, Deb! I appreciate your kind comments.
Oh my goodness. THIS one. What a sweet moment you’ve created.
Thank you, Shannon!
Very sweet. You captured Jana’s emotions so well! Good luck!
Thank you so much, Nancy!
So very touching! I love the love we feel between Gram and Jana…you’ve done this in so few words too! Well done!
Thank you so much, Molly!
Total “aww” ending. Love this celebration of love.
I appreciate your kind words.
How lovely, Sarah!
Thank you 🙂
You capture all the feels so beautifully!!! I love the part where Gram’s face light’s up and Jana’s hands stop shaking as she paints her nails–what a great moment.
Thank you so much for reading and for your kind words, Kristy!
Mole & Miss Vole on Valentine’s Day
By Sarah Meade
Mole liked slow strolls, quiet gardens, casseroles (nothing too spicy), and . . .
his new neighbor, Miss Vole.
Every day Mole waved as he strolled past her home.
One morning Miss Vole squealed, “Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day!”
Mole paused. “Oh?”
“Let’s meet and share things we LOVE!”
Mole nodded and headed home.
That night he worried.
What did Miss Vole love?
Would she like HIM?
The next day Miss Vole arrived with —
“Roller skates?” Mole murmured.
“I LOVE skating!”
“Race you down Holiday Hill!” Miss Vole cried.
Mole’s heart hammered.
“Too fast,” he called.
“I LOVE bowling too!” Miss Vole said.
At Bowl-a-Rama . . .
Mole’s ears rang.
“Too loud,” he said.
“Let’s have lunch!” said Miss Vole.
At Miss Vole’s house, she asked, “Do you love . . .
“Yes!” Mole cried. “Do YOU?”
“The spicier, the better! Have some.”
His paws shook.
He opened wide . . .
“Sorry,” he said. “Too spicy for me.”
Miss Vole smiled. “What else do YOU love, Mole?”
In the garden, Mole picked a bouquet.
“I LOVE it!”
Mole’s heart hammered in a different way.
“Want to try skating again tomorrow?” he asked. “No hills?”
“I’d LOVE to!”
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Miss Vole!”
Aw, I was thinking Mole was going to lose out but you found a way to bring them together! I liked the story, Sarah!
Thank you so much, Colleen!
I love the character voices and how they found a way to have fun together that they could both enjoy!
Thank YOU for the “No hills?” suggestion! Your help is invaluable!
It’s all about compromise, right? I was rooting for Mole!
Right! 🙂 Thank you for reading, Rose.
Aww, so cute, Sarah! Sometimes opposites make the perfect complement to one another!
Thank you, Brenda!
Mole is a very endearing old soul….love his relationship with the fiery Miss Vole!
Your comment made me smile. Thank you, Deb!
Mr. Mole is a darling! I love how you let us get to know him in such a short amount of time!
Thank you so much, Rebekah!
So sweet and creative! I love the part where Mole picks a bouquet! I’m also craving a spicy casserole now. . . .
Thank you, Kristy! 🙂
Very sweet story! I’m glad they both found something in common! Yay Mole!
Thanks for reading, Michelle!
This is such a sweet story!
Any story with skating in it wins my heart! Very cute. Good luck!
So very cute! I love the opening…it totally sounds like Mole’s online dating profile! Haha! So adorable!
Molly, your comment made me LOL! Thanks for reading.
Adorable! Love the compromise while staying true to themselves. 🙂
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Such a delight!
Thank you, David!
Mole is so sweet. I’m glad he got to spend some time with Miss Vole in a way that was a little more his speed.
Thank you so much!
Dear Susanna: I hope you are feeling better. I was unusually prolific this week, so here are two entries. Looking forward to reading everyone’s stories!
Entry 1: A Valentine’s Mouse in Our House
Just as they were finishing the Valentine’s chocolates,
Leroy the cat came slowly inside with his head down.
“Look!” shouted Lara. “Leroy has a mouse!”
Leroy dropped it on the floor,
and it ran straight under the cabinet!
Papa and Lara shone a flashlight underneath, but no mouse.
“She’s hiding!” said Lara.
“How do you know it’s a girl?” asked Papa.
“I just know,” said Lara. “And her name is Trixie.”
Just as they finished taking the cabinet apart…
Surprise! Trixie ran out from under the cables.
Papa clapped the empty chocolate box over her.
“Now, when I pick the box up, grab her by the tail.”
“Oh, Papa, I can’t! I’m scared.”
“She won’t bite. Try it.”
He counted to three and lifted the box,
and there was little brown Trixie, very still.
Lara quickly reached down and then pulled back her hand.
She tried again but jumped when Trixie quivered.
The third time, she got closer and got Trixie by the tail!
Lara ran outside and put the mouse on the grass.
“Go, Trixie! You’re free now!”
Trixie skittered into the woodpile, taking a little bit of Lara’s heart with her.
So Lara sent a farewell Valentine – a reminder to be polite.
“You’re welcome, Trixie!”
And from the woodpile came a squeak.
Entry 2: Will you be my ninja?
Everyone in Paul’s class was drawing a valentine for someone else. Paul wanted to give his to Kelly, the boy who sat near him. As he thought about doing it, he felt strange. But it felt right to him too. So he decided to do it, but keep it a secret.
A pink valentine seemed wrong for Kelly, so Paul grabbed the nearest blue crayon. With a shaking hand, he traced a ninja and a heart on the cover.
He didn’t sign it. He flicked it onto Kelly’s empty chair. Then he ran into the bathroom.
As he crept back into his seat, he heard, “Who gave this to me?”
He peeked up and saw Kelly, who smiled and waved the card at him. “Look!”
The smile drew Paul out of his chair. He pointed to himself.
Kelly stared at Paul.
“I didn’t think I’d get one from…a boy.”
Paul turned the color of a sundried tomato.
“But I didn’t think I’d get one at all. So I guess it’s OK.”
They grinned at each other, and the warmth from Paul’s face poured over him.
Just then a boy peered over Kelly’s shoulder.
“Nice ninja. Who’s it from?”
Paul straightened up and squared his shoulders, as brave as a ninja himself.
“Me!” he said.
I enjoyed reading both your stories, Elizabeth. The sweet endings of both made me smile.
I loved the sweetness of the little girl and Trixie in your first story and Paul not being afraid to show his feelings for Kelly in your second. I also liked that he went with a blue crayon and a ninja drawing to show his feelings. It seemed just perfect, Elizabeth!
Both your entries showed bravery in a different way. Very sweet. Good luck!
Both stories are so different yet filled with all kinds of love. Very sweet. Good luck!
Grouchy Grover – 214 words
Grover eyed the cat nervously. Mission nearly complete, Grover darted to the hibiscus plant by the house. This was the last trip to finish his special valentine and apology.
That morning, Grover had been rude to Rose.
“Go away. This is my spot.” The branch Grover claimed was perfect for catching bugs and held perfectly ripe coffee berries.
“Sure, Grover. I’ll go,” she’d chirped kindly. Off she’d flitted to friends perched in the warm Jamaican sun. He wished he’d been kinder. Valentine’s Day wasn’t the same without Rose.
Most rose-breasted grosbeaks loved winter vacation, but as usual, he’d woken up on the wrong side of the branch. He missed their Michigan garden with its pine trees and sunflower seeds supplied by thoughtful humans. His winter feathers were faded and splotchy. Grover didn’t feel like himself.
Now he was trying to make it up to Rose.
The cat turned. Scared but determined, he plucked up his courage, plucked the flower, and soared away just as the cat pounced.
Returning to his masterpiece, he placed the last flower.
Nervously, he chirped, “Rose? Can you come here?”
She hopped to where he stood next to a tasty heart made of flowers and coffee berries.
“Rose, I’m sorry I was unkind. Will you be my valentine?”
Thanks, Susanna, for another fun prompt! 🙂
I love this- from a Grouchy Grover. So sweet.
Sweet story! Love Rose’s sunny disposition and the creative valentine treat.
I like understanding why Grover was grouchy – plus the fact Grover understood. Well done!
I really like your use of the words “plucked” “chirped” and “wrong side of the branch.” Nice work!
🙂 Thank you!
I wish I knew more about birds. I’m sure this is picture perfect!
🙂 I noticed a rose-breasted grosbeak for the first time last year. They’re so pretty and chirpy.
So sweet! ❤
I love how you wove a little about rose-breasted grosbeaks into your story! And a sweet ending. Good luck!
Word count: 208
BRAVE IN A CAVE
By Cedar Pruitt
[Violet is a tarantula]
Scaredy Bat shuddered when Violet glowered.
He tried to glower back, because she was SO PRETTY.
But he quaked.
And unfolded his wings for a starry night flight
hunting echoes to catch insects.
Dove fast. Swooped slow. Snatched buzzing dinner.
Back home, eyes wide, he worried:
Why didn’t he glower back?
To sleep, Scaredy Bat counted scary things:
Violet’s adorable glower
In the morning, cave news buzzed with
Violet’s Valentine Victory
A baseball game for all!
Scaredy Bat was scared of sports
Pitching, catching, balls.
But if he played well, he might catch one of Violet’s eyes,
And finally return that glower.
Practicing with bones and beaks,
Catches zipped by.
Swings were missed.
He tried again, but…
the ball rolled away.
Scaredy Bat took a sad starry night flight.
He hunted echoes.
Dove fast, swooped slow, caught buzzing dinner.
Then he caught…
a new idea.
At the game,
Scaredy Bat quivered with his new idea.
He quivered when he struck out.
He quivered when he ran too slow.
Then he played shortstop. He just
He hunted echoes instead.
Scaredy Bat caught
From the pitcher’s mound, Violet threw him looks.
And this time
Scaredy Bat glowered
Great creativity bringing a bat romance into play! I am so glad Scaredy Bat (nice play on scaredy cat) did not strike out completely!
Love the bat love and play on “scaredy cat”. Also how “glower” is the desired affection- so batty! Nice work, Cedar!
Thank you Colleen and Jennifer! 🙂 I’m glad he didn’t strike out too!
That was fun! Very twisty! Fear, romance, courage and bats!
Thanks Ingrid – I appreciate it!
Such a creative idea, Cedar!
Thank you for the kind words Colleen! 🙂
Clever use of bats and I love how glowering is their love language!
Your story is so ingenious and subtly humorous (“threw him looks” Ha!) with well-rendered action and emotional build-up. I love the concept of hunting echoes and how Scaredy Bat uses his skills to boldly face his fears.
I’m glad Scaredy Bat caught more than one of Violet’s eyes. I too love the concept of hunting echoes.
Great idea for a story. Love your term hunting echoes. Good luck!
Word Count- 196
CARDY’S VALENTINE STORY IN ALL OF ITS GLORY
Cardy looked down,
His chest was still brown,
His feathers were mottled, a mess!
Summer was done,
And Fall had begun,
And he still didn’t look like the rest.
Cardy was shy.
As he started to fly,
He was smaller than others around.
They went to the feeders,
And were over eaters!
While he pecked at seeds on the ground.
“I want to be strong,
And singing my song.
My mom and my dad told me so!
I want a close friend,
Who will stay to the end,
There is so much that I want to know.”
Now Winter had come and Cardy was glum,
When he saw a brown bird on the ground.
She was searching through seeds,
Looking to feed, surrounded by hulls all around.
I’ll be brave and I’ll help,
And he chirped, “Come on up!”
And he gave her the seed from his beak.
“I know what it’s like to be brown and so small,
I know what it’s like to be meek!”
So, these birds became friends,
She was brown to the end,
And Cardy became vivid red!
A Valentine story in all of its glory,
Two cardinals very well fed!
I really like how the development of the cardinal is told to us through your story. Do they mate for life or is that just part of the story?
I didn’t know cardinals could be brown in color- very fun. I’ll think of this next time I look out at our birdfeeder.
Cardinals do mate for life… and while I didn’t say it… I alluded to it! Originally I was playing with naming the female cardinal Nally… but just not enough words! LOL!
Colleen, sorry my reply to you bounced down one comment box…. and yes Cardinals mate for life. I love seeing them together in all the seasons. When I see the male, I look for the female and she is always close by!
That is very cool!
Love your rhyme! Cardinals are the perfect valentiny birds!
Thanks so much Molly. We see them daily at our bird feeder and I wish I could have illustrated this poem as well. We have 30 inches of snow here in the Poconos, so any bird with color, whether cardinal, northern woodpecker or blue jay is contrasted against the white background and always catches our eye! Especially now at Valentines Day with the promise of additional snow. Yikes!
I love a good story told in rhyme! Great job!
I am so glad that you like rhyme… It is truly my thing. I was a kindergarten, first and second grade teacher for 33 years so much of my teaching of reading was done in rhyme! I worry that it is not publish-able but I know how much the children love the predictability and silliness! Me too!
Exactly! I’m in my 33 year! K for the last 15. Kids always love the silly rhymes.
Very nice! I especially like the last part…”So, these birds became friends, She was brown to the end, And Cardy became vivid red!” Well done! Good luck in the contest:)
Colleen, thank you… I was doing a little science teaching within those two lines about female and male cardinals! We have a pair that visit our birdfeeder every day!
Sweet twist. Love the birds!
Thanks so much!!!
What a sweet story. I like how you worked the biology in about cardinals. Great job and good luck!
Thanks Nancy. I taught science concepts in K-2nd Grade classes!
I’m a retired wildlife biologist turned PB writer. Love wildlife in stories!
ENTRY POSTED FOR MEGAN
My Kind of Valentine!- Word Count 214
by Megan France
On the morning of Valentine’s Day, the students were busy crafting cards for their Valentine’s exchange later that afternoon.
Pushing aside piles of paper, Max scowled. “I hate pink! And I hate glitter!” he grumbled.
“But valentines are always pink and red,” said Mary.
“Yeah, and glitter makes them sparkle,” added Charlie.
Pam just sat quietly. Pam was always quiet.
“Well, I’m going to make my own kind of valentines!” Max exclaimed.
Max colored orange paper using green markers to make his cards.
As he put his cards into his classmates’ Valentine’s Day bags, he noticed that his bag was empty.
Mary saw Max and explained, “All my cards are pink and you don’t like pink.”
“I didn’t want to get glitter into your bag,” said Charlie.
Pam looked at Max but said nothing.
Max realized that maybe he would be the only one that didn’t get a Valentine.
All through math and science, Max’s bag remained empty. When the card exchange started, Max put his head down and pretended to be invisible.
Then Max felt a tug on his sleeve.
“Max,” whispered Pam. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Her hands shook as she laid down a green and yellow heart-shaped valentine on his desk.
Pam looked up and smiled back.
Very sweet. Why can’t there be orange and green Valentine’s cards?
I love an MC that has their own ideas and supportive friends! Here’s to orange Valentines!
Valentines Day can be hard on kids who don’t like pink and red, its true! And its funny, but kids feel very strongly about colors. Good story!
Pam may be quiet but she knows how to make an impact! Nice story, Susanna!
If you’re referring to my one sentence about Dudley I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🤣🤣 Or perhaps you meant nice story Megan!
I did mean, Megan! I was looking at the picture and now I’m going back and correcting it! Thank you for fixing my story, Susanna!
Nice! Valentines can be any color! Good luck!
LAVENDER BUZZ – 214 words
By Vicky Langdon
My garden flows onto a beautiful meadow
Of lavender purple – so sweet and so mellow.
My Mum loves to gaze at the fine fragrant flowers.
She sits breathing deeply for hours and hours.
Mum misses my Dad and it makes her brow furrow.
But lavender vanishes all of her sorrow.
The flowers have other admirers – they’re scary!
They bimble and bumble, they sting so I’m wary.
I’m going to pick Mum a vaseful of flora
For Valentine’s Day to show how I adore her.
A swarm of big bees is set poised just to sting, though.
It makes my skin tingle. I can’t let my fear grow.
My stomach is swirling at all of the sky buzz.
I feel like they’re on me! Small bobbles of fly fuzz.
I reach out my hand and think please do not hurt me!
One hovers so near that it brushes me lightly!
Pluck one stalk then two stalks then fistfuls of more stalks.
I’ve got enough now, arms so full that I can’t talk.
I did it! I did! Now the buzzing’s inside me!
I dance round the garden and swing from the oak tree.
On Valentine’s morning I rush to my Mum’s room.
I give her the flowers. Her whole face is in bloom.
Oh I especially love this ending, “the buzzing’s inside me!” I feel this kiddo’s bravery and love for Mom. Thanks for sharing, Vicky!
Thank you so much!
What a joyous story poem!
Thank you so much!
What a nice story! I love the “bimble and bumble!”
Thank you so much!
This is such an adorable gem of a story ❤ love it so much.
Thank you Mandi! Thank you for your critique, I love your story too 🙂
Great job capturing the mood and apprehension of picking flowers with the bees. Love the last line, Her whole face is in bloom. Good luck!
Thank you so much! Good luck to you too 🙂
ENTRY POSTED FOR ABI
Love Sick – 197 words
By Abi Island
I do not want to go to school,
Because my tummy turns;
Whenever Molly talks to me,
I’m breathless – my heart burns!
I do not want to go to school –
My head feels fizzy fuzz,
Like butterflies inside of me,
I’m all ’a twinkly buzz.
My cheeks are sore from smiling lots
Each time I think of Molly.
My new friend who sits next to me,
Is clever, kind and jolly!
Brave Molly is adventurous,
Amazing, and helps me.
My Molly shows me how to score
And how to climb a tree.
I do not want to miss the fun,
Like going out to play.
Or when we get to choose a book,
Or sing at end of day!
Perhaps I’ll try and go to school –
And not miss all the fun,
Of seeing friends and getting stars,
When all my work is done.
If I do not go to school,
Someone may take my place –
And Molly won’t sit next to me,
But sit with Chase or Grace.
I will be brave and go to school!
And share my valentine heart.
I will be brave and go to school!
We should not sit apart.
Really cute play on the term “love sick”!
I hope Molly gets it! Poor little guy. His first love.
Poor kid! He’s got it bad! I hope Molly feels the same way!
What a sweet story:)
I hope Molly likes him back! Nice job. Good luck!
Be Brave! – 212 Words
By Lisa M. Clewner-Newman
Maddie stands outside her first-grade class door. She peeks through the window. The mosaic turkeys flew away. Watercolor hearts cover the walls. She spots Jenny. Jenny knows. It will be okay.
One last look at mom’s writing on her hand – Be Brave! – then Maddie opens the door. Twenty startled faces look at her. Then at Miss Zimm. Maddie blinks back tears. She slides into her desk as Miss Zimm quickly erases art instructions.
Jenny doesn’t say anything. Instead, Jenny runs to whisper in Miss Zimm’s ear.
Everyone is fidgety.
Has Maddie lost her friends along with her hair?
Maddie thinks just make it through math. Then use the permission slip to rest in Nurse Clare’s office.
Maddie and Jenny walk. Maddie compliments Jenny’s dress. Jenny mumbles about paper and tape. Jenny delivers Maddie to Clare, then rushes away. Tears wash away Be Brave. Even rest time runs away. Clare re-writes Be Brave! and encloses it with a heart.
Maddie again stands at Miss Zimm’s door. You’ve got this! Breathe. Open the door.
This time, twenty pink capped children, and Miss Zimm, grin and cheer for her. Maddie is soon engulfed in a group hug.
Jenny explains, “We expected you tomorrow for Valentine’s Day. We wanted to surprise you, but you surprised us!”
I love the fact that Mom wrote “Be Brave!” on Maddie’s hand and that Clare rewrote it. Very tender story.
Love the support from others in this story and Mom’s message!
That’s a big suprise! I’m all choked up!
It’s always nice to read stories that inspire support for others! Good luck, Lisa!
Maddie is a trooper! I love the ending.
A very tender and sweet story. Loved that the class was going to surprise her, but she surprised them instead. Good luck!
This is beautiful! Brought tears…
ENTRY POSTED FOR PATRICIA
I’m Not Afraid
Word Count: 214
by Patricia J. Franz
Late at night, curled up in bed,
When shadows loom above my head,
When the half-moon wanes and streetlamps glow,
When stars are dim and the fire’s low,
It’s not the whirring wind outside
Or a screech that leaves me petrified.
It’s not cans that fall with a bang and a crash
when critters find dinner in the neighbor’s trash.
I’m not afraid of toys or bears
Or alligators that come in pairs.
I’m not afraid of glowing stars,
Moving mobiles, horns or cars
Or backpacks, squirrels, or a striped stuffed cat.
I’m not afraid of any of that.
What scares me most, deep down inside
Is when I can’t sleep by your side.
If bad dreams come, I won’t be there
To nestle close or retrieve your bear
or fetch a blanket when you’re cold
or give you a furry paw to hold.
But I’ll be brave. I’ll wait all night
Outside your door, till morning light.
I’ll guard your room so you can dream
Of hearts and parks and pink ice cream.
And when the first sun ray appears,
When your giggles fill my ears,
I’ll nudge the door, sniff my way in,
nuzzle your nose, tickle your chin.
It’s how I ask: “Will you be mine?
Can I be your Valentine?”
This was beautiful!
Really beautiful and I love the perspective from the pup- truly unconditional love!
Oh this was fantastic! Midway through I thought it was a Mom/Parent speaking to their child, a total reverse of finally getting them out of your bed (bc as much as I love my sleep, I miss the tiny bodies in bed!)…and then when I realized it was a dog, another twist. So well done!
Awww!! And I initially thought the narrator was child speaking to his or her parent. Nicely done!
Thank you, Colleen. I actually did not see the mystery MC until I finished the piece — lol
Valentine Puppy Love! Simply adorable!
This is my favorite of yours so far:) Really beautiful!
Wow, thanks for the compliment, Colleen!
Love this, and you kept me guessing the MC’s identity until the end, so sweet!
Thank you Danielle!
Very sweet, Patricia! And so cleverly written so you surprise us with who is actually telling the story at the end! And I am always a sucker for dog stories 😊
Thanks, Susanna — yes… I’m pretty sure my dog thinks Valentines Day is all about her!
Beautiful story. I love the surprise that it’s the dog’s perspective – at first I thought it was a child, then a parent but no, it was the dog! Brilliant!
Thank you, Vicky — I’m hearing a pattern here (and truly did not sit down to write this with that in mind)!
Aww, nicely done. Puppy love. Good luck!
Thanks Nancy! Yes… puppy love is THE BEST!
Love the mystery of MC’s identity! Sweet story 🙂
Hi Rathi! Thanks for your encouragment!
The Girl with the Candyfloss Hair – 214 words
By Simon Yeend
He watched her every day across the classroom.
The Girl with the Candyfloss Hair
He watched, but he’d never dare speak to her.
The Girl with the Candyfloss Hair.
When she spoke, her voice poured like syrup, sweet and nourishing.
Once, she’d touched his head. In a game of Duck, Duck, Goose. He was too stunned to chase her, and she’d glided away like a gazelle. The spot she’d touched, tingled for ages.
Twice, he’d passed close by in the corridor. She smelt of peppermints and lollipops.
Three times, he’d counted the freckles on her nose. Three times, he’d got a different number.
Then came Valentine’s Day…
Mary-Belle had a thick pile of envelopes on her desk. Other girls had cards. The Girl with the Candyfloss Hair? None. He saw her look, quickly, under her desk, to see if one had fallen off. Her cheeks went ever so slightly pink.
He reached inside his school sweater. The pointy corners of the card dug into his tummy. He stood up. Walked towards her desk. The classroom went quiet. He’d left it too late.
He turned away from her. Nobody gave Valentine’s cards with others watching. She called him back. In a voice of syrup, the Girl with the Candyfloss Hair, said: “This is for you.”
I love this line, “Three times, he’d counted the freckles on her nose. Three times, he’d got a different number.” It definitely shows how intently he is watching her.
AW, young love!
Thanks, Colleen. Think the boy is in love!
Thanks, Colleen. And JRWHIP48. I posted the replies in the wrong box!
I like that line, too:)
I love your details in the Duck, Duck, Goose game and counting of freckles. Makes this infatuation one-of-a-kind!
I could FEEL the tension. Nice job with the descriptions of very young love.
Thank you! I’m pleased I was able to get his nerves across. PS, My sister is called Ingrid. Great name!
I enjoyed this story. Sweet, with fun details like “glided away like a gazelle.”
What a beautiful story. I love the image that candyfloss hair conjures up in my mind. What a sweet ending.
What a great ending. Sweet story. Good luck!
Great description of being totally twitterpated!
LOVE LOVE LOVE “…he’d counted the freckles on her nose. Three times, he’d got a different number.”
Valentine’s Day on Halloween Hill — 212 words
by Abby Wooldridge
‘Twas Valentine’s Day
on Halloween Hill.
Snow flurries ushered
the frostiest chill.
Sweet little Mable
set out for the top–
determined her fear
would not let her stop.
But “Boo!” groaned the ghost,
and “Hiss!” shrieked the cat.
And “Woosh!” flew the bat.
was not feeling brave,
but still she approached
the mouth of the cave.
“Happy Day to you,
my dear Valentine!
I brought you chocolate!
Oh, won’t you be mine?”
From out of the cave
called Pumpkin King Jack,
“You’ve made a mistake.
You’d better turn back.
Today’s not a day
for spooks or for scares.
Today is a day
to show that you care.”
“But I am not wrong,”
said Mable to Jack.
“I’ve brought you all treats.
I won’t take them back.
You bring us such fun
on Halloween night,
and so for today,
I bring you delight.”
Then Pumpkin King Jack
crawled out of his cave.
“Thank you, dear Mable.
You’re terribly brave.
You’ve climbed the great hill
That no one else dared.
You’ve shown us monsters
there’s love to be shared.
Thanks for your kindness,
for being so brave.
I hardly ever
come out of this cave.
But now that I have,
I surely will share
this Valentine cheer
to all everywhere.”
Love the uniqueness of this fun story!
Very creative! I enjoyed the merging of holidays and Mable’s unique challenges to be brave!
Holiday mash ups are so great when well done, and yours is!
What a unique story, brilliant!
Love how you wove two VERY different holidays together! Great job!
W-R-I-T-E for Each Other — 213 words
By Elizabeth Muster
Zane the Zombie cut a heart from red construction paper. He smiled as he wrote the word “Happy.” He wrote V-A-L. Then he frowned. Did E come next or did I? Zane crumpled the heart and threw it away.
“Why celebrate Valentine’s Day when your heart doesn’t beat?” a classmate asked. “Halloween is the only holiday for me.”
But it was February 14, and Zane wanted Zelda to know how he felt. Zelda had pale skin and yellow eyes and smelled wonderfully of rotten meat. She was the best at scaring humans from the playground during recess.
With a shaky hand, Zane made another heart. This time he wrote, “You look like death wormed over.”
He was pleased until the classmate looked over Zane’s shoulder. “You didn’t even spell it right.”
The words seemed to wriggle, and Zane couldn’t decide which one was misspelled. Bravely, he gave Zelda the valentine anyway.
“Thank you,” said Zelda. “I have a valentine for you too.” The card read: You can’t scar me.
“It’s perfect,” said Zane. He and Zelda showed their valentines to the teacher.
“I think you two are just W-R-I-T-E for each other,” she said with a smile.
“What’s that spell?” asked Zane.
“Write,” said the teacher.
“Right.” Zane smiled.
“I agree,” said Zelda.
Ha ha! A match made in zombie land!
Oh I remember being confused if it was Vale- or Vali- as a child. Nice word play in this!
Love, love the zombie vibes here! What a unique perspective! Good luck to you!
This word play works even if they weren’t zombies! Love it!
Haha, this was sweet! Zelda and Zane…they don’t need to spell every word right to know they are “write” for each other!
Love the word play! The puns work so well here. Good luck!
Ha! Even as a writer, I double checked my spelling of Valentine.
Vey cute! Love all the puns!
Ha ha ha! They are like my daughter was when young – creative spellers! Love it! Good luck!
I love the spelling mishaps that still turned out just right.
Olive You Forever- 214 words
By Ann Ferrello
Gregory thought Ava was the most beautiful girl in the world for 162 days –– ever since the first day of school. He loved playing superheroes with her and Ava always shared her desert with him.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, Gregory wanted to give her something really special. He scoured the pantry for ideas. “Chocolates? No, too predictable,” he thought. “I want to sweep her off her feet!” Finally, he found the perfect gift and tucked it in his backpack.
He spotted Ava when he got to school and hid behind the bike racks. “What if she doesn’t like my gift? Or what if she laughs at me?” Gregory wondered. His heart deflated faster than an old birthday balloon.
“Or what if,” Gregory gasped, “she’s loved me for 162 days too!”
He strode toward the playground where Ava was swinging. A man on a mission, Gregory dug into his backpack, stuck out his arm, and presented her with a gurgling jar of olives.
“Ava, Olive you forever!” he declared. “Get it? I’ll love…?”
“Ew!!!” she shrieked, and ran away.
Gregory’s shoulders slumped as he stared at the olives. His heart broke into 162 little pieces. Suddenly, another girl ran past him at superhero speed. Gregory grinned.
“Hey Caroline,” he called. “Do YOU like olives?”
💛So cute! Good luck💛
Ha ha! Oh Gregory!
HA! Good thing he recovers quickly! There are only 180 day in a school year!
They’re so fickle at that age! Haha, fun story!
Brilliant, this really made me chuckle! I love the unexpected ending and the fickleness of Gregory’s heart!
Adorable Ann. Who wouldn’t fall in love with Gregory.
Funny! Gregory didn’t put olive his love in one basket! Very fun. Good luck!
THE PINK PRO
By Kelsey Gross
Pink headband? Check.
Heart sweatshirt? Check.
Rose skirt and leggings? Check.
Jonah exhaled. “Ok.”
He flew down the steps and grabbed his backpack.
“Valentine’s Day breakfast?” asked Mom, holding out a heart-shaped pancake.
Jonah shook his head.
Mom hugged him. “I’m proud of you for being brave! I’ll be here after school.”
Jonah hopped on his bike and sped down the street.
“Jonah? I didn’t recognize you!” said his neighbor.
Jonah gritted his teeth and pedaled harder.
The crossing guard raised his eyebrows. “Huh. In my day, boys never wore
Jonah’s stomach tightened.
He dropped his bike and dashed toward the door. He’d hide in the library until the bell.
But Celia spotted him. “HEY! Sweet moves Friday night!”
“Yeah!” Andrew hollered. “Valentine Dance CHAMPION!”
“You’re a dancing PRO!” shouted Jack.
Jonah straightened his sweatshirt. “Umm, thanks.”
Jack frowned. ”Soooo…that outfit was funny for the dance, but…why are you still wearing it?”
Sweat trickled into Jonah’s headband.
Jonah pointed at Jack’s jersey, his hand shaking. “Well…pros wear uniforms,
This is mine. For dancing. And…
Jonah held his breath.
Silent seconds passed.
Jack shrugged. “Ok.”
“So…can you show us how to do that robot move?”
“You got it!”
Awesome story with tons of bravery – check!
I love how supportive Mom is. And it clearly would take courage to do what Jonah did. Good job and good luck!
Love this story, Kelsey! Great pacing, sweet main character, and realistic interactions.
Love this supportive parent and child being their authentic self.
This is so sweet! Love how inclusive you’ve made all of the characters! Good luck!
A true sign of bravery and acceptance! Nice story, Kelsey!
Swoon! Yay for Jonah…and his mom. ❤
Such a sweet character-nice work!
Jonah was very brave indeed. Nice. Good luck!
BRAVE BRAVE BRAVE – 213 words
by David McMullin
Magnifalous the superhero was brave, brave, brave – no doubt about it.
Conquering Gorgons? He was a rock.
Celestiniod Aliens? His moves were out of this world.
Giant Crocobears? A snap.
BUT when it came to asking Peggily Mae Terrificon to the Valentine’s Day dance….
It was the super easiest of all super easy things. After all, he was brave, brave, brave.
The dance was a de-light! Magnifalous and Peggily whirled around the floor –
lightning fast –
on roller skates –
See… brave, brave, brave!
Then came snack time.
Magnifalous and Peggily rocketed towards the buffet, but Magnifalous slammed on the breaks. Sqeeeeeeeeeeel!
He was horrified. His one fear glared directly at him.
Between the iced heart cookies and the fizzy-fruity punch sat a vat of… VANILLA PUDDING!!!
It just quivered there – all bloppy,
with its horrible not-quite-white white color,
and a texture like thickened swamp monster slime.
He wanted to bolt, skedaddle, hotfoot, vamoose!
But Peggily squealed, “My favorite!” and swiftly served them each a gargantuan bowl of the putrefying, festering concoction.
Magnifalous couldn’t ruin Peggily’s fun. He mustered every bit of courage.
His breakfast attempted daring escapes, but he held it together-
opened wide and-
Yes, Magnifalous was brave, brave, brave.
The proof was in the pudding.
David, I loved this! That ending line made me LOL. Such wonderful word choices and humor. Great job!!
Ha ha ha! Of course that had to be the punchline. And how funny to be afraid of vanilla pudding. But I guess he had to be, otherwise the story could not end as successfully as it did. Good luck!
cute story; love the pun!
Awesome final line.
This was lots of fun to read out loud. Great word choices and extra points for clever word play!
Very cute, loved your last line.
Loved the wording of this piece…..and then the ending!!!! Wow! 🙂
Giant Crocobears?I can picture it in my mind! So fun!
So funny! 🙂
great words. I love “bloppy” best. This is really fun. I love picturing them blindfolded on roller skates. Great story! Love your last line.
Ha ha ha! This is chock full of deliciously creative word play. So fun!
David your character descriptions and world-building is delightful! I had no idea that last line was coming!! LOL! Great job!
David, such fun new words. A fear of pudding. Funny. Not what I expected, so the surprise was delightful. So was the ending.
Hilarious! A classic last line. Good luck!
Haha! You always write the best endings! Great job.
Hahah! David, this is hilarious, I did not see the twist (and jiggle) coming. This is how I feel about yogurt [shudder].
This is a meaty story! Bursting with action and alliteration. A multi-sensory delight. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Well done.
The Witch of Valentine Lane
Word Count: 209
By Marietta Apollonio
website link (if you’d like to see an illustration of the witch ❤️) : https://www.mariettaapollonio.com/writing-adventures/valentinywritingcontest2021
During winter, I watched the Witch of Valentine Lane.
Snow suited kids whispered, waddling quickly past her tattered house. Neighbors veered with fearful glances, as colored smoke churned from her crumbling chimney.
Mail stuffed into a splintered box floated to her house.
Newspapers left on the sidewalk poofed to her front porch.
From the shadows…she helped. Saving a bird, fixing a bike.
“If she sees you watching,” neighbors barked. “She’ll turn you into a newt.”
On Valentine’s Day she peered with a slight smile, as the neighborhood decorated for gathering.
I watched from my open window. Chocolate scented smoke turned red from the crumbling chimney. Roses breached snow, blooming in her yard.
My feet walked me out the door, onto the street. My feet walked me past the splintered
box. Up the path. Step. Step. Step. Onto the porch. “Turn back,” my mind whispered.
“Come back,” neighbors called quietly.
My heart stood its ground.
My hand reached the door, my lungs breathed deep, my fist knocked.
Planks creaked. From the other side, a somber sigh. Then, a deep breath.
The witches hand shook. The door groaned, scrapping as it opened.
Feeling the frog in my throat, I croaked, “Would you be my valentine?” And
reached out my hand.
This story reminds me a bit of Boo Radley, how so misunderstood a character can be. Well done and good luck.
Me too! Good luck!
Great tale of misunderstood characters! Good Luck! 🙂
Marietta, touching and heart-felt story. People can be so judgmental. Love the kindness of your brave character.
So much suspense. Well done. I was a real page turner. Good lucl.
This has so much creative heart. And I just LOVE that ending. Well done, lady.
Mar, Love how the character ignores the neighbors and reaches out anyway!❤️
Nicely done! Love, “My heart stood its ground.” Good luck!
So good, Marietta!
Awww, Marietta, this is really sweet suspense!
GORDON’S ONE-FOOTED HOP
By Kelsey Gross
Tap, tap, tap.
The knocking echoed through Gordon’s dark house.
“Come out!” Nina shouted. “It’s Valentine’s Day!”
“I can’t,” he muttered.
Gordon dreaded the Valentine’s Dance.
I can only do a goofy one-footed hop!
What if everyone laughs?
He clenched down hard.
If I clam up and hide, she’ll think I’m not home.
The knocking stopped.
But at lunchtime…
Tap, tap, tap.
“Gordon? I brought candy!”
Gordon’s stomach flip-flopped.
I can’t, he thought. I can’t let Nina see my stumbly-bumbly dancing!
The knocking stopped.
But that afternoon…
Tap, tap, tap.
“Gordon?” Nina sniffled. “I guess I’ll go to the dance alone, but…
…can you at least come get your valentine?”
I can! thought Gordon. I must be with my sweetheart. It’s Valentine’s Day!
slid his foot out,
and inched into the sand.
“Sorry it took me so long to come out of my shell.”
Nina brightened. “It’s OK. I love you, even when you’re feeling shy! Here’s your
She drifted away.
“Wait!” Gordon felt clammy.
“I made you a gift.”
Nina gasped. “A pearl! You’re the cutest clam in the ocean.”
“Time for the dance!” Gordon said. “I can’t wait to see you skim across the sea floor.”
He winked. “Who knows, maybe I’ll show you my spe-shell one-footed hop!”
Formatted version at: https://kidlitkelsey.blogspot.com/2021/02/gordons-one-footed-hop.html
This was really sweet ❤
Very creative and punny! Good luck!
It was fun trying to figure out who/what they were! Very clever!
Love this story. Had me guessing!
Love this sweet story!
Such a sweet story…had the reader guessing who the characters were! 🙂
Love the tap, tap, tap (my favorite part). AND the play on words (clam, clammy). Cute.
Very creative and cute. I love the determination of Nina. Sea creatures always get my vote.
Very fun. Love the puns! Good luck!
Ha! Adorable! Keep ’em guessing till the end.
Charmadillo – 204 words
By Lauri C. Meyers
Charmadillo sniffed the air
And smelled the lovely Shelly there.
She snorted dirt while pigging out.
He loved her soft pink digging snout.
He should say “hi” or “whatcha eating,”
But his heart was loudly beating.
Too shy to speak, he hatched a scheme
To tell sweet Shelly she’s his dream.
He would write some words of love
And pass the note from up above.
“Your snout is pink, your bands are fine,
Won’t you be my Valentine?”
He watched the letter fall below…
But then his fear began to grow.
He tried to snatch it back again,
But it was deep inside her den!
The situation turned him pale.
He rolled himself and hugged his tail.
His armor wasn’t tough enough –
Inside he felt all squirmy stuff.
He tried to dig a hole and hide,
But something stirred from deep inside.
What if his dreadful doubts were wrong,
And sharing feelings made him strong?
He paced nearby for her reply,
Jumping when he heard her cry:
“Charmadillo, I can’t read.
You want a candied centipede?”
The lunch of termites he prepared
Showed his love how much he cared.
She didn’t know the words he wrote,
But showed her love and… ate the note.
Love Charmadillo! Very sweet story!
Ha ha! Very cute!
Never in a million years would I have come up with a Charmadillo! Very fun!
Haha, great ending! I also love the line “he loved her soft pink digging snout!”
This was so cute and I love the title. Still smiling.
Oh so cute! Love the candied centipede and that she ate the note! Good luck!
This is so funny and sweet! LOVE Charmadillo! Hahaha! Well done.
Love the nod to armadillo’s bad eyesight! And eating the note? That’s a great comedic end.
“Soon” – 214 words
by M.R. Haqq
Hamza’s heart thrums so forcefully, he hunches backwards so his classmates don’t see it pounding through his t-shirt. He’d practiced everyday this month, he can’t chicken out now. Beads of sweat collect on his brow. He’d been practically silent ever since they’d arrived in America. If he doesn’t start talking soon, he fears he never will.
The secondhand on the clock bolts towards 3 p.m.. Hamza’s hands shake. He peeks into his backpack, and eyes the heart shaped box. He silently prays he doesn’t mix the ‘p’s for the ‘b’s. He’d practiced holding paper in front of his mouth to make sure his ‘p’s made it ‘puff.’
After the bell, he waits while his ESL teacher wishes everyone a good weekend. When they’re the only pair left in the classroom, she asks “Are you ok, Hamza?”
“I’m well, thank you.”
She smiles. “Have a good weekend.”
He considers running for the door. He’d spoken English, out loud, more words than he’d ever strung together. But they weren’t the eleven he’d promised himself he’d say to show his gratitude. He hands her the red chocolate box.
“Happy Valentine’s day, Mrs. Lopez-Garcia. Thank you for helping me.” he says.
She smiles wider. He smiles, too. This is the beginning.
Soon, he will tell his story.
Wonderful description– I can feel Hamza’s anxiety! It’s a very relatable moment for kids who are learning a new language. Hamza is brave, and there is a hopeful ending. Good luck!
Thank you so much! I want to be his cheerleader, I’ve met so many kids like him that have shown such bravery as they navigate new languages and settings. As soon as I saw the challenge I knew I had just the guy.
Love the hopeful ending and sweet exchange with the teacher.
Thank you, Sarah!
I love this story! Love that Hamza has a crush on his teacher! It’s every teacher’s experience! Very sweet!
Thank you so much, Patricia!
I love the promise of what is to come! Great job Hamza!
Thanks for being a cheerleader for my friend Hamza ❤
Gulp…This is very touching! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you, Ingrid. I was happy with how it turned out and I so appreciate you took some time to read and comment!
Your last line is simply perfect. Lovely.
Thank you, Keely! He’s one of those characters that I’m still cheering for 🙂
Don’t you love rooting for our characters? They grab our hearts and won’t let go!
This was so well done, Mandi! I could feel Hamza’s anxiety over speaking English and his need for thanking his teacher. Your story was touching and made me smile:)
Thank you, Colleen! I really love this story so much – I used to teach ESL and I really wanted to capture this moment when someone just opens… it is such bravery and I am thrilled you liked it.
I love this, Mandi–my teacher heart feels for your MC!
Thank you, Rebekah! If you teach, this story is also yours ❤
Learning a new language in a new environment is so scary, and the story illustrates Hamza’s fear beautifully. Love how the ending is the beginning to a new story.
Thank you, Armineh! I believe this, too ❤
Such a heart-tugging slice of life story with a wonderful character arc and authentic details. I love how Hamza practiced with paper over his mouth to make sure his ‘p’s puff and the ending, which is really a new beginning.
Thank you! This is a helpful tactic for some languages (some don’t contain a p or b and it’s hard to tell the difference between them ❤
Such a beautiful story, I can really feel Hamza’s bravery. Great last line – I REALLY want to hear his story!
Thank you so much, Vicky ❤
You captured a real, heartfelt moment. So nice! Good luck!
Thanks, Nancy! The amount of great stories on this page has warmed my heart. Thanks so much for looking and taking the time to comment.
You’re welcome. I’m still reading!
Wow, this is beautiful, Mandi! I can feel his anxiety and I like that it’s not a typical valentine about a crush (I mean maybe but not as I read it) but a valentine about gratitude. Just lovely.
Thanks, Audrey! That’s what I was going for with the gratitude aspect and showing love and appreciation for someone who helped him on his path. There was a line or two I was playing with to try and suppress the crush factor but the dreaded word limit! And because it ended up right at 214 words I was thinking it was a sign and people could read as they felt it – I know a lot of the people in here who work with kids have had the kid looking at them with googly eyes – part of the job description. I appreciate your comment, I can’t help cheer for Hamza.
More Than Cookies – 214 Words
By: Halley M. Carmack, LCSW
My eyes popped open–it’s Valentine’s Day! Daddy and I always bake cookies on Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t wait to get started. I skipped to the kitchen, found the special sugar, and got to work on the icing.
When Daddy found me, he had his mad face on. His eyebrows made a “V”, his mouth was tight and his voice was loud. “What are you doing?!”
I sputtered out, “It was an accident! I didn’t mean to!” and I ran.
Daddy called my name in the voice he uses when he says he loves me. I peeked out from under the covers. Daddy’s eyebrows were back to normal.
Sitting next to me, Daddy asked why I’d run away. I felt a little scared, but said, quietly, “You looked at me with a scary face and you used a really mad voice.”
He whispered, “Thank you for telling me. You’re so brave for telling me how my face looked and how I made you feel. I wasn’t the boss of my feelings and I didn’t mean to scare you.” Daddy hugged me and kissed the top of my head.
I apologized for making a mess and said, “I was so excited for Valentine’s Day cookies.”
Daddy said “I’m still excited! But how about some breakfast first?”
I love how both characters are able to own up to how they are feeling and why. How much better off would we be if we could all articulate like that?
The day we can all learn to be boss of our own feelings will be a happy day indeed!
This addresses such an important topic in a such a strong way. Great job!
So nice the father listens to his daughter’s concerns and doesn’t shrug it off. He listened to her and brought the smile back to her face! Nice story, Halley!
Wow, a parent and child that learn to communicate in a way that each understands! Amazing! Love the last line!
Very relatable, Halley! I love that she can express what she’s feeling to a parent and that it’s accepted. Nicely done!
What a lovely example of being able to share feelings and say sorry.
I’m sorry I’m going to have to sit this one out, but I’ll enjoy reading everyone else’s! Good luck to all!
Fishing for Love
by Amy Olsen
Up early. Donuts in the car!
Our mission: Stock The New Lake.
Grabbed our spot, just Dad & me.
Baiting hooks = GAG!
Dad says it’s fishing, not catching…
I’m the new fish in the pond.
Gotta introduce myself.
Say hi? Bonjour? Howdy?
I’ll wave a fin.
Wish this fish luck!
Dad taught me tricks & a new knot.
Our neighbor caught 3 FISH!
Striped, spotted, & rainbow fin.
Almost baited the hook.
Skunked again! (Fishin’-talk for NOTHING!)
Waved: EVERYONE disappeared.
Stripes, spots & rainbow fin.
Was it me?
Where’d they go???
Should’ve said howdy….
Almost Valentine’s Day.
IDEA FOR DAD!
Need: Paper & Crayon.
Found a love note:
True love’s only a worm away!
Love whisked them away!
I’m going for it!
No donuts, no Dad.
Used new knot, my love-note trick, & FINALLY BAITED THE HOOK!
CAUGHT A FISH!!
Love is grand!
New lake’s dreamy & stocked with friends!
Swam into spots & stripes.
Date with Veronica (Rainbow Fin) tomorrow!
Dad loves Sam.
Perfect Valentine’s Day!
Just Dad & me in our new spot.
Amy, I feel like I read the pitch for this! I like the diary entries from both Piper and Sam. Good luck!
Thanks:) Fun to write from two POV’s… just hopeful without illustration the message comes through!
I think it did.
Love the idea of “Diary Entries”! 🙂
Thank you so much! It was really fun to do! Thank you for reading it:)
What a cute way to tell a story! Diary format with two POV! I like it!
Clever story! ❤
Thank you so much for reading and your comment!! Happy V-Day Eve!
This is fun! I love your unique format and creativity with the two POVs.
Thank you, Amy! I appreciate it:)
This format was a lot of fun. I loved everything about it!
What a unique perspective! very cool. Good luck!
The Lost Valentine – word count 214
By Jan Suhr
Amazing wonderful Valentiny Contest story
This was to be my special day.
I’m Jimmy’s handmade Valentine.
But I tumbled from his backpack when he jumped aboard the school bus.
I vowed to get to school for the party.
Suddenly, Jimmy’s dog, Bacon, bolted by.
I grabbed his collar and hung on tight.
When we passed the park, Bacon spotted a squirrel.
He veered right, I lost my grip, and
I flopped on to a prickly pine bush.
I shouted, “That was a heartless thing to do, Bacon!”
I started running and happened upon a kite festival.
I grasped the tail of Dragon kite who lifted me high over the park.
But the wind was blowing us off course.
As I let loose, I floated down and landed on a skateboard.
I balanced as I swerved side to side downhill.
I flagged a mail truck and leapt on board.
The clock TICKED TICKED away the minutes.
My heart THUMPED THUMPED out of my chest.
I found Jimmy’s classroom and
my heart melted as he hugged me tight.
And even being dirty and torn,
this was still going to be our special day.
He wrote a poem on my back:
“For my favorite teacher.
Here’s my heart and a kiss.
When this year is over.
You’re the one I will miss.”
Really well done with the POV! And sweet ending.
That was quite the journey for that Valentine, but thank goodness it was reunited with Jimmy in the end, and then given to his teacher.
Valentine p.o.v. very clever!
What a cute concept! Fun and sweet story!
Wow, what an amazing journey for a little valentine. So glad it made it to Jimmy’s class! Good luck!
BRAVE NEW FRIENDS 197 words
Mary has a Valentine,
BRAVE NEW FRIENDS 197 words
by Dawn Renee Young
Mary has a Valentine
she wants to give away.
But every time that Mary tries,
no words can she convey.
She swallows hard, and tries her luck,
to try out something new.
While all the children laugh and play,
She gets a tiny clue.
In her hand she holds a heart,
as tightly as can be.
She doesn’t want her secret friend,
to see her by the tree.
And all at once, there he stands,
a smile upon his face.
In his hand is something pink,
all trimmed in pretty lace.
“Just for you, my special friend.”
Mary turns bright red.
He handed her a Valentine.
He turned around and fled.
One more time she tries her luck.
She tries to be quite brave!
There he sat up on the slide
She gives a silent wave.
As Mary turns to say hello.
Her friend begins to wiggle.
“Here’s a card, just for you.”
They both begin to giggle.
“Will you be my Valentine?”
He whispers in her ear.
“Yes! Will you?” she bravely asks.
“I’m glad that you are here!”
Nate is new in Mary’s class.
He came just yesterday.
“I am glad that we are friends.
Great job converting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” into a Valentine’s bravery story. Very cute!
LOVE! Great job!!!
What a whirlwind romance! Kids can be like that. Its refreshing!
Mary Had a Little Lamp turned into a story of a young crush in school! Clever and sweet:)
I love this nod to the nursery rhyme and the way you conveyed the heart of a grade school romance. Well done, Dawn!
This is so adorable. Great job Dawn. Being new is so hard. Good luck.
Aww…I feel like I’m right there with these two! Great build up and of course, the perfect ending!
What a cute story. Love this line –They both begin to giggle. 😊
Very cute. You did a great job with the rhyme and story. Good luck!
So much fun, Dawn!
Scaredy-Cat (212 words)
By Danielle S. Hammelef
My sister says I’m a scaredy-cat and can prove it.
I call her skunk breath and continue coloring rainbow hearts on my class’ Valentine’s Day cards.
A spider scuttles across my paper. I shriek and push away.
My sister laughs and sing-songs, “Who’s afraid of spiders?”
Sisters think they know everything.
In my head, I make a “scared of” list:
1) Spiders (obviously)
3) Making my teacher angry
4) Throwing up
7) Getting lost
8) Being laughed at
9) Telling people my fears
How many fears make a scaredy-cat?
Mom appears, eyes leaking, red.
My sister stills. Something’s way wrong.
Mom tells us my sister’s diagnosis.
I hate it’s my turn to be right.
I add fear ten to my list: CANCER
My sister misses her class Valentine’s party. After school, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood plays on TV. He says, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Cancer’s scary. I want to be brave, be a helper. How?
I pull out my Valentines box. I know how!
When my sister opens her Valentines box, she smiles for the first time all day.
This is a difficult story to tell, and you have done it well. ❤
That’s hard to read and even harder to live, I’m sure.
I love how you captured such a difficult emotion in so little time. And I still remember seeing that as a kid. “Look for the helpers. Means so much more this year!’
Aw, such a hard time for the family but you told the story well and ended with a smile for her sister. Nicely done, Danielle!
You did a great job bringing in a child’s perspective on a difficult topic. Well done and good luck.
You did a super job with a difficult topic. Good luck!
Hard to love (88 words)
Are you so daring you can grasp a Lobster’s snapping claws?
Are you so spunky you can kiss the Shark’s devouring jaws?
Are you so brave that you can pet an Alligator’s spine?
Are you so fearless you can hug a prickly Porcupine?
Do you have guts to snuggle with a Skunk and all his stinks?
Are you the hero who outstares a Snake who never blinks?
All animals need love, of course, but just remember this:
Sometimes it’s best to smile and to blow a valentin-y kiss!
This definitely made me smile 🙂 Cute story and I love the twist at the end!
That’s very cute!
What a cute story! Short and sweet!
So Clever! Bravery came through loud and clear. AND you got ‘valentiy’ in there. Swell. Hmm, I wonder if Susanna will use this as her example in the future. Well done.
Love this. Love that “all animals need love.” Great little story with great message in just 88 words, wow!
A very smart way to send your valentiny love! Good luck!
BRAVE HEARTS (213 words)
by Susan Klaren
The candy hearts were stale. I knew because I’d eaten “L” and “O.” They’d been hidden away in an envelope, tucked in my secret drawer. All my happiest memories of the time before Mommy got sick were buried there.
Eight little hearts spelled “I*L*O*V*E*Y*O*U.” I found them in my lunch, packed by Mommy last Valentine’s Day.
The same day THE call came from Mommy’s doctor.
I ate “V” and “E” and closed my eyes, pretending “L*O*V*E” would find its way to the empty hole in my heart and fill it.
“Y” teased me. So, I ate it.
“Y” filled my head, but not my heart. Why nights without Mommy to tuck me in bed? Why days without hugs and kisses from her? Why was Daddy too sad to know what I needed?
I looked at the three hearts left on my bed, “I*O*U.” I owe you! Was Mommy telling me something?
With the bravest smile I could find, I put the little candies on the table next to Daddy. “This is an IOU from Mommy. It’s time for me to collect hugs and kisses and bedtime tucks, from you”
Daddy smiled, “That’s so Mommy.”
He opened his arms and I melted into them.
My heart finally full, I whispered, “Thank you, Mommy.”
I love this story! So special and creative!
Very touching ❤
This one touched my heart!
What a beautiful, sad story.
This made me cry – but in the good way, that only powerful characters can x
Such a clever use of candy hearts. There sure are some beautiful phrases in your lovely, touching story.
So creative. The stale candies say so much. “That’s so Mommy” is a beautiful line. Superbly done!
What a special and tender story. Good luck!
I am posting this again as something went wrong the first time. I look forward to reading the other entries. Good luck everyone!
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.
Rover is a hero to root for! After reeling us in with tantalizing suspense and delectable wit, your story captures our hearts with a delightful twist ending. Love the STEM elements, too.
Thanks for stopping by, Anne. I’m glad you liked it.
Love the reference to Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf. Nice twist at the end.
Oh. My. GOODNESS! I couldn’t believe it! LOL!
Thanks for stopping by, Ingrid.
LOL! Very clever, Corine! Good luck!
LOL this is so crazy and fun. Great job.
Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Great build up and fun ending!
Definitely some twists and turns and surprises! I love Rover’s song.
Hi, Mary. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Across the Road (210 words)
Doodle was a rooster in love.
It was a doomed romance, for his love was on the other side of the road. The wrong side. Nobody crossed the road, for the road was lava, the road was doom, death, destruction. It just wasn’t done. And though Doodle was a handsome fellow (everyone said so) he was not a brave chicken, and he did not do things that were not done.
He pined away, watching from his window as his love dust-bathed in the warm sun, as she picked nits from her downy feathers, as she hunted bouncing crickets with breathtaking grace.
He had an epiphany.
He would fly across the road, into the welcoming wings of his darling. Now, flight was a scary thing. Flight meant you could fall. You could even fall into the road! Putting his terror aside, Doodle began the construction of his hang glider.
This was difficult without opposable thumbs, and his feathers became sticky with glue. Doodle soldiered on but alas, the stars were aligned against him, and his contraption never launched.
He lay mournfully on the roof of his apartment, moping, when…could it be? His love! Flying! With her own two wings, she soared bravely across the road, and straight into Doodle’s heart.
I did NOT know where this was going. But I had fun finding out. Thanks for sharing!
When there’s a will…this was a sweet story, Rachel!
Doodle is a delight! Even with opposable thumbs, love is hard to navigate. ❤
I’m glad Doodle’s love came to him! Good luck!
Knight of Hearts
by Ellen Crosby (214 words)
What do knights do?
The Black Knight slays dragons…
The Gallant Knight defends castles…
The Golden Knight fights glorious battles…
The Loyal Knight protects the common folk…
The Jovial Knight jousts on horseback…
Valentine, the Knight of Hearts, is different.
He can do all the things that the other knights do except on this one special day when he does much, much more.
On this particular day, he must climb a mountain. A mountain so high that the other knights are too afraid to try.
The Knight of Hearts knows that to fail will mean great consequences, to not reach the top would mean deep disgrace.
He arises that extraordinary day and begins his journey. Steep is the climb.
Using his mighty sword to help pull himself forward inch by inch.
Avoiding avalanches of rocks. Holding steadfast against great storms.
And, what of the ferocious bears and big cats lying in wait?
What can be so precious that he braves such a climb? Can he go on?
Yes! He sees his heart’s desire. More precious than diamonds, the beautiful Queen of Hearts whose solitude atop the dark mountain made her feel trapped and alone, turns with open arms and sweetly says, “My hero! My one true love! My Valentine!”
This would be fun to illustrate!
There are some visuals, aren’t there? Thank you for commenting, Ingrid!
Saint Valentine can teach the other knights a thing or two about how to capture love!
Thank you for commenting, Corine! He goes above and beyond, doesn’t he? I appreciate your support!
What a brave, true knight! Good luck!
Thank you, Nancy, I appreciate your comment. Just starting out. Susanna’s contests are great practice!
That’s what I like about them, plus sometimes you are a finalist! I came in 4th last year!
That is awesome! Greatly deserved I’m sure!
TOOTSEE TULIP BULB’S LOVE-TREAT
By Judy Caldwell Hughes
Tootsee Tulip Bulb and her friends rocked and rolled until autumn arrived.
Wind whistled, “Time to tumble into bed.”
Tootsee went first. Her friends followed.
Okay! Stem-lips up. Heart-cheeks down. “Whee-ee.”
Soil tucked-in around her.
Where’s my nightlight?
Do I have to nap al-l-l winter?
Who turned down the heat?
Wish I had a wool coat.
Okay. Sleep time.
“Peanuts to you, Squirrel. I’m a love bulb, not dinner!”
Tootsee snooz-zed. She dreamed.
Moon shone and hid.
“Buzz-off beetle! I’m sleeping.”
“Oh-h-h, Love Bug, thanks for the jiggle! Time’s ticking.”
Tootsee stuck out her roots. She stretched her stem. She snuck a peek.
No green grass.
No waving leaves.
No flower friends.
Br-r-r. Am I early?
Sun’s love-hugs wrapped Tootsee with courage. She stayed. Her friends stayed.
That night snow dusted the ground, bare trees and Tootsee.
Y-y-yes, I’ll grow.
Y-yes, I’ll leaf out.
Yes! I’ll share love!
Sleet drummed, Tootsee danced.
Wind tickled, Tootsee laughed.
Sun shone, Tootsee grew. Her friends grew, too.
Love-Treat Day’s countdown ticked.
Tootsee sprouted a lips-up, cheeks-down-heart.
Tootsee’s lips parted. Her friends’ lips did, too.
Together they sang, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
“Sweet nectar-treats, anybug?”
Fun to read from Tootsee’s p.o.v.!
Such a clever premise! ❤
I love all the descriptive imagery you used in this! Nice job!
Very cute story. Lots of visuals.
Such a cute story! I love Stem-lips up. Heart-cheeks down. Good luck!
BRAVE IN THE BASEMENT
By Jessica Whipple
It was the second grade Valentine’s party and Mirabel needed her heart dress.
“Mom, can you get it? It’s in the dryer.” She hated reaching into that dark, round abyss. It rumbled, got really hot, and shrunk things. Thinking about the dryer made her tummy whirl like a carousel.
But Mom was busy.
“Sorry, Honey…” she started to say, zigging upstairs.
“I can’t, gotta find…” zagging down.
And Benny was on the potty.
So Mirabel would have to be brave. She tried to psych herself up thinking how great it would be to eat heart cookies in a heart dress. Valentine perfection.
That got her down the basement steps. Still, her tummy was a carousel.
Just then, Benny toddled down with his pants on backwards. She couldn’t help laughing! When she did, she noticed the carousel slowing down. “I’ll just think about his pants the rest of the way,” she thought.
They crossed the cement floor to the dryer, giggling all the way. Laughing made it easier to be brave.
Mirabel opened the door and reached in. Though her tummy was whirling, she rummaged for her sweater, found it, and yanked it out. Valentine success! And her arm hadn’t shrunken, either!
Then her hand touched something else…
“Mom, we found your keys!”
Love the cute ending!
Thanks so much!
Love this story, Jessica! And they found the keys!
Cute story. Love the use of the carousel imagery. That really made me understand exactly what Mirabel was feeling.
Ha ha! Laughter clearly is the best medicine. Good luck!
I used to feel this way about our basement!
I could picture the laundry area because it sounds like the one we had in our first home! I didn’t like going down there either. I really enjoyed the twist at the end as well!
The story is so cute! Our kids help us in so many ways and we often lose sight of that 💓
This was good enough. But got even better (And Benny was on the potty. Funny.) Nice ending.
I like the idea of thinking about nice or funny things when one feels scared.
Very cute! Great ending.
This is so cute. I can really picture it. And the last line, ha ha! Good luck!
CALEB’S HEART by Anne Bromley (208 words)
“Tick, tick, tick” went Mrs. Ling’s timer. Drawing time was almost over.
Caleb still didn’t have the perfect Valentine for Mama. It had to be special. Mama worked so hard to pay the rent and buy food.
All the other kids were busy cutting paper, curling ribbons, sprinkling glitter.
“I hate Valentine’s Day!” Caleb muttered, clutching his pencil.
He tried to draw a heart, but it turned into an apple.
Jason just completed his umpteenth card. He leaned over. “You better hurry.”
“I know!” Caleb scowled. He stabbed the red paper with a black marker and drew circles.
Mrs. Ling stopped by. “How’s it going?”
Caleb put his head on the desk, feeling an anger stew bubbling inside. “I can’t draw hearts.”
Jason laughed. “I’ll draw one for you.”
Caleb stood up. “No! It’s gotta be mine.”
Mrs. Ling winked. “Yes, it does.”
Her globe gave him an idea!
He grabbed four sheets and taped them together to make one big square.
He drew a huge circle in the middle.
Jason howled, “That’s no Valentine!”
Caleb declared, “Yes, it is!”
He wrote carefully around the circle:
MY LOVE FOR YOU IS BIGGER THAN THE WORLD.
Mrs. Ling whispered, “Your Mama will love this!”
And she did.
Way to be creative Caleb!
Thank you, Colleen!
Thinking outside the heart! Clever boy!
Well put! Thank you!
I love that Caleb didn’t give up, even with teasing!
Thank you, Colleen!
I can relate to Caleb – my hearts tend to look like apples, too. Sweet story! ❤
Mine too! Thank you.
Oh, yes. His mama will love it. I sure do!
Thank you, Jill!
I enjoyed this! I like the way Caleb turns a seemingly bad situation into something good. I like Caleb.
Thank you, Corine.
LOve the way Caleb solved his valentine problem. Good luck!
Good luck everyone! I can’t wait to read your stories!
Corn Dogs on the Corner – 214 words
By: Colleen Dougherty
“That’s Wacky Wilson? My friend Steve said he had a tail and hair made of sticks!!”
“That’s not nice, Jeffrey.”
“Mom, seriously! He sits in his run down house and steals kids’ hopes and dreams and molds them into corn dogs! I also heard his dog once bit a mailman in half! He had to work that day with no legs!”
“He doesn’t have a dog. Mr. Wilson is a veteran and a kind man.”
“Then why is his house so run down?”
“Because he’s alone and can’t take care of things. Instead of spreading mean lies you should be looking for ways to help him, especially right before the holiday celebrating love.”
As Jeffrey wrote his Valentines, the words of love mixed with thoughts of his mean lies. He grabbed his phone and made his way to the corner.
He paced at the door.
“Let’s go,” Steve said.
“Okay, yeah…wait, no, we gotta stay.”
“Hi. I’m..I’m Jeffrey and this is Steve. Can we help with anything around the house?”
“That would be wonderful. Thanks!”
“Mr. Wilson, do you eat corn dogs?”
“No, they make me gassy.”
“Great! I mean, not about being gassy…we’ll be back later!”
Kids these days are so weird. Mr. Wilson thought, shutting the door.
It posted my sentences weird, sorry!
Does anyone know how I can fix the way it’s showing so I can try to fix the sentences? Ugh!
Not to worry about your sentences… I love the comedy at the end! It makes me want to know what happens next. Good plot turn here and while this story ends…. it could definitely go on! Good Luck!
All fixed, thanks to Susanna! I appreciate it!
Great example how people are judged by appearances. Wow you fit in humor too!
Mr. Wilson reminds me of Carl in the cartoon ‘Up’, definitely a funny story you could flesh out more.
Thank goodness Mom set Jeffrey straight. I really like your ending, but I also like the stories the boys made up. Good luck! And maybe Susanna can fix the lines for you.
She very kindly took care of that for me! Thanks, Colleen!
Your story conveys so many great messages about gossip, generosity, and giving everyone a chance. Good luck in the contest!
Thank you, Anne! Good luck to you as well!
This was a great mix of humor and heart. And a great message. Great ending 😄.
Thank you, Ashley!
So sweet! (and corn dogs make me gassy, too 😉 )
Haha! Thanks for reading my story!
The details are so kid-like. Glad Jeffrey and Steve were brave!
Hah! Love watching Jeffrey and Steve’s transformation…and bathroom humor always makes me smile 🙂
Haha, thank you, Deborah!
The last line especially made me chuckle!
Lovely message of kindness and compassion and the twist at the end is an unexpected treat!
Such a sweet story idea – and an important message x
Colleen, this story is so layered and rich. You’ve packed a whole lot into a few words. Thank you for this!
Love Mr. Wilson’s thought t the end. Love that the boys offered their help. Good luck!
This really made me smile!
By Rebecca Gardyn Levington
Every year, on Valentine’s,
the shapes all got together,
to leap into The Lake of Love,
despite the chilly weather.
Triangle and Rectangle,
Hexagon and Square,
Diamond, Star, and Oval,
even Trapezoid was there.
But Heart was all aflutter,
too afraid to fall in Love.
“I might get hurt or broken!”
she yelled down from up above.
Although Heart ached to take the plunge,
(She tried and tried each year),
she couldn’t stop her pulsing,
pounding, palpitating fear.
Then someone tapped her shoulder.
It was Circle. “It’s okay.
I’ve got you,” he said kindly.
“I will help you on your way.”
Heart murmured, “thank you Circle,”
and her thump began to slow.
“You’ll see, it’s fun to be in Love!”
said Circle. “Come, let’s go.”
“Alright,” said Heart. “I’ve got this.
I can do it. Yes, I’m pumped!”
Then Heart took hold of Circle’s hand.
Please also visit my website!
I like your use of shapes Rebecca. My favorite line was, “Too afraid to fall in Love.” Very clever.
Wow! This is fabulous! I love the rhythm, the rhyme, the word play and the story which works on several levels. Well done!
Fantastic, Rebecca! Fresh, succinct, darling! Thanks for this!
It’s so much fun you told your stories using shapes! I love the creativity!
I always look forward to reading your entries. They are always fun and kid-friendly. Good luck!
Rebecca, this is so sweet! I love the Lake of Love and Yes, I’m pumped! especially! 🙂
This is so fun to read! Great job on the rhyme !
So fun! What triumph at the end!
I love this! Really original
I loved this idea, I literally said “Aw!” out loud when I read Heart’s fear. Well done!
What wonderful imagination with the shapes. Best line, she couldn’t stop her pulsing,
pounding, palpitating fear. Good luck!
So great, Rebecca!
Rebecca, this is so original and so well written! Good luck with this!
Wow! You totally captured Heart’s fear in memorable quatrains. Great job!
Knock, Knock, Knock
By Marty Findley
I watched the new family unload the van and carry boxes into the house. There was a boy about my age. He glanced up and I waved.
In class the next day the boy was introduced to us. His name was Jack. He was looking down at his shoes but on his way to his seat he looked up at me and smiled. My heart went knock…, knock…, knock….
At home I made a special valentine for Jack. I wanted to deliver it in person but the thought of giving it to him face to face made butterflies in my stomach do gymnastics.
“Be brave! Be bold! Be daring!” I told myself. Before I could change my mind I went out the door, across the street and up the steps onto Jack’s porch.
I told myself, “You only need 3 seconds of bravery…, 3 seconds of boldness…, 3 seconds of daring.”
My heart went knock…, knock…, knock…. My knees went knock…, knock…, knock…, and I found my hand going knock…, knock…, knock… on his door.
The door opened. I handed him the valentine, turned around and bolted for home.
“Wait!” he said. I heard footspteps behind me. I turned around. He held out a valentine to me. Knock…, knock…, knock,, went my heart!
I love how you have used the knock, knock, knock in many ways! Good job and very cute!
Your story reminds me of my crushes in grade school! Nice job, Marty!
Sweet! “3 seconds of bravery…” – yes! ❤
So sweet! I love that two shy people reach out to one another!
MY heart went knock, knock, knock when you wrote ‘my knees went knock…, knock…,knock.’ Love, love, love that paragraph.
Ahh, young love came knocking! Good job and good luck!
By Laura Bower
Evol hated Valentines.
It filled him with despair.
All that lovey-dovey stuff –
not welcome in his lair!
Evol liked to X out O’s.
and shred up paper hearts.
Any pink balloons in sight?
He popped them with his darts.
His assistant Sweetie Pie?
She felt a different way.
Love flowed freely through her veins.
at any time of day.
Crafting up a simple card –
(she left out all the pink).
“Evol, will you be my friend?”
She wrote in blood-red ink.
Sweetie’s heart went BOOM, boom, BOOM!
Would Evol tear it up?
Sweetie sealed the note with wax
and hid it in his cup.
Evol went to take a sip.
She feared this was the end.
Evol gasped. His face scrunched up.
“I’ve never had a friend!”
Evol made a solemn pact.
to celebrate each year.
Mixing styles with his pal –
Sweetie blew up pink balloons.
and Evol made them POP!
Sweetie mixed the potions up.
and Evol let them DROP!
Glancing in his looking glass.
A smile crept on his face.
Instead of E-V-O-L on his shirt
Now L-O-V-E was in its place.
Happy Villain-tine’s Day!
This was fun! Thanks Laura. And good luck!
How has no one done this before! Love it! All of it! 😁❣️
Now this is cute… awwww.
I didn’t see that coming! How fun! Nice job:)
So clever! ❤
A unique take on Valentine’s Day! Very clever! Good luck!
Nicely done. My favorite part ‘liked to X out O’s’ — so clever to work in hugs and kisses.
This is great! Such a fun twist to a Valentine’s story. Good luck!
Very fun! Love the mix for Evol’s name! Good luck!
Bravo for Leo! Great story and well done on your rhyming!
This is really well done Lisa!
ENTRY POSTED FOR ELYSE
Take A Deep Breath-211 Words
By Elyse Trevers
Baia was feeling sick. She was sweating and her throat was dry.
Her teacher picked her to read her poem in front of the whole school and all the parents.
Dad told her #1 on the List of Fears was fear of public speaking which meant most people were afraid to talk in front of groups.
That didn’t make Baia feel better. After all, she was the one who would be onstage.
Everyone had given her advice on how to be brave. “Look over their heads.” “Memorize it and close your eyes.” “Pretend everyone’s in their underwear.” (That made her giggle.)
Nothing was calming the butterflies in her belly.
And now the time was here. Baia was nervous and her hands were shaking.
“Next up, Baia,” called the teacher.
As she stood on the stage, her heart was pounding so loudly, she wondered if everyone could hear it. I’m going to faint, she thought. She looked out at the audience.
Mom had suggested, “Find one person and read just to him.”
There was Poppa grinning up at her. He had been brave, so could she. She took a deep breath, swallowed her fear and began.
“This is my Valentine’s poem to all the veterans, like my Poppa, who served this country.”
I love your ending. And the fear of public speaking is one to which many – old AND young can relate. Great job! Good luck!
This story is such a thoughtful tribute to veterans!
I love this! So sweet. Nothing like the love of a grandchild!
I love this story! The bond between Baia and Poppa ❤
I salute you! Well done!
I think most people can relate to the fear of public speaking one way or another. What was cool is she is given lots of advice to get through reading her poem but it’s her Poppa who calms her. To then have the poem be to veterans? Home run! Really nice!
What a sweet and terrific ending! Love it. Good luck!
Baia is so brave! Way to go.
Super sweet. Go, Baia!
Touching. No doubt — Poppa calmed her nerves. I am CERTAIN, her jitters disappeared the second she saw him. And I have a feeling the WAS only talking to him. Lovely.
‘she’ WAS only talking to him.
Great ending and a lovely take on the theme x
Nice job! Thanks for including veterans on Valentine’s Day. Good luck!
ENTRY POSTED FOR BARB
B.A. Schlosser Hill: word count 214
Only Three Words
His friends finished spraying his hair red when the teacher escorted him to the stage. The hot lights blinded him as he looked out. Parents, teachers, and students. Everyone was at this assembly. He felt the warm sticky red drips of sweat fall on his once white shirt. He swallowed hard. “Just breathe, you will be fine!” his teacher said.
He waited for his turn. He didn’t want to be part of this. He didn’t like to speak in front of people. His nose burned with the scent of hairspray and hot hair. His head was itchy. He wanted to throw up. He had three words to say.
He watched as Sally finished her dance. He trembled as Milton sang a song. After Trudy’s poem, it would be his turn. He was not good at speaking in front of people.
He sensed a warm trickle running down his legs. His socks felt the dampness. Backing up, he bumped into his teacher who smiled at him. “You’re up next” she said.
Looking around, he saw a cut-out heart. He picked up the decoration. He held it in front of him tightly. It hid his wet pants. He walked up to center stage. He stood at the microphone. He sighed, smiled, and shouted, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
What is the likelihood that two entries dealing with fear of public speaking would be posted back to back. This young narrator did a good job of staying strong despite the mishap.
Only three words can seem like a million. Nicely done!
Poor kid! I could feel his anxiety in this story. Nice job!
What a frightening experience, but he bravely came through. Good job and good luck!
ENTRY POSTED FOR MARTHA
A Stolen Valentine
By Martha Holguin (214 words)
“Felicity mom is calling you,” Alicia shouted.
“Tuning out everyone in my hemisphere,” Felicity replied.
“Calling hemisphere to Felicity” “come down or face the consequences,” Alicia hollered.
“Mother my heart aches I don’t feel good,” Felicity cried out.
“Oh dear, shopping for Valentine’s Day goodies might help” Mother implored.
“What for we have no one to give candy hearts or goofy cards too,” Felicity stubbornly replied.
“Well, I do both of you get dressed and put on your facemask,” Mother insisted.
“My heart is broken” Alicia snickered, “besides Valentine’s Day is for grownups.”
“Don’t you love your friends?” Felicity curiously asked.
“Yes, but I don’t need to give silly cards or chocolate candy to prove it,” Alicia declared.
Suddenly Mother blurted, “What, NO Valentine’s Day items available!”
“Delivery trucks are stranded in the snow,” the store clerk apologized.
“The aisles are empty just like my heart, it’s COVID!” “No school, no classmates, now COVID stole Valentine’s Day,” Felicity murmured.
“Stop!” “Mother Felicity is clouding my day,” Alicia snapped.
It is true I must be brave to help friends and family feeling sad and broken, Felicity internalized.
“Mother let’s go home bake chocolate cupcakes and spread the love on Zoom.” Alicia humored.
“And fill hearts with Valentine smiles, virtual hugs and hallmark happiness!” Felicity chuckled.
COVID clearly makes this a very different Valentine’s Day, and understandably many children are angry, so good job showing that in your story.
COVID has put a damper on lots of events. I like how you show how it’s impacted Felicity, which is how a lot of kids must feel. Nice job, Martha!
I like that you showed that love can spread via Zoom, too. Sweet story. ❤
I’m glad that love can overcome Covid. Good job and good luck!
Sorry, Susanna. I thought I could delete these tests. Sorry to create extra work for you.
haha no problem! I’ll delete them. But at least it seems you figured out italics! WEll done! 😊
The pencil slips
through my sweaty fingers –
suddenly twenty-five Valentine’s cards
is twenty-five too many.
I’m signing my name
with two letters,
One second per letter,
two seconds per card.
Why is this so hard?!
I thought asking Ms. Turner
to change my name
on the class list
would be the hard part.
Turns out that was the easy part!
I guess it’s easier
to find your brave
in a quiet classroom
with a teacher who smiles –
eyes and all.
When I said I wanted
on the list
to be Al,
“Of course,” she said.
Just like that.
And here it is.
On the list.
‘Alison’ – not scribbled away.
Not crossed out with a thick, black line.
No quotation marks squeezing in a “new” name.
Typed in – like it’s always been that way.
Thing is – it has always been this way.
there’s no question mark
taking up space
at the end.
I dry my hands,
pick up the pencil
and sign my name
on cards of hearts,
sealed with hope –
saving the best one
for Ms. Turner.
Tomorrow, the classroom
will swirl with questions
but I will have the answer –
in two letters.
What a lovely way to tell this story! “Typed in – like it’s always been that way. Thing is – it has always been this way.” Imagine how many kids are living this type of situation. You’ve just captured that beautifully!
Swoon! I love that Al’s bravery is summed up in two letters. ❤
Thank you so much for reading and commenting! 🙂
You have definitely told this story well – very seamlessly.
Thanks, Colleen. I appreciate your reading and commenting! 🙂
Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I love it, Elizabeth!
Thank you, Sara! I appreciate that so much.
So much bravery here. I love the way you’ve told this story!
Thanks for helping ME to be brave about it! 🙂
Al is truly brave. Good job and good luck!
This is beautiful, Elizabeth. Makes my heart feel full.
Cards and Cookies – 214 Words
by Jennifer Reichow
Tomorrow is my class party for Valentine’s Day.
Tonight everyone will write names on superhero valentines and make candy heart treat bags.
I watch for Mom to come home with my cards and treat bags and chocolate kisses.
Candy hearts are yucky; I give out chocolate.
Where is Mom?
Nan is babysitting me today.
“Your mom is working late. Don’t worry, she won’t forget.”
We have a tea party and eat heart shaped cookies with pink icing. They’re yummy.
Nan says they made valentine cards and cookies when my mom was a girl.
They didn’t have store bought superhero valentines.
And Mom didn’t like candy hearts either.
It might be nice to make my own cards, just like mom. Not be like everyone else.
Would Mom help me make valentines and cookies?
We love doing things together but maybe it’ll be too late.
Maybe no one will like homemade stuff.
It’s past dinner when mom comes home. Her eyes are tired, but she smiles as she hands me a bag.
It’s my superhero cards and chocolates.
I take a deep breath. I’m brave.
“Mom, would you help me make valentines cards and heart shaped cookies with pink icing?”
Now her eyes are happy, and she smiles a giant smile.
“I’d love to,” she says.
So sweet! I can relate!
I think the superhero in the story might be mom! haha:) Tired or not, Mom’s always find a way!
Lovely story! ❤
Very sweet. I agree that Mom is the superhero.
Sweet! Homemade is the best! Good luck!
I love the tone you set… I feel the child’s anxiety, the desire to both participate and to anticipate that Mom might be too tired or even forget. Beautiful!
ENTRY POSTED FOR JUDY
Asina sprawled under the Pampas flowers common in her African homeland, but located behind her American housing project. She fingered a piece of red stone. Asina had never seen anything like it before. It left a powder on her hands when she rubbed it.
Tears fell down her face as she thought of her friend Daliah in Africa. She and Daliah would swim in Ivory Lake and giggle about shared secrets.
“Hi!” said Jasmine, her new friend, humming a tune as she hopped down the steps with two Mexican tea cakes in hand.
Asina wiped her face with red powdered hands and held tight to the stone like a found treasure.
Jasmine had traces of powdered sugar on her fingers as she handed a cake to Asina saying, “You want one?”
“You want to draw hearts?” Jasmine said with a smile.
Jasmine knelt down and pointed to the stone in Asina’s hand and said, “Chalk! Chalk!”
“Ch..ch..aak,” Asina stuttered and gave the chalk to Jasmine.
Jasmine drew a big heart with two stick people holding hands. Asina grinned at Jasmine as they each put a palm on the hearts and giggled!
What a touching story!
What a sweet story, Judy!
Art draws everyone together! Well done!
Aww, very sweet! good luck!