Hi Everyone! I’m so sorry, but there is absolutely no chance I’m going to have finalists Friday morning as I originally posted. I’m not even sure when to say I will have them, though I’ll get them up as soon as I can. It will not be over this weekend, I’m sure of that. Thank you all for your patience. I’m so sorry for the delay!
[For those trying to post, you must click on the Blog Post Title to get on the blog post page and access the comments]
Roses are red
Violets are blue
And so do YOU!
Whether your characters are filled with pride and joy, puffed up with pride, or in danger of pride going before a fall, the time has come for . . .
The 7th 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 proud! They can be proud in a good way or a bad way. They can be proud of themselves for asking someone to be their Valentine, or they can be proud of how they asked. They can be proud of a Valentine they make, or a Valentine celebration they plan. They can be proud of giving something up, or proud of asking someone they’re not sure about for some reason in order to be nice. They can be proud of their performance in a Valentines Day play or concert or parade. . . sky’s the limit! Just make sure it is clearly Valentine-centered! 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 proud (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.) If you are so inclined, 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 between right now this very second and Sunday February 13th by 11:59 PM EDT. There will be no regularly scheduled posts for the duration of the contest (Tuesday Debut, Would You Read It, or PPBF), so the post and all of your entries will stay up for everyone to enjoy. If you have difficulty with the comments, which unfortunately sometimes happens, you may email your entry to me and I’ll post it for you. [Also, a small note: I have a serious family situation at the moment. I didn’t want to cancel the contest at the last minute, but please be patient with me if it takes me a while to post emailed entries and update the link list etc. I will do my best, but apologies in advance for delays.]
The Judging: my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to 6-12 top choices depending on number and quality of entries (hee hee hee – you know how much trouble I have with the narrowing, so we’ll see) which will be posted here and voted on for a winner on Friday February 18th (or possibly a day or two later if the judges need extra time.) The winner will be announced Monday February 21st depending on judging and voting time needed. The dates of the judging/voting/winner announcements are subject to finagling depending on how much time the judges actually end up needing!
Judging criteria will include:
- Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
- Creativity in using pride, and success in making us feel the pride (whether it’s good pride or bad)!
- Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story and Valentine’s Day must be central to it!
- Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
- Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
- Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 😊
- How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines.
The Prizes: As always, we are so fortunate to have an abundance of wonderful prizes donated by our very generous friends in the kidlit community! Just look at all these goodies!
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Read & Critique from agent Mary Cummings of Great River Literary, “an agency devoted exclusively to representing authors and author/illustrators of books for children and teens. Strong relationships with editors have resulted in a rapidly growing list of sales of board and picture books, chapter books and novels to such publishing houses as Knopf; Philomel; Viking; Nancy Paulsen/Penguin; Balzer & Bray; Walker; Little, Brown; Henry Holt; Holiday House; Feiwel & Friends; FSG; Running Press; WorthyKids; Abrams; Random House; Wiseman S & S; Chronicle; Candlewick; HarperCollins and many others.”
⭐️ 1/2 Hour Zoom Picture Book Manuscript Critique or Mentoring Session with author Lynne Marie!
Lynne Marie is the accomplished author of Hedgehog Goes to Kindergarten – art by Anne Kennedy (Scholastic 2011), Hedgehog’s 100th Day of School – art by Lorna Hussey (Scholastic 2017), The Star of the Christmas Play — art by Lorna Hussey (Beaming Books 2018), Moldilocks and the 3 Scares — art by David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Sterling 2019 and Scholastic 2019), Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World — art by Parwinder Singh (Beaming Books 2019) and The Three Little Pigs And The Rocket Project — art by Wendy Fedan (Mac and Cheese Press 2022) and American Pie — art by Dea Lenihan (Dancing Flamingo Press, April 12, 2022)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Penny Parker Klostermann, talented author of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT (Random House 2015) and A COOKED-UP FAIRY TALE (Random House 2017)
⭐️ 30 Minute Zoom Ask Me Anything with Keila Dawson, author of THE KING CAKE BABY (Pelican Publishing 2016), NO VOICE TOO SMALL (Charlesbridge 2020), and OPENING THE ROAD: VICTOR HUGO GREEN AND HIS GREEN BOOK (Beaming Books, 2021)
⭐️ Access to author/editor Alayne Kay Christian‘s webinars! Alayne is the author of BUTTERFLY KISSES FOR GRANDMA AND GRANDPA (Blue Whale Press, 2008), SIENNA THE COWGIRL FAIRY: COWBOY TROUBLE (Blue Whale Press 2021), THE WEED THAT WOKE CHRISTMAS (Blue Whale Press, 2020), and AN OLD MAN AND HIS PENGUIN (Blue Whale Press, 2020)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) 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), SADIE’S SHABAT STORIES (Spork, 2020) and PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Rebecca Gardyn Levington author of BRAINSTORM! (Sleeping Bear Press, Summer 2022), I WILL ALWAYS BE…(HarperCollins, Spring 2024) and a contributor to the delightful anthology HOP TO IT: POEMS TO GET YOU MOVING (Pomelo Books, October 2020)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonrhyming) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Random House, 2021), LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR (Aladdin, September 2022), and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique and Query Letter Critique from Jessica Stremer author of the forthcoming GREAT CARRIER REEF (Holiday House, 2023)
⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Cathy Ballou Mealey author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Union Square Kids, 2019), SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, 2021), and the forthcoming MAKE MORE S’MORES (Sleeping Bear Press, 2023)
⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of THE KING CAKE BABY by Keila Dawson
⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of PLANTING FRIENDSHIP: PEACE, SALAAM, SHALOM by Melissa Berger Stoller
⭐️ Personalized Signed Copy of IT’S A MUFFULETTA! IT’S A WHATA? (Sprok 2021) by Patricia Saunders
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 proudly post your entries!
I can’t wait to read your stories!!!
Eager Readers: Check out the comment section for all the fabulous entries! 😊
ENTRIES (all entries are linked) [will be linked tomorrow – sorry for delay]
- The Perfect Present – Sara Kruger
- Dr. Basil Discovers His Secret Admirer – Royal Baysinger
- Teeny Houdini – Heather Ferranti Kinser
- How To Win At Wordle – Anne Lipton
- Eva Valentina’s Day – Katie Fischer
- Chick Forgot Valentine’s Day – Jess Burbank
- The Make-A-Valentine Contest – Hanna Geshelin
- Never Too Many Valentines – Lori C. Evans
- Proud As A Peacock – Bru Benson
- Valentine Farm – Jennifer Lowe
- Gary Groundhog Conquers The Shadow Monster – Deborah Foster
- Tucker And The Sneezies – Susan E. Schipper
- When Dad Is Away – Aileen Stewart
- It’s Valentine’s Day, Thomas, The Worm – Maria Lahman
- The House On The Corner – Elyse Trevers
- Staying In The Lines – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf
- Top Of The World – Christine Alemshah
- The Canape Caper – Cathy Stenquist
- My Icky Sticky Valentine – Chayala Nachum
- The Best Card Maker – Stephanie Maksymiw
- Dad Gets Weird On Valentine’s Day – Debbie Day
- The Valentine Tiff – Sally Yorke-Viney
- Glitter & Glue – Janna MacLean
- Heart Aflutter – Kelly Clasen
- Little Things – Molly Ippolito
- Veronica’s Surprise – Janel Caverly
- My Quiet Valentine – Amanda Sherlock
- Who’s Ana? – Ellie Langford
- Prince Of The Pride – Jessica Seitz
- Cupid’s Big Day – Marty Bellis
- A Match Made In Socks – Laura Heath
- Momma’s Smile – Amber Hendricks
- The Perfect Valentine – Kimberly Shrack
- Miss Frog And Mister Turtle – Sharon McCarthy
- The Trees Of The Girl Who Raised Bees – B.J. Genovese
- Mailbirds: Valentine’s Day – Reed Ambrose
- The Perfect Card – Keely Leim
- Valentine’s Day Is For Everyone – Janet Scratchley
- Valentine’s In The Jungle – Melissa Rafson Friedman
- The Lovesick Groundhog – Debbie Daugherty
- Rosas For Senor Perez – Carmen Castillo Gilbert
- Get Well Soon, Mrs. Love – Rebekah Hoeft
- A Valentine For You – Marty Findley
- Cupid, A New Generation – Linda Staszak
- A Valentine For Her – Marty Findley
- Mr. Sunder’s Valentine’s Day Cookie – Marta Cutler
- Valentine Countdown – Marta Cutler
- V’s For Valentine – Rachel Bandy
- ValenTINY – Jessica Milo
- Three Hearts – A. Kidd
- I Whale Always Love You – Kimberly Horch
- Isabella’s Valentine – Terrie Hellard-Brown
- Dear Moon – Carissa Brown
- A Nose For Love – Julie Kurtz
- Rabbit [heart] Rebecca – Anne Bromley
- The Heart Of A Wizard – Jany Campana
- Sweet Valentine – Daniella Kaufman
- The Valentine’s Cake – Kate Thompson
- Gene’s Forbidden Valentine – Vanessa Konoval
- The Best Part – Sarah Meade
- V-Day! – Sarah Meade
- The Special Valentine Card – Sherry Roberts
- Cutting Is Hard – Ashley Chance
- Hammie’s Valentine Surprise – Jenna Elyse Johnson
- Pinky’s Message – Elizabeth Muster
- Everyting You Taught Me – Shuba Mohan
- It’s A Matter Of Taste – Corine Timmer
- Broken Hearts Need Love Too – Stephanie Henson
- All Aboard – Debbie Whittam
- Dove Letters – Amy LaMae Brewer
- My Furry Valentine – Tiffany Hanson
- A Squawking Serenade – Tiffany Hanson
- Proud That You Are Mine – Tonnye Fletcher
- Mother, You Are One In A Million – Elaine D’Alessandro
- King Of Love – Sue Ko
- Rose’s Creative Valentines – Elaine D’Alessandro
- Dear Valentine – Jill Burns
- Subterranean Lovesick Blues – Andrea MacDonald
- Love, Mama And Me – Karen Olmstead
- A Gift For My Mami – Lana Montalban
- Baby Bear’s Heart – Lori Himmel
- Gumballs – Jill Purtee
- Beaming With Pride – Paul Kurtz
- Proud As A Peacock – Paul Kurtz
- Don’t-Let-The-Dung-Beetle-Make-The-Valentine-Brownies! – Donna Kurtz
- Best Valentine’s Day Ever! – Donna Kurtz
- To Sarah – Elizabeth Westra
- The Heart-Shaped Mitten – Sherri T. Mercer
- Love Inside – Kristy Roser Nuttall
- Valentine’s Field Trip – Darcee Freier
- Heart And Hands – Marjorie David
- Flicker’s Valentine – Laura Bost
- A Valentine For Birders – Geraldine Oades-Sese
- The Floofabims – Sabrina Shah
- I Wanted To Say I Love You – Joy Curtis
- Percy’s Performance – Allison Strick
- Showdown In Smoochalot – Jesse Anna Bornemann
- Theo’s Not-So-Perfect Valentine’s Day – Kelsey E. Gross
- Mama, Are You Proud Of Me? – Pamela Swanson
- Awesome Together – Sarah Hetu
- Valentine’s Breakfast For Mom – Patti Ranson
- Special Delivery – Emily Keener
- Harriet’s Cards – Jessica Reed
- Dolley’s Favorite Month – Lincoln Mansch
- Llama Love – Laura Bower
- Will You Be My Valentine? – Michelle S. Kennedy
- Sunshine Valentine – Vashti Verbowski
- Shelby’s Heartache – Susannah Lee
- Taffy’s Sweet Surprise – Mary Schultz
- Where Is Puppito? – Bridget Magee
- Princess Candace – Sheila R. Schmotzer
- Suzie And Jordan’s Special Day – Shadi Kafi
- Valentine Delivery – Part II (sequel to 2021 Valentine Contest Entry) – Katie Brandyberry
- A Friend For Valentine’s Day – Daniele Arndt
- Hoppy Belated Valentine – Zach Schloss
- Remember The Love – Ashley Murray
- The Proudest Pencil – Lori Sheroan
- My Gummy Love – Lauri C. Meyers
- Love ME – Melissa Rutigliano
- Love Potions And Laughter – Tiffany Hanson
- A Cake-tastrophe – Tiffany Hanson
- The Valentine’s Day Invitiational – Lori Keating
- Lost But Found – Armineh Manookian
- L-O-V-E – Ronda Einbinder
- Shakesbear In Love – MaryLee Flannigan
- A New Friend – Steve Jankousky
- What Kind Of Cupid Am I? – Alayne Kay Christian
- My Hero – Dawn Young
- Valentine’s Day Dance-Off In Nestville – Lynn Marie Moore
- Hidden In These Hallowed Hills – Shuba Mohan
- A Rose For Toad – Ashlee MacCallum
- I Do NOT Like Rohini Rao – Sandhya Acharya
- Untitled – M.M. Sutanto
- A Heart Of Gold – Ryan Schneck
- Haiku Valentines: Love In 5-7-5 Rhyme – Brenda Whitehead
- Kate’s Valentines – Sheila M. Hausbeck
- A Nest For Bluegill – Katie Palazzola
- A Puzzling Valentine – My Side Of The Phone Call… – Ingrid Boydston
- Smelly Kelly – Glenda Roberson
- Underneath It All – Carrie Charley Brown
- How To Find A Valentine – Bevin Rolfs Spencer
- My Daddy’s Valentine – Gayle Krause
- Proud Valentine’s Day – Deborah Hunt
- A Valentine For Annie B. Bear – Charlotte Dixon
- Valentine’s Day Heartache – Cindy Greene
- Valentine Shenanigans – Vasilia Graboski
- You Make Me So Proud – Erika Romero
- I Am Proud To Be Your Friend – Kerry Porter
- Love Somebody – Brigid Finucane
- Marcus Is Not An Elephant: How A Woolly Mammoth Makes A Friend – Susan Schwartz Twiggs
- Purple Lace – Liz Kehrli
- Puppy Love – Kathy Halsey
- Valentine’s Day Booty – Danielle Sharkan
- Wholeheartedly – Catherine Brewer
- Valentine Barks – Kathy Crable
- Oog Love Rock – Katie Palazzola
- C.I.T. (Cupid In Training) – Colleen Murphy
- Allie’s Biggest Heart – Julianna Helt
- Detective Spot And The Search For A New Cupid – Sophia Moore (age 10)
- The Valentine Surprise – Claire Noland
- The Purrfect Valentine – Tara Knox Cerven
- A Valentine For Mr. Weatherly – Lindsay Moretti
- A Proud Mum – Shariffa Keshavje
- Valentine’s Day At Sweet Pig’s – Patricia Corcoran
- Poppy’s Gift – Melanie Adkins
- Go Tell Bully Brady – Mona Pease
- Valentine Surprise – Abby Wooldridge
- Full Of Heart – Allison Burke
- Two Little Valentines – Judy Abelove Shemtob
- A Change Of Heart – Michaela Almeida
- The Mural – Susanne Whitehouse
- The Perfect Friend Chip – Cheryl Simon
- Sloth’s Original Valentine – Judy Sobanski
- Be My Fred – Lisa Furness
- Cupid’s Confidence – Amy Leskowski
- The Flower Code – Ashlee Hashman
- A Valentine For Jake – Andrew Fairchild
- Cardi V – Alicia Meyers
- The Heart Of The Matter – Sarah Marhevsky
- Bear And Fish – A Love Story – Aly Kenna
- Valentine Wins – Sara Petersohn
- Sweet Breakfast – JC Kelly
- ValenTalent Show – Becky Goodman
- Marla’s Mistake – Jessica Watts
- The Koi That Should Have Been In The Zodiac – MeiLin Chan
- Surprise Valentine’s Day Party – Una Belle Townsend
- My First Love – Adolfo Gomez-Herrera
1,776 thoughts on “With Prideful Heart – The 7th Annual Valentiny Contest Is HERE!!!”
by Jessica Milo
Etta loved her best friend, Poppy.
One day, as they roamed the forest, Etta overheard a squirrel squeaking, “I got my squirrelfriend the greatest Valentine’s Day gift!”
And that got Etta thinking: Poppy deserves a Valentine’s Day gift! I will find her the best one.
She tried catching the fluffiest dandelion wisp in the air. But she couldn’t jump high enough. Her chipmunk legs were too tiny.
She tried lifting the smoothest rock from the river. But she couldn’t grasp it. Her chipmunk hands were too tiny.
She tried picking the bumpiest pinecone from a tree branch. But she couldn’t reach it. Her chipmunk arms were too tiny.
Etta was just too tiny.
She slumped, defeated.
That’s when she noticed something on the tree.
Someone had carved “I LOVE YOU.”
And that got Etta thinking: I know what the best gift is!
On Valentine’s Day, Etta proudly recited a poem she wrote:
Poppy, you’re the nicest opossum.
You’re my best friend, and I think you’re awesome!
I love to sunbathe on top of your head,
And your warm underbelly makes the coziest bed!
Poppy gave the biggest smile and hugged Etta. “Wow! This is the best gift ever! Thank you, Etta!”
And Etta – although she was tiny – had the biggest smile too.
You had me at “squirrelfriend.” Nicely done!
Thank you, Kelly!! 🙂
So sweet! I too loved “squirrelfriend,” as well as your delightful ending!
Thank you, Sarah!! I appreciate your kind comments 🙂
Love Etta’s and Poppy’s friendship!
Aww, thank you!! 🙂
I LOVE this! “Squirrelfriend” is GENIUS, even BETTER that it’s heard in the background. Etta’s failed attempts at gathering a present for Poppy have PERFECT descriptions. I love that her best friend ended up being on opossum! Beautiful little story!
Thank you so much for your kind comment! 🙂
This is super sweet! I can see this as a picture book with your cute chipmuck and opossum characters.
Thank you so much, Allison!! I am thinking of fleshing it out to be a picture book manuscript… 🙂 I appreciate your comment!
I couldn’t wait to find out who/what Poppy would turn out to be! Very sweet and fun!
Thank you, Ingrid!! It was fun to write 🙂
Super title and love the Tiny love throughout.
by A. Kidd
Starfish wants to make a Valentine, but she doesn’t have a heart. “What does one look like?” She draws a shimmering star in the sand.
“Sea Lily, how do you make a Valentine?”
Lily trims seaweed into an intricate flower.
Jelly Fish floats by.
“How do you make a Valentine?” asks Starfish.
He paints a ray of light on sea glass.
Octopus crawls along the ocean floor.
“Oh please show us how to make a Valentine,” says Starfish. “Surely you know. You have three hearts.”
Octopus holds up a string of shells. “I’m happy to give you each a Valentine, but in return, I hope you’ll share yours with me.”
They eagerly agree.
First Octopus looks at Starfish. “Have you ever seen a starry night?”
“No,” she says.
“Even so, your Valentine makes my hearts sparkle.”
Then he turns toward Sea Lily. “Have you ever seen a flower garden?”
She shakes her head.
“Your Valentine makes my hearts bloom.”
Finally he points to Jellyfish. “Have you seen a sunbeam?”
“No,” Jellyfish says.
“Your Valentine makes my hearts shine.”
“But our Valentines don’t look anything like yours,” says Starfish.
“I’ve never seen my own hearts,” says Octopus. “I just know how they make me feel.”
The sea creatures beam.
“My heart feels loved,” says Starfish.
So sweet! I love the unusual characters in this story. My kids love sea creatures, so they hung on my every word when I read this one aloud.
Thanks Sarah! Finding out that an octopus has 3 hearts was the inspiration for this story. And then learning that many sea creatures have no heart was equally fascinating. Glad your kiddos enjoyed it!
I LOVE how you tied in biological facts of sea life! Amazing! I particularly LOVED the repeated phrase “Your Valentine makes my heartS -” Very clever!
This is really beautiful!
I got all tingly! Beautiful!
Gorgeous, I love that the facts are wrapped up in a sweet friendship story.
I Whale Always Love You.
By Kimberly Horch
ba Dum ba Dum ba Dum ba Dum
Blue whales have the mightiest hearts in the sea.
If I was a whale would you feel love from me?
I know I don’t show it,
I’m going to blow it,
I love you down deep where you prob’ly can’t see.
ba Dum ba Dum ba Dum ba Dum
My flipper in yours would be such jubilee,
I’m wishing like Willy to fin’lly be free.
Then swimming along,
With one voice in song,
Migrating in concert how happy we’d be.
ba DUM ba DUM ba DUM ba DUM
Heart thumping loudly to echo my plea,
there’s no time to blubber—I’ll do it bravely!
With currents of pride
to you I’ll confide,
“I love you” and hope you whale surely agree.
“Wishing like Willy to fin’lly be free.” GENIUS! Some excellent wordplay! (No time to blubber – tee hee)
Thanks! Puns are how eye roll 😉
This is great! I love the thumping heart!
Very clever! Well done!
Who knows whales could be so awkwardly romantic?! Delightful!
Love the wordplay and use of limerick form!
by Terrie Hellard-Brown
Word count: 203 words
In Isabella’s classroom, everyone decorated valentines for next week’s party.
Isabella asked, “Miss Chin, I loved the words on red paper you gave us at Chinese New Year. Can you teach me? “I want to give my neighbor Mrs. Hsu a special valentine with Chinese words on it. She is all alone.”
“During recess?” Miss Chin suggested.
The bell rang. Students ran outside. Miss Chin got paper, brushes, dried ink, and water.
She showed Isabella how to hold a brush. She swirled her wet brush in the dry ink and made the first stroke. Isabella copied her.
“’Love’ (‘ai’) has ten strokes. Be patient. Imitate me.”
Miss Chin’s strokes looked like graceful feathers on the page. Isabella’s looked like angry eyebrows.
I can’t give Mrs. Hsu an angry eyebrow valentine!
Patience. She tried again.
“One, two, three, four, five. What’s next?”
Miss Chin showed her.
I can do this!
Isabella patiently practiced each day. Soon, angry eyebrows began looking like dancing feathers. On Valentine’s Day Isabella tried again, but on red paper. She counted to ten. She did it!
Miss Chin smiled. Isabella beamed. Beautiful! Isabella glued it to the Valentine. She couldn’t wait to give it to Mrs. Hsu that afternoon.
Patience pays! Nicely done! Thank you for this story.
This would make a beautiful introduction to Chinese and foreign languages in general. I would love to see this illustrated to show how Chinese characters are drawn stroke by stroke and to be able to see the difference in Isabella’s first attempts and her final product! Well done!
I love Isabella’s hard work, and Miss Chin’s patient teaching.
That is a labor of love!
Beautiful story of patience and showing love in a special way.
Hi Jessica – your entry is posted twice – is there a difference between them?
Hi Susanna! Thanks for commenting on this. I was trying to figure out how to delete this one. I thought my first comment/entry didn’t go through so I commented the same story again. Now I see my first comment of this entry did in fact publish – my mistake! Feel free to delete this second comment as it is the same story Thanks so much!
By Carissa Brown
Word Count: 214
I’d like to ask the moon to be my Valentine.
But there is one problem. Bashful Moon is nowhere to be found. I know what to do. Glitter-glue and construction paper become a heart. It’s a masterpiece, a work of art! I tape it in the window. I guess I know how to make the moon swoon because in a couple of nights, I see him peeking out! I grab my crayons and write a mushy love note. I tape that in the window too. In a few more nights, half of that shy guy has come out from hiding. He is getting brave. My scissors go snippity-snip in the flower bed. With all of my might, I launch the rainbow bouquet up towards the clouds. After a few more days, almost the entire moon is proudly lighting up the night. It is probably OK to pop the question now.
“Hey Moon!,” I yell from my window, “Will you be my Valentine?”
I have to wait a few more sleeps before the big day. As the sun goes down on February 14th, I twiddle my thumbs. The sky grows darker. Much to my delight, the whole entire moon makes his spectacular appearance.
I asked the moon to be my Valentine, and he said YES.
I LOVE the idea of the moon being bashful, and that’s why he hides!
Oh this is so clever! Your loving character’s persistence would win over even the shyest Valentine.
Wow! Beautiful, clever and very unique!
A Nose for Love
Rabbit woke up from a sound sleep.
Oh no! Did he miss it?
He hopped into the snowy woods.
“Hey Bird! Is it Valentine’s Day yet?”,
“ Bunny woke up for his valentine! So tweet!
No Snugglebunny, it’s tomorrow!”
Whew! He was so proud that he woke up on time.
Now to find the perfect present!
Her favorite treat besides him of course
But where could he find one?
He bounced to a garden and burrowed under the snow!
Maybe one got left here, but no!
He hopped to the grocery store parking lot and looked cute.
Maybe someone would throw him one.
Still no luck!
Hopping sadly towards home,
Boink! He slammed into something!
He looked up and saw one
Just hanging in the middle of a ball of snow.
He pulled it out and hopped away
Rabbit whipped around and realized he had taken a nose.
“So sorry! I was so happy to find the perfect gift that
I didn’t realize it was part of your face.”
“Well it was and who would want a nose as a gift?”
“For a bunny it’s the ideal treat but I’ll put it back right now!
Wait! Find me another nose and we’ll both be happy!
And that’s exactly what Rabbit did!
A VERY clever title! I like that Rabbit and the snowperson were so understanding of one another!
Haha! I know this would have kids giggling.
What a surprise when the snowman answered back! Very fun!
That is so clever to tell a story through conversation hearts! That was really neat to read, thanks for sharing.
RABBIT [heart] REBECCA
by Anne Bromley (214 words)
Rabbit and Rebecca were friends.
Every day before dusk, Rebecca walked from her trailer up the hill
to meet Rabbit near the wooden fence. She brought a treat from her box garden.
She shared her day – the bread she baked; the new dance she’s learning;
the Valentine text her grandson sent.
Rabbit nodded, munching on fresh kale.
Coyote waited in the bushes.
“Your turn.” Rebecca winked.
Rabbit shared his night – feasting on delectable roots with tasty twigs for dessert.
“And what is Valentine’s Day?”
Rebecca smiled. “It’s all-about-love day.” She sighed. “My husband never forgot.”
“And when is this special day?” asked Rabbit.
“Tomorrow. Goodness! It’s almost sunset. I’d better head home.”
Rabbit nodded. “See you soon.”
He saw the perfect Valentine gift draping the wooden fence.
Coyote watched. But Rabbit had a plan.
He jumped, pulled down a large sprig of bougainvillea, and raced into his hutch.
Before sunrise, Rabbit hopped down the hill in a zig-zag pattern until he reached
Rebecca’s trailer. His heart racing.
He thumped on the doorstep.
Rabbit thumped again.
“Of course!” Rebecca laughed. “It’s you!”
Rabbit set the ruby-red bougainvillea on her slippers. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“O, brave friend! You have traveled a dangerous path to bring me this gift!”
Rabbit bowed, bubbling with pride.
I love Rabbit! Eager to please his friend Rebecca. I really like their little visit they have at the beginning of the story!
Thank you for your kind response. Wishing you all the best!
What a sweet friendship story — and a brave Rabbit!
Thank you, Allison. I appreciate your reading this.
I didn’t expect Rebecca to be a Grandma. It’s a very nice touch!
Thank you, Ingrid.
THE HEART OF A WIZARD
By Jany Campana
Word Count: 87
“This wand doesn’t work!”
Weeblee pointed it at the clouds again.
“All I need is a tiny heart.”
Weeblee sank to his knees.
He stayed outside until after dark.
“Weeblee. What’s wrong?”
“Mom. I tried a Valentine’s spell for you. But I’m not strong enough.”
“It looks perfect to me.”
Weeblee looked up. In the sky he watched an endless supply of sparkly hearts, shimmery stars and zooming comets.
As Weeblee hugged his mom, his heart puffed with pride.
I am particularly impressed with the frustration and sadness you show Weeblee feeling with very few words.
I love your Ka-pows and za-wonks! This wizard has captured my heart!
So sweet. And loved the Ka-pows
I would love to see the final illustration for this!
By Daniella Kaufman
The third-grade class all write their names
and doodle heart designs
on baggies colored red and pink
which hold their valentines.
They peek into each other’s bags
and chat about the treats.
Today they’ll exchange cards, but more
importantly eat sweets.
Millie glances nervously
at snacks her classmates bought.
She made cute cards with special notes,
but cards were ALL she brought.
Twenty unique valentines
she’d worked so hard creating them
she’d missed what kids like best.
One by one, the class delivers
mail to each other.
Candy wrappers crinkle as they
swap with one another.
Millie’s cards are tossed aside
for lacking sugar loot,
and her (once beaming) confidence
dwindles…dims… goes mute.
But then a nearby classmate shouts,
“Oops! This card fell behind.
No candy? Hmm… this one is from…
Millie!! You’re so kind!”
The whole third-grade then drops their treats
to shuffle through their piles,
and as they read what Millie wrote,
the room fills with sweet smiles.
“She likes the way I heart my i’s.”
“She noticed when I shared.”
“Millie saw I learned to draw!
I thought nobody cared.”
Millie shines as her friends say
they never would have guessed,
that candy’s nice, but feeling proud
is what they all like best.
Great story Daniella! I love how Millie gives everyone compliments and makes them all feel proud on Valentine’s Day. So sweet! I also love the line “Millie’s cards are tossed aside
for lacking sugar loot!” Nice job!
Thank you for appreciating the sugar loot! Could only say “sweets” and “treats” so many times. Had to mix it up! 🙂
I love that Millie’s efforts didn’t go unappreciated! And her personalized notes we got to read were so simple and sweet!
The notes were my favorite part to write! Thank you for your kind words as well as taking the time to comment on every story.
This is such a sweet story! And the rhyme and rhythm are spot on. Millie is a true giver and her gift comes shining through.
Against my better judgement, I continue to write in rhyme 😂. I really appreciate your kind words. Thank you for reading!
Millie gave each of her classmates a very special gift, one that will last longer than any sweet.
Agreed 😊 I originally had something similar in mind for the ending, but the writer plans and the rhyme scheme laughs. Speaking of rhyme, love yours in Percy’s Performance. Well done!
Genuine tears in my eyes for your story. This is just how kids act, too! Impulsive at first but truly caring if you give them time. ❤️
This comment, as my 6-year-old likes to say, “made my heart sparkle. ” Thank you for reading!
I love this!
Millie is so sweet and caring, which is way better than candy in the long run.
Thank you! Yes, sweet feelings have a much longer shelf life.
The Valentine’s Cake
“Today,” said Miss Rabbit, “you’ll each get to make,
a yummy, fantabulous Valentine’s cake.”
Anteater frowned, “But Miss, who are they for?”
“For someone you’ve chosen who makes your heart soar.”
Anteater pondered, while whisks whizzed and whirled.
A someone who’s special, who lights up my world…?
“Eureka!” he cried. “I know just who to choose!”
And grinning, he mixed up a brown cakey ooze.
The ovens all roared as the cakes baked and browned,
til “Quick!” said Miss Rabbit. “Come gather around!”
Anteater’s tummy flipped, what would he see?
He hardly dared look, but then… Wow! Could it be?!
His cake was magnificent, tall, round and wide.
The flips turned to flutters, his chest swelled with pride.
“Such wonderful cakes,” said Miss Rabbit with glee,
“they’ll make someone happy, but who will that be?”
Anteater watched as his friends leapt away,
excited to celebrate Valentine’s Day…
… a fruitcake for Gran Bear, a loafcake for Miss,
and baby Racoon got a cupcake and kiss.
Then Anteater followed, his cake carried high,
to the someone he’d chosen who made his heart fly.
“Excuse me,” he whispered, “I wanted to say,
how special you are. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
The ants scurried out as the cake touched the floor,
and anteater feasted on someone’s galore.
Oh no! What a sad twist of events! Look out ants! Well done hiding the twist until the very end.
Oh my! This is really funny, and the rhymes make it a joy to read aloud.
Tragically hysterical! Oh my goodness, I did NOT see that cooking! 😂
Gene’s Forbidden Valentine
By Vanessa Konoval
Word count: 214 words
The school bus exhaust still hung in the ice-dry afternoon air. Mom would be looking for me at home soon.
…She’ll stop me if she realizes…
So, I went.
Up the steep, slick quarter mile to Grandpop’s house.
It wasn’t far, but we hadn’t visited since Grandpop and Mom got screaming at each other over some stupid thing on Christmas, our first Christmas without Grandmom. That was almost eight weeks ago.
My breath was a frozen fog inside my wool scarf. I blinked chill from my eyes.
Then I reached the house.
I rang the doorbell.
…What if he doesn’t want to see me?…
I rang again.
The door opened.
“Gene?” Grandpop looked baffled. “What—?”
Then his eyes flicked down to the Valentine’s Day card in my hand. His heavy gray eyebrows scrunched together.
“Get in here,” he muttered. “Warm up. Your mom’s gotta be worried sick.”
A half hour later, I waited in my mom’s car while they talked inside.
Then, they came out. I saw them hug good-bye. Grandpop kissed her on the cheek.
“…Mom?” I said when she got into the car. “Are you mad?”
“Oh, Genie. Listen. I am VERY proud of you.” She wiped her eyes and adjusted the rearview mirror. “And you are VERY grounded.”
Great tension — I really wanted to read to the end to find out what happened!
Great story. Love the ending.
This is amazing! I love the GENUINE family tension and the beautiful visuals throughout with the freezing cold afternoon and later in the car! Such an INCREDIBLE and accurate ending! I appreciate this very different Valentine story!
This is just lovely; you’ve nailed the voice and emotion of a family’s argument, and forgiveness.
Vanessa, this is beautiful
You have a gift for building tension, well done!
Great description, and I love the ending… happy and relatable.
The Best Part
By Sarah Meade
Word Count: 213
Addy and Liv love Valentine’s Day.
They wear sparkly sweaters,
read sweet stories,
and count conversation hearts.
The best part?
Grandma comes over!
“What should we do first?” Grandma asks.
“Make valentines!” Liv cries.
They use markers and stickers.
Scribble, sketch, stick-stick-stick!
The best part?
“I did it all by myself!” Liv exclaims.
But Addy needs some help.
“Cookie time!” Grandma says.
“Yay!” Liv cheers.
They crack eggs.
“I did it all by myself!” Liv exclaims.
But Addy needs some help.
Measure, pour, stir-stir-stir!
The best part?
“Gift time!” Grandma says.
“Yay!” Liv cheers.
They tear open the pretty paper.
They dump out the pieces.
Soon Liv’s puppy puzzle is complete.
She shouts, “I did it all by myself!”
Addy looks at her pile of pieces and bites her lip.
“Need help, Addy?” Grandma asks.
“Cookies are ready!” Grandma and Liv go check them.
Addy peeks at the cute kitty on her puzzle box.
takes a breath,
and picks up a piece.
She pushes it into place.
Addy fits another.
When Grandma and Liv return . . .
Addy grins. “I did it!”
“All by yourself!” Liv cheers.
Grandma and Liv clap.
The best part?
Their big happy hug!
Really cute! So much fun! Love the repetitive pattern. Would make a really cute picture book. I can just “see” the pictures.
A heartwarming depiction of a family Valentine’s celebration! I love how everyone joins together while working and playing to their own level.
I love how Addy sicks with it until she can accomplish things on her own as well! Such a heart-warming family Valentine’s story!
You did a great job capturing the fun of spending a day with Grandma. I could feel Addy’s pride at the end. Sweet and satisfying!
Your repetition and pacing is lovely! Love this entry.
REALLY love the character arc in this entry and the refrain. We all love ot do it all by ourselves!
This is so sweet and adorable, Sarah! I love your alliteration and onomatopoeia! Great job!
Love this so much, Sarah! Especially that girls had fun with Grandma, and Addy learns to do something on her own.
Great build up Sarah, showing us how Addy had been struggling throughout and really needed to find success on her own. I love her perseverance.
I’m so happy Addy got the opportunity to do something all by herself!
By Sarah Meade
Word Count: 214
When Radney Rat broke up with Vivian Vole on February 13th–
right before her Valentine’s party–
Vivian vented to her best friend, Morley Mouse.
“I’m done with love! The party’s canceled!
No conversation hearts!
No pink balloons!
No valentines whatsoever!”
“Absolutely no ooey-gooey or mushy-gushy.” Vivian sighed.
Morley patted her paw. “We could still celebrate . . . SOMETHING.”
He pointed to her calendar.
V-day was scribbled on February 14th.
“V-day?” Vivian mused.
Morley nodded. “Your favorite letter.”
“Morley, you’re a genius!” Vivian cried.
Morley’s ears turned pink with pride.
They called their friends.
No ooey-gooey. No mushy-gushy.
But V things were VERY encouraged!
Morley chopped vegetables.
Vivian placed violets in vases.
They donned new vests.
Would their friends come to a V-day party on Valentine’s Day?
And they delivered:
Vanilla ice cream.
A Venus flytrap!
And a Velveeta volcano!
Guests played volleyball and watched videos.
“Wow,” said Vivian. “This is better than a Valentine’s party! Thanks, Morley.”
Morley’s cheeks turned as pink as his ears with pride . . . and something sweeter.
He smiled. “My favorite V thing is . . . you!”
Vivian beamed at her best friend.
“Strike a pose!” someone called.
“Let’s dance!” Vivian pulled Morley’s paw.
Vivian, Morley, and all their friends vogued.
I love this! Clever, original and fun.
I just can’t stop laughing about the long list of “V” items. Such a clever concept!! Love it!
As someone who’s hosted an Oscars party featuring O-themed foods, I am here for this very vivid V-day celebration. I toast your terrific humor, alliteration, and inventiveness, and I love the charming ending, too.
That Oscars party sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for your kind words, Anne!
This is so sweet and funny Sarah! Great list of V things. I especially love the Velveeta volcano! Nice work!
Breaking up the day before their Valentine’s party?! That Radney sure is a RAT! (Well done.) Tons of fantastic V words for their V party! Very impressive, as usual!
Love the laugh-out-loud humor and relatable problem. I could picture Morley’s cheeks turning pink with pride. ADORABLE!
Voguing voles playing volleyball and the violin? Winning combination! I see sweet things in the future between Vivian and Morley…
OH, wow, all things V for V-day! Toox, Sarahis is SO creative and out-of-the-box, Sarah! Love th elist of all the “V” things guests brought. If you have more to to this story, if def needs to be turned into a PB and queried.
This is amazing, Sarah! I adore this clever story! The alliteration is genius! So fun!
How fun!! I love all the V things!! Great story, Sarah!
Such a fun story, Sarah! Well done.
Everyone needs a friend like Morley Mouse! But a Velveeta volcano? That has me a bit concenred. LOL. This was a fun story!
Of all the letters to celebrate! V is extra fun!
The Special Valentine Card
Word Count: 211
Today was an important day for Rufus.
He would be giving a Valentine to someone he loved with all his heart.
Going outside, Rufus looked for inspiration for the gift.
On the ground was a piece of bark that had fallen off their tree.
Picking it up, Rufus held it to the sun and studied it.
He decided this would work.
Back in his room, Rufus got to work.
All his supplies surrounded him as he sat at the art table.
Cutting and drawing, he wanted to get it just right.
Red glitter flew, hoping to make the gift shine in the sunshine.
Rufus thought hard about what message he wanted to say.
He took his brightest color pen and began to write.
He didn’t want to mess this part up.
The words had to be perfect but not silly like you usually see.
When Rufus finished his gift, he ran to find his Mom.
“Mom,” he called. “I need you to take me someplace.”
Mom took Rufus to deliver his gift.
Rufus said, “This is for you, Granddad. Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Rufus set his Valentine at Granddad’s gravestone.
The bright, glittery bark card read:
I still miss you but wanted you to know,
you are my Valentine this Valentine’s Day.
This is so sweet Sherry! I love the idea of honoring those that are no longer here by still celebrating them on Valentine’s Day!
This is so sad and sweet. I like that Rufus used bark to make his homemade valentine.
I like the care with which Rufus selects his materials and words.
Oh Rufus! I know Granddad got your message. Well done, Sherry.
A VERY special Valentine!
This is so sweet and that ending was a comforting kind of sad.
Cutting is Hard
By Ashley Chance
Word Count: 214
“Brianne!” Ms. Lisa called with a smile. It was her turn to sit at the table and cut. “Coming,” Brianne said. She shuffled to the table with dread in her eyes. Cutting with scissors was hard, and it hurt her hand. Brianne picked up the green scissors and grabbed the red heart from the table. She was excited to make a valentine for mommy and daddy but had trouble getting started on the curved line. “Thumbs up,” Ms. Lisa told her as she adjusted Brianne’s grip on the handles. Slowly, with her tongue sticking out in full concentration, she began to cut the heart. Red shards of paper fell to the table. The heart began to take shape. “I’m doing it!” Brianne exclaimed! “Great work, Brie!” Ms. Lisa encouraged. With a few more snips, the valentine was free. Brianne held up the jagged, red heart. “I made it for my mommy!” Brianne proclaimed. Ms. Lisa patted her on the arm. “Your parents are going to love it. I am so proud of your hard work!” she said. Brianne smiled at her red valentine. She was proud of herself, too. “Maybe the scissors aren’t so bad after all,” Brianne thought as she stood up from the table, beaming with accomplishment and ready for Valentine’s Day!
Sweet and very relatable to kids. Love Brianne’s proud ending.
A great story to show kids that they can learn difficult skills! You did a good job showing Brianne’s initial reservations of using the scissors.
You perfectly captured how challenging this was for your determined main character!
There is a trick to making easier. So nice Bri had someone to show her. 💕
You do a great job of getting us into Brianne’s head, I love the description of freeing the valentine.
Hammie’s Valentine Surprise
By Jenna Elyse Johnson
Word Count: 213 Words
“Will you be my Valentine?” Jenna asked Hammie as she tied a hand-made bandana around his neck.
Hammie stood tall, tail wagging as he admired his reflection.
But Hammie didn’t have a gift for Jenna. He was a rotten Valentine!
“I must give my Jenna a Valentine surprise…”
He looked around… and spotted his prized possession.
He proudly presented it to Jenna.
The stick was ruined.
Determined to succeed, Hammie got a new idea.
“She will LOVE my ball.”
He proudly presented it to Jenna.
“You want to play? FETCH!”
Hammie was not giving up.
GRRRRUUUUUMMMMBBBBLLLLEEEE roared his tummy.
“My bone is just the thing!”
He proudly presented it to Jenna.
Slobber plastered Jenna.
“I better change.”
Hammie’s cheeks reddened.
He stared out the window, trying to ignore his reflection and shame.
“OH. MY. DOG!”
Into the play-room.
Just one item.
Into the mud.
Now he had the perfect Valentine surprise for Jenna!
Her own bandana adorned with paw-prints and a nose-print.
He proudly presented it to Jenna.
“You made this for me? I’m so proud of you, Hammie! Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Hammie stood tall, tail wagging.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Sweet story! I like your fun word choices like “OOEY GOOEY SPLAT.”
Thank you so much! 🙂
I love how Hammie’s initial presents are completely ignored and misunderstood!
Thank you! I had fun with that! ☺️
Oh my DOG! This is so cute! I need Hammie in my life.
Thank you! 🥰 Hammie is the best!
A girl’s best friend!
So perfectly doggy, great job!
By Elizabeth Muster
Pinky wasn’t like the other conversation hearts in the box. In fact, she was starting to wonder if she was a conversation heart at all. All the others had a message – she didn’t.
When Blue squealed, “CALL ME!” Pinky didn’t say a word.
“Come on. Why won’t you talk?”
Pinky just shrugged. She liked calm and quiet. Blue and the others were loud.
When Yellow offered HUGS, Pinky shook her head.
“We could be friends,” Yellow said.
Pinky couldn’t explain why, but she wanted her space.
Pinky scooted to the opposite cardboard corner, drawing pictures in the sugar dust
until Purple stepped in the middle of her art.
“BE MINE!” Purple said.
Pinky didn’t know what to do. She definitely did not want to be around pushy Purple.
“BE MINE!” Purple said again. “Come on, Pinky. You don’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day, do you?”
“ENOUGH,” said Pinky.
Pinky’s voice startled Purple. It even surprised Pinky herself.
“What did you say to me?” asked Purple.
“ENOUGH,” repeated Pinky with power.
Purple stomped away.
Relieved but shaken, Pinky penned the word across her front in red ink.
She had had ENOUGH.
Pinky wore her new message proudly.
It was calm and quiet but strong…just like Pinky.
She was ENOUGH.
I enjoyed the fun characters, snappy pacing, and strong ending of your story.
I like your description of “pushy Purple!” A great antagonist to inspire Pinky!
Love this as much now as I did reading it on your blog!
For all the Pnkys. 💕
I love Pinky’s self assurance that she’s enough and doesn’t have to do what the others do!
Everything You Taught Me
Maya opened the craft drawer quietly.
Nervously she took out the papers.
Flattening each sheet, she stacked the tissue paper; crisp white, deep cherry, flamingo pink.
Her fingers fumbled folding the paper accordion style just like Grandma had shown her.
She attached a green pipe cleaner in the middle.
She trimmed the edges into a half circle.
Carefully fanning out the paper, she gently pulled up on each layer of tissue paper, separating it from the other layers.
When Momma came downstairs, Maya blurted out, “I don’t want to go see Grandma in the hospital.” Tears formed in her eyes. “But I made her this.”
Momma gave her a teary-eyed hug. “I know it’s scary thinking about Grandma. It’s okay if you don’t want to go.”
Maya looked at the vase she was clutching and remembered Grandma smiling when they’d made flowers together every other Valentine’s Day.
She was scared, but Maya knew she wanted to be brave for Grandma.
“I’m proud of you,” Momma said holding her hand down the long hospital hallway.
Maya’s worried eyes grew wide seeing all the tubes that were helping Grandma breathe.
She concentrated on the vibrant colors in her hand.
Walking over she lifted her grandmother’s hand in hers. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Grandma. Be brave. I love you.”
I love your descriptions of the coloured tissue paper! So sweet of Maya to make a gift for her Grandma using the techniques Grandma had taught her.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to the stories, Royal!
SO much heart in this. Well done.
It so hard to say goodbye. Thanks Allison!
Tissue paper flowers are a wonderful way to show love, especially in a hospital setting. Very thoughtful and sweet!
Thank you Ingrid! I’ve always enjoyed making tissue paper flowers for so many occasions.
This is beautifully heart felt, well done.
Thank you Katie for your kind comment!
It’s a Matter of Taste
In a crack
Of desperate soil
Between a shimmer
Carlina the thistle
Bowed her head.
Who will pick me,
I’m dressed in
And my flower
Looks like a
Facing the sun,
Poppy the Papaver
Smirked in triumph
As a swarm of bees
Admired her beauty.
Her fragrant red petals
Waving in the wind.
Then, a big blue butterfly
Appeared out of nowhere.
Carlina looked up.
Dazzled by his gaze and
The sunlight, wink-wink,
Her petals turned
A blush brown.
Adonis Blue’s heart
Skipped a beat.
He began to sing
Swirling around her
As if tying a knot with
“Be my Valentine.
Be my Valentine.”
Poppy jiggled her lush
But Adonis Blue
Didn’t bat an eye.
He buried his gaze
Ever deeper into
“Oh well,” Poppy said.
“I guess bad taste
Is also a taste.”
Lovely writing! And I can really picture this scene!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Such gorgeous, evocative imagery in this lyrical tale of contrasts. I love “In a crack/Of desperate soil/Between a shimmer/Of tarmac.”
Thanks for reading and commenting. Glad you liked it.
I tried to weave facts into the story about:
Carlina vulgaris – Carline thistle
Papaver rhoeas – Flanders poppy, Shirley poppy or common poppy.
Lysandra bellargus, also known as Polyommatus bellargus – The adonis blue butterfly. The carline thistle is important to this particular butterfly.
I think you wove those STEM elements in beautifully and organically, and they would make for wonderful back matter!
I love the character of Poppy being used as a foil to Carlina! Unique characters!
Thanks for reading and commenting.
This is just beautiful. Your lyrical language had me sighing all the way through.
Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad it touched you.
This made me feel, think and wonder. A beautiful combination, just lovely!
Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Beautifully written and that ending… the humor landed perfectly!
really drew me in
Thanks for stopping by. I’m happy my story captivated you.
Broken Hearts Need Love Too
Written by Stephanie Henson 2022
Word Count 210
Valentine’s Day party at school,
Will surely be super cool!
So excited to see,
What kind of treats will be waiting for me.
But first I must do my thing,
Make a plan for what I’ll bring.
Has to be fun and yummy too,
Have an idea that will definitely do.
Grab a bowl and mix the batter,
Stir, scoop, and cut is all that matters.
Watch the dough take shape on the tray,
So can’t wait for this special day!
I made cookies in the shape of a heart,
Sugar, sprinkles, and one sweet tart.
Bagged, addressed, and ready to go,
I hope my friends will love them so.
Oh no! Disaster has occurred!
I dropped the bags on the curb!
Every single hand made heart,
Has snapped in half, falling apart!
Have to think real quick
How can I save this?
I got it, a note to include –
Saying “Broken hearts need love too.”
I’m proud of myself for fixing the mess,
Even my teacher was very impressed.
And the kids inhaled all the stash,
Not caring cookies were broken in half!
In the end, everything was great.
My classmates just ate and ate.
And I have a bag of loot that’s mine.
I’m a very Happy Valentine!
What a clever main character! I LOVE the note – so insightful!
Oh no! Some quick thinking by your character led to a sweet Valentine’s day.
I think you’re on to something here!
Very clever problem solving, definitely a reason to be proud!
Word Count: 214
As the gate creaked Marcia pulled up the skirt of her bridesmaid dress and hurried down the path. Valentine’s Day and the first uninvited visitor was bounding towards her, an excitable dalmatian.
“Marcia, you look gorgeous,” Mrs Champ proclaimed, “Violet will be delighted by your idea, but perhaps I should stay. I can look after them while you finish inside.”
Marcia almost sighed in relief, she was only ten, and planning a surprise was so hard when dad didn’t know. He thought she didn’t want him to marry Violet, but mum had died so long ago, and he looked so happy now.
“Dad said that Violet would’ve travelled in a horse drawn sled at home.” Marcia said, as George the germen shepherd appeared, “Do you think she’ll like it?”
“She’ll love it, go, we’ll get them ready.” Mrs Champ said as another dog arrived, and Marcia hurried inside as Violet appeared.
“Wow, you look like a Princess.”
“Thank you, Marcia.”
“And I’ve got a surprise for you.” At her announcement the bride looked worried, but Marcia pulled open the door, “I couldn’t get horses, but …”
“Wow, a dog sled, it’s amazing Marcia, all aboard.”
“Mush doggies,” Marcia called proudly, as the neighbours cheered loudly.
They couldn’t be late, it was valentine’s wedding day.
I like the believable tension between Marcia and her father, now that he is planning to remarry.
Thanks, I wanted to write something realistic ☺️
I see good things in the future for this thoughtful character and her new stepmother.
I hope so 😊
I love the acknowledgment of the changes in life and being happy for others.
By Amy LaMae Brewer
I’ll fly across the sky for you.
I’ll take you to the park.
It is all about the time we spend.
Sometimes we go round and round.
We watch the sun come up.
We watch the sun go down.
Whenever we go out-
We snack on things we love.
We listen to our favorite tunes.
In stormy days and open skies,
Through and through, you are always there.
You show me that you care.
And sometimes we just stare.
It is all of this and more.
With all my love,
Your True Dove
My True Dove,
Every new day begins
Thinking of thoughts of you.
Wherever near or far we go,
We walk the highest heights,
On bridges, cliffs and skyscrapers.
Sometimes we crouch down low,
In busy times, the wet- wet rains,
Or when the dangers dare.
Hours pass and minutes fly when…
We take the time to read a book,
Hike a trail or two,
Or when we sit side by side.
It is all about the moments we do,
That make me wanna shout.
I am proud to call you friend.
I am proud to say it loud.
You are my truest dove.
And with all my heart I love.
Your Dearest Dove
I like that Dearest Dove mentions that they “walk the highest heights” and “crouch down low.” Love really is all about sharing the good and bad times together.
Thanks for reading. It was fun to work love letters to kid friendly truths and connections.
Ah, I love the idea of these lovebirds writing back and forth. You have so much beautiful language in this.
Thanks for reading. Yes, I fell in love with this title and had to make it work.
That’s a friendship full of love!
Yes, thanks for reading. I tried to make it work for friends and loves.
My Furry Valentine
By Tiffany Hanson
Word Count: 212
This year for the Valentine’s Day party I wasn’t going to bring in any candy, cards, or carnations. Boring! I was going to bring in something fresh, funny—and furry.
I painted my Valentine’s box pink, cut a small hole in the top, and slipped my secret inside. I grinned, proud of my plan.
The next day at school I set my box on the table with the others. I was pleased when the box started to wriggle and writhe, my surprise Valentine squirming inside.
My teacher walked over to the box then opened the lid. Her eyes widened and her hair stood on end. Then out ran my furry Valentine friend.
“It’s a rat!” one girl screamed, jumping onto her desk. Soon the classroom was completely a mess.
As my rat raced along the walls, my classmates started streaming into the halls.
I smirked, proud of my success. This Valentine’s Day was the best.
That is, until, the principal came into the room and ran after my rat with a broom!
I ran to my rat and held on tight. But the principal had me in her sight.
“Saturday. Detention. You’ll clean up this room and out in the hall.”
I guess I wasn’t so proud of my plan after all.
“Boring!” – such a great insight into the reasoning of a child!
Oh I could just picture this scene! I love how your character really shook up Valentine’s day–I think the detention will be worth it.
I’ve known students who brought in lizards…this is a first! 😂
Oh my goodness, yup, I can totally see a kid thinking that would be just the thing to spice up a valentines party.
A Squawking Serenade
By Tiffany Hanson
Word Count: 213
Every year, it’s the same. All the birds at my park deliver singing Valentines. The cardinals chirp and the chickadees cheep. But me? I’m a goose. And I get left behind because no one wants a honking Valentine.
Until one year when I saw an elderly man, sitting alone on a park bench. He patted the seat next to him and sighed, as if remembering the person who used to sit with him.
I started to move but then sat back down. He wouldn’t appreciate my sound.
My friends did their best to cheer him up with their songs. But he couldn’t hear the bluebirds twittering or the warblers warbling in the trees above.
I could tell that he was hard of hearing and missing his love.
This was a job for someone loud—like me. I fluffed up my feathers and puffed out my chest. This goose was going to do her best.
I waddled over to the man and began to croon. The other birds stopped and stared, but I continued my squawking serenade.
The man cocked his head and cupped his ear. I honked even louder. When he grinned at me, I couldn’t be prouder.
I had been a songbird all the while. Proud to deliver a Valentine’s Day smile.
I LOVE the tragic character of the elderly man! So sweet of the goose to gift her song to someone in need!
It sounds like Goose found the perfect match–finally someone who appreciates his talents!
It’s lovely that goose finally found sound someone to share her song with❣️
What a sweet reminder that when we struggle it’s not that we have no talents, it’s just a matter of finding the right time or place.
PROUD THAT YOU ARE MINE
by Tonnye Fletcher
Word Count 161
I Curve my fingers,
And point my thumbs
To make a little heart.
Lift it up and blow a kiss
Proud that you are mine.
I hold up my Pinky,
My pointer, and thumb
To say “I LOVE YOU”
When I can’t say out loud
How proud I am you’re mine.
I squeeze your hands three quick times.
You know it means “I love you.”
It’s our special signal
To tell you with my hands
How proud I am you’re mine.
I sing it out loud and proud,
“I love you a bushel and a peck,
A bushel and a peck
and a hug around the neck.”
I’m so proud you’re mine!
I whisper it in your ear.
As I twirl my fingers in your thick red hair,
And you stroke my cheek with gentle hands,
I’m so proud that you are mine.
Proud that you are mine!
On Valentine’s Day!
I enjoyed reading this. Love the beginning and the end as well as the focus on someone with a disability.
I love your use of refrain! And the “special signal” is such an intimate, genuine detail!
So heartfelt and original.
Oh, Tonnye! This made me tear up! It’s so touching and truly beautiful! I love it!
So many ways to show love! You’ve really brought a sweet relationship to life.
It’s gorgeous, Tonnye!
So many ways to show love!
MOTHER, YOU ARE ONE IN A MILLION
I love giving Valentines
To my mother every year.
I always make them big and bright
To bring her lots of cheer.
Sometimes I make colorful hearts
And glue them all together.
But I don’t want to do that now
I’m craving something better.
I want it to be thoughtful,
Something different and unique,
That no one else has thought of
Any day of any week.
Last night I stayed up super late
To decide what I should do.
I came up with a great idea
And designed it through and through.
I called our local newspaper
And told them of my plan.
They said that they would help me
In any way they can.
I said I wanted my words large
And placed on one big page.
I wanted them in color
And I told them what to say.
To my beautiful mother
On this lovely Valentine’s Day
You are one in a million
And that’s all I had to say.
I couldn’t wait to see the ad
In the paper from our town.
But when I saw the announcement
My smile turned into a frown.
I forgot to tell them who it’s from.
How could I not have shared?
So, my greeting to my mother
Went to all moms everywhere.
“I’m craving something better.” I wonder if the main character has been cured of their attempts in giving bigger and better Valentines to their mother or if next year will be something even bigger!
Oh haha, I love the twist at the end. Maybe it’s better this way!
What a super ending!
Whoops, but that’s adorable and relatable.
KING OF LOVE
By Sue Ko
Word Count: 214
The Queensland Valentine Mating Jubilee was in full swing. Everywhere, male bower birds were building art installations to attract discriminating ladies. But Hugo knew he’d be crowned King of Love again.
He dove into Frank’s site on the forest floor and attacked. He snuck onto Pablo’s installation and flew off with petals and beetle dung chandeliers.
Hugo was adjusting the last piece of dung when a lady landed.
Hugo flexed his wings. “Thanks.”
“I know you! Rainforest High.”
“You were the only boy who wasn’t always flashing his tail.”
“And you were artistic.”
Hugo sank into his feathers.
“Well…it’s been awhile since high school.”
“You seem just as nice. And this looks amazing! I’m Joy.”
Hugo hesitated. He wanted so badly to be King of Love!
“I’m leaving to vote!”
Hugo saw his reflection in Joy’s beautiful beady eyes.
“Joy, I’m a fraud!”
“I stole everything! This love nest isn’t mine!”
“Wow. I’m glad you told me.”
“You’ll have to return the crowns.”
“I’m leaving to vote for Pablo.”
Hugo was turning away when he heard, “Wanna fly me there?”
Joy cocked her head.
“Boy, do I!”
And for the first time, Hugo felt like the King of Love.
Such a clever and unique view into the mating rituals of bower birds! Brilliant ending – especially the last line!
I love the mix of real-life bird mating rituals with the silly idea of these birds remembering each other from high school.
Haha! It shoulda been grade school — but oh well!
Bird mating rituals are so crazy, what a great premise!
Yes! — and we think we have a lot of drama LOL! Thanks, Ingrid!
What a unique take, great job showing us the depth of Hugo’s character.
Aw, thanks, Katie!
ROSE’S CREATIVE VALENTINES
Rose couldn’t wait for Monday. Valentine’s Day was her favorite holiday. And this year she planned on making her own cards for her classmates and teacher. She had everything she needed.
Paper and paint.
Scissors and stickers.
Glue and glitter.
And tons of time.
On Saturday morning, she jumped out of bed early. She cut out big pink hearts. Wrote classmates’ names with glue on the front. Sprinkled with glitter. Then carefully fastened red rose stickers on the back. When she finished, Rose stood tall, hands on her hips, and gleefully grinned.
Rose couldn’t wait to make her teacher’s card next. She cut out a huge purple heart. Then a smaller red heart. Glued it on top. Painted Ms. Meade’s name in white across the middle. Spread glue around the edges. Sprinkled it with glitter. Then carefully fastened red rose stickers on the back. “Perfect,” she said.
On Monday morning, Rose placed her cards in the classroom Valentine Box. After lunch, the students delivered their greetings. Everyone expressed oohs and aahs as they opened them. Then Rose realized, “Oh no, I forgot to sign mine.”
But Ms. Meade called Rose’s name as she read her card. “I love how you used stickers instead of your name, Rose! Very creative!”
Rose’s eyes sparkled.
I love the voice of Ms. Meade. She sounds very much like a school teacher!
What a lovely story! Every child should have a nice teacher like Ms Meade who makes the life of a young child a happy life! Good luck on this contest!
Oh clever! I’m glad Rose’s hard work gets the recognition it deserves.
Saved by the sticker! And a special teacher!
How sweet, great description of her careful creating.
By Jill Burns
Word count 211
Every afternoon, you and your friends pass my brother and me on the sidewalk.
You point, pull a face, and everyone laughs at us.
You tell me I speak strange English.
You tell me my brother is a bozo.
You tell me my family is freaky.
And then you ask, “What planet are you from?”
Before I can answer, you race off.
I want you to know I’m proud I’ve learned to speak English, but I hope I never lose my accent.
I want you to know I’m proud of my brother. He’s the best buddy anyone could ask for.
I want you to know I’m proud of my family. I love them, and I think you’d like them, too.
And, I’m proud of the planet I come from. It’s a beautiful country, and I have friends and family who still live there.
One day, I hope you will see me for who I am.
Someone who is not so different from you.
Someone who would like to be your friend.
Someone who wishes you a happy Valentine’s Day!
P. S. My mother helped me make these cookies for you. If you’d like, please share them with your family and friends.
Enjoy your cookies!
See you on the sidewalk!
I love the pride the main character has in their accent and in their home country!
Thank you so much, Royal! I loved your story!
A vivid epistolary valentine with wonderful voice! I especially love “I’m proud of the planet I come from. It’s a beautiful country,” and the way the narrator answers meanness with kindness.
Thank you so much for your kind words, Anne!
Oh wow, this is just oozing with heart–and pride!
Thank you so much, Allison!
That’s a Valentine to remember!
Thank you so much, Ingrid!
Great job tackling a tough subject in an age-appropriate way! Effective use of repetition and alliteration.
Thank you so much, Kathleen!
The kindness and pride radiate from the words. Just wonderful!
Thank you so much, Katie!
ENTRY POSTED FOR ANDREA
SUBTERRANEAN LOVESICK BLUES
By Andrea MacDonald
Word Count: 214
Phil looked down at his valentine…and began to cry.
“To Alice,” it read. Would he ever be able to give it to her? Would she even remember him??
Three years in a row, he had failed to emerge on Groundhog Day to see his shadow. Or Alice. He recalled hearing noises above the ground, before falling into a six-week super snooze.
Phil sighed. A whole day named after rodents like him, and he still couldn’t get out of bed in time. Worse, he had slept through Valentine’s Day!
This year, he would finally make things right.
It was February 1st. That night, Phil set 35 alarms. He left lights on in every chamber. He cranked the tunes and blasted Petflix. And then he waited.
But his eyelids grew heavy and soon he was fast asleep.
Nine hours later, a sweet little voice called down the hole.
Alice frowned, ready to walk away.
Phil stirred. Could it be..? Nah, just a dream.
Wait. There it was again.
“I miss you, Punxsutawney Phil!”
Phil sprung out of bed like a jackknife. He grabbed his red paper heart, catapulted through the burrow, and placed it into her hands.
“I love it!” Alice shouted.
And from that day onward, he never cried again.
“Petflix!” – Love it! I also love that the lights, noise, and 35 alarms were useless in waking him up. Glad to see it all worked out in the end!
Royal, thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I enjoyed your Dr. Basil story as well, but for some reason my comment function has been working only intermittently.
If your title wasn’t enough to grab my attention, you really had me at “Petflix”. So glad that Phil doesn’t have the blues anymore!
Great title, fun word play and a happy ending! That’s a terrific combo!
ENTRY POSTED FOR KAREN
Love, Mama and Me
by Karen Olmstead
Last year, Mama and I made valentines for my whole class. Mama taught me how to cut out hearts, flowers, and funny animals. It was a lot of work. Sometimes, I wanted to quit.
“What if no one likes homemade?”
Mama said everyone would love them, and she was right. Mama said, “Valentines make people smile.”
But my Mama died. At first, I asked Daddy questions. But he cried. So I stopped.
“Valentines are important!” I thought to myself! Now what?
Where was Mama’s box of arts and crafts? I looked EVERYWHERE; Mama’s room, all kitchen cupboards,every closet. I even looked in the bathroom. Finally, I looked under my bed and laughed. Mama knew I’d keep looking.
I went to work. I cut, pasted, colored, wrote messages. I remembered favorite colors, favorite animals, and toys.
Everyone loved my valentines.
“Hey, did you see mine!”
“You knew I love kitties?”
“Your valentine is the BEST!
Everyone giggled and laughed including me. My teacher said I have a fine future as a talented artist. I beamed.
My favorite was the one I gave Daddy. I wrote “Love, Mama and Me.”
What a sweet legacy to carry on! I particularly enjoyed the lines “Mama knew I’d keep looking” and of course “Love, Mama and Me.” Well done!
I’m so glad your character didn’t give up on this tradition!
Traditions can definitely help keep love alive! 💕
Oh, that hit right in the feels.
ENTRY POSTED FOR LANA
A Gift For My Mami. By Lana Montalban. Word count: 213.
I was looking at a magazine and saw an ad for flowers.
I know what I’ll give my Mami for Valentine’s Day: 12 red roses!
But they’re so expensive…
I know! I’ll pull weeds for the neighbor.
“Hi Mrs. Greenday! Can I help you clear the weeds in your garden?”
“Thank you, sweetie! Here’s a sweet apple for you.”
I’m too shy to tell her I need money, not apples.
I help with the lawn anyway.
I know! I’ll help Tío clean his garage!
“Tío, do you need a hand?”
“Of course, I can always use help. Thank you.”
“I’ll give you some ice-cream from the fridge.”
I don’t say anything. After all, I love ice-cream.
I know! I’ll walk Abuela’s dog!
“Abuela, can I walk Pepito for you?”
“Of course. Here’s the leash. I’ll cook something in the meantime.”
She makes delicious tamales. My favorite.
I can’t ask her for money.
Now what? I have no money to buy roses!
I know! I’ll MAKE a bouquet for my Mami!
With scissors and glue, I cut red roses from photos in magazines.
Then I write: “Happy Valentine’s. I love you Mami.”
Anyone can buy a Valentine’s gift, but I MADE an amazing one!
I’m so proud of myself!
And my tummy is full!
Life is always better with a full tummy! I’m glad it worked out for your considerate, industrious main character!
Your character ended up showing love for more than just their mother. What a sweet kid!
I think many Valentines were given in the process, and I’ll bet any Mami would rather have such a child than a dozen roses!
Aww, a lasting bouquet for Mami and valentines help for others. Very sweet.
BABY BEAR’S HEART
by Lori Himmel
Baby Bear snuggles deep in Mama’s fur.
Her warmth wraps Baby Bear like a blanket.
Light creeps in through a crack in the cave
Mama yawns, stretches,
and Baby Bear rolls out of the way, giving her space.
He knows what day it is.
They awake from their slumber
for just for a few moments
Love surrounds them
even more than yesterday,
if it is even possible.
The light shines through a bit brighter,
bouncing off the walls of the cave
giving the bears a bolt of sunlight
Baby Bear coos.
He paws the rock rubble, up, down
but it doesn’t look right.
Baby Bear grumbles.
He tries again.
Paws the rock rubble,
left side, then the right
A shape that means love.
Mama first pawed a heart shape in the rock rubble
when Baby Bear was born
Left side, then the right
in a shape that means love.
Baby Bear gently paws at Mama’s back.
Mama nuzzles her nose on Baby’s chest.
Mama beams like the sun, eyes sparkling
for her Baby Bear knows how to show love
on Valentine’s Day.
I love Mama and Baby Bear! So nice having realistic bears as characters! Such a sweet story!
Awe, thanks, Royal!
Such a sweet story, Lori! I could feel Mama’s pride.
Thank you for reading my entry, Kathleen!
Loved yours!!! 🙂
This is just so cozy and sweet—it makes me want to cuddle up with all my loved ones!
Me too! 🙂 Thanks for reading, Allison!
Aww. Such a sweet story. Love the line, “in a shape that means love.”
Thank you, Darcee!
“A shape that means love.” There’s a lovely phrase, it goes with your sweet story!
Thank you, Ingrid!
How darling and sweet with lovely language that rolls you along when reading.
ENTRY POSTED FOR JILL
by Jill Purtee
A gumball machine
spit out trinkets and gum.
And I had my eye on a ring.
A red ruby stone.
It is perfect I thought
‘cuz it sparkled
and shouted out bling!
That gumball machine
finally spit out the ring
dime after dime.
At recess I asked her
to sit next to me.
She said “yes”—
Added, “It’s about time.”
“Will you be my Valentine?”
I finally asked.
I was sweating,
then she blushed
and I gushed.
Then my head
floated up in a cloud.
My heart finally slowed.
The ruby ring glowed.
with a little ho-hum.
“The ring is real nice,
but it’s you that I like.
I’d been fine
with a big wad of gum.”
I love how your story captures genuine acts of love and feelings of the heart that most of us experience at that young age! Very well done!
I love how the ending shows that she knows exactly where he got the ring! And I love how you show his determination, with the machine eating dime after dime.
This perfectly captures that first “real” valentine experience!
Now that’s true love!
ENTRY POSTED FOR PAUL
Beaming With Pride
by Paul Kurtz
Abelard Caterpillar beams with pride, wriggling beside Heloise through the zoo’s insect-house.
“The perfect couple,” giggles Bella Beetle.
“Soulmates, definitely,” sighs Laura Lacewing.
Abelard gives Heloise a tiny flower. “I love you, darling.”
Her eyelashes flutter. “I love you more.”
Hanging side-by-side, they spin cocoons.
“I have something very special to ask after we metamorphosize,” Abelard says.
“That’s nice, dear.” Heloise yawns. “Nite-nite.”
Morphing, Abelard dreams of the blissful future he and Heloise will share—sipping the sweetest nectars; gliding in the moonlight; the miracle of squiggly baby caterpillars.
Finally, Abelard rips away his silken sack.
“Wow—I’ve got wings!”
The calendar by the insect-house door reads February 14.
“Valentine’s Day—how perfect.”
“Hi there, big boy,” coos a lady-moth. “Care to share some nectar?”
“Uh—no thanks. I’m waiting for someone.”
Abelard kneels. “My darling, I love you more than ever! Will you—”
A he-male moth flutters his huge, silvery wings.
“Excuse me,” Heloise says.
She goes to him. After chatting a moment, they flit off.
Abelard’s heart feels like a boulder crushed it.
“My life is over!”
A bevy of lovely lady-moths flutter their eyelashes and wings at him.
“Hmm—” Beaming, Abelard flits toward them. “Maybe things didn’t turn out badly after all. . .”
I LOVE these characters! Abelard is a FANTASTIC name for a caterpillar! Well done!
Poor Abelard! He’ll find someone who truly deserves his devotion.
So much drama among insects, I had no idea!
Oh, what heartbreak, great descriptions!
ENTRY POSTED FOR PAUL
Proud as a Peacock
by Paul Kurtz
In the backyard, pride fills Dev’s heart as he writes the words “FOR SHALENE” on the card he decorated with red-candy hearts and flowers.
“It’s my best card ever. Now Shalene will go to the Valentine’s Day dance with me.”
A peacock leaps from a branch, plucking the card from Dev’s fingers.
Dev dives at the bird, but its large wings flap. His precious card soars away.
A shimmering tail-feather floats to the ground at his feet. Sighing, Dev picks it up and walks to Shalene’s house.
Shalene stands on her porch. A crowd of boys clutching big store-bought cards and boxes of candy surround her.
Dev’s heart sinks. He turns toward the front gate.
“Dev, I was waiting for you. Is that beautiful feather for me?”
Dev rushes up the steps and gives it to her.
“Thank you, Dev. Will you go to the Valentine Dance with me?”
“Sure!” Dev’s heart nearly explodes with joy.
The peacock-feather shimmers in Shalene’s headband as Dev glides her across the dance floor.
“Your gift is lovely, Dev. But I’d have asked you to the dance without it.”
“Yes.” Shalene kisses his cheek. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
Dev blushes as red as a Valentine heart. “Thanks—you too!”
I really enjoyed this premise! And I’m glad it worked out for Dev in the end!
Well that’s just so sweet!
Funny story. Good thing Shalene is bold, balances Dev’s shyness.
They make a sweet couple!
ENTRY POSTED FOR DONNA
by Donna Kurtz
Happy Valentine’s Day, mon ami. I am Chef Pierre. Can you watch the kitchen while I buy more flour and spices to make treats for our party? Merci.
Oh, and remember:
Bonjour. I, Chef D’Artagnan Dung Beetle, Brownie-Maker-Par-Excellence, am here to help.
Proudly, I will make your Valentine brownies.
I use my secret ingredient très spécial. Do you want to guess what it is?
There’s a fresh, steamy sack in my bike basket. I’ll whip some up.
Cousine Didi eats my brownies three times a day. She says, “They are très dung-a-lish-us!”
I’ll be extra-tidy.
I will sing—do you know Frère Jacques?
DUNG POUR VOUS,
DUNG POUR VOUS—
I’ll give you a whole box of magnifique Valentine chocolate-covered dung balls.
I’m holding my breath until I turn BLEU!
Not working, huh?
Grand-maman Delphine is coming. She will be s-o-o disappointed.
I-I’m going to cry!
I am back, mon ami. You did not let the dung beetle make the Valentine brownies, did you?
Bon! I must leave again. Will you watch the kitchen a little longer?
He’s gone, good. Hey—nobody said I couldn’t make my dung-a-lish-us Valentine FUDGE!
So funny and original Donna! I love the French woven throughout, the dung beetle subject and the clever take on Don’t Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus. Nice job!
Very clever use of French words, spelling, and even songs! Hilarious (and disgusting) premise!
Oh my goodness I am cracking up! The voice, the premise! I love it all. Well done!
Very funny! Reminds me of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” with a French flair. 🙂
I love it! It’s so funny and would be fun to read out loud to kids.
ENTRY POSTED FOR DONNA
Best Valentine’s Day Ever!
by Donna Kurtz
“Wow!” Radley’s eyes widen at the glowing green caterpillars with long purple spikes and orange mouths mowing down leaves on the hibiscus bush. “Bet you guys morph into something super-cool.”
Radley teases them into his lunchbox. Collecting branches, he hurries to school.
“Please Ms. Spencer,” he asks his teacher, “can I raise them in the terrarium to see what they become?”
Radley brings fresh leaves daily. The caterpillars grow fatter than his thumb. Finally, they form yellow chrysalises.
“They’re metamorphizing,” Ms. Spencer says.
Great! I’ll know what they look like soon.
One morning, his classmates carry in pink envelopes.
Oh no, Valentine’s Day! I forgot cards.
The other students crowd around the terrarium.
Ms. Spencer, smiling, wheels it outside.
“Radley, look,” she says.
He moves closer.
Butterflies sit on branches. Each of their wings has half a red heart, pink edges, and swallowtail-ends that resemble pink-and-red lace.
Yechh! Barbie-pink butterflies.
Ms. Spencer uncovers the terrarium. The butterflies rise, fluttering around like flying Valentines. Some land on kids’ arms and shoulders.
“Thank-you, Radley.” Ms. Spencer takes pictures. “I’m so proud you raised these beautiful Valentine butterflies.”
“This is the best Valentine’s Day ever!” everyone cheers.
The girls give Radley all their candy.
Yumm! Now, what can I do next year?
I really enjoyed how you showed the caterpillar’s stages of development! It was fun hearing what they became and how disappointed Radley was – at first.
I love this–like a science lesson and Valentine’s story in one!
Are there really red and pink winged butterflies? I like the way Radley’s “Yechh!” turns into a grin.
I was imagining the Rosy Maple Moths, but there are other red and/pink moths.
Especially nice moment when he is disappointed. A great little story!
ENTRY POSTED FOR ELIZABETH WESTRA
I’m proud I didn’t pull Sarah’s hair
hanging in front of me right there.
I’m proud I got my homework done
so in class I won’t look too dumb.
I’m proud I helped a little kid
instead of teasing like I sometimes did.
I’m proud I didn’t let my lunchtime fruit
sit in my desk until it began to root.
I’m proud I didn’t run in the hall
and make the hall guards emotional.
I’m proud I didn’t throw spit balls at kids.
Something I’m afraid I often did.
This whole day I’ve been so good
One day is all I could have stood.
I tell you so you’ll be impressed
and not think that I’m a pest.
This is Micah, in case you didn’t know
I kinda like you so.
This is to Sarah who’s so fine.
Will you be my valentine?
Micah’s exhaustive efforts to be good are impressive! I love that he did it all to impress Sarah! I would love to read her response!
Great valentine tale! 🙂
Sarah must be pretty special to warrant that level of effort–especially not pulling her hair 😆
I hope she says yes–Micah worked SO HARD to be good today!
Fun couplets. My favorite is rhyming “fruit” with “root.” I hope that Sarah agrees, after Micah worked so hard to earn the title of her valentine. 🙂
Emotional hall guards! 😂 Very funny!
This is super relatable for kids trying so hard to “be good.”
THE HEART-SHAPED MITTEN
By Sherri T. Mercer
On the snow…
is a lost mitten.
knitted from red yarn.
It’s always open.
And it’s proud to lend a hand.
It accepts everyone
and loves to warm and coddle.
It doesn’t matter if you’re reddish-brown like a leathery leaf
or the color of a creamy chocolate bar.
It doesn’t matter if you’re rolling in a chair
or twirling and spinning alone in your thoughts.
It doesn’t matter how others see you.
It welcomes you in…
There’s plenty of room inside.
There’s a place for everyone
The amazing thing about it is…
It’s a heart.
It can stretch…
wide enough for you, too.
I enjoyed reading your story, the power of which stretches and lingers beyond the words. I had to read it a couple of times. An original entry.
Thank you, Corine.
This is beautiful! I can easily see it as an illustrated winter book!
Thank you Royal; I wrote it with the idea of more illustrations than words.
This is really beautiful. I love the metaphor of a heart shaped mitton fitting no matter age, race, or smarts.
Thank you, Sara.
This is really beautiful, Sherri!
Thank you, Allison.
What lovely imagery!
Thank you Ingrid.
Lovely descriptions and so full of heart.
Thank you Katie
Conversation hearts, great idea! 🙂
by Kristy Roser Nuttall
word count: 214
Rosebud lives in a house by the sea
with her dog named Cat and her cat named Flea.
She’s making cards for her furry crew.
“It’s Valentine’s Day–they need love too!”
But someone else will be here soon.
“My good friend Gwen is coming at noon!”
Rosebud scurries to find supplies.
“Gwen needs a valentine card surprise!”
Her hands grab markers, red as punch.
She starts to write and writes a bunch.
She loops some hearts all bright and swirly.
Draws each one so nice and curly.
Glitter and glue make the card just right.
And so do words like “love” and “light.”
Rosebud licks the envelope shut.
Grins a grin and hops right up.
Out the window–she spots Gwen!
Time to greet her favorite friend.
Rosebud skips out the door with glee,
As along comes Cat, and along runs Flea.
She falls over Cat, and she flies over Flea.
And splats in a puddle as dark as tea.
The card flies up, then the card floats down.
Into the puddle, both bubbly and brown.
Now Cat howls as Flea meows.
Rosebud cries, “It’s ruined now!”
But Gwen grabs the card and squeals, “Yippee!”
“You really made this card for me?”
Rosebud smiles, she’s filled with pride.
The card is wet, but LOVE’s inside.
Aww! What a perfectly proud ending to such a sweet story!
Fun to read aloud. Very musical. I love the dog named Cat and the cat named Flea. Gwen is such a good friend. Sweet!
I love the character of Rosebud and her romantic life by the sea with her silly pets!
Aww, lyrical and fun and a satisfying ending. It’s is the thought that counts. Love this.
This was so fun to read! And I can’t wait to share it with my daughter Gwen!
Aww! Great ending, “The card is wet, but Love’s inside.” Lots of fun rhymes, especially “supplies” and “surprise.”
So much fun to read aloud!
You have a great mix of humor and heart here, I love the pets names!
Valentine’s Field Trip by Darcee A. Freier (214 words)
Sammy loved visiting Gram’s new apartment. Sunny Acres had jigsaw puzzles, movie nights and a dining hall. But Gram was not happy. She missed her old home, friends, and the pretty things she’d given away.
“I’m making Valentines for all my classmates,” said Sammy. “Our party is Friday.”
“Umm.” Gram pulled her sweater close.
“Gram, you like Valentine’s Day,” said Sammy.
“Here one day’s the same as the next.” Gram sighed. “And I don’t know a soul.”
Sammy hugged Gram. He remembered missing friends when he moved schools.
“Gram’s so sad,” Sammy told his classmates. Then he had an idea. “Let’s take Valentine’s on a field trip.” The class made bright posters, crepe paper flowers, and cards galore.
On Valentine’s Day, a bus load of children descended upon Sunny Acres. They turned the dining hall red and pink and filled it with flowers.
They invited everyone to the party, handing out cards. Sammy knocked on Gram’s door. “Close your eyes.” He took Gram’s hand. They walked down the hall. “Now look!” Gram was thunderstruck.
They played funny games, ate heart-shaped cookies, and drank pink punch.
Gram told her neighbor, “My Sammy planned this.”
“Well, ain’t that something,” said Mr. Marks. Everyone agreed.
Gram hugged Sammy. “You know, it’s not Valentine’s that’s special—it’s you!”
I LOVE this sweet Valentine’s field trip! Sammy is so empathetic to think of his poor Gram and how she must feel! It’s something we could all stand to do more often!
Such a touching story, Darcee! I loved picturing Gram’s reaction to Sammy’s surprise.
I think ‘thunderstruck’ is the perfect word to show what an awesome gift these kids brought!
I love how Sammy brings the party to Gram’s place. And I bet she has friends now! Really nice, Darcee. 🙂
I love your word choices…thunderstruck, played funny games, ate heart-shaped cookies, and drank pink punch. A very sweet story!
ENTRY POSTED FOR MARJORIE
HEART AND HANDS
By Marjorie David
On his way home, Allen paused before Mrs. Murphy’s house.
Last year it was trimmed and colorful.
Now, the house and yard looked empty, forgotten.
He thought, Mrs. Murphy must be very sad.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.
Maybe, I can make her happy.
At home, Allen pulled out paper and art supplies.
He placed two handprints inside a heart above Happy Valentine’s Day. Then rolled the paper and tied it with a red ribbon.
In the morning, Allen opened Mrs. Murphy’s gate and walked up onto the porch. He placed his Valentine in her mailbox and turned.
Grass grew over the stone walkway.
Allen tugged on a tuft of grass. It came out easily. He pulled more and more. On his knees, he worked down the path, piling the grass on the side.
At the gate, he looked back. The walkway looked awesome, just pulling the grass!
Back home he gave Mother her Valentine. She hugged him.
“Mrs. Murphy says thank you for making her happy. I am proud of you! I think our neighborhood’s hearts and hands can be a Valentine gift too.”
That night, Allen’s body was tired, but his heart puffed-up, and eyes beamed.
My heart and hands were a Valentine gift.
His face glowed with joy.
This is such a sweet story! I LOVED Allen pulling Mrs. Murphy’s weeds (grass)! Such a small act that really CAN make a big difference!
This is a great reminder that sharing our time can be such a powerful gift.
Great line, “our neighborhood’s hearts and hands can be a Valentine gift too.” We all need Allen’s in our neighborhoods to bring out the best in us all.
It’s so true! Often our hands say what our hearts can’t.
By Laura Bost
Word Count 214
Flicker the dragon stomped past the valentines for sale in town.
“None of these work!” he fumed, but he needed valentines for the valentine party.
He bought chocolate heart valentines.
“Agh!” he cried, “They’re melting!”
He bought paper heart valentines.
“Agh!” he cried, “They’re burning!”
“Besides,” growled Flicker patting them out–he was ashamed so he felt angry–“They aren’t dragony enough!
“The dryad brings heart-shaped willow wreaths, so her valentines are dryad-y.
“The mermaid brings heart-shaped pearls, so her valentines are mermaid-y.”
“Nobody wants melty, singed, dragony valentines. Yuck!”
Just then he spied…
“Oo!” thought Flicker.
“Is it valentine time?” Flicker gasped rushing into the party.
“Yes,” said the Dryad. “Did you bring some?”
“Yup!” grinned Flicker, “Can I borrow a stick?”
The dryad handed Flicker a slim willow branch from her wreath.
He pushed the heart-shaped marshmallow onto the tip of the stick.
Lifted it up and—Fwoosh!
A beautiful, toasted marshmallow heart.
“Here,” said Flicker, beaming. “A properly dragony valentine. It’s melty. It’s singed! And I made it just for you.”
The dryad popped the toasty treat into her mouth.
That year and every year after all the magical creatures looked forward to Flicker’s melty, singed marshmallow valentines.
And he toasted them up–one by one–with great dragony pride.
Very cute story Laura! I love how Flicker solve’s his Valentine’s Day problem – with melty, singed marshmallows!
This is adorable! What a fun premise and cute main character we can root for.
As a huge s’mores fan, I love this story! What better way to show love them a delicious toasted marshmallow! So sweet!
Wow! Flicker really DID find a perfectly dragony treat! Such a cute character!
I love this unique cast of characters! Dragon valentines sound delicious!
Ha ha! Great idea for Flicker to bring marshmallows. YUM!
I love the combo of dragons and Valentines!
A VALENTINE FOR BIRDERS
Word count: 167
A Valentine for birders
A greeting from the heart.
A message to the world about
How birders do their part.
Can you just imagine loving every single type?
Can you just imagine understanding different voices?
Can you just imagine helping creatures found in need?
No nest, no home.
Can you just imagine respecting every place and space?
Birders are a proud and hearty sort…
Birders take pride in the tools of their trade.
A Valentine for birders
Not a silly idea at all!
For birders know how to celebrate Love
With creatures great and small.
Can you just imagine opening up your heart?
Become a birder, too!
Making the world better for me and you.
This is delightfully original. The structure works nicely too.
Thank you so much for your feedback, Sarah!
I LOVE this! A true valentine sentiment! I guess I have a lot to learn from birders! I would love to see this illustrated! Thanks so much for sharing!
Wow! A true ode to birders, beautifully written!
An interesting angle! Good timing with the Great Backyard Bird Count, too.
There must be a birder magazine or periodical that would welcome this!
Thank you for such a great opportunity. Good luck everyone!
By Sabrina Shah
PB – 214 Words
The furless Floofabims.
Heart-shaped creatures that quarreled so often, Love simply disappeared.
Nanook can’t live without love. He tinkers together an intergalactic travel-train to hunt the essence of Love.
Zhoosh – Zing – Zap!
“Salaam,” greets Yusuf.
Nanook tip-taps his translator. “Mimbim! Hello!”
“What are you?” asks Yusuf, eyes wide as the moon.
“I a Floofabim. Need help! We forget how to love.”
“Today is Valentine’s day. Can I help?”
“Please help find essence of Love. I must share it with Floofabim.”
They snip, glue and flip-flop paper. Nanook proudly embraces the card.
“Now, we show people we care,” said Yusuf.
Yusuf’s baby brother coos as he tickles his toes.
Pedro offers milk as Yusuf waters his roses.
Jenny thanks Yusuf for being friendly.
The heart card beats and glows, shimmering with glitter.
“Love is everywhere, in everything we do!” smiles Yusuf.
Nanook nods proudly at his new friend. Whoosh! A flock of fur sprouts from his head. “I must share with my planet!”
Zhoosh – Zing – Zap!
“We must remember! Important it is to care and love!” calls Nanook.
The card soars across the sky, sprinkling love-confetti on every Floofabim it sees.
They become joyful, furry creatures again. And Nanook is proud that his journey to find love saved the heart of his planet.
Love it, Sabrina!
Sweet and unique! Love the premise, characters, setting, and creative word choices throughout. Nicely done!
I LOVE how their fur grew back! That was an unexpected outward change to reflect the inward one! Very well done! AWESOME closing sentence!
Wow, such great worldbuilding and an important message! I’m impressed you did this in so few words.
What a sweet story. I loved the little dialogues and the zhoosh-zing-zaps!
I love this line- Love is everywhere, in everything we do!
ENTRY POSTED FOR JOY
Valentine Story Title: I wanted to say I love you!
I wanted to say I love you,
My heart went,
I painted you a picture instead.
I wanted to say I love you,
My mind went,
Beep! Beep! Awooga!
I told you about my favorite things instead.
I wanted to say I love you,
My stomach went,
Flutter! Pop! Flutter! Pop!
I shared my snack with you instead.
I wanted to say I love you,
My hands went,
I hugged you instead.
I wanted to say I love you!
My heat was still going boom! Kaboom!
I took a deep breath, and my heart went, pat, pat, pat.
I wanted to say I love you!
My mind was still going beep! Beep! Awooga!
I took a deep breath, and my mind went, phew.
I wanted to say I love you!
My stomach was still going flutter! Pop! Flutter! Pop!
I took a deep breath, and my mind went, hum, hum.
I wanted to say I love you!
My hands were still going squish!
I took another breath.
I put your hand in mine.
I said, “I love you!”
You squeezed my hand.
You said, “I love you too!”
So sweet! Love the sounds throughout, especially “beep beep awoooga!”
You captured the torment of love very well and translated it into a relatable and fun story for young and old. I enjoyed it. Well done.
Such a beautifully accurate depiction of the daring leap that is love! Very nice!
Oh gosh, I love this! It takes a lot to get those words out for the first time!
Awooga! What a fun story!
Fantastic use of sounds and onomatopoeia!