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

[For those trying to post, you must click on the Blog Post Title to get on the blog post page and access the comments]

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

Like galloping hooves, our brave hearts are pounding with excitement and anticipation (or maybe trepidation!) because it’s time for. . .

The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest

~ for children’s writers ~

The Contest:  since writing for children is all about “big emotion for little people” (I forget who said that, but someone did so I put it in quotes!) and Valentines Day is all about emotion, write a Valentines story appropriate for children (children here defined as ages 12 and under) maximum 214 words in which someone feels brave!

  • They can be brave about asking someone to be their Valentine, of course, but they can also do something brave to get a Valentine (the person or the gift), or do something brave to help a friend. They could be brave about giving something up, or brave about asking someone they’re not sure they like to be their Valentine just to be nice. . . sky’s the limit!  Think beyond the obvious!
  • Your story can be poetry or prose, sweet, funny, surprising or anything in between, but it will only count for the contest if it includes someone brave (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentines Day 😊
  • You can go under the word count but not over!
  • Title is not included in the word count.
  • You are welcome to enter more than one entry – just remember you’ll be competing against yourself 😊
  • No illustration notes please!

Post your story in the comment section below (preferred) or on your own blog between right now this very second and Sunday February 14th by 11:59 PM EDT. If you only post on your own blog, add your post-specific link to the form list at the bottom of the post.  This post with all the entries in the comment section and the list of links for those who prefer to post on their own blogs will stay up all week for everyone to enjoy. If you have difficulty posting your entry to the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you! [susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com

We discussed changing the entry posting. The majority voted to have all the entries in one place here in the comment section, so we’re going to give that a try. But there were some who wanted to continue blog-hopping, so I’m going to include a link list for them at the bottom of the post. For those who are willing to post in the comment section but also plan to post on their own blogs, you are most welcome to post the link to your blog in your posted entry here (see example below.) That way people can come visit you if they want to but can also read most of the entries in one place on my blog if they prefer. It is certainly easier for the judges to have as many entries as possible in one place. We’ll try it this way one time and see how it works. We can always go back to the old system 😊

(So a sample entry might look like this:
ENTRY TITLE – word count
Author Name
(link to your own contest entry blog post if you have one and would like to share it)

Amazing wonderful Valentiny Contest story.😊

Dudley’s Brave Valentine – 212 words
by Violet Hill

It was almost Valentines Day and Dudley’s heart had sunk to somewhere near his big toenail.
(etc etc amazing story continues)

I know how hard you all work on your entries and how anxious you are to be sure your entry is posted, but please try to be a little bit patient if you’re waiting for your entry to show up in the comments or on the list of entries. I try never to get up from my desk during contests but sometimes it’s unavoidable. 😊

The Judging: over the next several days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 12 top choices which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Thursday February 18th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.)   The winner will be announced Monday February 22nd depending on judging and voting time needed.  The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using bravery and success in making us feel the bravery!
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 😊
  7. How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines. If you don’t follow agent and editor submission guidelines they won’t even read your submission.

The Prizes:  Talk about a pounding heart! Just look at these fabulous prizes!

Hannah VanVels – Agent, Belcastro Agency – PB MS Critique

Hannah will offer one lucky winner a PB MS critique. The winner may submit fiction or nonfiction, rhyme or prose – Hannah is open to anything!

(from Belcastro Agency’s website)

Winner’s choice of Renee LaTulippe‘s Lyrical Language Lab Intensive Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course OR a one-hour ZOOM consultation with Renee to get feedback on a manuscript of your choice, ask questions about writing in rhyme/lyrical prose, or spend however you like!

Renee LaTulippe

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, Fiction) from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019), COUNTING ELEPHANTS (Running Press Kids, March 2020), and THE NIGHT BAAFORE EASTER (WorthyKids January 26, 2021)

Dawn Young

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) from Kirsti Call author of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall (Mazo Publishing, January 2019),  Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee, September 2020), as well as COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) which will release in 2021.

Kirsti Call

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017), and SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES (Spork, October 2020)

Melissa Stoller

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

Becky Scharnhorst

Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of A Flood Of Kindness (WorthyKids April 2021), DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)

Ellen Leventhal

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction, fewer than 800 words) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 16, 2021) (which means it’s coming out in the middle of our contest!😊) and the forthcoming LITTLE RED (Aladdin, Simon & Schuster, Spring 2022) and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)

Rebecca Kraft Rector

Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonfiction PB or rhyming PB) from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019), YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020), LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020), THE OLD MAN AND THE PENGUIN (Kids Can Press, December 2020), and the forthcoming LITTLE PENGUIN and LITTLE ZEBRA (Amicus Ink, March 2, 2021) and SAKIMOTO’S SWIM CLUB (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)

Julie Abery

A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by gifted author and former Holiday Contest prize winner, Jenna Waldman, author of the forthcoming Larry’s Latkes (October 2021) (originally written for the Holiday Contest!) and Shark-bot Shalom (August 2021) She is on twitter at @SarafinaDesign

Author Jenna Waldman

– Either a signed copy of WHEN A TREE GROWS OR a Picture Book Manuscript Critique – winner’s choice! – from Cathy Ballou Mealey, author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Sterling April 2019) and the forthcoming SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)

– a personalized signed copy of SUNDAY RAIN from author Rosie Pova PLUS a personalized signed copy of DEAR GRANDMA from Yours Truly.

– a personalized signed copy of DON’T HUG DOUG: (He Doesn’t Like It) from author Carrie Finison PLUS a personalized signed copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY from author/illustrator Nancy Derey Riley!

– a personalized signed copy of The Night Baafore Easter from author Dawn Young PLUS a personalized signed copy of Hop To It: Poems To Get You Moving from poet Sarah Meade!

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

Now! Put your heart into it and bravely post your entries!

I can’t wait to read your stories!!!

Eager Readers: Check out the comment section for all the fabulous entries, and the link list at the end to visit the blogs of the authors who wanted to post on their own home turf 😊

ENTRIES IN THE COMMENT SECTION: (all entries are linked)

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

This form ONLY for people who prefer to post on their own blogs and are ONLY posting their entries on their own blogs!

2,380 thoughts on “Be Brave, My Heart! – The 6th Annual Valentiny Contest Is Here!!!

  1. E. Elle Bea (@EElleBea) says:

    Nurse A Broken Heart – 196 words
    E. Elle Bea

    I hate Valentine’s Day.

    I hate stuffed bears and bouquets of flowers and boxes of chocolate.

    I hate red streamers and pink streamers and white streamers.

    I hate cartoony hearts and cardboard Cupids.

    I hate balloons and cards.

    I hate love.

    “Hey, Timmy. How are you feeling?” Abby enters my room, her smile wide until she sees me. “Not good?”

    I shake my head, then see she’s hiding something behind her back. “What’s that?”

    “You were very brave today,” she says, ignoring my question.

    I’ve heard it a million times, but it means more coming from her. She was there. She helped.

    “And I hope I’m not too late, but …”

    She finally reveals what she was hiding.

    I love it.

    I love the small balloon and card.

    I love the glittery stickers and handwritten X’s and O’s.

    I love the red, pink, and white heart-shaped construction paper.

    I love the stuffed bear holding it all and I love the candy bar Abby pulls out of her lab coat.

    I love Valentine’s Day.

    “… Timmy, will you be my valentine?”

    And just like that, Nurse Abby helps fix my broken heart — for the second time today.

  2. E. Elle Bea (@EElleBea) says:

    Bravely Solider On – 197 words
    E. Elle Bea

    I follow Mom into the building, snow crunching under our boots. I grip my homemade cards against my chest. We head to the main dining hall where everyone is enjoying a special dinner. They stop eating when our arrival is announced.

    “So brave,” someone whispers, and I try not to burst into tears.

    Mom’s gentle touch on my shoulder urges me forward. My hand trembles. My heart pounds.

    “Thank you for your service,” I say, my voice weak as I hand out my first card. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

    The veteran handles the valentine with far more care than is necessary, his wrinkled fingers caressing the red, white and blue construction paper I’d cut into a heart shape. His eyes are watery when he looks back at me.

    “Your father was a good man,” he says. “He would be so proud of you.”

    Dad was supposed to be home for Valentine’s Day this year. We were going to give valentines to the veterans together.

    “Thank you,” I finally say, then move on to the next person. I don’t know how long my courage will last, but, like Dad used to say: “We’re a military family. We soldier on.”

  3. Darcee Freier says:

    New Kid Blues by Darcee A. Freier (214 words)

    Ned survived his first day at Hill Valley Elementary by playing invisible. Before the final bell, the teacher said, “Remember your Valentines for tomorrow’s party.”

    Ned paled.
    Julie noticed. She whispered to Arjun. “Don’t forget the new kid. Pass it on.”

    Ned ran home. “Mom, I can’t go back. Tomorrow’s the Valentine’s party.”
    “That will be fun. Let’s go buy candy.”
    Ned painted a box black, and decorated it with planets and stars. His guts churned, “Nobody knows me. What if I don’t get any?”
    “What if you do?” Mom kissed his curls. Secretly, she tucked two candies into the box.

    Before class, Ned snuck his box behind the others, and passed out his candy. He was too anxious to watch as classmates deposited their Valentines.

    Ned hid in the reading corner, wishing for 3 o’clock.
    Arjun walked over, “I’m Arjun. Your box is the best. Did you see the supermoon?”
    Two boys scuffled up. “I’m Fred,” said one.
    “I’m Ted,” said the other. “We’re the Ed twins.”
    “Now we’re triplets!” laughed Fred and Ted, squishing in on the sofa.
    “Meet the class clowns. I’m Julie.” She squeezed in too.

    “Party time!” said the teacher.
    Ned grabbed his box. It bulged. He poured Valentines all across his desk, flabbergasted.
    The class cheered, “Welcome, Ned!”

  4. KeelyWrites says:

    Valentine’s Recitation (167 words)
    Keely Leim

    Reciting a Valentine’s poem
    in front of my grade
    makes me jittery, panicky,
    and just plain afraid.

    For most kids it flows.
    For most speaking’s easy,
    but with a stutter like mine
    I feel extra queasy.

    The stutter will begin
    in my stomach, then rise,
    a halting flutter
    of twitchy butterflies.

    I try to hold back,
    I try to restrain
    the indomitable stutter
    and recite the words plain.

    I slow myself down
    and let the fear go.
    I volunteer a stutter
    to help confidence grow.

    I lock eyes with my best friend.
    She gives me a wave.
    I take a deep breath
    to help me feel brave.

    I get stuck here and there,
    a few words like quicksand,
    but one syllable at a time,
    each word I command.

    On the final line I trip,
    then quickly proclaim,
    “Happy Valentine’s to you!”
    I loudly exclaim!

    By the end of my poem,
    my grade stands to cheer,
    and I walk off the stage
    with a smile ear to ear.

  5. Nancy Marie says:

    Mama Love. Dada Love. – word count: 171
    By Nancy M. Tichenor

    Mama’s arms.
    Dada’s kisses.

    “Night. Night.”
    “Niiiieeegh niiieegh!”
    “I love you, Hazel. I love you, Daddy.”
    “I love you, Hazel. I love you too, Mommy.”
    “Poo? Did she just say poo?”
    “I think so.”

    Crib. Out.
    PJs off.
    Diaper off.

    “Nope, no poo.”

    Diaper on.
    PJs on.

    “Night. Night, Hazel”
    “Niiiieeegh niiieegh!”
    “I love you, Hazel. I love you, Daddy.”
    “I love you, Hazel. I love you too, Mommy.”


    Mama love.
    Dada love.


    Mama love?
    Dada love?

    Crib. Out.
    Swing foot. Swing foot.
    Plop. Ground.

    Mama love.
    Dada love.

    Pitter patter.
    More dark.
    More scared.
    Mama love.
    Dada love.

    Most dark.
    Most scared.
    Mama love.
    Dada love.


    Mama bed.

    “I love you, Hazel. I love you, Daddy.”
    “I love you, Hazel. I love you too, Mommy.”
    “Ohhhh, Sweet Hazel. We love you TOO!”

  6. ingridboydston says:

    A Valentine Treasure
    By Ingrid Boydston
    212 words
    Could he do it? Would he do it? It seemed like a terrific idea when it first landed in his brain. He’d be considered a hero— kind and generous. But now, was he brave enough to actually go through with it?
    It seemed so long ago, but it was only this morning when he’d first discovered his treasure. His newfound store of what could only be described as riches. Even the box said “Only the richest for the best!” He knew that because his sister read the shiny gold words out loud. That was right before tragedy struck. Somehow, in all the excitement, someone’s elbow— his maybe?— had knocked over a glass AND her box! Crash! Splash! Her treasure tumbled into the puddle of spilled milk! She ran sobbing, into her bedroom.
    That was ages ago. He’d been so sure he could give some of his own wealth to her. But now it was nearly gone. One single piece remained. “Be brave!” he told himself. Slapping on the heart-shaped lid so he couldn’t be tempted by the beauty, the color, and especially the smell of his last treasured piece, he ran to his sister’s room. His four pack of chocolates was almost empty. “This one’s for you,” he said. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

    Thank you for another happy Valentine Susanna!

  7. ofmariaantonia says:

    by Maria Antonia

    There’s a spider on my valentine!
    “Just an itsy bitsy spider,” Sharice says.
    “Bigger than a house!” I say.
    “A very tiny house,” Sharice says.
    Sharice! Thinks she’s sooooo smart.

    There’s a spider on my valentine!
    “Gimme your shoe,” Amy says.
    “Yuck! I don’t want spider guts on MY shoe,” I say.
    Amy! Thinks she’s sooooo smart.

    There’s a spider on my valentine!
    “Don’t kill it,” Pedro says. “Spiders are good. They trap flies.”
    “I’d rather have the flies,” I say.
    Pedro! Thinks he’s sooooo smart.

    There’s a spider on my valentine …
    Sharice, Amy, and Pedro slowly back away.
    Somebody’s got to be BRAVE!
    Stare …
    Glare …
    No FAIR!
    It’s MY valentine!

    Wait. I have an idea.
    “Stay there!”

    I get a cup.


    “Don’t put him outside,” Pedro says. “It’s too cold.”
    “It’s February,” Amy says.
    “It’s Valentine’s Day!” Sharice says.

    Maybe …
    I carry the valentine to the big desk at the front of the classroom.
    I lift the cup.
    “You, stay.”

    Mrs. Carter comes over.
    “Why, Jamie! For me?”
    She picks up the valentine and …
    “That itsy bitsy spider looks so realistic—”

    “Eek! There’s a spider on my valentine!”


  8. Carolina Bottino says:

    Dino & Gigi – 213 words
    by Carolina Bottino pen name Nina K. Brown

    Dino was a very scared little mouse. He was afraid of eating different foods, heights, water and was even more afraid of the dark.

    His girlfriend Gigi was the opposite of him. She was brave, like to play on water, climbing trees, and love to try new foods.

    Dino admired his brave girlfriend.

    One day Gigi went out to pick berries in the forest, to make a nice Valentine’s Day pie for Dino. But she didn’t return.

    Dino was desperate about the disappearance of his girlfriend. He decided to face his fear and go look for her in the forest. He put on his explorer outfit, grabbed some cheese, and ran towards the forest…and stopped, he couldn’t go in. The forest was so scary and he was terrified.

    Shivering, Dino thought about Gigi and that she might be in deep danger. So he gathered all the courage he needed and bravely entered the forest.

    Tiptoeing in, staring at the frightening trees, mosquitos and spiders he faced everything to look for his adorable Gigi.

    He climbed trees and crossed the river. Up there in the top of a mulberry tree was Gigi stuck upside down by her tail. Dino, a big brave mouse, went up and saved Gigi.“I always knew you were brave Dino.”

  9. Carolina Bottino says:

    Hearts Trail – 209 words
    by Carolina Bottino pen name Nina K. brown

    Today was a very special day for Nina, she finally going home after five months in the hospital.

    Waking up early, Nina started getting ready.

    Standing in front of the mirror, she saw something was glued to it so she gently pulled it off. It was a paper heart note that said:

    “You are beautiful!”

    She looked around to see who could have left that note, but there was no one there apart from her mother. Nina took a scarf to put on her head and realized there was another little note inside, “You are amazing!”

    When leaving the room, she found a note in each step she took that said,

    “You are brave!”,

    “You are smart!”

    Nina collected all the notes she found along the way.

    They all said things that warmed her heart.

    “Mom, did you write these notes?”

    “No, Nina, I’m just as curious as you are to find out who wrote them.”

    “We shall follow the trail, Mom… it may take us to the person who wrote them.”

    Together they followed the trail and found more little heart notes along the road to home.

    Curious Nina opened the front door and soon found out who wrote the notes.

    We love you, Nina! Screamed her classmates.

  10. Sheila Hausbeck says:

    The Giant’s Valentine
    213 words
    By Sheila M. Hausbeck

    Lucy knew there was a giant on Giant’s Mountain. She’d seen his footprints. She’d heard his windy voice. She’d smelled his cookies baking.

    She wondered if he’d like a valentine if she could be brave enough to give him one.

    The magnificent valentine was too big for Lucy to carry. She punched a hole in one corner and looped a ribbon through it so she could pull it up the mountain.

    As she hiked, the wind whispered to her. Then it yelled! Was that the giant’s voice? Lucy raised her chin and climbed. At the top, she tiptoed after the giant’s footprints to his door. Hmmm, cookies, that meant he was home. She had just taken a deep breath and raised her hand to knock when the wind whooshed in and tried to wrestle the card away!

    “Stop it!” she yelled. “I made this valentine, I dragged it all the way up here and I’m giving it to the giant!”

    The huge door creaked open. “Is that for me?”

    Lucy’s bravery evaporated. She dashed off down the mountain.

    The next morning Lucy awoke to something sparkly blocking the sun from her room. She opened the window, hmmm, frosting! She rushed outside. There against the house stood a heart-shaped cookie from her giant admirer.

  11. Carolina Bottino says:

    The Loneliness Street – 206 words
    by Nina K. Brown

    In Loneliness street there was a puppy who attacked everyone that came close.

    Whenever someone approached, He barked, growled, and threatened to bite.

    The mischievous children teased the dog by throwing stones and pieces of wood, but that didn’t make the dog leave.

    Zaira, who had recently moved into Loneliness street, watched from her window, people dodge the dog or throw objects at him.

    She decided to do something. She went to the kitchen, took a piece of meat that was leftover from lunch, and went outside to where the puppy was.

    When he saw her, he snarled and bared his teeth.

    Zaira didn’t give up. She put the piece of meat on the floor and pushed it closer to the dog with a stick.

    The dog sniffed, sniffed, and ate. So Zaira did it every day until the dog no longer barked when he saw her.

    As time passed, Zaira realized that the dog was not angry. He just didn’t know what love was. Everyone who had approached him had hurt him in some way, either with words or by hitting him. The girl was the only one who never hurt him.

    As time went by, the girl and the dog left the Loneliness street.

  12. chardixon47 says:


    by Charlotte Dixon

    Something snatches me . . .
    from my construction paper family!
    I’ve never been away from home!
    My every fiber shakes!
    My sides slip away.
    You clipped me!
    Shivers ripple my pulp.
    Sticky fingers grip my middle.
    Goop oozes and slathers my edges.
    You slimed me!
    Sticky fingers squeeze and . . .
    wind me round and round.
    My sides poke out in white.
    Ew! Ruffles!
    Sticky fingers press and push.
    Black marks streak my body!
    You tagged me with graffiti!
    Sticky fingers grip my middle.
    Goop oozes and slathers.
    Rope loops and tangles . . .
    here, there, and everywhere!
    I must be brave and . . .
    get out of this muddle!
    I flutter to the floor, and scoot out the door.
    I blow past the swings,
    monkey bars,
    and shouting faces.
    A warm breeze whisks me . . .
    Riding high,
    I dip and skip over . . .
    a zoo,
    a carnival,
    and animals that moo.
    I float aloft until . . .
    a cry wafts from below.
    A child sits in a swing . . . alone.
    Maybe, she needs a family, too.
    I swoop—
    and flop on her lap.
    She clasps me to her heart.
    “My Valentine!” she shouts.
    “I’m home,” I whisper.

  13. ✨❄️Margaret Aitken🌨✨ (@mgtaitken) says:

    –Look closely at the first letter of each line 😉 —

    PLAYDATE – 184 words

    By Margaret Aitken

    Verity, I’m so glad you could come play today.

    Aren’t climbing trees the best? You make it look SOOOO easy.

    Look, I found a ladybug. They’re red and spotty just like that sweater you wear…except when it’s in the wash and you wear the blue one with stripes.

    Elephants are my favorite animal too. It used to be stripy, snarling tigers … but now it’s elephants.

    Nobody else from class could make it this afternoon, so I guess it’s just you and me. Although, I maybe forgot to ask them…

    The red envelope? Oh, that’s nothing. Mom must have put it in my bag—she’s always doing that sigh!

    It’s Valentine’s Day today? I’d totally and completely forgot.

    Nah, I’ll open it later.

    Except … I just remembered. It’s actually for you! Happy Valentine’s Day.

    Sure, it was no problem! There were loads of red, spotty elephant cards in the store, so I just grabbed one.

    Do I want to go to your house for ice-cream?

    Absolutely and definitely.

    Yeah, Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday too. I’ve been waiting for it ALL week.

  14. Chambrae Griffith (@chambrae_g) says:

    OCTOPUS HUGS – 205 words
    by Chambrae Griffith

    Octopus was floating by,
    when a flyer caught his eye.

    Clown fish, dolphins, sting rays, slugs,
    are you good at giving hugs?
    A Valentine’s Day hug contest.
    The prize, a sunken treasure chest!
    Contestants, meet at Aqua Park.
    Test all your hugs on me!
    Love, Shark.

    “A treasure chest? Oh what a prize!”
    But hug a shark, would that be wise?

    With 8 strong arms he’d be the winner,
    or he might wind up— shark’s dinner!

    He squirmed his way to Aqua Park
    to see who dared to hug a shark.

    But not one creature stood in line
    Only shark—who held a sign.

    Hug contest. Enter, please!
    I’ve never had a single squeeze.

    Shark’s head hung low, he looked so blue,
    Octopus knew what to do.

    He swam up slowly feeling wary,
    shark was big, and very scary!

    He stretched his shaking arms out wide,
    and whispered, “Here shark, swim inside.”

    He wrapped shark up, all tight and snug,
    and gave him the most perfect hug.

    “Oh what a hug! The very best!
    You win this sunken treasure chest.”

    But Octopus had fixed his eyes
    on something else, a shark-sized prize!

    “Though the treasure chest looks great,
    I’d rather win— a new best mate!”

  15. pbbeckyk says:

    Conversation Heart Courage
    By Becky Kimbrough
    212 words

    “Whee! Yippee!” hollers HUG ME.
    “Onward!” shouts XO.
    Candy hearts jump in the bag. I hide, afraid to go.

    “Vamanos!” declares YOU’RE CUTE.
    But what am I to do?
    Candy hearts should dazzle and I’m just a boring blue.

    “We’ll decorate their cookies! It’s our time to shine. You can’t miss this party, Blue. Hurry!” says BE MINE.

    Suddenly, I’m scooped right up. Oh no! My fate is sealed.
    A teacher puts us in her bag. Soon we are revealed.

    Diving deep, I hide, too scared to do my part.
    With no words printed on my front, I’m just a broken heart.

    “Yoo-hoo, woo-hoo!” calls I LOVE YOU and lands upon a plate.
    “Ooooh,” says BE TRUE, “I’m coming too! Time to decorate!”

    Children sift and scramble. I look the other way.
    Maybe no one will notice and I won’t be picked today.

    Finally, one child is left, quiet, all alone.
    He doesn’t seem to care for any hearts that he is shown.

    Eek! Can it be?
    Did he smile at me?

    Maybe I know what to do.
    Wiggling close, I smile back. Perhaps he only wants wordless blue?

    Braver now, I mustn’t hide, but trust I’m a good catch.
    Lucky for me, now I can see, JUST BLUE’s a perfect match.

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    My Friend Nate – 214 words
    by Karima Davis

    My friend Nate is eighty-seven. I am eight.
    When I get home, he waves from his front gate.

    With his big wide grin and silver hair,
    There isn’t a day that he isn’t there.

    His special grin, a mile wide,
    Says, “Hurry up, come on inside!”

    He’s my best friend, steady and true.
    He waits each day to hear what’s new.

    He knows my teacher is super nice.
    I know his favorite meal is curry rice.

    We dunk cookies in milk and watch T.V.
    I help him with things, and he helps me.

    He loves when I say, “No way!” or “Super cool!”
    He laughs when I tell him silly jokes from school.

    Nate tells me stuff, both old and new,
    Stories of brave friends and planes he flew.

    Nate’s stories of the things he has done,
    Make me excited to one day tell some.

    I hope to have courage, just like Nate.
    I want him proud of being my mate.

    Nate says, he is already super proud,
    I’m a kid that doesn’t follow the crowd.

    It takes courage to grow. I learn from him.
    I think that’s why he has that special grin.

    A grin that says, I’m eighty-seven and you’re eight,
    But who cares about age, you and I get along great!

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Jojo’s Valentine
    By Sarah Hawklyn

    Jojo baked three big cookie hearts decorated with red sugar and cinnamon candies.
    One each for Mom and Dad. She held the third one in her hand.

    I should take it to Louis, her head said, but her heart wouldn’t move.
    He doesn’t want to be bothered. Does he? What will she say to him?
    She tried to imagine being without her Mom. When she tried, a scary pit opened in her stomach. He must be so sad.

    She’d always thought being brave meant going on a quest to find a unicorn or flying to the moon, but it really means..

    She rose slowly and walked next door.
    “Hi Louis, I thought you might like a Valentine.” Her trembling hand betrayed her; it dropped the offered cookie, which broke into two pieces.

    “Thanks Jo.” Louis picked up the pieces and they sat on his front stairs.
    “I’m sorry Louis.” Jojo said quietly.
    “You didn’t mean to drop the cookie.”
    “I mean about your Mom.“ She tried not to cry.
    “I think it’s the perfect Valentine.” He fit the two broken pieces together, then handed Jojo one and they ate them, just sitting.

    Afterwards, she ran home and hugged her Mom, resting in bed, glad that at least for now her family was still whole.

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    “I Like You A Lot” – Word count 213
    Julie Schnieders

    Cindy carefully printed each of her classmates name’s on the outside of their Valentine’s with her own name inside. She had one special Valentine that she didn’t sign. Cindy felt bashful. Her Valentine to Jay simply read: “I like you a lot.” She put the finished Valentine’s in a brown paper bag decorated with cut-out construction paper hearts next to her bed.

    Cindy tossed and turned trying to fall asleep. How would she give Jay his Valentine?

    “Oh, he’s so cute,” Cindy thought, drifting off to sleep.

    The next morning, Cindy grabbed her bag of Valentine’s, heading off to school.

    Cindy walked into the classroom. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach as she caught a glimpse of Jay. The teacher asked the students to take out their heart-decorated shoe boxes and put them on their desks. Cindy’s classmates erupted in a cacophony of excitement eager to pass out Valentine’s.

    Cindy watched Jay put his Valentine in her shoe box. She daydreamed. What did he write in his Valentine to her?

    Jay looked through his shoebox filled with Valentines. Jay frowned. He didn’t see a card from Cindy.

    “Where’s my Valentine?” he asked.

    Cindy handed it to him. He opened it.



    Front of her.

    Their eyes met.

    Cindy blushed.

    Jay smiled.

  19. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Unconventional friendship
    By Sarah Hawklyn

    She knew she shouldn’t go.
    “Pixies don’t go out into the woods at night,” she’d been told.
    She went anyway.

    Bright light in her eyes…pinned!
    From behind the beam came a soft voice, “Don’t be scared.”
    Frozen she could not speak.
    Her legs trembled. She barely kept upright.
    She didn’t want to be scared, but instead of answering, she ran.

    Afterwards she boasted to her friends, “He was really afraid. I could hear it in his voice.”
    “You’re so brave.” “I wouldn’t do that…” They all chimed in.

    It didn’t take away the fear…or the excitement.
    With her heart beating she planned.
    She gathered vines and flowers. She wove them together.
    She made a gift. A beautiful heart.

    Tonight she’d go. Was she brave enough?
    She wanted to return to let him know…
    She wasn’t afraid.
    Maybe they could be friends.

    The night was dark.
    The moon, hiding, did not guide the way.
    She placed her crafted heart within the toadstool ring and ran behind a tree.
    Would he still find it?

    The torchlight searched, moving through the woods.
    Finally brilliance illuminated her offering.
    “Thanks,” floated down from above.
    “You’re welcome,” she whispered, safe in her hiding spot.

    Even though he was giant and she was small…
    Couldn’t they be friends?

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    The Flavors of the Heart-213 words
    by Armineh Manookian

    At the bottom of Grandma’s pot, were all the flavors of her heart.

    Ani dug inside it.

    She savored the bouquet of spices,



    rosewater in a Persian stew.

    Ani winced at the last bite. “Why is it bitter, Grandma?”

    “You’re tasting sadness.”

    Grandma accidentally spilled the rice.

    “Scattered. Everywhere.” Grandma sighed. “Like family.”

    Ani gathered it into the shape of a heart. “Look! For Valentine’s Day.”

    “How I long our family could celebrate it together.”

    “I wish I could help,” Ani said.

    “Can you ask the neighbors for more rice?”

    Ani whispered. “Talking to grown-ups is scary.”


    Ani walked down the steps.


    Mrs. Mansour didn’t have any, neither did Mrs. Hernandez, nor did Mr. Park.

    Ani returned.

    Without rice.

    Without helping Grandma.

    Empty handed

    Yet full

    of the fragrance of her neighbors’ cooking.

    Ani took a deep breath …

    and walked back to Mrs. Mansour’s.

    “I have an idea.”

    Soon, Mrs. Mansour, Mrs. Hernandez, and Mr. Park followed Ani to her apartment.

    Grandma walked into the room as the neighbors placed down their dishes, spiced with

    flavors from faraway places.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day!” they cried.

    “On the bottom of these pots,” Ani said, “are the stories of their hearts.”

    Grandma hugged her. “Let’s dig in!”

  21. ellen seal (@ellenseal14) says:

    The Candybot – 210 words

    by Ellen Seal

    “Aw, man! Mine’s broken!” Lolly heard as she fell into the classroom trash can.

    She dusted off her wrapper. “Guess my Valentine’s Day party is over.”

    Lolly was unsure of who she’d meet in a place like this.

    “Welcome to Scrap Central, amigo! – Bin of the unwanted.” said a cinnamon heart, “I’m Fuego the Spicy.”

    More candies emerged from crumpled papers as a conversation heart waved, “I’m Pinky the Chalky!”

    “How do we get out of here?” Lolly asked.

    “Don’t even try it!” Pinky shuddered and gestured to a pile of crumbs. “Look what happened to Cookie!”

    Lolly grimaced.

    “There must be something we can do.” she said and started to collect paper clips. “What if I climb up and pull you out?”

    The other candies were terrified. “We can’t trust three old paper clips! We’re doomed!”

    Lolly sighed and sat down. “It’s hopeless.”

    As she looked up at the top of the basket, a Transformer’s backpack passed.

    “That’s it! We’ll transform!” she said. “We’ll feel braver together.”

    The candies nodded. “Let’s try.”

    Lolly directed as they all smooshed, squished, and stuck together into one big Candybot.

    With new-found strength, Candybot climbed easily to the top of the trash can and flexed its robo-biceps. “Who’s ready to party?”

  22. Kristy Nuttall says:

    An Otter Love Story– 214 words
    by: Kristy Roser Nuttall

    Of all the sea otters in the sea, Oliver liked Ella.
    Actually, he like liked Ella.
    But he felt too shy to tell her.
    When he saw her, the only thing he could think to say to her was,
    “Tag–you’re it!”
    So he left her little gifts in secret.
    Colorful sea urchins.
    Tasty mussels.
    Crunchy crabs.
    Ella wondered who was leaving her these delicious gifts, but Oliver never signed his name.
    Then on Valentine’s Day, Oliver wanted to do something big.
    Something bold.
    Something brave.
    He stared at the pile of clam shells in front of him and got an idea.
    He wrote a note on one of the shells and swam it over to Ella.
    But when he got there, he froze.
    What if Ella didn’t like like him back?
    What if she laughed at his Valentine?
    Then Oliver saw her smile, and his shy thoughts melted away into one big bold thought.
    I’m a brave otter.
    After all, he had played tag, delivered gifts, written a Valentine note, and now he just had to . . .
    “Ella, you make my heart smile like no otter. Will you be my Valentine?”
    Ella took a deep breath and said,
    Of all the sea otters in the sea, Ella and Oliver like liked each other best.

  23. Ashley Sierra (@AshleySierra06) says:

    FLORET AND THE FONDUE – 213 words by Ashley Sierra

    Floret drooped.

    “No fair! Why don’t I get to swim in the chocolate swimming pool like the Marshmallow Brothers, Banana, and the Strawberry Sisters? They get to have all the fun while I’m stuck here. Hmph.” 

    “Let’s take a dip, bros.”

    “Woo-hoo! Banana bomb!”

    “Smooth on our seedy skin.”

    “I can’t take it anymore! I’m going in!”

    Crrrracckk! Snap!

    Floret broke herself free from the bunch. 

    She reached the edge of the counter. 
    She jumped!
    And landed on the dining table when . . . slip!

    “Of course Banana left his peel lying around! Ooff.” 

    Floret flopped on the floor. 

    “Great. Now what?”


    “AAH!!! Oh, a balloon! I’m saved!” 

    Floret dodged the dog’s bite and clambered up the string. Higher. And higher. But . . .

    “I’m too far away from the table. Great. Now what?”


    “Not again!”

    Floret swung out of the cat’s reach.

    “This is . . . working!” She swung. And swung. Then let go of the string.

    “GREAT! NOW WHAT?!?!?!!”


    “Muah. Muah. Thank you, you soft pink huggable teddy bear. I made it!”

    Floret scrambled up the spoon.

    “Chocolate and broccoli?” the others shouted.

    “Floret Flop!”


    Floret emerged and heard a voice.

    “Come try some chocolate fondue I made for Valentine’s Day. Let’s EAT!”

    Floret froze.

    “Uh, oh. Now what?”

  24. seschipper says:

    Be Brave, Be Kind, Be My Valentine
    Word Count – 210
    By Susan E. Schipper

    It’s tough to be brave, even if you are covered with 30,000 quills. Just ask me, Pauly the Prickly Porcupine. It is even tougher to find a Valentine. Who wants a hug if you will get stuck by quills? I’ll never be brave enough to find a Valentine. With a heavy sigh, I headed back to my tree.

    Suddenly, I heard a sound, a whimper. Should I try to see if someone needs help? Noooo, I can’t help anyone, I’m t-t-too scared to try. Peeking around the tree, I saw a ball of black and white fur. I listened nervously. It was mumbling something in between its shivering, shaking and sniffling. “Valentine’s day is almost here and I’ll never have a special friend to share it with! Everyone thinks I’m stinky! Waaaa!”

    Then, I remembered something my mama told me, “If you do something kind or say something nice, you’ll make someone happy take my advice!” Trembling, I approached. H-h-hi! I’m Pauly, I’m looking for a Valentine, but I have quills. The furball looked at me and replied, “I-I’m Sam” and sometimes I make a stinky smell!!

    Guess what!! We had the greatest Valentine ever…because I learned the best thing to do is be the bravest, kindest, most marvelous you!

  25. allyenz says:

    By Ally Enz

    It was Valentine’s Day, and Cupid awoke with a nasty diaper rash.

    One too many juice boxes before bed.

    He flung off his soaked diaper, twisting around to get a better look in the mirror.

    “These cheeks are too chapped for flying!” Cupid cried. “Who’s on backup duty?”

    He hastily scanned his list.

    ‘Babyboo!” he called. She appeared at once.

    “B-but I’m brand new!”

    Heart racing, hands trembling, Babyboo took the wings, bow, and quiver of golden arrows
    from Cupid.

    “Who . . . Wh-where . . .?”

    Cupid shrugged, powdering his delicate tush. “Just have fun with it. I don’t even aim,

    Unlike Cupid, Babyboo wasn’t given unlimited arrows. Or second chances.

    She had to save Valentine’s Day!

    Babyboo worked tirelessly, shooting golden arrows into the most hardened of hearts.

    As the day wore on, she frowned at the nearly empty quiver. Would there be enough?

    Soon, only a single arrow remained.

    Babyboo’s heart sunk. What more could she do?

    Then, she saw it.

    Love! Pouring from people who hadn’t even been targeted by the arrows!

    It was contagious!

    Babyboo leapt up, drew back the bow, took careful aim . . . and released her final arrow.


    Straight to the moon!

    A zillion little arrows of light exploded like shooting stars.

    The entire world was blanketed with love.

    Bravo, Babyboo!

  26. syorkeviney says:

    It takes a lot for a little brother to give his sister who could read his last piece of chocolate. That is bravery and loads of love!

  27. Norah says:

    PLAYING TO WIN — 214 words
    By Norah Colvin

    On one side of the arena, Prince Fergal raised his sword. “I am the bravest of the brave, the strongest of the strong. No one can defeat me.”

    On the opposite side, Princess Valentina raised her sword. “I am the bravest of the brave, the strongest of the strong. No one can defeat me. I challenge you to a duel.”

    “I am Fearless Fergal!”

    “I am Valiant Valentina!”


    The riders kicked their hobby horses into action. Across the arena they galloped, swords drawn, ready for mortal combat.

    As they neared the centre of the arena, Fearless Fergal’s horse stumbled, flinging him to the ground.

    “Ouch!” he cried, clasping an elbow.

    The spectators held their breath. What would Valentina do? Would she drive her sword home and declare herself the victor? Would she insist that Fergal be her faithful follower forever more? Was there any way Fergal could claim victory?

    Fergal didn’t look so fearless clutching his arm and rocking from side to side.

    Valentina released her sword and leapt from her steed. She knelt beside him.

    “Are you okay, Fergal?” she asked.

    The spectators swarmed.

    Fergal nodded. “It’s just a little graze.”

    “Shall we go again?” Valentina asked.

    “Another day. Let’s play something else now.”

    The contest done. The crowd dispersed. Friendship won.

  28. Aundra Tomlins says:

    By Aundra Tomlins

    In Reji’s backpack was a super special valentine he had made just for her. It had unicorns (her favorite), dinosaurs (her second favorite), and, of course, hearts.
    He was about to put it on her desk when the teacher called for circle time.
    Reji watched her singing full volume about roses.
    During art time he was tiptoeing over to give her the super special valentine but he spilled some paint.
    Reji watched her cut the red, pink, and purple papers into beautiful hearts.
    After lunch, he crept towards her, super special valentine in hand, but she ran to the sandbox.
    Reji watched her build a perfect sandcastle.
    Now, it was almost pick up time.
    He took a deep breath and charged over.
    “Abbie!” He thrust his hand at her. “For you.”
    Her eyes jumped between the valentine and Reji.
    “Thanks.” She blushed. “This for you, Reji.”
    It had cars (his favorite), trains (his second favorite), and, of course, hearts.
    It was a super special Valentine’s Day.

  29. Amy Nicolaï says:

    A BRAVE CHANGE OF HEART- 214 words
    By Amy Nicolai

    Maybe they’ll be my friends after I give them these, Luna thought as she sprinkled glitter onto Valentine’s cards. She taped a lollipop to each heart and went to bed.

    The next day at school, Luna took a deep breath and walked up to Clara and Elyse.

    “I made you special Valentine’s Day cards,” Luna said.

    “I don’t like lollipops,” Clara said.

    “I don’t want it,” Elyse said.

    Luna’s face felt hot, and her eyes watered. She crumpled up the cards and threw them away.

    During lunch, Luna tried not to think about the cards anymore, even though it was hard.

    “Can I sit with you?” Luna asked the girls.

    “No room,” Clara said as she put her lunchbox on the empty chair next to her.

    Elyse snickered.

    Luna sat alone.

    During recess, Luna tried to give Clara and Elyse her jump rope, but they ran away. She started chasing behind to give them the chocolates she’d saved from lunch. She just had to find the right thing that would make them like her.

    Luna paused when she heard a group of kids laughing. She realized she’d rather be laughing with them instead of running after the girls who made her feel so bad.

    So, she decided to stop chasing and let them go.

  30. sacharya78 says:

    By Sandhya Acharya

    When Sarla moved to her new home, she had questions about so many things –

    She thought she would find the answers at school.
    But when she tried to ask,
    the questions got all muddled,
    and jumbled,
    and twisted into a tight ball inside her.

    So Sarla sat at an empty lunch table
    and sketched.

    She sketched parrots from her old home,
    the rickshaw she took to school,
    The crowds at the mela,
    Nani’s shawl.

    Until –

    Hideyo stopped by.
    Hideyo was the ‘new-kid’ before Sarla.
    He showed Sarla his sketches –

    pink blossoms on cherry trees,
    his old bike,
    crowds at a snow festival,
    his sobo’s hairpin.

    There were newer sketches too –

    a sea of sunlit ginko trees,
    a bridge hugging the clouds,
    a packed farmers market.
    a butterfly.

    The bell rang.
    Hideyo got up to leave.

    Sarla felt a tug inside.
    A new question
    and jiggled,
    and struggled
    to come out.

    Sarla stood up.

    “Hideyo,” she called out, “Will you be my friend?”
    Hideyo smiled, “Yes!”

    They walked together.

    earthquakes –
    Sarla got all her questions answered.

    Hideyo had questions too,
    as did Lily,
    and Mike,
    and everyone else.

    Sarla felt as light as a bird.
    She made lots of friends,
    and never stopped asking questions.

  31. MeiLin Chan says:

    A Trail of Ketchup and Mustard – 214 words
    by MeiLin Chan

    Romeow the mouse took one look at Juliet’s shiny fur and perfect ears and knew he was in love. In his best suit and with the best cheese, he came to her house to ask her out on a date.

    When the door opened, he almost dropped his cheese. Juliet wasn’t alone. Nor was she standing.

    Juliet was being dangled by her tail by a big Siamese cat.

    “You’re interrupting my lunch!” the cat said in a gruff voice.

    “You… You can’t eat her!” Romeow said, tail shaking. “Don’t you want some cheese instead?”

    “I want meat!” the cat said, drool pooling. “Fresh juicy meat of a mouse.”

    Romeow wanted to flee but he couldn’t bear the thought of living without Juliet.

    “Let her go!” Romeow ripped off his suit to show his big belly. “Eat me instead, I’m fatter and juicier.”

    The cat released her and scooped up Romeow, and Juliet dashed into the garden.

    The cat slathered Romeow with ketchup and mustard and was about to eat when Juliet leaped in through the window.

    “Wait!” Juliet said. “You need flowers on your table!”

    Out came a large bouquet of catnip.

    As the cat dived for the catnip, Romeow and Juliet scurried away, hand in hand in a trail of ketchup and mustard.

  32. Cristina Raymer (@craymer328) says:

    Juliet and Romeo: Verona’s Valentine’s Celebration – 213 Words
    By, Cristina Raymer

    Juliet and the mice were busy decorating the piazza. Juliet strung, hung, and sprinkled with glee for tonight was her sweetheart Romeo’s favorite time of year: Verona’s Valentine’s Celebration.

    Everything was going exactly as planned until…

    Tybalt, the Prince of Cats, arrived.

    Tybalt stomped.
    Tybalt smashed.
    Tybalt snapped.

    “Quick, to the garden!” Juliet cried. She reached for her sword, but stopped. She was no match against the fierce feline. Disheartened, she hid under a medlar tree.

    A shadow emerged on the balcony above her. A mouse appeared shining brighter than the sun. Romeo!

    Romeo watched as Tybalt destroyed. “NOOOO!” Romeo began to cry.
    Juliet wiggled her whiskers. She could not let Romeo’s favorite holiday be ruined.

    Standing tall, Juliet strode into the piazza and shouted, “Tybalt, you villain, turn and draw!”

    “A little pip-squeak. Let’s tango!” Tybalt hissed.
    Juliet took her stance and they began to dance.


    Tybalt’s sword flew. Juliet had him pinned.
    “I banish you,” Juliet said. “You must leave Verona at once!”

    Tybalt fled in terror.
    “Our hero!” The mice cheered.

    That night, the piazza sparkled with love. Romeo arrived with a golden statue of Juliet. He placed it in the center of the square.

    “For the bravest mouse in Verona,” he said. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Juliet.”

  33. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    A Little Atom
    Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

    A tiny little atom
    Was floating around space
    It bumped into another
    And then became my face.

    It formed into my eyes and mouth
    And then gave me a nose
    While other tiny atoms
    Helped feed me through a hose.

    Some say I came from Science
    Others say I came from God
    The contrast in their versions
    Can differ miles apart.

    No matter what they tell me
    I know my life did start
    From a tiny little atom
    That was in my mother’s heart.

  34. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

    Oscar Octopus loves Angelina Angelfish.
    Oscar thinks Angelina is the most beautiful sea life in the reef.
    He wants to invite Angelina to a movie at the Shipwreck Theatre.
    But…..he’s too shy to ask.
    Oscar controls the reef traffic.
    He waves a STOP sign so the school of fish can go to class.
    Angelina swims by on her way to work.
    Oscar waves hello with one arm and covers his head with the others.
    Angelina swims by on her way home.
    She smiles at Oscar waving good-bye with one arm and covering his head with the others.
    Oscar sits on his idea rock….
    …and thinks.
    No idea comes to his big octopus head.
    Then, Oscar hears voices…..
    “I planted a garden of flowers for you,” a boy says.
    “They’re so beautiful!”
    “Would you like to see a movie?”
    “Yes. Thank you for asking.”
    Oscar gets an idea.
    He rushes to the Reef Depot for supplies.
    Using all his arms, Oscar digs….fertilizes….seeds….and waters.
    Soon his garden has colorful blooms.
    On Valentine’s Day Oscar takes the blooms to Angelina’s shop.
    “I planted a garden of flowers for you,” Oscar says.
    “They’re so beautiful!”
    “Would you like to see a movie?”
    “Yes. Thank you for asking.”
    They leave Angelina’s Flower Shop and swim off to the movies.

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    My Bestest friend – 212 words
    by Roberta Abussi

    My Bestest Friend

    This is Livia, you can always find her in the quietest corner of the school, writing on her precious Diary.
    This morning Livia has something special to write about: Eli left a Valentine’s card on her desk… now WHAT?
    “Dear Diary,
    I found Eli’s Valentine’s card, but you know how I feel about him. He is the most perfect, BESTEST, dearest friend I will ever have… but just a friend!
    What is the right way to tell him so? Should I argue with him? Or… stop talking to him? Or… give him a card back just not to hurt him?
    I want to go home! Can I hide till the end of the day? My stomach is hurting; I could call mom and go home!
    I don’t want to lose him. He is important to me. I need to find a solution, RIGHT NOW!”
    It’s the end of the day, and Livia is back to her Diary.
    “Dear Diary,
    I found a solution, at last! I made a Frientine’s Day card and I organized the perfect date to celebrate our friendship. What’s best than popcorn, a warm blanket and a funny movie with the most perfect, BESTEST, dearest friend after all?
    Eli loved it, and we’ll turn it into our special tradition!”

  36. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    My every-day-Valentine – 213 words
    by Roberta Abussi

    My every-day-Valentine

    Clara and Alex lived in the same town and went to the same school.

    When Clara was around, Alex couldn’t speak, and the skin on his cheeks felt steaming hot.

    Likewise, Clara couldn’t speak when Alex was around and she felt bubbles in her stomach.

    “This year it’ll be different!” Clara said to her best friend Linda, while looking at Alex from across the yard. “I’ll finally tell him how I feel about him!”

    “Why this year?” Linda asked.

    “Because we’re meant to be together!” Clara said.

    Similarly, from across the yard, “this year it’ll be different! I’ll finally tell her how I feel about her!” Alex told his best friend Ian.

    Valentine’s Day arrived and neither Clara nor Alex made a move. Everybody was exchanging cards and making plans, all but Clara and Alex.

    That night, they couldn’t sleep. Another year would go by, and they couldn’t be together.

    Clara tinkered all night. The next morning at school, she approached Alex. Silently and shakingly she gave him the card.

    “I know I’m late. But when you love someone, every day is Valentine’s Day. Would you be my every-day- Valentine?” Alex read aloud, his voice trembling.

    They held hands for the very first time, happy to celebrate with the best ice-cream in town.

  37. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Sarah’s Valentines
    Rachel Zimmerman Brachman

    Sarah put on her favorite red sweatshirt and placed 25 valentines in her backpack. She harnessed her guide dog, Scruffy, and together they bravely walked to school for the first time since her eye surgery.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Sarah! It’s time to hand out your valentines,” said her teacher, Mrs. Hutchins.
    The box on Sarah’s desk filled with cards. She sat quietly while her friends read their valentines, giggling to themselves.
    Mrs. Hutchins approached Sarah’s desk. “We have a surprise for you, Sarah. The whole class worked on it together.” She gave Sarah a gigantic card, covered in words made of puffy paint. Sarah ran her fingers over the raised letters. ‘Happy Valentine’s Day, Sarah!’ she read. “Thank you so much!”
    “Next year, we’ll make valentine cards for you in braille. The whole class wants to learn it, so you can read what they write to you. They’re calling it ‘Sarah’s Secret Code.’ What do you think?”
    “Wow! They would do that for me? That’s the best valentine ever!” Sarah said.
    That afternoon, Sarah showed her mom the box of cards she received. Sarah’s mom read her the valentines.
    “Hey, there’s a card in the box for Scruffy!”
    “Really? What does it say?” Sarah asked.
    “It says, ‘Puppy Love’. How perfect!”
    “Woof!” barked Scruffy.

  38. Sarah McDermott (@slmcdermott1) says:

    Lemur in Love – 170 words
    by Sarah McDermott

    Trevor is an AYE-AYE and he’s ready for some love.
    But sadly he’s so SHY-SHY, hiding in the leaves above.
    He’s got his eyes on Rita, it feels more than just a whim.
    But what if she won’t love a scruffy GUY-GUY just like him?

    Trevor knows that AYE-AYEs aren’t the handsomest of males.
    He gives a great big SIGH-SIGH as he polishes his nails.
    But maybe looks aren’t everything, he needs to make her see
    The fluffy little TIE-TIE wearing GUY-GUY up the tree.

    Trevor must impress her but an AYE-AYE’s skills are few.
    He gives a mournful CRY-CRY. He just hasn’t got a clue.
    But then a lightbulb moment, Trevor’s great at French cuisine!
    He’ll bake a splendid PIE-PIE, soon she’ll be his jungle queen!

    Trevor looks up HIGH-HIGH where the moon is shining clear.
    He makes his way to Rita, trying hard to show no fear.
    He offers her his PIE-PIE, Rita smiles then takes a bite
    And hearts begin to FLY-FLY on this very special night.

  39. Jyoti Gopal says:

    A Cocoon of Love
    by Jyoti Rajan Gopal

    Coiled in a canopy

    Cream colored chevrons

    Camouflaging, concealing . . .

    Cobra catches sight of cobra

    and cruises down to charm.

    A competitor?


    Cobra confronts and carnivores clash.


    Creatures scurry!

    Crushed challenger creeps away.

    Cobra courts cobra

    and soon. . .

    They create a nest of leaves,

    Cozy, comfortable,

    A cocoon of love,

    For a clutch of eggs.

    Mama cobra curls and covers.

    Papa cobra circles, a sentinel.

    Crack… crack…

    Little cobras hatch.

    And a cobra family,

    Chevrons camouflaging, concealing

    Coils in the canopy.

    The End

  40. Charlie Bown says:

    Eggbert (word count: 214)
    Charlie Bown

    Eggbert was in the wrong place. He was meant to be on the red shelf with the hearts but had somehow ended up here, with the early Easter eggs. Perhaps someone was having a joke he’d thought, watching all the other teddies line themselves up ready to be chosen by loved-up customers.

    Then Eggbert saw his valentine – bouncing up and down in the trolley, smiling and pointing at him.

    “That’s for Easter,” the little person’s big person said, “It’s too early for Easter!”

    Eggbert’s heart sank into his fluffy feet. As his little person rounded the corner, Eggbert heard him howl with sadness and Eggbert knew what he had to do. As he moved, the Easter chicks below chirped with horror – “You can’t leave the shelf! It’s too dangerous!” But Eggbert was determined; he knew where he belonged.

    Teddies are not natural ninjas, especially ones as round as Eggbert, but that day Eggbert was fired up with love as he jumped over pineapples, raced along toilet paper, dived through cheese and finally caught up with his valentine at the till. With the stealth of an egg and the heart of a bear, Eggbert rolled into the trolley, straight into the arms of his valentine, who giggled and cooed, cuddling him all the way home.

  41. prhughes5 says:

    A VALENTINE FOR MOM – wc 191
    Patricia Martin

    Every morning, Mom gives me my inhaler.

    Shoooooop! Shoooooop!

    I breathe in some magic dust, wrestle my backpack on, and race outside.

    Without the magic dust, Mom says my lungs sound like a bike with squeaky brakes.

    In art class, Mrs. Rosario passes out supplies to make valentines for our moms and dads.

    I trade with Tonya at my table. All of my pink and red paper for all of her white paper.

    I sneak to the front of the art room and fill my pockets with tissues.

    At my table, I rip the tissues into a billion pieces.

    Whoooosh! Whooosh! Whooosh!

    I trim the white paper in to the perfect shape, round and straight and pointy in all the right places.

    I glue the tissue bits all over the paper so that my valentine starts to look like a cloud.

    “What an unusual valentine! Can you tell us more about it?” Mrs. Rosario asks.

    “These are my lungs!” I say. I sprinkle silver glitter on top of the tissues, “And this is magic dust!”

    Mrs. Rosario smiles, but she looks confused.

    “Don’t worry,” I whisper, “My mom will love it.”

  42. marty says:

    Becca’s Brave Hearts — 67 words
    An acrostic by Marty Bellis

    Becca drew and wrote and sent
    Red valentines by the dozens.
    All for people she didn’t know –
    Valiant, courageous, every one,
    Each carrying on in their own unique way.
    Her heroes for their selfless acts.
    Each simply doing their job, helping others.
    Asking nothing in return,
    Reinforcing her belief in the power of love
    Take care, she wrote. Be safe. God bless.
    Sent with thanks, from Becca

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