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
http://bit.ly/3aOxhZm

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. Leroy The Lion (Hearted) – Lisa Varchol Perron
  73. Fishing For Love: A DIARY – Amy Olsen
  74. The Lost Valentine – Jeannette Suhr
  75. Brave New Friends – Dawn Young
  76. Scaredy-Cat – Danielle S. Hammelef
  77. Hard To Love – Robin Currie
  78. Brave Hearts – Susan Klaren
  79. Across The Road – Rachel Dutton
  80. Knight of Hearts – Ellen Crosby
  81. Tootsee Tulip Bulb’s Love-Treat – Judy Caldwell Hughes
  82. Brave in the Basement – Jessica Whipple
  83. Caleb’s Heart – Anne Bromley
  84. Corn Dogs on the Corner – Colleen Dougherty
  85. Brave Heart – Rebecca Gardyn Levington
  86. Knock, Knock, Knock – Marty Findley
  87. Villain-tine’s Day – Laura Bower
  88. Take A Deep Breath – Elyse Trevers
  89. Only Three Words – B. A. Schlosser Hill
  90. A Stolen Valentine – Martha Holguin
  91. Class List – Elizabeth Volkmann
  92. Cards and Cookies – Jennifer Reichow
  93. Chalk Tears – Judy Brewer
  94. Nurse A Broken Heart – E. Elle Bea
  95. Bravely Soldier On – E. Elle Bea
  96. New Kid Blues – Darcee A. Freier
  97. Valentine’s Recitation – Keely Leim
  98. Mama Love. Dada Love. – Nancy M. Tichenor
  99. A Valentine’s Treasure – Ingrid Boydston
  100. An Itsy Bitsy Valentine – Maria Antonia
  101. Dino & Gigi – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  102. Hearts Trail – Carolina Bottino (Nina K. Brown)
  103. The Giant’s Valentine – Sheila M. Hausbeck
  104. The Loneliness Street – Nina K. Brown
  105. Brave Little Valentine – Charlotte Dixon
  106. Playdate – Margaret Aitken
  107. Octopus Hugs – Chambrae Griffith
  108. Conversation Heart Courage – Becky Kimbrough
  109. My Friend Nate – Karima Davis
  110. Jojo’s Valentine – Sarah Hawklyn
  111. “I Like You A Lot” – Julie Schnieders
  112. Unconventional Friendship – Sarah Hawklyn
  113. The Flavors of the Heart – Armineh Manookian
  114. The Candybot – Ellen Seal
  115. An Otter Love Story – Kristy Roser Nuttall
  116. Floret And The Fondue – Ashley Sierra
  117. Be Brave, Be Kind, My Valentine – Susan E. Schipper
  118. Cupid’s Booty Camp For BabyBoo – Ally Enz
  119. Playing To Win – Norah Colvin
  120. Super Special Valentine – Aundra Tomlins
  121. A Brave Change of Heart – Amy Nicolai
  122. Sarla Asks A Question – Sandhya Acharya
  123. A Trail of Ketchup and Mustard – MeiLin Chan
  124. Juliet and Romeo: Verona’s Valentine’s Celebration – Cristina Raymer
  125. A Little Atom – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez
  126. Oscar Octopus Plants A Garden – Isabel Cruz Rodriquez
  127. My Bestest Friend – Roberta Abussi
  128. My Every-Day-Valentine – Roberta Abussi
  129. Sarah’s Valentines – Rachel Zimmerman Brachman
  130. Lemur In Love – Sarah McDermott
  131. A Cocoon of Love – Jyoti Rajan Gopal
  132. Eggbert – Charlie Bown
  133. A Valentine For Mom – Patricia Martin
  134. Becca’s Brave Hearts – Marty Bellis
  135. Little Truck’s Daring Delivery – Kristin Kolp
  136. The Valentine On My Shoe – Catherine J. Lee
  137. No More Pink – Robin Currie
  138. Shiny Sharp Scissors – Katie Fischer
  139. Valentine Love Languages – Jaymie Dean
  140. Val & Jack – Karen Keesling
  141. Brave Heart – Tonnye Fletcher
  142. Valentine Delivery – Katie Brandyberry
  143. Apple Pie: Valentine’s Day Treat – Sarah Skolfield
  144. Brave Little Friends – Judy Sobanski
  145. Lone’s Very First Day – Jennifer Reinharz
  146. The Monster’s Valentine Buffet – Kelly Conroy
  147. Freddie Frog’s Valentine – Lindsey Hobson
  148. A Simple Valentine – P. J. Purtee
  149. The Wonky Heart – Stacy Burch
  150. Roses From Valentina – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
  151. A Natural Valentine’s Day – Sharon McCarthy
  152. Miss Hedgehog’s Valentine Mission – Amy LaMae Brewer
  153. Blown Away – Diana Webb
  154. Zooming Valentine’s Day – Susan VandeWeghe
  155. Snack Attack – Melisa Wrex
  156. Heart Hands – Sarah Heaton
  157. Bigfoot’s Valentine – Kirsten Leestma
  158. Geronimo! – Lydia Loeber
  159. The Most Terrible, Awful, Icky Valentine Ever – Melissa Trempe
  160. Babies Share Bedrooms – Kristi Newsome
  161. 214 St. Valentine Way – Tracy Anderson Martin
  162. Six Secret Valentines – Una Belle Townsend
  163. The Bees and the Birdss – Paul Kurtz
  164. Someone Special! – Paul Kurtz
  165. Zombie My Valentine – Donna Kurtz
  166. The Owl and the Kitty-Kat – Donna Kurtz
  167. No Pictures! – Diane S. Scotti
  168. Blue Flower – Mary Warth
  169. New Line Valentine – Marcia Parks
  170. Leo Lionhearted – Jill Lambert
  171. Bravery Is From The Heart – Sophia Zafra
  172. A Heavenly Visit – Deborah Dolan Hunt
  173. The Bird And The Cat – Beth Winslow
  174. THE Valentine Question – Kate Rehill
  175. How To Be Valentines (With A Boa Constrictor) – Mary Noon
  176. Desi’s Daring Delivery – Darci Nielson
  177. New Best Friend – Sherri T. Mercer
  178. The Gift Tree – Ciara N M Greenwalt
  179. One Shot – Dazzle Ng
  180. Fuzzy Bum – Stacey Miller
  181. Arrrrr Is For Valentine – Sara Ackerman
  182. Valentine’s Day Rocks – Samantha Haas
  183. Cyrus The Bold – Patricia Corcoran
  184. Saying What I Really Mean – Nina Nolan
  185. Mr. Grumpy’s Valentine – Anne Sawan
  186. Heart Shaped Everything – Rathi Munukur
  187. You Can Do This Jonathan! – Martina Palkovicova
  188. Caveman Valentine – Jennifer Lowe
  189. Percy’s Valentine – Nancy Derey Riley
  190. Brave Hearts – Mary Rudzinski
  191. Legendary Valentine – Audrey Day-Williams
  192. In Front Behind – Diana Webb
  193. A Punny Valentine – Linda Staszak
  194. Love is an Ocean Away – Kimiko Wadriski Lumsden
  195. Valentine’s Day Rescue – Brigid Finucane
  196. Mission: Cancel Cupid Call – Kalee Gwarjanski
  197. The Valentine’s Quest – Karyn Curtis
  198. Seeking Courage – Bonnie Kelso
  199. Valentina and Valentino – Claire Lewis
  200. Will You Bee My Valentine – Ranessa Doucet
  201. A Valentine Ski – Clara MacClarald
  202. Dance Like An Eagle – Jyothi Nookula
  203. A Gift For Abuelo – JC Kelly
  204. My Tummy Valentine – Janice Kay Alexander
  205. Elijah and the Valentine – Susan Twiggs
  206. Assortment Phobia – JC Kelly
  207. A Beastly Valentine – Steve Jankousky
  208. A Valentiny for ME! – Karima Davis
  209. Friendship Cake – Dea Lenihan
  210. Be My Valentine – Liz Kehrli
  211. Love Story – Liz Kehrli
  212. Love Birds – Lisa Lee Furness
  213. Mr. Grumpy – Mary A. Zychowicz
  214. Feep and Meep – Echo Roben
  215. The Cave of Utter Darkness – Bill Canterbury
  216. Yellow Like A Mango – Imelda Taylor
  217. Melanie’s Back! – Shari Della Penna
  218. All About Heart – Anna Lunt
  219. Tilly’s Great Big Heart – Amy Flynn
  220. Insiya’s Valentine – Aditya Simha
  221. Corazon Does Not Cliff Jump – Kate Rehill
  222. We’re Still Brave! – Kelly Coutsoubos
  223. The Cupcake Who Dared To Be Different – Susanne Whitehouse
  224. 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!

2,381 thoughts on “Be Brave, My Heart! – The 6th Annual Valentiny Contest Is Here!!!

  1. kskeesling says:

    Val & Jack-202 words
    By Karen Keesling

    Ms. Cupid asked the 5th grade class,
    To write a poem, as smooth as glass.
    “Please write about the holiday.”
    “No” cried Val and ran away.

    Alone at home, she wrote a verse.
    She read aloud, it sounded worse!

    Val only wrote in almost rhyme,
    And now she was just losing time.
    Her meter wouldn’t flow at all,
    If Jack heard-Eeep! Her heart would fall.

    And then at last the day was here,
    Val stood to read, she faced her fear.

    “Umm, I love it when we text and laugh.
    Writing this took many drafts.
    You’re pizza, I’m er– pepperoni,
    You really, really know me.”

    Then Val began to blush and choke,
    The class went quiet, no one spoke.

    And Jack O’Hearts did not then know it,
    He fancied Val, that awful poet.
    He coughed and raised a daring hand,
    He glanced at Val, and took a stand,

    “It isn’t fair on Saint Val’s Day,
    To make us read our work this way.”

    “You both were very brave today,
    I guess I’ll give you two an A.
    The hardest part of poetry,
    Is speaking from the heart, carefree.”

    Val thought for sure she’d die or scream,
    Ms. Cupid’s smile was a dream.

  2. Tonnye (rhymes with Connie) Fletcher (@tonnyef) says:

    Brave Heart (203 words)
    by Tonnye Fletcher

    Camilla woke up.
    Wind howled.
    Trees cracked.
    Rain poured.
    The sounds of a train.
    Tornado!
    She grabbed her little brother.
    Ran to the bathroom.
    Put him in the tub.
    She struggled with mattress,
    covering them both.
    Lightning flashed.
    Rain came down in sheets.
    They waited. . .

    Listening to ripping metal
    And cracking wood.
    The roof was gone.
    He cried.
    She cried.
    They were wet from tears and rain.
    But the mattress had protected them.
    The wind stopped.
    They waited. . .

    Sirens.
    Lights.
    Their dad’s voice.
    “Camilla!” “Mitchell!”
    They peeked out.
    Debris covered the mattress.
    Rain fell in the bathroom.
    Dad grabbed them in a wet bear hug.
    “Oh, sweet girl, you were so brave!
    You saved you and your little brother!
    You’re amazing.”

    Camilla broke loose from the hug,
    She tiptoed to her room,
    testing the floor every step.
    Everything was wet and seemed ruined.
    She reached deep in the drawer of her desk,
    And brought back a heart-shaped valentine.
    “Happy Valentine’s Day, Dad!
    I’m so glad the tornado didn’t ruin my valentine.”

    Dad squeezed them tighter,
    “Happy Valentine’s Day, my little Brave Heart!”

    Author’s Note: Fictional account, based on the 2000 tornado outbreak 2/13-2/14 in Camilla,GA (Mitchell County), with 11 fatalities

  3. Katie Thompson Brandyberry says:

    VALENTINE DELIVERY – 214 words
    By Katie Brandyberry

    Mail Truck’s engine flutters with nerves. Today is Valentine’s Day and his mailbags are overflowing.

    But… snowflakes swirl and twirl around him. Mail Truck has never driven on snowy, slick roads before.

    Wheels spinning, he begins his route.
    He slips to the left,
    then slides to the right.
    His shocks shake.
    He fogs up in fear.
    He carefully shuffles back and parks.

    The snow will melt tomorrow. I’ll deliver the valentines then, he thinks. I’m sure nobody will mind.

    Across the street, a child darts to her mailbox. She slips in a homemade valentine for pickup. Mail Truck’s tires deflate with guilt.

    Further down, an old lady trudges to her mailbox. Seeing it empty, she wipes away a tear. Watching her, Mail Truck’s lights turn red in shame.

    Determined, Mail Truck fills his tank.
    He turns on his brightest lights.
    His wipers zip back and forth.

    “My job is to deliver the mail – snow or shine!”

    Bravely, he rolls down the street. His heart races as he inches from mailbox to mailbox.

    The child runs outside, yelling “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mail Truck!”

    When the old lady sees her mail delivered, her face lights up.

    On this cold and snowy day, Mail Truck feels warm inside…
    and remembers why he loves his job.

    ###

  4. Sarah Skolfield (@SarahSkolfield) says:

    Apple Pie: Valentine’s Day Treat – 214 words
    By Sarah Skolfield

    All the desserts at Betsy’s Bakery knew Valentine’s Day was approaching.
    Red and pink hearts adorned the display cases.
    Cupid silhouettes twirled from the ceiling.
    Customers perused the assorted treats, looking for the perfect one.
    All the desserts wished to be chosen.
    “Who will pick me?” wondered Apple Pie.
    “No one,” answered Chocolate Truffle. “They want my chocolatey, buttery goodness.”
    “I have a buttery crust.”
    “But it’s not creamy,” said Strawberry Shortcake. “They want my pink frosting. And I’m heart-shaped.”
    “I’ve got heart-shaped cut-outs!”
    “But they aren’t pink,” said Cookie. “They want my cute phrases. Look…‘Be Mine’…who can resist that?”
    “I can be a Valentine’s Day treat without those things,” insisted Apple Pie.
    “No, you can’t. No one will pick you,” said Strawberry Shortcake.
    Apple Pie bravely placed herself in the middle of the Valentine’s Day section of the display case anyway.
    Customers came and went.
    Chocolate truffles disappeared. A single strawberry shortcake remained. Cookie supply dwindled.
    DING-DING
    The bell over the door rang as Amanda walked in with her mom.
    “Bye-bye, Apple Pie!” said Strawberry Shortcake.
    Amanda didn’t love chocolate. She didn’t care about pink things. She did love apples.
    Amanda saw Apple Pie.
    Apple Pie saw Amanda.
    “Mom! An apple pie with cute heart cut-outs!”
    Apple Pie: a triumphant Valentine’s Day treat.

  5. Judy Sobanski says:

    BRAVE LITTLE FRIENDS – 210 words
    By Judy Sobanski

    Little raccoon spent all afternoon
    making cards that he’d soon give away.
    For tomorrow at three, the forest would be
    all a twitter for Valentine’s Day.

    He put names on each card and tried very hard
    to make certain that all were included.
    Then Raccoon had a thought that maybe he ought
    to give one to his friend who’s secluded.

    Poor Mr. Bear, was quite unaware
    of the Valentine’s Day celebration.
    He was curled in heap, in a winter deep sleep—
    his annual bear hibernation.

    Little Raccoon arrived around noon
    to deliver the card to Bear’s cave.
    He shivered and shook as he took a quick look;
    he knew that he had to be brave.

    He set the card down by the bear—big and brown,
    then left in a tippy-toed dance.
    His friends all stood near shaking with fear,
    “Why would you take such a chance?”

    “Cause he’s my friend, too, and so wouldn’t you
    like to make a kind gesture toward Bear?”
    The rest found their “brave” and went to the cave
    to leave goodies and cards everywhere.

    When Bear opened his eyes and saw the surprise,
    he knew the exact words to say.
    “Friends…
    I’m very elated to wish you a ‘Belated’ but
    Most Happy Valentine’s Day!”

  6. Red said what? says:

    Lone’s Very First Day – 205 words
    by Jennifer Reinharz

    On his very first day, Lone found the school bench marked buddies.
    He dusted the snow, settled in and tried to look at ease.

    Lone waited, wondered and hoped, but no buddy came.

    He watched the others dodge, scale and slide.
    He listened to them chatter, cheer and sing.

    Lone waited, wondered and hoped some more.
    Still, no buddy came.

    Longing to make time move, Lone counted, doodled and daydreamed.

    What he didn’t count on was being interrupted by a ball kicked way out of bounds.
    Bonk!

    Red, rubber and smelling like recess, it filled the space beside him.

    Lone stared at his new friend. His belly turned.
    Do I throw it?
    Or kick?
    Maybe somebody will come.

    Lone’s silent companion stared back.
    Let’s play.

    Lone’s heart raced.
    Such a big crowd.
    How does this work?
    What do I say?

    He knew about benches. And counting, doodles and daydreams.
    But not fields or crowds, balls or buddies.

    It was Lone’s very, first day, just not his first time waiting.

    The bench was bare. No buddy ever came.
    The field was full. And he was tired of sitting.

    So Lone took a deep breath and walked toward the smiling crowd.
    They too were waiting – for him.

  7. Kelly Conroy says:

    THE MONSTERS’ VALENTINE BUFFET
    By Kelly Conroy

    http://kellyconroybooks.com/2021-valentiny-contest/

    Every single holiday,
    the monsters host a themed buffet.
    Instead of bacon, toast, and eggs,
    they munch on kneecaps, arms, and legs.
    The youngest monsters cannot wait
    to find their seat and grab a plate.
    Stomping ‘round to see the choices,
    they announce in squeaky voices,
    “Rose thorn salad, love-sick broth,
    candy eyeballs, glitter froth,
    chocolate covered fingertips…”
    The other monsters lick their lips.
    But Grampa orders à la cart,
    “I’ve been craving Cupid’s heart.
    It’s V-Day. I deserve a treat.
    I heard that boy’s divinely sweet.”
    The monsters froze, and seven gasped.
    Auntie Monster Sue collapsed.
    This is evil, wrong, and grim.
    Someone needs to talk to him.
    But no one moved. They all stood still,
    afraid to talk to Grampa till-
    finally, the silence broke.
    The smallest monster firmly spoke,
    “Grampa, if you really care,
    you’ll chop the angel up— and share.”

  8. Lindsey Hobson says:

    Freddie Frog’s Valentine – 208 words
    By Lindsey Hobson

    It was February 13th, and Freddie Frog was fretting. 

    The Meadow’s annual Valentine’s Party was the next day, and he didn’t have a date!

    Hopping along, he saw his friend Sally Snake, “Hello Sally! Would you go to the Valentine’s party with me?” 

    “Sssss-orry, Freddie, I’m already going with Steven Salamander.”

    “Oh, okay,” Freddie said, and he hopped on. 

    He saw Polly Porcupine, “Hi, Polly! Would you be my date tomorrow?”

    Polly smiled, “I would love to, but Shawn Skunk already asked me.” 

    “Thanks anyway,” Freddie said, and he hopped on. 

    Soon, he saw Henrietta Hedgehog, “Ho, Henrietta, come to the party with me!”

    “You waited too long! I’m already going with Harry Hedgehog!”

    “Have fun!” Freddie said, and he hopped on,

    Hopeless, he returned home.

    The next morning, while everyone was baking delicious heart shaped treats for the party, Freddie sulked.

    That afternoon, while everyone was dressing in their best pink and red outfits, Freddie pouted.

    When the party started, and cheerful music filled the air, Freddie paced.

    “This isn’t fair!” he declared. “I want to go to the party, too!

    Freddie gathered his courage, put on his best bow fly-tie, and hopped over to the gathering, alone.

    “Freddie!” his friends said. “We’re so glad you’re here!”

  9. Jill Purtee (P. J.) (@JillPurtee) says:

    A SIMPLE VALENTINE
    by P. J. Purtee
    79 words

    I gave a boy a Valentine.
    He thinks my love is gen-u-ine.

    He asked me to the picture show.
    I asked my mom if I could go.

    I guess I’ll go. My mom said, “Yes.”
    But I’m afraid, I must confess—

    that he may try to hold my hand.
    So I devised, connived, and planned.

    Convinced myself that I’ll be brave.
    Assured myself that he’ll behave.

    To bravely keep his hand at bay.
    I’ll simply sit two seats away.

  10. Stacy Burch (@SBurch_Author) says:

    THE WONKY HEART – 212 words
    by Stacy Burch

    One day, a little girl picked up a crayon…
    …and drew a heart.

    Lopsided with a squished top
    and sides that didn’t meet at the bottom,
    the girl’s heart was different from others.

    “You’re too small to be a heart!” shouted the big hearts, dancing on strings from the ceiling.
    “You’re too plain to be a heart!” snickered the bright hearts, glittering on walls ‘round the room.
    “You’re too wonky to be a heart!” laughed the perfect hearts, smiling on cards clutched in hands.

    If I’m not a heart, what am I? the little heart wondered, and it folded in on itself, too scared to show what was inside.

    “Mama! Mama! Happy Valentine’s Day!” cried the little girl. She thrust forward the crumpled heart with pride.

    The wonky heart shied from view. “I am too small, too plain, too wonky. She will not want me.”

    But the woman stretched out her hand.
    “Your very first valentine,” she whispered, wiping away a tear. “I love it so.”

    “So, that’s what I am,” the heart sighed and puffed its page with courage, unfurling for all to see.
    “I am love.”

    Lopsided with a squished top
    and sides that didn’t meet at the bottom,
    the little heart was different from others.

    As all love is.

  11. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR CARMEN

    ROSES FROM VALENTINA by Carmen Castillo Gilbert
    (186 words)

    Ana helped her mom at their flower shop in every way she could. She snipped dead leaves, tied ribbons, and, when they made deliveries, Ana walked the order to the door. Valentine’s Day was her favorite holiday. She especially loved the smell of roses in bouquets and chocolates in their fancy boxes.
    But today, Ana saw an order for señor Pérez. Nobody knew much about him. Neighbors said when they went to welcome him, he growled. Kids said he yelled if someone’s ball rolled into his yard. And everyone said he often stood by his front window and scowled at the world.
    Ana’s heart raced. What if he snapped at her? What if he told her to go away?
    Ana shook her head and took a deep breath.
    She tucked the little greeting card among the roses.
    I can do this, she told herself.

    At his door Ana said, “Roses from Valentina.”
    Señor Pérez did not growl. He did not scowl. His lip trembled and tears rolled down his face.
    “From my daughter! I never thought I would hear from her again. She has forgiven me!”

  12. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SHARON

    A Natural Valentine’s Day – 212 words
    By Sharon McCarthy

    Middle School Flower Sale! 1$ per flower
    Red means love. Pink means I like you. White means friendship. Delivered to your special person on Valentine’s day!

    When Erin got home she pulled off her Ozzy shirt and kicked off her high tops.

    “What if I get nothing?” she thought.
    As she looked out the window, a crow began cawing on a pile of rocks. “That’s it!”

    Outside she collected every rock she could find.
    Before the night was done, she painted them all with little hearts, cupids, and poems.

    The next day Erin asked, “Principal Moore, may I sell my art?”

    “And you are?” he said peeking in the bag.

    “Erin sir.”

    “Amazing stuff! Let’s set you up!”

    1$ each! Be someone’s rock this Valentine’s Day!

    A line formed quickly down the hall. Everyone kept asking, “who’s that girl?”

    At the end of lunch, every item sold out!

    With money in hand she proudly went to the flower booth, “I would like to purchase all of the flowers please!”

    Outside the school on Valentine’s Day a big sign appeared.

    Teamwork! Come paint a flower with sticky butter and dash with colored sprinkles. To decorate our trees!

    At the end of the day every student and countless birds stood together, with hearts a flutter.

  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR AMY

    Miss Hedgehog’s Valentine Mission -214 words
    By Amy LaMae Brewer

    https://www.amylamae.com/post/miss-hedgehog-s-valentine-mission

    “It’s Valentine’s Day, hooray!” shouted Miss Hedgehog.

    “Hmpphhhh…,” grumped Badger, “Why bother? What’s so great about love?”

    “It shares happiness and…”

    “Don’t need it,” interrupted Badger turning back into his burrow.

    “Oh dear,” whispered Miss Hedgehog, “This will be a challenge.”

    She took out her box of last spring’s pressed flowers to make valentines.

    After hanging them up to dry she made a batch of lemon cookies.

    Then she went to look for friends to help.

    Knock, knock.

    “Hello, Little Mouse, do you have an idea to cheer Badger? He’s always so grumpy after his winter slumber.”

    Then she went to see the Otter Family.

    Knock, knock.

    “Hello Miss Hedgehog, what can we do for you?”

    “We need to cheer up Badger.”

    “No way,” said the biggest brother, “He’s mean!”

    “Yeah,” said the middle brother, “He has long claws!”

    They all met at Badger’s steps.

    “Who will knock?”

    “I will,” the littlest brother said, being brave. He went down the steps. They all waited.

    “I don’t need a valentine,” said Badger peeking out. Little otter stretched out his hand.

    Badger sighed and took it.

    “Valentines are for happiness and… friendships!” said Miss Hedgehog.

    “Everyone needs a friend,” said the littlest otter.

    Badger began to grin from his big slumber.

    “Happy Valentine’s Day!” They cheered.

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DIANA

    Blown Away

    The balloon was the last one in the balloon blowers shop. It glowed in the dark like the hottest of all the planets, Venus, the one with the name of the goddess of love. And now it had blown away to the top of the tallest tree in the old witches garden. He needed it back to give to the one he loved most.

    First he must knock on the old witches door. She was really scary . Then he must walk through the old witches garden. It was full of spiders with very long legs. Then he must climb to the top of the tallest tree. He was scared of heights. He took three deep breaths. Please can Iook in your garden. She opened the gate and let him in. He ran through the garden as fast as he could , dodging the legs of the hairy spiders . He climbed up the tree to the topmost branch without looking down. Then he grasped the string of the magic balloon, pulled hard and away he flew til he landed right at the feet of the one he loved most. ‘Here. This is for you.’ And he blushed til his cheeks glowed as bright as the planet Venus. And she blushed too.’Thankyou ‘ she said .

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SUSAN

    ZOOMING VALENTINE’S DAY 211 words
    By Susan VandeWeghe

    Valentine’s Day belonged to Tina and her Nanna.
    Tina was really Valentine, named after her Nanna. Mommy said, “Valentine is too big a name for such a little girl. We’ll call her Tina.”
    This year the place her Nanna lives would not allow visitors.
    “It is tradition,” Tina told the lady in charge. “I have written a special story just for our day.”
    “That sounds like a great idea,” said the lady in charge. “Could you make it a Zoom party and invite all your grandmother’s friends?”
    “I don’t want to talk in front of all those people,” said Tina.
    “Think about it,” said the lady in charge, “and let me know. I’ll have the chef make cookies and hot chocolate.”
    A few hours later it was arranged. But Tina was still worried about talking in front of all her Nanna’s friends.
    At 3 PM on Valentine’s Day, Tina and her family gathered in front of their computer and her Nanna and her friends pulled out their phones.
    Tina stood up and smiled at all the faces showing up on her screen. She recognized a lot of them. The paper in her hand stopped shaking.
    “Hello, everyone,” she said. “Welcome to Nanna and my special Valentine’ Day party. A new tradition.”

  16. Melisa Wrex (@mowrex) says:

    SNACK ATTACK (214 words)
    By Melisa Wrex

    Today was a special Valentine’s Show and Tell. Mandy rolled her latest invention into class. Secret Admirer Snack Robot dazzled everybody. What’s not to like? Sweet snacks, salty snacks, spicy snacks, sour snacks, crunchy snacks! All made fresh in Robot’s middle and delivered to your secret sweetie.

    “It’s easy!” Mandy explained. “Touch the screen to pick your Valentine and type of snack. Guaranteed delivery at lunch. And if you’re brave–you can have Snack Robot put your name inside the wrapper.”

    The line to place an order snaked around Teacher’s desk. Snack Robot was very popular. And noisy! It worked during the lessons, pelting the class with belches, chugs and beeps.

    When lunchtime arrived, Snack Robot made its first four deliveries. They looked scrumptious! Mandy checked the order. Two sweet snacks, one salty, one crunchy. So far, so good. Then, she spotted trouble.
    Chocolate pudding with Raw Spaghetti Crunch.
    Jalapeno Jello.
    Lemonade flavored potato chips.
    Ultra-sour granola bar.

    Unexpectedly, even picky eaters courageously plowed through the horrible snacks, looking for a name. Although only one was rewarded with their admirer, everyone earned bragging rights. They survived Snack Robot.

    Mandy apologized for the mix-ups and agreed to bring Snack Robot back again. “Next time, no bugs, I promise!” And just like that, all bravery evaporated.

  17. Sarah SarahH says:

    HEART HANDS WC 214
    by: Sarah Heaton

    Splat!
    A snowball hits my back. Bravery is walking in front of my twin brother.
    Splat!
    I rub my head. Stupidity is more like it.
    I’m shoveling our walk– just wide enough for one.
    One person, one shovel, 5 million snowballs thrown at my head.
    Splat!
    My icy cheeks burn hot.
    “Your turn!”
    He does a weird shovel-twist.
    Splat! Right on my boots.
    “Hey!” I yell.
    I pack the biggest, firmest, meanest snowball.
    Watch it splat on his neck, I think.
    Mitchell turns around.
    “Let’s keep going, ok?” he says.
    “Past our house? But that’s Mrs. Anderson’s.”
    “Did you see her neck brace when she walked Snowflake yesterday?”
    “Why does she walk her cat?” I wonder.
    “Let’s help her.”
    He shovels.
    I heft my perfect snowball.
    Then,
    “Your turn,” he says.
    “Your idea,” I push the shovel back.
    He shrugs and heaves a shovelful of snow,
    It’s almost too easy. I aim…
    Suddenly, the door creaks open. Mrs. Anderson and Snowball appear.
    “You two! Happy Valentine’s day to the sweetest twins on the block!” She curves her hands into a heart. Mitchell drops the shovel and does it too. He turns to me.
    Heart hands.
    I drop the snowball.
    Heart hands back.
    Coming home I shovel the path wide enough
    For two.

  18. kirsten218 says:

    BIGFOOT’S VALENTINE-209 Words
    By Kirsten Leestma
    http://kirstenleestma.weebly.com/blog/valentiny-contest-2021

    It was February in the alpine forest.

    Two feet of snow covered the ground. Another two feet nervously tapped up and down. Valentine’s Day was tomorrow and Bigfoot didn’t know what to do.

    “I want a valentine,” he said to no one, “but who? And how?” Bigfoot spent his whole life hiding, too afraid to step out of the forest. Here was his chance to be brave.

    He listened to the birds sing love songs to each other. Bigfoot tried to belt out a tune, but the whole forest went quiet.

    “Oh well. I’m pretty good at being alone, but I do always get the feeling I’m being watched.”

    “That’s it!”

    Bigfoot grabbed sticks, bark, and berries. It took all afternoon. Bigfoot was nothing if not precise. Finally, his valentine was ready. With as much courage as he could muster, he stepped out of the forest.

    “Hello? Are you there?”

    Silence.

    “Yoo-hoo!”

    Nothing.

    Bigfoot was losing his nerve, but called out once more.

    “WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?”

    Snap. Bigfoot turned towards the sound just as he was about to give up. Another Bigfoot stepped into the clearing and said,

    “Yes.”

    The bigfeet blinked.

    “Then this is for you,” he said beaming, glad he stepped out of the woods.

  19. 🌳Trunky The Tree🌳🙈🙉🙊 (@TrunkytheTree) says:

    Geronimo!

    Lydia Loeber

    Word Count:212

    “I don’t understand, oh why must I leap
    Into the water so scary and deep?
    Why can’t I stay with mummy and you
    Up on the clifftop admiring the view?”

    “There’s not enough food up here to survive.
    Once you jump in the water, I’ll teach you to dive.
    I love you my son and I’ll wait for you.
    Just close your eyes and you’ll know what to do.”

    “But those rocks look so sharp, I don’t want to go
    Plummeting down to the sea far below
    I’d rather stay here and wait at the top
    Not roll down the cliff and hope I go plop!”

    “Look little one, if there was a way
    To feed you up here, yes then you could stay.
    But it’s the way of the guillemot bird to be free
    Diving and swimming for fish in the sea.”

    “One day I will fly like the birds in the sky
    Not fall down a cliff and hope not to die
    I’m trusting you daddy – okay, here I go
    Please be there waiting – geronimo!”

    “Ouch! Oof! This is not fun.
    But daddy said it’s the way that it’s done.”

    “I knew you could do it, I’m proud of you lad.
    And thank you for trusting your dear old dad.”

  20. Melissa Trempe is writing (@melissa_trempe) says:

    THE MOST TERRIBLE, AWFUL, ICKY VALENTINE EVER – 213 Words
    By Melissa Trempe

    I must make the PERFECT valentine.
    If you knew her, you’d agree. She deserves perfection!

    I color with every crayon in the box;
    write with every letter in the alphabet.
    It’s the best, most fabulous valentine the world has seen!

    I read it aloud and…
    ACK! What was I thinking?!
    It’s the most terrible, awful, icky card ever!
    Rip.

    Ok, don’t panic.
    I’ll bake her the sweetest, heart-shaped cookies the world has tasted.
    Sugar… Milk… Egg – whoops!

    DING!
    Finally! My love cookies are-
    ACK! Oval blobs?! They’re the most terrible, awful, icky cookies ever!
    Trash.

    I’ve got it. I’ll sing her the loveliest song the world has heard!
    Ah-hem-hem…
    Roses are red, violets are blue. No one ties shoes, as well as you.
    ACK! What was that?! The most terrible, awful, icky song ever!

    I know.
    I’ll pick her the finest flowers the world has smelled.
    Coat? Check. Hat? Check. Gloves…
    ACK! It’s February!
    No flowers… and sticks make the most terrible, awful, icky bouquet EVER!

    One. Last. Idea.
    It’s terrible. It’s awful. It’s icky.
    A hug.
    I better deliver it before I chicken out…

    Open, slam! Run-run-run! Knock-knock.
    “Err… Happy Valentine’s Day…”
    SQUEEEEZE!

    It was the most wonderful, warm hug the world had EVER felt.
    “Just what I wanted!” said Grandma.

    Perfect.

  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR KRISTI

    BABIES SHARE BEDROOMS -212 word count
    By Kristi Newsome

    Smack. Bobby was tired of sharing his room with his younger brother.

    “Mine!” He was definitely too old for this.

    “MOOOOM! William drew on my comic books again!” He needed his own space.

    “Pee-YU!” Bobby plugged his nose. “You are the worst baby brother in the universe and I wish you lived in France!”

    “I wish you lived in China!” said Bobby’s older sister.

    Bobbys Own Room Plan:

    Every day

    1. Clowths picked up

    2. Make bed

    3. Cleen shelf

    4. Air freshner

    Saturday

    1. Take out trash

    2. Vaccum

    Mom thought Bobby made some good points and gave him his own room.

    In the basement.

    Thunk. Bobby wasn’t a baby.

    *silence* He deserved his own room..

    Bobby stared into the blackness from a crack in his blanket.

    The next morning Mom looked at Bobby’s tired eyes and asked about his first night in his own room.

    “Bobby was scared to death!” teased Bobby’s older sister.

    But only babies share bedrooms and Bobby wasn’t a baby. So that day Bobby played in his bedroom. Alone.

    His toy cars raced against no one.

    His dancing was applauded by nobody.

    He built a house without anyone to tear it down.

    Bobby found William and gave him a brave hug. “I sure love you brother.”

  22. tmariewrites says:

    214 St. Valentine Way -214 word count
    By: Tracy Anderson Martin

    Scratch, Scratch, Sniff,

    Dexter skunk is looking for grubs.

    Sniff, Whiff. – Dexter skunk smells something good to eat.

    “What is filling the air with that delicious scent?”

    Brave Dexter skunk will investigate.

    Sniff, Whiff. – “What do I smell? A fresh baked pie!”

    “Eek” Mrs. Mouse squeaked. “There’s a skunk outside trying to smell my pie!”

    Mrs. Mouse closed the window taking her pie inside.

    Sad Dexter skunk.

    Sniff, Whiff. -“What do I smell? Possibly cake?”

    Courageous Dexter skunk climbs under the fence to investigate.

    Sitting on the patio table is a chocolate cake.

    “Fantabulous!” declared Dexter.

    “Oooo.” shrieked Mr. Moose. “A skunk is outside trying to smell my cake!”

    Mr. Moose took the cake inside.

    Disappointed, Dexter skunk walked away.

    “Will I find a treat for Valentine’s Day?”

    Sniff, Whiff. – “What do I smell? Could it be cookies?”

    Adventurous Dexter skunk off to investigate.

    Dexter skunk walks down Tulip Street around the corner and onto St. Valentine Way.

    Sitting out front of 214 St. Valentine Way is a plate of sugar cookies.

    “Splendid!’ Dexter exclaimed.

    Delilah skunk noticed Dexter skunk outside. “Hello Dexter, I have been waiting for you.
    I made you cookies for Valentine’s Day.”

    “Aww, a treat just for me?” replied Dexter skunk.

    Delilah giggled, “Dexter, will you be my Valentine?”

  23. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    You had me at the title, Jen! 😊 I can honestly say this is the first valentine love story I’ve ever read that involved a space heater, so, points for originality 😊 You did a great job of working in lots of heat-related words, and making cat quintessentially “cat” and dog the hopeful pleaser. I love that at the end all three of them were friends! 😊

  24. Una Belle Townsend says:

    Amazing wonderful Valentiny Contest Story

    SIX SECRET VALENTINES 214 wds.
    Una Belle Townsend
    unabelletownsend.blogspot.com

    SIX SECRET VALENTINES
    Six members of the Alleycats Book Club sat in their clubhouse. “If none of us sent these Valentines,” said Jen, “who did?”
    Each Valentine had a different alphabet letter scrawled on its envelope.
    “Let’s see,” said Tim. “The letters are — w, k, n, i, e, and d.”
    “‘W k n i e d’ spells nothing,” said Joe.
    “Let’s think about it,” said Autumn. “We all found a hand-made Valentine on our porch. Someone delivered them late at night. They know about our club.”
    Jen shivered. “That’s scary.”
    “There are no other children around here,” said Tim.
    “Wait a minute,” said Liz. “I saw a light in the old haunted house on the corner.”
    “Maybe someone our age lives there,” said Mariah.
    “Tim and I will be brave and go look around,” said Joe.
    “No we won’t,” said Tim.
    “We’ll all go,” said Liz.
    They walked toward the old house and hid in the nearby bushes. A little girl sang as she colored Valentines near a kitchen window.
    “Let’s go back to the clubhouse,” whispered Autumn. “I figured out her name using the six letters. It’s either ‘new kid’ or ‘Wendi K’.”
    “Good,” said Liz. “We’ll make special Valentines for Wendi K. and sneak them on her porch. She might become our newest Alleycat member.”

  25. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR PAUL

    The Bees and the Birds – 141 words
    by Paul Kurtz

    “Your hums are music to my ears,”
    buzzed Bumbly Bee to Hummingbird.
    “Will you please bee my Valentine?”
    “Your Valentine? Bee, that’s absurd!”

    “Here, Hummy—take my lovely card,
    bright daffodils and sweet bee-bread—”
    “Has all that buzzing fogged your brain?
    I don’t want gifts—Buzz off, I said!”

    Antennae drooping, Bumbly left.
    He heard wings flutter, then a squawk.
    “Hey, something’s heading Hummy’s way—
    EE-YOWW! A swooping sparrow hawk!

    The bee dived—BANG! He hit the hawk,
    who gave a horrid holler—“SKREEE!”
    Hawk disappeared, and Hummy cheered,
    “You saved me! Thank-you bold, brave bee!”

    Poor Bumbly had snagged in a web.
    The spider’s jaws twitched eagerly.
    As fast as lightning, Hummy zoomed,
    and plucked the frantic Bumbly free.

    “Please Hummy, bee my Valentine.”
    Wee Bumbly knelt upon one knee.
    “Your Valentine? That would bee fine.”
    They hummed-and-buzzed-off happily!

  26. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR PAUL

    Someone Special! – 214 words
    by Paul Kurtz

    “Yoo-hoo, Blowtorch,” Danny calls into the cave.
    A dragon appears. “YAWN! I was napping—what’s up?”

    “Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day. I want to show someone special I’m brave.” Danny waves a striped bag. “Pretend to fight me and these fireball-jawbreakers are yours.”

    “Ooo—my favorite.”

    Next day—

    “Danny,” Princess Dawn says, “are you sure about this? Your Valentine card, flowers, and candy were plenty.”

    “But I want you to see I’m brave.”

    CLINK—CLANK—CLUNK—

    —rattles Danny’s armor as he approaches the cave.

    “Come out, fiery dragon—brave knight Sir Danny challenges you!”

    Blowtorch appears—

    ROARRRR

    Danny’s silver sword flashes—Blowtorch’s golden claws rip the air.

    “Oh my—” Princess Dawn gasps.

    All day they fight like tigers.

    “OH MY!” Princess Dawn squeals.

    Blowtorch rises onto his back legs, and—

    WHOOSHHH

    —giant flames flare from his nostrils.

    “YYIII!” Danny shrieks.

    The flames melt Danny’s armor and burn away his clothes. Stumbling backward, he sprawls on the ground in his charred, smoking underpants.

    “OHHH! Blowtorch, why did you do that?”

    Blowtorch winks at a dragon with glittering pink scales standing beside Princess Dawn.

    Giggling, she waves her silver claws and flutters her violet eyelashes at him. “My handsome, brave dragon-hero.”

    Blowtorch sighs and flames flare from his nostrils, forming a heart. “I have someone special too!”

  27. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DONNA

    Zombie My Valentine – 198 words
    by Donna Kurtz

    “What a rotten Valentine’s Day—I sent ten-gazillion cards and didn’t get any back!” Robby slams the mailbox door. “Maybe playing soccer with the guys will cheer me up.”
    Two pink lovebirds flying by shake their heads and sigh. “Poor Robby.”

    Robby walks to the park.

    “EEE-YEW! A super-gross zombie dripping green snot is stomping toward me!”

    He spins to run.

    GRRRR-ROWL—

    A huge grizzly bear waving its long, dagger-sharp claws leaps from the alley.

    “Help! Help!” Robby shrieks.

    KA-RIPP—

    The zombie tears off its own left arm and throws it.

    KER-WHAPP

    The snotty arm smacks the grizzly bear’s monstrous muzzle.

    OWIEEE-YOWW—

    The howling grizzly gallops back to the wild animal park to be safe from snotty-arm-throwing zombies.

    Robby cheers. “Thank-you, brave zombie!”

    The zombie reattaches its arm. Words tumble from its rotting, black teeth. “My name is Zombita. Please, be my Valentine.”

    Zombita reaches under her Happy Valentine’s Day T-shirt, and—

    SKLOOCH

    —rips out her green-snot-dripping heart. She offers it to Robby.

    “My heart is yours forever.”

    “Um—that’s a really nice gift,” Robby says, “but candy and a card would have been plenty.”

    The pink love birds overhead coo—

    “It’s all so romantic—HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!”

  28. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR DONNA

    The Owl and the Kitty-Kat – 210 words
    by Donna Kurtz

    The Owl and the Kitty-Kat sailed away
    On a sunny Valentine’s Day.
    They took pink pickles, and bright silver nickels
    Stacked high on a rosebud tray.
    Then came mountains of rain and a harsh hurricane,
    And they crashed through a giant wave,
    “O lovely Kitty, O Kitty, my love,
    We’re going to have to be brave,
    Be brave,
    Be brave!
    We’re going to have to be brave!”

    Poor scared Kitty said, “I’m shaking with dread,
    I fear we will not survive!”
    “Kitty, don’t be blue—I’ll propose to you,
    If we get out of this alive!”
    They fought the storm till the winds blew warm,
    And the ocean grew clear and calm,
    Then sailed miles and miles till they found three small isles,
    And napped ‘neath a coconut palm,
    A palm,
    A palm,
    And napped ‘neath a coconut palm.

    When the two of them woke, the Owl rose and spoke—
    “Lovely Kitty, please marry me.”
    Like a magical dream by the moon’s silver gleam,
    They exchanged vows of love by the sea.
    They dined on pears and pink Gummi bears,
    Which they nibbled in endless delight,
    Then beneath the stars to green lobsters’ guitars,
    They danced all through Valentine’s Night,
    All night,
    All night,
    They danced all through Valentine’s Night.

  29. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR Diane

    NO PICTURES! – 210 words
    by diane s. scotti

    It cannot be a picture.
    Pictures I can do.
    It has to be a special card,
    with words meant just for you.

    Pictures are so easy.
    I could draw and draw all day.
    Writing words is different.
    Can I find a way?

    I cannot do this by myself.
    I cannot read or write.
    If I could get some help,
    It would come out right.

    I can’t ask you to help me,
    You are who it’s for.
    I must find someone else.
    Oh! This will be a chore.

    I cannot ask my sister,
    or my brother too.
    They will say, “Don’t bother us,
    we have better things to do!”

    Memere lives too far away,
    so I would have to call.
    I could use the telephone,
    it’s just right down the hall.

    But I have never made a call.
    Although I’ve seen it done.
    I must be brave to do this,
    It could be kind of fun.

    Now Mem’s phone is ringing…
    “ Pick up, pick up!” I say.
    Although she doesn’t answer,
    She says, “Try another day.”

    So I will do this by myself.
    That’s all that I can do.
    I’ll DRAW
    the words I want to write,
    especially for you.

    hApY BaLiNtimes dAy!

    I Wuv u

    wiLL u B mi BaLiNtime?

  30. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR MARY

    BLUE FLOWER- 99 words
    by Mary Warth

    Flour’s white,
    Flower’s blue.
    Flour squishes,
    making glue.

    Flour glue,
    made to mend
    the blue flower
    for my friend.

    But…

    Can I say?
    Will I tell?
    Her Valentine
    slipped and fell.

    Pretty blue,
    on her chair.
    If only I had
    left it there!

    But…

    Flour glue
    Doesn’t hold.
    I have to tell.
    Must be bold.

    Valentine,
    broke in two.
    Thinking brave thoughts!
    Now be true.

    “It was me.
    Don’t be mad.”
    Jamie giggled.
    “What? You’re glad?”

    “Don’t be blue,
    not your fault.
    We’ll fix the glue-
    just add salt!”

    Flour’s white.
    Salt is too.
    New blue flowers,
    Friends anew!

  31. Marcia Z. Parks says:

    New Line Valentine

    Mom and Dad took a new line. Some doctor told them it would help—but Jarrad didn’t think so.
    “Sorry, Son,” said Dad at bedtime. “No more sleeping with us. I’ll sit outside your door for a bit so you feel comfortable about sleeping in your own bed. You’re strong. You can do it.”
    Jarrad felt anxious, but he finally fell asleep and never knew when Dad left. In the morning, he and Dad high-fived, Mom made his favorite pancakes (heart-shaped, even), and he felt pretty proud of himself.
    Night followed night, mostly the same, until the night of the storm. Jarrad woke, alone, shaking. Something under the bed would grab his feet if he got out. He took some deep breaths. He’d been doing so well on his own at night and didn’t want to spoil it now. Besides—what a great ‘present’ for Valentines if he could do it on his own!
    Jumping out of bed (as far as he could, just in case), he shoved a box underneath to block any monsters. Jumping back in, he pretended Dad was just outside. His heartbeat slowed. Then it was morning…Valentines Day.
    “So—you never woke last night?” Dad asked.
    Jarrad just grinned. He’d made it through all on his own.

  32. Jill Lambert (@LJillLambert) says:

    Leo Lionhearted

    By Jill Lambert (214 Words)

    Leo slumped down in his seat.
    ”I hate Jump Rope for Heart!
    I’m no good at skipping rope.
    I’m not taking part!”

    Gina turned around and said,
    “It isn’t hard to do.
    Jumping rope’s good exercise.
    The funds help others, too.”

    “Last year, when I entered
    I became a laughing stock.
    They hooted when I tripped and fell.
    It hurt to watch them gawk.”

    “I can show you all the ropes
    so you’ll be a success.”
    “Thank you, Gina. Maybe
    I can learn from your finesse.”

    “Do you know a simple song
    that you can hum or sing?
    Try to hop in time with that.
    Let your arms just swing.

    Start out slowly, hop and hum
    until you get the feel.
    Next you do it with the rope,
    then speed it up for real.”

    Leo kept his practice up
    until the holiday.
    On Valentine’s he stood in line.
    His classmates stared his way.

    He took a breath, and gulped
    to ease the panic in his chest,
    focused on his favorite tune,
    and tried to do his best.

    The crowd applauded Leo,
    when he jumped without a trip.
    He felt his courage rising.
    He had smoothness in his skip.

    A valentine from Gina
    was presented with a rope.
    Leo Lionhearted
    overcame his fear with hope.

  33. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR SOPHIA (under 12 young writer 😊)

    Bravery is From the Heart – 211
    Sophia Zafra

    Bobby loved to read and write.
    One day, she wrote a story, then shared it with Mrs. Green.
    Ms. Green stood up, and shouted out “Don’t forget, contest tomorrow! Bring your story and also your Valentiny spirit!”
    At home, when Bobby read a book, with princes fighting dressed in armor, she suddenly sprang up.
    Ran over to her mommy.
    “Can I get a sword?”
    Mommy looked puzzled and asked why.
    “I need to have some bravery!”
    “Oh honey, you don’t need a sword! Just follow your heart, and there you go!
    Bravery doesn’t come from something, but only from yourself.”
    Bobby went back to her room, but once again she jumped up, and got a piece of paper.
    The next day, at the contest, when it was Bobby’s turn to read her story, she shyly came on stage
    “One day, there was a little girl, who thought that she could only be brave, if she had something like a sword or shield. But it turns out that she already had the bravery in her, and it wasn’t coming from anything, other than herself.”
    And as Bobby said the last words of her story, she felt herself beaming, she had been brave, without knowing it.
    The bravery had come from her heart.

    • Susanna Leonard Hill says:

      It can certainly take bravery to get up in front of the class and read your work! Bobby may have been shy, but she had courage. I love how she came to understand that bravery doesn’t come from a sword but from the strength inside yourself. So true! Nice job, Sophia! Keep up the great writing 😊

    • Colleen Owen Murphy says:

      Sophia, what a great message! You have done a really nice job developing this story and showing what Sophia learned. Great job and good luck in the contest!

  34. montaukdeb says:

    A Heavenly Visit (203 words)
    Deborah Dolan Hunt

    “Don’t cry, Mommy. I’m not scared,” said Maeve.
    Mommy held Maeve’s tiny hand. “I know. You are very brave.”
    Maeve was in the hospital. She had a broken leg.
    Daddy placed her dolly beside her. “And Rosie will be with you.”
    Maeve hugged her dolly.
    Maeve and Rosie both wore identical hospital gowns and wristbands.
    “Hi Maeve,” said Dr. Joe. “We’re going to take you into the special room now.”
    Her parents waved as Dr. Joe and Nurse Deb wheeled Maeve down the long hallway.
    . “I’m going to give you some special medicine to help you fall asleep,” said Nurse Deb.
    Maeve whispered. “I don’t want to sleep. I’m afraid.”
    “What are you afraid of?” asked Dr. Joe.
    “Grandpa went to sleep and never woke up,” Maeve whispered.
    “That’s because it was time for him to go the Heaven,” said Nurse Deb.
    Maeve nodded. “I want to go Heaven but not yet.” She slowly closed her eyes.
    When she woke up, she was back in her hospital room with her parents.
    “Mommy, Daddy,” she shouted. “I went to Heaven and saw Grandpa. He said I was his special Valentine. I wanted to stay with him, but he said it wasn’t my time.”

  35. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    ENTRY POSTED FOR BETH

    The Bird and The Cat
    By Beth Winslow
    (214 words)

    Once upon a time, there was a bird and a cat.
    One lived in a tree and one slept on a mat.
    One could spend all day just sitting around squawking,
    The other preferred the quiet, he let his silence do the talking.
    In a world where birds and cats are often known to clash,
    An unlikely union formed after an unexpected crash.
    It was Valentine’s Day, a day where birds sing songs of love,
    So the bird spent the morning in the sky, serenading from above.
    She was flying high, not a worry in her head,
    She didn’t see the giant tree looming up ahead.
    The cat was walking down the street, not paying much attention,
    When upon the ground, he looked and found a sight that’s hard to mention.
    There was an injured bird struggling to stand,
    Without giving it a second thought, he offered her his hand.
    The bird looked at the cat, frozen in dismay,
    When the cat said, “Are you coming? I haven’t got all day.”
    She bravely took his hand and they walked along together,
    Two opposites on common ground, a bond of fur and feather.
    The feline and the fowl proved that no matter what the case is,
    Valentines can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

  36. Kate Rehill (@KateRehill) says:

    THE Valentine Question – 214 words
    by Kate Rehill

    The rose was picked,
    the card was colored,
    and the candy hearts were wrapped.
    Everything was ready to ask THE question, except Noah.
    Noah’s belly bubbled, his eye twitched
    and his voice wobbled as he looked in the mirror.
    “She’ll say no. Or yes. She might!”
    He spotted Alexis on the playground,
    took a deep breath,
    stilled his shaky paws,
    and walked over by the swings.
    Noah said, “Alexis, will you….”
    Thwap! Into the dirt he went.
    Alexis bounded over, brushed him off and scampered off to play.
    Noah finally found her again on the slide,
    and slid down after her, yelling
    “Alexis, will you be….”
    Boomp! Into the air he flew!
    Alexis pranced back, picked him up, fluffed his fur
    and scurried off to play.
    “It’s now or never,” Noah thought.
    Chasing her in circles,
    she stopped at the seesaw.
    Noah took a flying hop,
    yelling, “Alexis, will you be my….”
    Shhhewwwm! Up past the trees he was catapulted!
    Alexis scuttled up under Noah to catch him.
    “Alexis, will you be my-
    Valentine?”
    “Never! But I will be your best friend forever and take all your candy and sniff all your flowers, and- ooh! Is that card for me? I’ll take that, too! You’re the best, Noah! Love you! Let’s go play together!”

  37. Anne Lipton says:

    Brave Little Raccoon! I love how you show how his courage and kindness—to someone who is left out—encourage others to follow in his pawprints. A sweet and delightful Valentine’s poem..

  38. Mary Noon says:

    HOW TO BE VALENTINES (WITH A BOA CONSTRICTOR) – 211 words
    By Mary Noon

    You might think you’ll never need to be valentines with a boa constrictor.
    That’s what David thought.

    David likes Wren. On Valentine’s Day he brought her a dozen daisies.
    He should have brought a dozen eggs.

    Wren forgot to mention her pet. Who is loose. And between meals.

    But David really likes Wren. So he returns, this time with eggs.

    When your valentine has a pet, it’s polite to take an interest.
    “Please don’t eat me.”

    And say hello. Boas can’t shake hands, but they like to squeeze.
    “You can just wave.”

    Ask the pet’s name. Try to pronounce it properly.
    “Oh. Tssstssssstss.”

    It can be difficult to think of more to say.
    “He sticks his tongue out at everyone.”

    You can share your likes and dislikes.
    “I like snakes and grapes. I don’t like getting eaten.”
    “I like cherries best.”

    Make sure the boa gets to share too.
    “Ew!”

    If you haven’t been eaten, it’s probably safe to play. Ask your valentine what boas like to do.
    “Shed. Eat.”

    Or suggest something you can all play.
    No, David, not catch.
    Definitely not jump rope.
    “Dress-up?”

    Be forgiving if the pet forgets his manners. Snakes make mistakes too.

    Now David has two valentines.
    But he also has eggs, just in case.

  39. darcihere says:

    Desi’s Daring Delivery-214 words
    By Darci Nielson

    “Desi, take a plate of cookies to all our new neighbors,” mom said.
    “All the neighbors?”
    “Yes, Desi, all of them.”

    It was Valentine’s Day, but the old house at the end of their new street looked more like Halloween.

    Desi hadn’t seen anyone go in or out, but had heard a woman’s crackly voice wailing “Ballooooooo, Balloooooo.”

    Desi was pretty sure that “Ballooooo” was a witch’s spell.
    She didn’t want to find out what it did.

    But, eventually, Desi had just one plate left to deliver.
    “Be brave,” she whispered to herself.

    Suddenly she heard a desperate whine from the shed behind the house.
    Desi wanted to run home, but someone needed help.
    “Be brave,” she commanded herself.

    She tiptoed into the yard, moved a fallen branch blocking the shed door and pulled.
    A fluffy blur streaked straight for the house.

    Desi yelled a warning, “Watch out, that’s…”

    “Balloooooooo,” cried the old woman, hugging the fluffy blur.
    “You found Balloo!”

    “Balloo is your cat?”

    “Yes, my poor baby must have been stuck in the shed after the wind storm. Thank you, dear.”

    “Uh… you’re welcome.”

    “You really shouldn’t sneak around in people’s yards, though. You scared me half to death! It’s Valentine’s Day, not Halloween, you know!”

    Be brave, Desi thought.
    “Sorry… Cookies?”

  40. Sherri T. Mercer says:

    New Best Friend – 208 Words
    by Sherri T. Mercer

    My chin wouldn’t stop trembling. New school, new teacher, and no friends; nope, this won’t be a “Happy” Valentine’s Day.

    My teacher was waiting outside, but she wasn’t alone; a boy she called Dennis was with her.

    With a shaky voice, Dennis introduced me to the class as his new best friend. I was speechless!

    I darted to the seat next to Dennis.

    We worked on our Valentine’s boxes until lunch. But I won’t need mine; who’s going to give me a Valentine?

    Dennis announced to the whole cafeteria, “this is Emma, my new best friend!”

    Outside, as I skipped to the swings, I overheard Dennis telling the other kids that I was his new best friend! I smiled inside.

    The best part of my day was when the teacher gave Dennis and me big red hearts. Dennis’ said THE BIG HEART AWARD; mine said DENNIS’ NEW BEST FRIEND.

    When I got back to my seat, my Valentine’s box was full!

    Dennis told me making friends was hard for him.

    So, the teacher invited Dennis to introduce me to the class, telling him, “maybe the new girl would like to have a new friend.”

    She was right. My new friend Dennis helped me have a “Happy” Valentine’s Day.

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