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 Allison Strick
Peacocks lookin’ fancy! (Gasp!)
Peacocks lookin’ fine! (Oh my!)
Tonight’s the night they’ll strut their stuff
and score a Valentine! (Aww!)
The ballroom is aflutter.
The party’s at its peak.
But Percy watches all the others
chatting cheek to beak.
He spent the whole day primping.
He memorized the dance.
Though maybe not the boldest,
Percy thinks he has a chance.
It’s time for the performance.
The ladies have a seat.
The four-piece band begins to play
a fresh and funky beat.
The gents unfurl their plumage.
There’s nothing left to lose.
With puffed-up chests they do their best
and peahens start to choose.
Strut strut strut and flick!
Turn and twist and shout!
All the peacocks are in sync,
but one is standing out.
Percy’s really grooving. (Oof!)
He thinks, “I’m in the zone!” (Watch out!)
But when the music fades away,
he finds himself…alone. (Sniff)
Every other birdie
has found a Valentine.
Percy leaves, his head held high,
but then he hears…
It’s shy but lovely Hilda!
She blushes with a smile.
“I don’t care much for dancing, but
I can’t resist your style.”
Percy’s feelin’ awesome. (Yeah!)
Hilda’s at her best. (Mm-hmm!)
Their hearts are full of love and pride, and now
so is their nest! (Cheep cheep!)
This is awesome Allison! You have great rhyme and fun language (love the phrases in parentheses and great last line). Nice job!
Thank you so much, Laura!
This is so fun! Can totally picture the scene. Love the energy of this story and love the last line!
Thank you for reading!
This is delightful and sweet and fun! It made me smile (yeah!)
Thank you so much, Sarah! (wink!)
It would be fun to illustrate this. Delightful!
I gravitate toward the peacock color palette all the time!
Can’t resist your style, Allison. The audience reactions rock! And I love “chatting cheek to beak.”
Thank you, Anne, for reading and commenting!
Peacocks are perfect for a story about pride. Why didn’t I think of that? This is so clever, Allison. Well done!
Thank you! I started out writing about an overly proud peacock, but I just can’t resist an underdog…
I would LOVE to see what kind of four-piece band plays at a Peacock Ballroom! Percy and Hilda are a cute couple! I really enjoyed reading this! Another GREAT story, Allison!
All I know is that the band will be heavy on the tambourine! Thanks for reading!
Loved the rhythm and flow! The language was delightful. You did a great job building tension, too.
Thank you so much!
This is so cute! And loved the little reactions in parenthesis!
You are too kind! (heehee)
Allison, such a total delight from the first line to the surprising last. Excellent, excellent work. Cheek to beak! Beautiful story arc too, and you managed to use the word peahens, so hats off to you.
Haha, thank you so much!
Rollicking rhyme! And love the peacock characters and sweet ending!
Thank you for reading, Darcee!
What an awesome story. Your rhyme and your rhythm are fun to read. I love the comments in parenthesis and I love Percy. Well done!
Wow, thank you so much, Colleen!
This made me so happy! What fun to imagine, especially the end!
Oh I’m so glad you had fun reading!
Love the word play Allison! Great job!
Thank you for reading!
Very talented! This has such a great rhythm and of course I was rooting for Percy! Well Done!
Thank you so much!
This is so much fun! The rhymes make me want to groove like Percy.
Haha, work it! Thanks for reading.
Showdown in Smoochalot
Jesse Anna Bornemann
In the foothills of Smoochalot, Texas
Lived a cowboy called Honey Pie Pete.
He was dashing and thin
With a lopsided grin,
And, true to his name, he was sweet.
“I’m like syrup on biscuits!” he gloated.
“In this town, ain’t nobody sweeter.”
And he may have been right,
Except–one winter night,
He bumped into Sugar Lump Skeeter.
“I’M the sweetest!” ol’ Skeeter cried proudly.
“And that’s the way it’s gonna stay.
If you dare disagree
You can square off with me
In a showdown on Valentine’s Day.”
“What kind of a showdown?” Pete wondered.
“Valentine’s cards!” Skeeter said.
“Make your sweetest design,
And I’ll offer up mine.
We’ll see which one comes out ahead.”
“You got it!” Pete shouted with gusto.
“Can’t see that this breaks any law!”
So, when V Day came ’round,
Both men stood their ground
And hollered out: “3-2-1…DRAW!”
Markers and crayons went flying!
There were stickers and glitter and glue!
When Skeeter was done,
He said, “That was fun!
And, by the way…this card’s for you.”
“Oh, how sweet!” Pete exclaimed without thinking.
In an instant, he realized his sin.
Blushing five shades of pink,
He said with a wink–
“Fair enough, cowboy. You win.”
Oh my gosh, Jesse this is the cutest! It’s a triumph. Love love love.
Yay! I adore Houdini, too! ❤
This is so creative and clever! Love the cowboy theme! Honey Pi Pete and Smoochalot Texas are adorable. I also really love the 3..2..1..DRAW! Amazing job!
Oh wow! So cute! Nice job!
Thanks, Laura! It’s so thoughtful (dare I say, sweet) of you to read and comment on all of the entries! I’m slowly making my way through. So much talent here!
I adore this! How creative and fun! Love the word choice and the pace. Great beginning and ending. Well done!
Hooray! Thank you! It’s so validating when other writers like my poetry. These contests are just the best!
This is so charming and delightful! I enjoyed reading it aloud too. What a fun setting, main character, and conflict. Love the 3-2-1- Draw! part too.
Thank you, Sarah! I’m finally sitting down to read the other entries. Looking forward to checking out yours. You are always clever!
Love this unique “showdown”. And your rhyming is on point! Well done!
Oh, thank you! It was hard not to run into meter issues with this one, but I did my best!
I just posted mine and don’t have time to read right now but I COULDN’T resist your title! This is hysterical! My favorite poem growing up was The Stupendous Titanic Struggle Between Abdul Abulbul Amir and Ivan Skavinsky Skavar. Look it up, you’ll love it!
Ha – I will definitely look it up! I like to imagine that the residents of Smoochalot pronounce it “Smooch-a-low,” like Merlot. 😀
This gets funnier and funnier! 😂
This is INCREDIBLE! I really like that Honey Pie Pete ends up not being quite as sweet as he thought! As others have said, 3-2-1 DRAW is inspired! And I love your comment about the residents pronouncing it Smooch-a-LOW! They always seem to have unexpected pronunciations for their towns in Texas! FANTASTIC work!
Royal! Thank you so much!! (I’m super late in replying — I’m sorry!) It was so kind of you to read and comment on all of the stories!
This is … BRILLIANT! I loved it from start to finish! So much fun!!!
Thank you!! ❤
This cowboy poem is a sweet and hilarious Valentine’s treat! I totally read it with a Texas twang!
Aww, thanks! As you should! I have a bit of a Tennessee twang…I could probably pass for a Texan in a pinch!
There’s so much here to love! Their names are fun to say (what a great read-aloud!), and the play on “draw” is a pleasure. The sweet ending is a clever way to end the contest, too. Well done!! – Sarah
Thanks, friend! Cheers to lots of rhyming in March!
This is just fantastic! I love the twist on the classic duel, and your rhymes are flawless!
Thanks, Allison! It’s an honor to be next to your fabulous peacock tale (/tail)!
Such a fun read!
Thank you so much!
Love your wordplay with “3-2-1 draw,” it’s a fun one to read!
Thank you! I imagine lots of glitter was thrown in this duel!
THEO’S NOT-SO PERFECT VALENTINE’S DAY
By Kelsey E. Gross
Theo studied his teacher’s sample valentine.
He grabbed scissors.
Theo started coloring.
Scritch, scratch …streak!
Theo picked up paste.
Dribble, dabble …splat!
“I can’t do it right!” he muttered.
Theo crammed his valentine into his backpack.
At home, things didn’t go much better.
His sister Charlotte accidentally dumped green food coloring in the cupcake frosting.
Rufus chewed up Mom’s paper cupids,
and Dad burned the heart-shaped pizza.
“What a disaster!” said Mom.
“Worst Valentine’s Day EVER,” said Charlotte.
Theo stared at the blackened crust, green frosting smears, and paper scraps.
He unzipped his backpack,
and pulled out his wrinkled valentine.
“It’s not perfect…but I put my HEART into it!”
Mom smiled. “I love it.”
“Let’s have a ‘not-perfect’ Valentine’s Day party!” said Theo. “I’ll hang this where your cupid used to be.”
“Yeah! We can still eat the middle of the pizza…and the green cupcakes!” said Charlotte.
“Great idea.” said Mom. “This will be fun!”
Dad chuckled. “Thanks to you, Theo, we’re having a CHANGE OF HEART!”
Theo tossed paper scraps like confetti. “We did it! BEST not-perfect Valentine’s Day EVER!”
I love this! Especially how Theo made the most of their Valentine’s Day efforts!
The “change of heart” (and how you showed everyone’s change of attitude… thanks to Theo) was wonderful:)
Thanks, Vashti! 🙂
“A Not-Perfect Valentine’s Day!” What an amazing concept! We should be able to do that with ANY day that doesn’t go according to plan! Excellent!
Reframing disaster is a real accomplishment. Nicely done!
Aww, I love this family and their positive attitude. A good reminder not to sweat the small stuff.
How relatable is this??? I love it!
“Having a CHANGE OF HEART!” is inspired. Great story of how Theo saved Valentine’s Day.
BEST not-perfect Valentine’s Day EVER! \-What a great way to approach the holiday!
So sweet, I love how you incorporated parents “failing” and how that helps kids accept that they also don’t have to be perfect.
Mama, Are You Proud of Me?
Mama said when I was born I could not talk or move around. I ate and slept.
Then I learned to roll from my tummy to my back. I looked into mama’s eyes and thought, “Mama, are you proud of me?” She clapped her hands and said, “I am proud of you, I love you.”
Next, I jabbered noises to sound like words. I looked into mama’s eyes, did you see what I did? “Mama, are you proud of me?”. She clapped her hands and said, “I am proud of you, I love you.”
I rolled from my back to my tummy. I looked into mama’s eyes, “mama, are you proud of me?” She clapped her hands and said, “I am proud of you, I love you.”
I learned to sit, crawl, laugh, stand up, walk. Each time I looked into mama’s eyes and thought, “Mama, are you proud of me?” She clapped her hands and said, “I am proud of you, I love you.”
I started to talk and use my voice and one day I said, “Mama are you proud of me?” Mama said, “I will always be proud of you. I love you.”
Your story of a mother’s love is a sweet valentine message!
This is so sweet!
Ah, those early days of love!
Awww, how sweet!
by Sarah Hetu
Red puffed up like a cold cardinal. “I’m the BEST color today because it’s VALENTINE’S DAY!” He jumped into the air.
Red floated away!
Roses lost their rosiness.
“Where’s Red?” Yellow asked.
Blue sighed. “It’s not Valentine’s Day without Red.”
“Colors!” Green said, “let’s get Red back!”
They called his name. But he didn’t answer.
Green frowned. “Maybe we could make a rainbow together and climb to the top of it and catch Red. Or–”
But Blue interrupted. “Oh noooooo! I was supposed to make purple valentines with Red today!” Blue said. “Now I can’t.”
“VALENTINES! That’s it!” Green said. “Let’s write love notes to Red and float them up on balloons!”
Yellow wrote: You help me paint awesome sunsets!
Blue wrote: We make the BEST purple hearts together!
Green wrote: I miss you. Please come back.
“What’s that?” Yellow asked.
Green shielded his eyes. “It’s Red! He’s riding down on a balloon!”
Red landed and said, “It was lonely up there without you guys.”
Green grabbed Red’s hand, “I’m happy you’re back.”
All the colors joined hands.
“Look!” Green said.
Roses turned rosy again.
Green smiled, “Look at how good we are at coloring the world TOGETHER!”
“Yeah,” Red said, “I’m so proud of us!”
It’s a wonderful life when colors are in it! Enjoyed the balloon love note rescue!
“Red puffed up like a cold cardinal” – excellent description
This is great! I loved your personification of the colors and how they worked together to make things right.
Personified color friends- love it!
I especially liked Blue worrying about not being able to make purple valentines without Red.
Valentines Breakfast for Mom
by Patti Ranson WC: 190
The grape juice was way up high in the fridge, but I got the stool. And I only spilled a little milk when I poured it in my favourite bowl with some sparkly cereal. But that’s ok because Ollie licked it up. I’m taking breakfast to my mom in her bed. It’s Valentines’ day!
I’m going to take it up, up… up…
There weren’t that many steps before.
That’s sooooo far. I’m too small to carry it all the way up there, right, Ollie?
You’ll come with me?
bowl u-u-p… swish, swish, slop, slop.
“Lick, lick. lick.”
Step up, step up.
swish, swish, slop
Step up, step up.
Ok, ok, ok. I can do this. I am big.
bowl u-u-p …
One more step!
“Lick, lick, lick.”
I love you too, Ollie.
Happy Valentines Day, Mom! I brought you some juice, all by myself!
The final sentence is just PERFECT! It’s good to see the main character focus on the positive!
I love the rhythm of this–can just FEEL the kid’s determination!
I was so happy there was some juice left! But it was nice of Ollie to be such a big help. 😄
I love your description of trying and working forwards even though it means (literally) one step at a time.
By: Emily Keener
Word count: 159
I am BEAUTIFUL!
Red construction paper hearts inside of pink construction paper hearts and glitter from top to bottom – that’s my front! My back says, “Made with love” and the “o” is a little red heart. Could I be any cuter?
My maker, Ali, is going to give me to someone special, I know it! I am so proud of how I turned out.
Inside, I say the sweetest thing: “Roses have thorns, Violet’s are tiny, but you’re just right, my Valentiney!”
Oh, she’s picking me up! Here we go!
Walking past her best friend? Ok, I was not expecting that. Past Javon? Hmm, he would have been special. Ok, who’s next? Sydney? Aaaand she keeps going.
Where in the world is she taking me?
We stopped. Whose desk is this? The new kid Jasmine?
Hey, her box is covered in glitter like me!
Am I going in?
Wheeee, she’s putting me in! I knew she’d pick someone special.
Glittery AND inclusive ~ what we should all aspire to!
I LOVE the paragraph where the Valentine is discussing the people they are passing. Hilarious!
I love the unique perspective you chose!
What an adorable “Valentiny”!
Love the unique point of view!
By Jessica Reed
Harriet Heart loved Valentine’s Day.
She loved making valentines—and always made the most beautiful cards. Tomorrow was the class Valentine’s Party, the day everyone would exchange cards. But this year, Harriet was the new heart in school, and she didn’t have any friends.
Harriet worked hard making her cards—they were beautiful. When she was done, she looked for friends to give them to. But the more she looked, the more she worried. And when a heart worries, it starts to beat loudly.
When she looked at lunch, there was no friend to sit with.
When she looked at recess, there was no friend to play with.
When she looked on the bus ride home, there was no friend to ride with.
She felt embarrassed and lonely.
On the day of the party, her beat became louder.
At the assembly
Harriet was too self-conscious to attend the party.
She sat down and cried—she really wanted a friend to give a beautiful card to.
Just then, Harriet heard something—
There sat another heart sitting alone beating loudly, just like her.
Harriet knew what to do.
She took a breath and proudly delivered her card, “I hope to see you at the party.”
Hi Jessica~~I love this. Good luck!
You capture the difficulty in being new and trying to make friends. I’m glad Harriet found the courage to invite someone!
This was so sweet with a lovely cadence. Something tells me that Harriet will be a favorite among her class soon enough.
Darling, darling, darling. You always bring such a fresh twist to your stories! Thank you for sharing this one.
Aww! Such a sweet ending. And a friend!
I felt my heart beating for her!
Great job showing us Harriet’s building worry and feelings of being left out, and that she channeled it into kindness to others.
Dolley’s Favorite Month
By Lincoln Mansch
Word Count: 213
February is the best time of the year.
So much to celebrate and plenty to cheer.
The birthdays of friends will allow her to play.
And dress up as Cupid for Valentine’s Day.
Dolley is a pup that always falls in love.
With all the special reasons mentioned above.
She is so generous to all of her friends.
For each gift she gives away, it all depends.
This month of joy brings one very special game.
Who gives the best Valentine, that is the aim.
This game they play proves a special connection.
They are proud of their bond, a true affection.
Giving presents to others can mean so much.
Even when you add a small personal touch.
Dolley is proud of her friends and likes to share.
The point of their game is to show how they care.
Gifts to others can come a number of ways.
They can be candy, pictures or a short phrase.
Dolley doesn’t hide who she is most proud of,
It is those true friends that she will always love.
February always seems to go too fast.
But with Dolley it can always be a blast.
Each day of the month there is much fun to do.
She can’t wait to spend the time with only you.
(Dolley would love to become friends on Instagram: @dolleyhoney_golden)
Dolley is a clever pup to value her friends!
Oh Dolley! You are too sweet.
Wow! Dolley has a fan club of friends!
By Laura Bower
Luna Lllama was in love
but was a tad bit shy.
“Instead of saying how I feel
I’ll write it in the sky!”
“Or maybe bake a hundred cakes
with orange-apple glaze,
and get a giant teddy bear
that talks and hugs and plays.”
“For flowers, I will buy rare stems
and make a huge bouquet,
to let her know that she’s the one
on this year’s special day.”
But when she looked up at the clock,
she saw there wasn’t time
to do the things she had planned out.
She hadn’t spent a dime!
“I’ll never get my Valentine!”
She sniffed and clicked and hummed.
“I don’t have treats or gifts to give.”
She’d never felt more bummed.
Luna moped around all day
until she saw Yvette
about to walk right past her gate.
Her forehead filled with sweat.
“I won’t find out if I don’t try.”
She raced across the yard.
She took deep breaths and smiled wide
and then let down her guard.
“Will you be my Valentine?”
She found a way to start.
“I don’t have much to offer you,
except what’s in my heart.”
So proud she took a gutsy step
and didn’t leave things be.
Yvette told Luna “yes she would!”
(The best things can be free!)
I like that Luna learned that she didn’t need to offer extravagant gifts to tell Yvette how she felt! What a sweet inclusive story!
Thank you so much Royal! I appreciate your note! 🙂
Heartfelt with a thoughtful message. I loved the name Luna Llama!
Thank you so much Kathleen!
This is really wonderful! I love llamas and your beautiful message, all told in smooth rhythm and rhyme!
Thank you so much Allison!!
Ah yes, It’s so easy to make plans without planning to have enough time to complete them!
We definitely need more time in the day! 🙂
I love punny titles and your story is so cute!
WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE? (WC 154)
By Michelle S. Kennedy
Who will be your Valentine?
I need to know…
Will YOU be MINE?!
I am proud, I must confess.
I won’t nag—
(so just say YES.)
Who will be your Valentine?
I need to know…
Will YOU be MINE?!
I am proud (at least in school.)
I won’t plead—
(‘cuz that’s not cool.)
Who will be your Valentine?
I need to know…
Will YOU be MINE?!
I am proud, but I’ll admit
I won’t beg—
(but I might quit!)
Who will be your Valentine?
I need to know…
Will YOU be MINE?!
I am proud, (but now unsure).
I won’t lie—
Who will be your Valentine?
I need to know…
Will YOU be MINE?!
I am proud, so one last time,
I will ask—
Will YOU be MINE?!
Who will be your Valentine?
I guess not me…
I’ll let you be.
You’ll BE my Valentine?
I’m on cloud nine!
“I won’t nag – (so just say YES)” – GREAT line!
Thank you, Royal! You always find something positive to say in everyone’s poems! You’re a gem!
I love the way you used a repeated stanza–kids would definitely chime in on this one! I really felt the tension, and the relief at the end was palpable!
Thank you, Allison! I am glad you liked my little poem!
Yes, BIG relief!
I love the repeat that keeps the page(eyes) turning for the end “Relief.” Nicely done.
Great use of refrain and the parenthetical asides are hilarious!
So clever Kathleen! I love your conversation hearts story. You have a nice story arc, which is impressive with such a low count and only using conversation heart phrases! Nice work!
by Vashti Verbowski
If starting school wasn’t worrisome enough, Iris’s first day was on Valentine’s Day. The thought of meeting her classmates AND finding a Valentine made her heart leap. Iris curled into a ball and closed her eyes. “I can’t do it!”
“You’ll love school,” said her neighbor, Ms. Crocus.
“You’ll fit right in,” said Aunt Daphne.
“Your Valentine will be waiting for you,” said her mother.
But Iris wasn’t convinced…
“I’m too shy.”
“I’m too small.”
“No one will want to be my Valentine.”
When the big day came, Iris woke early. It was still dark… and frost covered the ground. Surely, this was a sign to skip school. Iris pulled herself into an even tighter ball. “I can’t do it!”
But as the frost began to melt, Iris could feel a change. Instead of feeling small, she felt something bloom inside her. Something special. Iris realized she didn’t want to keep her head in the ground forever.
Holding onto that thought, Iris pushed up, up, up… and sprouted. “I did it!”
Garden school buzzed and chirped in welcome. Iris held her head high and waved at the other sprouts.
And then, Iris began to glow, warm and green and bright.
She looked up at the sun and smiled…
“Yes, I’ll be your Valentine.”
A heartwarrming valentine to new beginnings with a gorgeous and satisfying story arc, beautiful STEM elements, and a main character who demonstrates real growth!
Thank you Anne:)
I love the elements of your story that relate equally to young people in the human world! I’m glad Iris decided to bloom after all!
I love your garden setting and the way Iris’s confidence grows! She will make great friends, I know.
What a beautiful reveal in the end.
Thanks Sandhya! Thankful for great CPs:)
This is simply beautiful!
Thank you Ingrid!
Your word usage is great, I love how you incorporate all sorts of gardening turns of phrase and then reveal that they were literal as well as figurative language! Really fantastic!
By Susannah Lee
Word count: 214
Shelby adored Valentine’s Day. Too bad all her classmates were heartless.
Being the only cuttlefish at Shell School was hard enough. Having three hearts and no outer shell was a recipe for heartache.
In art class, she gave Olly Oyster a valentine woven from seagrass. He threw it on the ground and took a nap on it.
At snack time, she presented Mikey Mussel with a heart-shaped algae treat. Mikey slurped it up and burped in her face.
For shell show-and-tell, Shelby explained that her cuttlebone was actually an inner shell. “Okay, softie!” jeered Pam Clam. The class sputtered with laughter.
Shelby turned red. Why couldn’t she be like everyone else?
On their field trip, Shelby drifted alone behind pairs of giggling mollusks.
“Watch out for currents!” said Miss Abby Lony.
But the clams weren’t listening. A current swept by—and knocked Sam into an abyss.
“Wow,” said Miss Abby, peering over. “He’s really stuck in that crevice.”
“Help him!” cried Pam. No one moved.
So Shelby shimmied down. She wriggled out a tentacle and located Sam, lodged in the rocks. Then they floated up, buoyed by her cuttlebone.
“You saved me!” said Sam.
The class cheered, clapping their shells.
Shelby was not ordinary. She really was a softie. Her three hearts swelled with pride.
Yes! A great fact-driven tale! Also I love that her name is Shelby 😉
The story was charming, and also made me look up cuttlefish facts!
Excellent story built around biology! I love fact-driven animal characters! Great job!
Cuttlefish are so fascinating, and Shelby is the sweetest of them all!
Love the names, especially Miss Abby Lony!
I love how you used real facts to create the tension of the story.
They were all heartless? That got me giggling!
Taffy’s Sweet Surprise
Charley thought Valentine’s Day was just for girls. He would be happier trading baseball cards with his friends. One day that all changed. Jessica,the girl next-door was blind. Her seeing eye dog Taffy was the best! Charley begged to go on walks with Taffy. Jessica tagged along.
On their walks, Charley would make faces, or stick out his tongue thinking no harm done. Jessica couldn’t see him.
On Valentine’s Day Jessica surprised Charley with a card. Charley felt terrible and not very proud of his secret mean memes.The card had a picture of a girl hugging a boy and those bumps blind people use to read. Taffy gave Charley a sad dog look. Ashamed, Charley blurted out “I like you too Jesse but I don’t deserve this nice card.” He told Jessica what he did in secret. “I’m not very proud of my my bad behavior.” Jessica held out her hand “ No worries. I see you.’”
Charley felt confused.”What? You see me? “
“Yes. I feel everything around me, like when Taffy licks my face” she said with a giggle.
Charley smiled the biggest smile gently squeezing Jessica’s hand.
Taffy gave a proud dog wag. He finally got these two together. Walking them would be much easier now.
I LOVE this beautifully inclusive story! I really like that you were able to create believable change in Charley in such a short space of time! Taffy was right, Charley and Jessica make a good couple!
Thank you so much. I must admit I’m rather new to this and appreciate all input. Your kind remarks are encouraging!
I love the idea of a seeing eye dog doubling as a matchmaker!
This is such a fun contest. Thank you for your comment. It’s always fun to create a twist on the story
Love the doggy cupid!
It’s all about unconditional love. Thank you for your comment.
Oh, that’s darling. I love how Taffy is helping Jessica in more ways than one.
Thank you for your kind comment!
Where Is Puppito?
by Bridget Magee
Pablo and Puppito, go everywhere together…
…to Abuelitas. He hugs Puppito as he watches her make tamales.
…to the Fiesta. He holds Puppito as he watches his Primo make the piñata rain candy.
…In the moving van. He squeezes Puppito as Papa pulls into their new driveway.
Today is the Valentine’s day party at Pablo’s new school.
He is proud of the Valentine cards he made for his classmates.
He is proud of the Mexican wedding cookies Mama made for the party.
But he is most proud of the heart-shaped collar he made for Puppito.
Where is Puppito?
Pablo checks in the suitcases.
Pablo checks behind the moving boxes.
Pablo checks under the packing paper..
“Time to go, mijo!” Mama calls.
Pablo hurries to grab his new backpack.
“Pablo, ándale! We’re going to be late!” Mama calls.
He sniffles as he tries to stuff in the cards.
They won’t fit.
He snuffles as he tries to cram in the cookies.
They won’t fit.
He sobs as he holds Puppitos heart-shaped collar.
“Pablo, to the car!” Mama yells.
Pablo jumps up quickly. His backpack flips and out falls…
He dries his eyes on Puppito’s soft fur.
Pablo and Puppito go everywhere.
Today they celebrate Valentine’s day…
I LOVE this sweet story about a boy and his dog! GREAT use of refrain and awesome use of Spanish throughout!
I really felt Pablo’s emotions as I read this. I know he (and Puppito) will fit right in at their new school.
Oh phew! Reunited! Valentines day is saved!
By Sheila R. Schmotzer
Candace was a princess.
She lived in a castle made of sugar, on a caramel hill.
Princess Candace was the Princess of Candyland.
The princess had more candy than anyone in the land.
She was profusely proud of her candy collection.
Lollipops lined every drawer.
Gummies filled every closet.
And one room had chocolate loaded up to the ceiling.
Every year on Valentine’s Day, the children of Candyland would come to her castle for candy.
The princess handed out goblets of goodies to all the girls and boys.
In return, the children presented her with a candy cake.
Dripping with icing, sprinkles, and kisses…Princess Candace thanked them and quickly took a bite.
Ping. Ping. The princess felt a twinge in her tooth.
Princess Candace had forgotten to brush her teeth.
This sweet tooth made her feel not so proud.
In fact, she felt ashamed.
She vowed never to let this happen again…not to herself or the children.
From that day forward, every year on Valentine’s Day, the children that came to Princess Candace’s castle got candy and….an additional treat. A new toothbrush!
The children of Candyland were boastfully proud.
Not only did they have the sweetest candy princess in the land…
Even more, they had a princess who ruled from her heart.
What a great story to teach children the importance of dental hygiene! Long live Princess Candace!
Awww, thank you so much. Hee hee.
So much rich description here! I was expecting Princess Candace to be greedy with her candy, so it was refreshing to see her generous spirit come through.
Thank you, Allison. I appreciate your kind comments! Best of luck to you. What number is your entry, I’ll be sure to check it out.
Now that’s a sweet story!
Conversation Hearts as characters in a Valentine’s story is SO CLEVER! I would LOVE to see it illustrated!
Suzie and Jordan’s Special Day
by Shadi Kafi
“Dear Jordan,” writes Suzie on Valentine’s Day. “We have not spoken in third grade because we made new friends. I miss you. Will you be my Valentine?”
Suzie includes a photo from kindergarten.
“Do you feel better after writing Jordan a Valentine’s day card?” says Suzie’s mom.
Suzie’s face glows, “Yes!”
“I can’t wait to make Jordan’s day a special one!”” says Suzie to herself dashing to school with the Valentine’s Day card in hand.
In their third grade class, Suzie notices Jordan surrounded by her new friends.
“Ahem,” says Suzie. Jordan doesn’t notice.
Suzie doesn’t give up. She waits to find Jordan at recess. At recess, Jordan is surrounded by her new friends again.
“Ahem, Ahem” says Suzie. Jordan doesn’t see her.
At lunch Suzie sees a sign: Send your Valentine a Song with Your Valentine’s Card
“That’s it!” says Suzie.
Jordan smiles cheek to cheek as she listens to the school choir surprise her with a song and reads Suzie’s card at the end of the school day.
“I’d love to be your Valentine and miss you too Suzie!” says Jordan.
Suzie grins wide. Her cheeks turn red as strawberries.
“Happy Valentine’s Day!”
I like the believable relationship Suzie and Jordan have. It is sweet that they were able to reconnect!
Aww, this is such a real thing that kids go through. I’m glad their friendship is rekindled!
So happy the choir was there to help save Valentines day and the friendship!
VALENTINE DELIVERY – PART II (214 WC)
(A sequel to 2021 Valentiney Contest Entry)
By Katie Brandyberry
Last Valentine’s Day, Mail Truck bravely delivered the mail despite slick, snowy roads.
This year, he has a different problem: nothing to deliver!
All packages have been given to bigger, faster trucks.
Disappointed, Mail Truck spins his wheels.
“I’ll do my route anyhow. Maybe there’s mail to pick up!
I’d hate to let the neighbors down, especially on Valentine’s Day!”
As he pulls down 1st Avenue…
THUD! A delivery truck launches boxes into flowerbeds.
Mail Truck’s engine heats up. “That’s not where those belong.”
He shuffles over and carefully places the packages in mailboxes.
On 2nd Avenue…
ZOOM! A delivery truck speeds by.
“Whoa! There are kids around!”
Mail Truck’s blares his horn. “HOOOOOONK! Slow down!”
The delivery truck is busy on 3rd Avenue too.
SPLASH! A package lands right in a puddle.
The delivery truck doesn’t even notice (or care).
Mail Truck’s blinkers turn red. “A wet package will not do.”
He scoots over and dries it off.
As he puts it in the mailbox, a neighbor runs outside with an envelope.
“Ah-ha! Outgoing mail!”
Surprise! The envelope is addressed to him!
It’s his very own Valentine!
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
All that you do.
Mail Truck wipes away a proud tear and remembers why he LOVES his job.
I LOVE your mail truck main character! You did a good job at making me think of the difference between new-age anonymous delivery services and traditional postal workers you actually recognize and know. It makes me nostalgic for simpler days! GREAT JOB!
Thank you! Our “real life” mail lady Tracy is a rock star and WAY better than the anonymous delivery trucks that launch packages onto our porch – agree about the nostalgia!
Mail Truck! You are a star at your job, and I’m glad you’re appreciated. I feel like some of those delivery trucks have been on our street….
Thanks Allison! Those delivery trucks have definitely been down our street as well!
This is so great! I love the unique character and the story!! So much to love here.
Now that’s a good Valentine story!
A Friend for Valentine’s Day
By Daniele Arndt
Franny tried making friends…
but it never worked out.
“I’m going to find a special someone to give my Valentine to.”
She hadn’t gone far when…
“Are you a giant?” Franny asked.
“You couldn’t tell? But I fee-fi-fo-fummed. I’m small for a giant. But I have other good qualities. I happen to have an impeccable sense of direction.”
“Just what I need! I’d love your help finding a special someone to give my Valentine to.”
Traveling with a guide came in handy for avoiding…
Giant guided them…
they stumbled upon a troll guarding his bridge.
“May we cross your bridge?”
Troll scowled. “Not today! Maybe tomorrow—depending on the weather. Forecast just in… cloudy with a chance of YOU CAN’T CROSS MY BRIDGE!”
“You’re grumpy,” Franny said. “Wait a minute… Troll, this is for you.”
Troll blushed. “No one has ever given me a Valentine. Thank you!”
Giant scratched his head. “Very kind. And I’m proud of you, but… now you don’t have a Valentine for a special someone.”
Franny beamed. “I actually made two Valentines. One for Troll and one for my new best friend—who is very special! Happy Valentine’s Day, Giant!”
Daniele, this is delightful! I especially liked. . . Cloudy with a chance of YOU CAN’T CROSS MY BRIDGE! I love how you incorporated fairy tails. Nice work
Thank you so much, Glenda! You made my day!
This is so sweet and funny, Daniele! Love the humor throughout, particularly Giant’s dialogue.
Awww, how kind! Thank you so much, Sarah!
This is FANTASTIC! I love the details of Franny and Giant’s travels – they would make for some delightful illustrations! Troll is a great crusty character! VERY WELL DONE!
Thank you so much! 🙂
You had me at the grumpy troll LOL. Great job Daniele!
Thank you so much, Lisa! 🙂
Your characters just leap off the page with their personalities! I’d love to see this illustrated!
How kind! Thank you so much, Allison!
Now that’s a fun trio! I’d love to see more of their adventures!
Thank you so much, Ingrid! 🙂
HOPPY BELATED VALENTINE
By: Zach Schloss
It’s Valentine’s Eve!
There’s love everywhere!
It’s the (second) best holiday to be a hare.
Hoppy hopped as she shopped,
plucking flowers peak bloom,
with a zig and a zag past the folks in the room.
Hoppy was happy!
Her flowers looked great!
A gift for a friend… who is chronically late.
She clutched her bouquet
then bounced on her way
to proudly present them on Valentine’s Day.
When the morning arrived
and the sun rose above,
hopeful Hoppy was eager to soon share her love.
But her pride became guilt,
feeling hours tick by,
as the flowers wilted and the sun left the sky.
On the following day
burrowed deep in her trunk,
mopey Hoppy awoke to a THUNK! THUNK! THUNK! THUNK!
Upside-down from a bough
with a ginormous smile
hung her good friend Slow-Joe with a MUCH LARGER pile.
“…The one gooood thing about beeeing a sloth…
…By theee time I arrrrive everything is half-off…
…That’s twice as much candy for meee and yoooouuu…
…if we celebrate late by a day or twoooo…”
Her smile appeared,
but soon was erased.
She scooted in front of the sad drooping vase.
“…FLOWERRRS ARE PERRRFECT…
…THE FOLLOWING DAAAY!!!
…Beeesides, they taste better when wilted this waaaay!!”
[SLOPPY BITE! SHOVE! CHEW!]
“Slow-Joe, I Love you, too!”
Hoppy and Slow-Joe are such a delightfully unexpected pair! You did an AMAZING job with Sloth appreciating all things a day or two late! Especially with him eating the wilted flowers – GENIUS!
This one made me smile! I love the idea of these two very different animals being friends. And I’m with sloth–love a good sale!
That’s my daughter! She’s rather wait and buy candy the day after! lol
Remember the Love
by Ashley Murray WC:212
Guess what Mia loves most about Valentine’s Day?
She loves giving Valentine’s cards to her friends.
She was proud of her notes. She’d work on writing them the entire week before the class card exchange.
Isabella was new to the class and Mia had an extra special card for her.
“To: Isabella, Welcome to our class, I am so happy you are here! From: Mia.”
Mia gave Isabella the card. Everyone gave her a card. But Isabella was sad.
Why was Isabella Sad?
At dinner, Mia told her mom about Isabella’s reaction. Her mom explained, “Sweetheart, people receive and give love differently. You show you care by giving cards. Maybe, Isabella likes to receive love another way. Valentine’s Day is about love, remember the love.”
Remember the love. What did that mean?
Mia thought of ways she showed love. “How can I show Isabella that I care”?
The next day, Mia walked over to Isabella during recess, “Hi! Would you like to play with me?”
Isabella smiled, “Yes! I love to play! Sorry I didn’t say thank you yesterday. Sometimes a lot of attention makes me nervous.”
Mia was proud. She still loved writing special notes, but today she learned to show she cared in a different way. She remembered the love.
I love this story that reminds us that we are all different, even in the way we give and receive love! I like that you showed Mia asking for advice and solving the problem.
What a powerful message in so few words!
A wonderful story with a message well told!
The Proudest Pencil
By Lori Sheroan
His lead was broken.
Too chewed to erase,
he fell unnoticed
from her pencil case.
Pink with hearts,
a Valentine’s prize,
he was sharpened
down to half his size.
The teacher found him
and picked him up,
then deposited him
in the “Lost Pencil” cup.
The last bell rang.
The room went black.
He missed his home
in the pink backpack.
“You’re too short,”
said a tall number two.
“No way any kid
will write with you.”
He thought of the art
they had once created
and refused to give in
or feel berated.
The kids rushed in.
He pitched himself
to the edge of the tin.
She sat at her desk,
with a look of surprise.
She couldn’t find him
in her school supplies.
“I’m here! I’m here!”
He wished he could shout,
and then the teacher
lifted him out.
She carried him over
to the artist he knew.
“Doesn’t this little pencil
belong to you?”
“Oh yes! Thank goodness!
I was getting quite stressed.
When it comes to pencils,
he is the best!”
Reunited at last,
pride filled his heart.
Then the Valentine’s pencil
drew a new work of art.
Love the rhythm and rhyme and the sweet connection the characters share!
I love this so much!
Darling. Happy the little pencil got reunited!
You certainly captured the love of a good pencil – the best ones always do get taken all the way down to the nub! I LOVE the idea that pencils think of the art they have created with us! Well done!
This was so great! I never thought about how sad those abandoned school supplies must feel.
This is adorable! New isn’t always best!
My Gummy Love
By Lauri C Meyers
Joey crafted a Valentine for Grammy and wrote, “I love you THIS much!” He added a gummy heart.
But the gummy was little, and he loved Grammy a lot.
Joey grabbed a pot and a box of cherry gelatin. He mixed it and poured out a big gummy heart.
But he loved Grammy more than that.
Joey grabbed a bigger pot and three boxes of cherry gelatin. He mixed it and poured out a bigger gummy heart.
But he loved Grammy more than that.
Joey grabbed the biggest pot and twenty boxes of cherry gelatin. He mixed it and poured out a gummy heart as big as the table.
“I did it! Joey said. “That’s how much I love Grammy!”
Ding, dong! Grammy was here!
He poked the gummy heart. It jiggled with love.
“It’s probably ready,” he said.
He held his card and wrestled the gummy heart into his arms.
The huge, wiggly heart flopped across his face.
His fingers squished deep into the gummy.
Drops of cherry goo trickled down his ear.
Finally, Grammy opened the door… just as the giant gummy heart melted over Joey’s head.
“You love me that much?” Grammy said. “Well, I love you this much!”
She wrapped up her red, sticky, cherry-scented grandson in a Grammy-loves-you hug.
I LOVE your ending – so sweet! Grammy-loves-you hugs are the best! We should all get as many as we can!
This was definitely chuckle-worthy, with a big “Awww!” at the end–in other words, a perfect Valentine’s story!
Sticky, gooey, true love!
by Melissa Rutigliano
Drowning in doubt
Mourning in misery
I am learning how to love someone…
The scars are visible
The cuts still bleed
Yet only one person sees the ugly…
Guilty for what I eat
Treading water, sleep retreats
I need someone to feed….
Spending too much time
comparing others to me –
In sickness and in health
The past? Has been. The future? To be.
Someone will always be present…
I should do more
I can throw a life vest to someone…
Overcoming and changing
Holding on and letting go
I am trying better to know…
I tell myself I’m enough
I remind myself –
I am OK
Not being OK
I am learning to love…
Finding a friend within
Discovering a person I can believe
Someone here is different…
Leaving messy marks
Making beautiful mistakes
Give and take
I am becoming proud to be…
Wow! This is so touching and beautiful!
So much personal courage to live this, write this, and share this! You are a warrior, Melissa!
thank you so much, Carrie 🙂 That is a wonderful thing to say.
Learning to love oneself is an important life-skill that all of us, even young people, need to learn! A beautiful Valentine message! Thank you so much for sharing!
We love YOU and this heartfelt, honest story of self love! Kathy H 🙂
Melissa, your heart and courage shine in each word. Keeping you close. Me.
Oh Melissa, this is so beautiful! A perfect reminder that the person we should love the most is ourselves.
Wow, that’s a powerful Valentine!
Love Potions and Laughter
By Tiffany Hanson
Word count: 206
I’m a W.I.T—witch in training. In order to pass my enchantment exams, I need to brew a love potion for Valentine’s Day. I should have passed already but I’ve had a few accidents like transfiguring the examiner into an egg and burning my broom.
But this time I’m determined to succeed. I start up the cauldron and pour in my ingredients, pleased with my progress.
Wait. Does the recipe call for a dash of dandelions or a splash of spiders? I add both and stir. The potion gives off a pink puff.
Then I find my couple. A young man sits on a bench anxiously glancing at the girl beside him.
I walk over and offer him my Valentine’s Day ‘tea’. He takes a gulp. I wait for my potion to work, proud of my plan so far.
Then he starts to chuckle. Then chortle. Then cackle. Soon he is doubled over with laughter. I frown. Looks like I had made a laugh potion not a love portion. I’d never pass now.
The girl looks at him, eyes wide. Then she grins and laughs with him. They walk off holding hands and giggling.
I smile at my success, proud to have finally passed my test.
FANTASTIC! I particularly like the confusion of “dash of dandelions or a splash of spiders!” Your ending is PERFECTION! We never can tell what will lead to love. I’m glad your W.I.T. passed her test!
Thanks so much for all of your kind comments 🙂
Witty and playful. Love the ending!
You can’t have love without laughter! What a funny and sweet story! This witch can brew me a potion any time.
Laughter is one of the best ways to find love!
By Tiffany Hanson
Word Count: 209
This year for Valentine’s Day I planned to make mom a surprise cake—from scratch.
I pull out the recipe and get out the ingredients.
Two cups of sugar. I frown. Should it be a tall cup or a small cup? I settle for a mug.
Beat in two eggs. I plop the eggs in the batter and start pounding them with my spoon. Specs of shell and flecks of flour fly everywhere.
Then I turn to the icing, wanting it to be red. But when I get out the red food dye I accidentally knock in some blue. It turns into a purplish goo.
I put it in the oven but forget to set a timer. I guess I’ll just wait an hour and come back.
Later I smell something baking. Then burning. Then smoking.
Mom and I rush to the kitchen and she throws open the oven door. A melted mess meets my eyes. So much for her Valentine’s Day surprise.
“I’m sorry. I wanted to make you a cake, not a cake-tastrophe.”
She smiles and hugs me. “I’m proud that you thought of me and tried. Thanks for the cake.”
I grin and say, “You’re welcome. But next year I’ll get you candy for Valentine’s Day.”
A hilarious kitchen mishap! I love that it just gets worse and worse! A great solution by your main character to resolve to giving candy in the future! Well done!
So funny–sounds like me in the kitchen 🙂 Great humor.
Oh this would be so much fun to read to kids! And good job to the Mom for keeping good humor through the mishap!
It’s an Amelia Bedilia Valentine! How fun!
The Valentine’s Day Invitational
By: Lori Keating
Word Count: 212
“The Valentine’s Day Invitational meet is tomorrow and I’m going to win,” Molly says, clapping her chalked hands together in front of Hannah’s face. Hannah barely recognizes the tone in her ex-besty’s voice. The gymnastics chalk dust settles in her hair. Still missing Molly’s friendship, Hannah graciously says, “Good luck, Molly.”
At the meet, Hannah’s going first on bars. Molly walks by her and whispers, “Don’t fall.”
Hannah shrugs and turns to face the judge. She leaps toward the bar, grasping, pulling, and circling with ease before landing firmly on the mat.
After the awards ceremony, Hannah’s ready to celebrate her victory when she sees Molly crying. She thinks about letting her suffer, but instead, Hannah looks at the heart-shaped cookie she won and hands it to Molly.
“Why?” Molly asks.
“Because you mean more to me than the cookie or the win,” Hannah replies.
“Please forgive me. I haven’t been much of a friend lately,” says Molly.
“No, you haven’t.”
“It’s been hard seeing you win all the time.”
“I’d be jealous of me too if I were you.” Hannah winks.
“Besties again?” asks Molly.
“Maybe for half the cookie,” laughs Hannah.
“Done.” Molly breaks the cookie in two.
“Besties,” Hannah smiles. They bump their cookie pieces together, sealing the deal.
Nicely captures the way friendships go sideways…and sometimes are righted at the end.
Thank you Brigid!
Great opening scene establishing the status of the relationship quickly! I particularly like the detail of clapping chalk dust in the face.
This is such a realistic depiction of a messy but strong friendship. May Molly and Hannah share many more cookies!
Competition can be really hard on a friendship. Glad they worked it out for Valentines Day!
LOST BUT FOUND
By Armineh Manookian
Arpi had a big heart for Valentine’s Day.
She beamed as she opened the box full of decorations.
A garland on the mantle.
Ribbons and bows on the railing.
Even the bathroom got a sprinkle of Arpi’s Valentine’s cheer.
“That’s silly,” her brother, Raffi, said.
“It’s not silly to share your heart with family.”
Raffi rolled his eyes.
But Arpi’s face glowed with pride.
She had an idea.
Why not share her heart with outdoor decorations too?
Arpi die-cut felt hearts with Mom’s help.
She hung them by the bushes along with a special heart on the front door.
“That’s silly,” Raffi said.
“It’s not silly to share your heart with neighbors.”
But on Valentine’s morning, Arpi lost her heart …
… the one on the front door.
She took down the outdoor decorations.
“What happened to sharing your heart?” Raffi asked.
“It’s lost!” Arpi flung the decorations and ran inside.
A little while later, she saw Raffi come inside.
“You’re putting away these decorations too?” he asked.
“They’re silly,” Arpi said, sniffling.
“It’s not silly to love big.”
Raffi handed her something from behind him. “It was just the wind.”
“You found my heart!” She gave Raffi a big hug.
“You found mine, too,” he whispered over her shoulder.
Arpi giggled with pride.
I like how Raffi becomes more empathetic towards the end. Loving big isn’t silly at all!
I really like that “it was just the wind!” Sometimes we think the worst, but I love that Raffi was concerned enough to go and find it! Excellent sibling rivalry!
Awww. Big feels in this story!
Oh my goodness–Arpi really won over her brother! (And me!)
Awww this is wonderful, Armineh!!
Sibling love matters a LOT! Nice story.
ENTRY POSTED FOR RONDA
By Ronda Einbinder word count: 203
Papers stacked one on top of the other, on top of the other.
Hearts, ribbons, glue, and glitter.
“Start from the top and glide down,” Harper said. “A sleeping line will rest on the top. A sleeping line will rest below—‘I.’
“The letter ‘L’ sounds like luh, luh, luh,” Harper said circling her tongue.
“LUHHH,” shouted Henry.
“SHH, it’s a surprise.”
Harper formed a ‘V’ larger than the ‘O’ followed by the ‘E.’
Henry crawled in circles.
‘Y’ was a bit tricky and ‘O’ was a cinch. ‘U’ reminded her of an upside-down ‘n.’
“Hmm, something is missing,” she thought.
Drawing was just as thrilling as writing, but she knew what was even more thrilling.
She folded Henry’s pointer finger and thumb around the colored marker drawing the biggest heart she had ever seen.
Henry’s smile was HUUUGE.
I L-O-V-E Y-O-U
Harper placed the card in Henry’s right hand holding his left.
“Henry’s first Valentine’s Day card,” Harper grinned.
Mama squeezed Harper and Henry together whispering in Harper’s ear, “Henry’s one lucky little brother.”
“Remember the first card I made for you?” Harper said.
Mama pulled open the drawer of the side table.
I L-O-V-E Y-O-U
Ronda this is so sweet!! Love Harper’s heart for helping out her little brother.
“Harper drew. Henry chewed” – simple, yet highly illustrative statements showing a big sister with her baby brother! A great sibling story!
Too sweet! Loved this glimpse into a special family moment.
A beautiful picture of first love, the love of family!
ENTRY POSTED FOR MARYLEE
SHAKESBEAR IN LOVE
by MaryLee Flannigan
SHAKESBEAR IN LOVE
In the village of Hamlet, one bear lay awake.
Tossing and turning, his heart full of ache.
“Oh, what can I write to win Juliette’s heart?
Soon Valentine’s Day will be here, I must start.”
Shakesbear sprang out of bed, rushed and gathered his gear,
then scurried to class with his thoughts still unclear.
He started to draft his first poem in rhyme.
Frustration, vexation, he had a hard time.
“Disgusting! How dreadful,” he said in distress.
“This gobbledygook’s simply one giant mess.”
The bell rang for recess. He flumped by a tree.
“I’m doomed, I am lost, my crush won’t notice me.”
His pal, Edgar A. Crow overheard his laments,
then flew down to Shakesbear and shared his two cents.
He pondered his tip – that crow cawed good advice.
Just write from his heart; and not question it twice.
Through the long and dark night Shakesbear scribbled and inked.
He finished his work, never slept, never blinked.
It was Valentine’s Day; would his words win her heart?
Shakesbear spied Juliette as she opened his art.
He watched as she read his creation and then,
she smiled up at Shakesbear then smiled again.
With his heart full of pride, Shakesbear sighed, and he beamed.
Juliette loved his verse, that was always his dream.
Such a great balance of humor and heart. Absolutely love the name Shakesbear!
The name Shakesbear is INSPIRED! EXCELLENT use of the word gobbledygook!
I’m sure all of us writers can sympathize with Shakesbear’s efforts of getting things just right! Love your characters and the underlying message!
Shakesbear and Edgar A. Crow-love it!
Your wit and your rhyme and the anticipation of Shakesbear is so marvelous! This is a great introduction to young ones about some literary greats. Nice work!
ENTRY POSTED FOR STEVE
A NEW FRIEND
by Steve Jankousky
There was a new kid in my class. Kind of quiet. A little cautious. Could probably use a friend.
So, pretty much just like me.
Mom always says the best way to make a friend is to be a friend. But I wasn’t sure how to do that for the new kid.
Valentine’s Day was in a few days, so I thought I might do something then.
A store-bought valentine like I’d be giving all my other classmates? Ok. But it’s nothing special.
Candy? Too much.
A flower? Way overboard for somebody I don’t really know that well.
And then it came to me!
On Valentine’s Day during the class party, everyone was opening their valentines and I saw the new kid open mine. It was a heart that I’d colored in rainbow stripes and it said “I’d be PROUD to be your Valentine!”
The new kid had this gigantic smile and held the rainbow heart up and said “Thank you!”
And I was proud to have made a new friend!
Very relatable and positive.
“So, pretty much just like me” – I LOVE this line! Such a BEAUTIFUL sentiment succinctly put! And the PERFECT lesson to teach in every “new kid” story. Well done!
I’m so proud of your character for making the new child feel welcome!
“Pretty much just like me.” That’s a great line and wonderful incentive to go ahead and make a friend.
ENTRY POSTED FOR ALAYNE
WHAT KIND OF CUPID AM I?
by Alayne Kay Christian
Eros Cupid wasn’t like the rest of his family. He didn’t like love.
Kisses were noisy and wet.
Hugs broke his arrows and squished his wings.
Paper cuts from Valentines were the absolute worst.
Most days, Cupid avoided love.
“My arrows are sharp. No hugs please.”
But on Valentine’s Day, it seemed the love bug bit everyone in the world. They’d hug, kiss and Valentine Eros to death whether he liked it or not.
While the Cupid family was busy spreading Valentine’s-Day love, Eros hid in his closet. There was only one problem. He felt ashamed.
“What kind of Cupid am I? Hiding from love when I should be spreading it.”
Eros distracted himself by reading books about baseball and gardening. He even read about a porcupine who more than anything wished for hugs.
“Maybe I can be a worthy Cupid, after all,” he whispered.
Though he swam in his father’s leather motorcycle suit, Eros rolled up the legs and sleeves. He put on his brother’s catcher’s mask. “No wet kisses for me.” He slipped on his mother’s gardening gloves and filled a pillowcase with Valentines. “Not one paper cut. Time to go spread love!”
In the end, Eros was most proud of how many porcupines he’d made happy with his hugs that day.
Hahaha! Wow! Your ending is FANTASTIC! I love how you tied everything together with him giving hugs to porcupines! Very fun!
Love how original this is, Alayne! GREAT POV.
Haha, this is so funny! Love the image of him all dressed up and ready to give hugs!
Those hug loving porcupines- good thing Eros is on their sides!
ENTRY POSTED FOR DAWN
Dawn Renee Young
“Mom, when is Dad going to video chat again?”
“I’m not sure, honey. Remember, he is busy protecting our country.”
“I know,” I whisper. “I just miss him.”
Before Dad left, he told me to stand proud and be the man of the family while he is away.
I try my best. I help Mom with the dishes, clean my room, and take out the trash.
Sometimes, when I really miss him, I put on his favorite sweat shirt. I can smell his after shave.
“Hey Mom, I have an idea.”
“What’s that?” she asks.
“Valentine’s Day will be here soon. I’m going to make Valentine cards for Dad and his friends.”
“That is a wonderful idea,” Mom agrees.
“I want them to know how proud of them we are.”
Mom helps me gather the materials and I get busy creating cards.
We mail a box with cards and goodies. There are enough for Dad to share.
On Valentine’s Day, Dad and three of his friend’s, video chat with us.
They received our care package.
Before hanging up, Dad tells me how proud he is of me for thinking of others.
I tell him that no matter how far away he is, he will always be in my heart.
MY DAD is MY HERO!
Such a considerate child to think of Dad’s friends! We never know who could use a simple thought or a kind word when they are separated from their loved ones! Sweet story!
I’m so proud of this whole family!
This is a story of TRUE love- love of family, friends and country!
ENTRY POSTED FOR LYNN
Valentine’s Day Dance-Off in Nestville
Lynn Marie Moore
“Fee-bee-fee-bee. Valentine’s Day Dance-off,” announced Chickadee.
Nuthatch be-bopped headfirst down the oak trunk. “Whi-whi-whi. I’m ready to boogie!”
Blue Jay whistled, “I mooove like Mick Jager.”
“We’ll celebrate with treats, music and decorations,” twittered Chickadee.
Blue Jay squawked, “I’ll string hearts in the trees.” Nuthatch tweeted, “Party hats! We love party hats.”
From atop a spruce, they heard a trill. A bird, as red as candy hearts, fluttered down.
“Are you from Nestville?” Blue Jay asked.
“Just visiting,” said Cardinal. “I love dancing. Can I come?”
“The Valentine party is just for us,” squeaked Nuthatch.
“Red, you’re not welcomed,” shrieked Blue Jay.
Chickadee chirped, “Don’t be silly. We welcome all feathered friends.”
“Thanks Chickadee.” Cardinal strutted out singing, “Whatta-cheer-cheer-cheer! Sway right, sway left. Shake your tail feathers.”
Woodpecker, Sparrow and Chickadee cheered. Nuthatch and Blue Jay pouted.
“Hey birdies,” called Cardinal. “It’s Dance-off time!”
Chickadee danced the cha-cha. Woodpecker and Sparrow danced a tango.
Chickadee twirled over to Nuthatch and Blue Jay. “Be sweethearts. Whoop it up.”
“No way.” “Nada.”
But Blue Jay and Nuthatch tapped their toes. Slowly, they swayed and swirled. Soon they were hopping and bopping with everybird—including Cardinal.
Chickadee smiled at her friends.
She folded her wings over her heart. “So proud! You make my heart sing.”
Love picturing the birds dancing, Lynn! The ending makes MY heart sing! 🙂
I love your birdcalls you include in the dialogue! Such a NEAT idea!
I love this fun and welcoming scene!
It’s a Rockin Robin Valentine!
ENTRY POSTED FOR SHUBA
Hidden in These Hallowed Halls by Shuba Mohan
“Within this fantastical kingdom there exists what you seek this day of Saint Valentine. The journey will be challenging but each of you has a destiny, a part to play, a skill to share.”
Dressed in majestic crimson robes our ruler speaks in mysterious clues.
“As you embark on a quest like no other, your destinies are entwined, though your message has been specially coded for you. Only by solving your clue and sharing your bounty can you all hope to decipher the path to the treasure within the Academy castle.”
Tapping her long, bejeweled fingers, she warns, “Be brave. Be true. Be careful. For other creatures wander too, and if you fail, the prophecy states the enchantment you seek shall perish by days end and will fall into the principal’s fiendish hands.”
She proudly cackles at our blank stares, reveling in our fear and uncertainty.
We stay seated on the rug, unsure what to do next.
Our teacher sighs.
Solve the individual Valentine’s Day clues on your desks to find your puzzle piece, and come together to assemble the whole puzzle to find out where your treats are hidden before the principal and all the teachers finish them,” she says, unwrapping a foil-wrapped, heart shaped chocolate, and popping it happily into her mouth.
I wanted to read more about the journey they’re going to take. Well done!
This was HILARIOUS! And completely unexpected! So fun!
Haha, this sounds like a super fun teacher!
Wonderful twist! That’s a great teacher!
A Rose for Toad
By Ashlee MacCallum
Word Count: 214
It was almost Valentine’s Day at Amphibian Academy, where it was tradition to give and receive rose grams.
Toad and Frog both hoped for a rose.
When February 14th arrived, Frog received three roses.
But no rose came for Toad.
Toad ran his fingers along the warts and bumps that covered his tough exterior.
“Frog has slick, soft skin.”
Toad tried to stretch his short legs.
“Frog has long, beautiful legs.”
Toad covered his large body with his arms.
“Frog is slender and athletic.”
“I’m sorry you didn’t get a rose. Have one of mine,” said Frog.
Toad smiled as he took the rose.
A thorn on the rose’s stem had pierced Toad’s skin.
Even the rose wasn’t perfect.
“My warts keep me safe. They have glands that slime people when I’m in danger.”
“My body is larger because I can store extra fat. Without this, I wouldn’t have as much energy.”
“My legs are short so I can crawl around on the ground.”
Toad walked up to Frog and gave the rose back. He said, “I don’t need this to feel special. I am special just the way I am.”
Toad didn’t know if he was going to get a rose next year, but he thought he might try sending one instead.
I LOVE how instructive this story is in distinguishing between frogs and toads! Also, Toad’s resolution to try sending a rose instead of worrying about receiving one is a BEAUTIFUL outlook on life in general!
Oh I love this! I fell in love with Toad while also learning something–a winning combination!
This is fantastic!! I love the NF elements and the body positivity here. Great characters and message!
This is so cool! Informative and inspirational all at once!
I do NOT like Rohini Rao
-By Sandhya Acharya, Word Count 212
Did you hear? It’s Valentine’s day!
So, here’s your chance!
To do what?
To ask Rohini Rao.
Ask her what?
Ask Rohini Rao to play with you!
I? Ask her? Never!
I am the fastest, smartest, strongest kid in class. I am too good for Rohini Rao.
But Jack, didn’t Rohini Rao beat you on the track?
Oh, that? She got lucky.
And didn’t she ace the math quiz?
Pfft. I got sleepy.
And didn’t she win in the tug of war?
And, Jack, didn’t you tell me your heart goes something, something, when she talks?
I did NOT!
I am still the fastest, smartest, strongest kid in class.
And Rohini Rao does NOT make my heart go
Dub Dub Dub
every time she talks.
Oh, Jack, admit it. You like Rohini Rao. A LOT.
I do NOT like Rohini Rao.
Not a lot, not a little,
not even a DOT!
Rohini Rao is looking at you.
Gulp! She is?
Jack, Jack, she’s coming right here!
Hi Jack, It’s me, Rohini Rao!
Dub Dub Dub
I wanted to ask….
DUb DUb DUb
..if I can
DUB DUB DUB
YES! YES! YES!
…your friend Josh?
She did NOT!
Your dialogue is FANTASTIC! Rohini Rao is a beautiful name! There are so many aspects of youth that this captures, but I particularly like Jack grudgingly admitting that Rohini Rao beats him in everything! A hilarious and FUN story! Thank you for sharing!
Oh wow, I was sucked into this right from the start! And that ending–OUCH (but deserved, from the sound of it.)
Hahaha! This is amazing. Well done.
Ah yes! Me thinks Jack doth protest too much! lol!
Such fun dialogue Sandhya! And so authentic:)
Word Count: 213
M. M. Sutanto
Once upon a time, a prince named Vlad lived in a grand castle by himself. Vlad was anti-Valentine’s Day and proud of it. This Valentine, he bought all the flowers, chocolates, cards and gifts, so that no one could celebrate Valentine.
The townspeople were disappointed that they couldn’t find flowers, chocolates, cards and gifts for their Valentines.
On Valentine’s Day, as Vlad sat atop his couch munching on chocolate hearts, the doorbell rang. Strange, there was no one at the peephole. Feeling creeped out, he heard knocking!
He summoned all the courage in his heart, threw the door open, and saw a little girl, looking up at him. She handed Vlad a piece of folded-up paper, smiling, “For you!” and walked away.
Furious, Vlad slammed the door and trampled the piece of paper. Rainbow glitter and confetti rained out from the paper.
“Bah! Now I have to clean this!” grumped Vlad. He opened the paper. It revealed a homemade card that said, “Happy Vlad-entine’s Day!”
Vlad chased the girl and told her to invite the townspeople to his castle. Right now!
Amongst the flowers, chocolates, cards, gifts and new friends, Vlad celebrated Valentine’s Day for the first time.
Vlad was glad for Valentine’s Day and he was proud of it.
The door scene is AMAZING! So funny! I also LOVED your final sentence! A great re-working of the earlier statement! Well done!
Oh I’m so glad the villain had a change of heart. Happy Vlad-entine’s day indeed!
Vladentine’s Day- That was a “love”ly solution!
A HEART OF GOLD
by Ryan Schneck
Word Count: 214
Red and pink hearts shine throughout the hospital hallways and cafeteria.
But this Valentine’s Day, the only heart everyone’s talking about…
Belongs to my brother.
Dad says Jake’s a hero.
But, I don’t want a hero… I just want my brother back.
Since the accident, he’s been here but not really here.
We haven’t been able to race cars, climb trees, or play baseball.
He just lies there.
Today, everyone is supposed to say goodbye.
When I try, my mouth opens, but no words come out.
How can I say goodbye to my brother and best friend?
Mom reminds me Jake has a heart of gold with kindness in his blood.
I’ll never forget that kindness:
Protecting me from playground bullies.
Rescuing that baby bird.
“Keep smiling,” he always said.
Jake’s doctor says a little girl needs his heart of gold now.
And his gifts will help seven other families.
His kindness will flow through our town for years to come in those kids.
So, in the spirit of the holiday, I grab some golden construction paper, scissors, and markers.
And don’t quite say goodbye:
My hero with a heart of gold.
I’m proud to be your brother.
This isn’t goodbye as I’ll see you around town.
Love you forever.
So much emotion packed in to so few words. Tearing up.
A STRONG opening! Beautiful choice of words! Heartrending because of the EXPERT job you do at developing the relationship between siblings! Well done!
such a touching story
OK, I was not expecting to be crying into my coffee this morning. Thank you for sharing this lovely story. Long live Jake!
Oh my! You certainly packed a heart full of emotion into this amazing story!
I didn’t think I’d be able to participate this year–yay for some found time for a bit of writing fun. 🙂
HAIKU VALENTINES: Love in 5-7-5 Rhyme 😉
by Brenda Whitehead
When’s Valentine’s Day?
It’s one… two… three days away.
Time’s slipping away!
See, I love to write.
I string words by candlelight.
Okay, a flashlight…
So MY valentines
Will be three just-for-you lines
On how each friend shines.
*Maria, you’re brave!
*Look at the spiders you save!
*Here’s a V-day wave.
*Mohammed, you’re smart!
*The top of the reading chart!
*Here’s a V-day heart.
*Evie, you’re funny!
*Ha! Your joke with the bunny!
*Here’s V-day money! [sorry, I only have 8 cents…]
Okay, this is tough.
All of my haikus are rough.
Am I good enough?
Then a voice: “What’s that?”
Ugh. My little brother Matt.
“Nothing.” Feeling flat.
“Make me one! Pleeeaaase??”
“No way! Only friends get these!”
His tears start to squeeze.
*Matt, you’re so goofy!
*You see pups and you ‘woofy’!
*Your teddy’s poofy!
Well, that’s a big smile.
One that’s been gone for awhile.
“Now write one for Kyle!”
All night we wrote lines.
Some were 1’s, others were 9’s.
Our own valentines.
On Valentine’s Day,
Our haiku lines were okay,
But smiles? Let’s just say…
WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH.
That night, on the ride:
“Sis, what’s this feeling inside?”
“That warm thing? That’s PRIDE.”
Matt’s poem is such a winner. Loved “woofy.”Such a nice touch to involve him in the writing.
I love the idea of personalized poems as Valentines! So fun to give, so fun to receive! Well done!
Wow! You have crafted such a lovely entry, and your haiku are definitely good enough. My favorite was the one they wrote for Matt!
How cute is this. Love Matt’s poem
Good for you! You found a wonderful way to write for Valentiny! Very entertaining!
Super clever! (And sweet!)
Glenda — Love the humor, and nice job with the rhyme! So fun to read!
Thanks so much! I accidentally posted the wrong version, but only a few changes. Ugh!! It’s posted below.
by Sheila M. Hausbeck
Kate loved making her own valentines.
She made feathery owls that flew around the room asking, “whoooo loves you? I do!”
Loud ones like peacocks that fanned their tails, screeching, “I love you and U R cute!”
Sweet ones that looked like cookies, oops, CHOMP! Kate’s dog agreed.
Funny ones like giraffes twisted into hearts.
And special ones like the sloth.
They all knew they’d be given to Kate’s classmates, but secretly each hoped they’d be chosen for the teacher. That was the biggest honor a classroom Valentine could have!
Sloth dared not dream.
He was slow and quiet.
He hid in his tree.
As Valentine’s Day approached, Kate signed and addressed her cards.
The owls were for the kids in her reading group.
The peacocks were for the kids who sang loudest in music.
The giraffes were for the jokesters.
The cookies went to her sweetest friends.
Finally, she picked up sloth. Kate considered him for a moment then put him in an envelope. He was pleased to be included.
At school all the kids passed out their valentines.
Sloth felt himself being held and admired. “He has eyes like you, Miss Honeybun,” Kate said. Sloth blinked his big brown eyes right into the teacher’s, oh so proud to be HER Valentine.
The visual images you’ve created with the different kinds of valentines are so engaging! Happy for the sweet sloth.
Such impressive valentines – so magical! I found myself wishing to receive one! I love that poor Sloth was given the place of honor!
Sloth is a special Valentine indeed, and it sounds like he found the perfect match!
Hand made personalized valentines are the best!
A NEST FOR BLUEGILL by Katie Palazzola
“I love you, Robin!”
“I love YOU, Bluegill! That’s why I made us this house.”
“Robin, that is a nest.”
“I know! Isn’t it beautiful? I used only the finest twigs.”
“It’s very nice, but – ”
“Wait until you see this view! I chose it especially for you.”
“I’m sure it’s lovely, but – ”
“Can you believe I did this all by myself? I didn’t ask ANYONE for help – I wanted to surprise you.”
“It’s certainly a surprise. You are very nice, Robin. There’s just one problem.”
“I can’t leave the water.”
“You will have to leave the water if you want to live in our house.”
“But I will die.”
“Are you saying you don’t want to live in our house? The house I made for YOU? The house I toiled over with my own two wings? I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME!”
“I do love you, Robin! That is why I am being honest with you. And if you love me, you will have to understand that breathing is important to me.”
“That makes things complicated.”
“Yes, but that’s love! Look, I can see the nest reflected in the water. I will make my home just beneath it.”
“It will be like we’re together!”
“It will. Now, tell me more about that view…”
WOW! I LOVE this realistic relationship and CLEVER solution to the age-old adage “but where will they live!” You, Katie, are a TRUE philosopher and GENIUS! So fun!
Oh this is so sweet and clever! I want to see it illustrated.
This made me laugh out loud. Such a clever story! Thank you for sharing it. I’m with Allison. I want to see these illustrations.
Oh! A Romeo and Juliet set up! But at least it turns out happy…Very sweet!
A Puzzling Valentine- My side of the phone call…
By Ingrid Boydston-inspired by The Wonky Donkey
Hi Gram! Did you get it? Do you like your Valentine?
I knew you would! Mom wasn’t so sure.
What? You want to know how I made it?
Ok, but you’re not going to believe this! It wasn’t so perfect when I started…
I meant to cut out a heart. Instead I made a topsy-turvy, way too curvy, not really heart-shaped heart.
So I sprinkled on some glitter. It was a super sparkly, topsy-turvy, way too curvy, not really heart-shaped heart.
But the glitter wouldn’t stay on. I added glue. It was an icky sticky, super sparkly, topsy-turvy, way too curvy, not really heart-shaped heart.
Then I dropped and stepped on it by mistake! It was a crinkly, crumply, icky sticky, super sparkly, topsy-turvy, way too curvy, not really heart-shaped heart.
I thought perfume might help. It was a soggy, smelly, crinkly, crumply, icky sticky, super sparkly, topsy-turvy, way too curvy, not really heart-shaped heart.
Why is it in pieces? That’s the best part. I cut it up!
Why? So you can put it back together! I know you love puzzles! Cool idea, huh? I knew you would be proud of me!
Happy Valentine’s day Gram! I love you too!
The repetitive/additive phrases are so fun! Kiddos will really get a kick out of them.
This made me smile. The voice of the main character shines through. He/she is confident. I like the way the main character deals with imperfection. The repetition and accumulation (for lack of a better word) are fun.
Thanks Corine! I look forward to reading yours.
This is so cute and fun! Love the cumulative aspect of the story, as well as the engaging language.
Thank you Sarah!
Creativity can be messy! But it’s definitely the thought that counts. I love how your over-the-top wordplay mimics the action and ratchets up the humor in this progressive Valentine story.
Thank you Anne! You can imagine the messes that didn’t make the cut! 😂
I LOVE the relationship you establish right off the bat by showing that the grandchild KNEW Gram would enjoy the Valentine even though the daughter wasn’t sure! I love your use of language! Way fun to read! And an amazing ending! Thanks for sharing, Ingrid!
I hoped that would come through, thank you. 😊Having the word limit is a very good challenge for me!
Strong voice and laugh-out-loud humor. My favorite line was “I thought perfume might help.” HILARIOUS!
Thanks! That was a one of the last minute edits, glad it worked!
“It wasn’t so perfect when I started…” What a great way to highlight how different sets of eyes can see things differently, that the girl sees her Valentine as perfect. And who’s to say it isn’t?? The bouncy, rhyme-y-ness is great fun!
Many thanks! The first drafts only bounced. Glad I decided to add some rhyme.
This is hilarious and fun to read! I can just imagine Gram’s confusion.
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. 😁
Great repetition, Ingrid! Such a sweet read, and a fun one-sided conversation to get to listen in on. I can feel the grandchild’s pride. Who wouldn’t love a Valentine like this?
Thank you so much. I like to think it’s the phone call that really warms Gram’s heart. 😊
So sweet and clever!
Thanks for reading! I’m happy you enjoyed it.
This is so cute and fun to read. It reminded me of The Wonky Donkey. Well done!
This is adorable, and so much fun to read! I found myself laughing out loud! I love it!
Wow, thanks so much Jill!
Ingrid, this was so fun to read. I love the clever way you kept building up the description of the valentine. Best of luck!
Thank you Judy! This means a lot, especially coming from you!
This is adorable and i love the ending where he cuts up the card so it’s puzzle pieces! LOL (PS-THE WONKY DONKEY is one of my all-time favorite children’s PB’s so you already had me with that!)
So happy to share the wonky fun! Thank you! 😊
Susanna-I pray all is well with your family. Thank you for continuing to spread this joy to the kidlit family! You know we all love you! 🙏💗
Thank you, Ingrid. That means so much to me. Things are hard right now, but we are doing the best we can. ❤️
Continuing to pray…💕🙏
I accidentally posted the wrong version! Ugh! Susanna, can you please delete the first one?
Smelly Kelly (203 words)
by Glenda Roberson
Stinky Stella loved a fella.
His stripes were most divine.
Fluffy tail and skunky smell!
Her perfect Valentine.
Smelly Kelly wanted quiet.
No flirts from you-know-who.
Stella’s fawning was relentless.
What WAS a skunk to do?
“Hello, Kelly. You’re so smelly,
my Valentine sublime!”
“Come on, Stella. Find a fella.
Please, not me this time!”
“Oh, now Kelly! Stop your fussin’.
You know you love me true.”
(Don’t want to hurt her feelings,
but what’s a skunk to do?)
Smelly Kelly scratched his belly.
He’s feeling quite perturbed.
“Living single makes me happy!
I WILL not be disturbed.”
Late-night Kelly watched the telly.
“That soap smells great on hair!”
So he tried it, scrubby dubby.
“My stink’s no longer there!”
“Hello, Stella! Still your fella?”
“Umm, no! You’ve lost your stink!”
“Don’t be that way! It was for YOU
I scrubbed my tooshie pink.”
Stinky Stella snubbed this fella
to find a smelly beau.
Tricky Kelly proud and grateful,
was glad for her to go.
Kelly’s pride in foiling Stella
was quickly turning sour . . .
his itchy-twitchy nostrils feeling
worse each passing hour.
Smelling sweet of soap and flowers,
not liking it at all,
Kelly wanted back his stink now . . .
Pride goes before the fall.
A pitch-perfect funny valentine full of incredible wordplay, storytelling, and rhymes! Brilliantly done, Glenda!
Thanks so much, Anne! It was def fun to write.
Stinky Stella and Smelly Kelly – INSPIRED names for skunks! Such a hilarious unwanted-love story! Well done!
Thank you, Royal! Glad you liked it.
This is so HILARIOUS!! I love it, Glenda! Awesome job!
Awww, thank you!
Haha, this is so great! Love your spin on a classic phrase.
Thank you, Allison!
Glenda, such a fun read. Easy on the ears and purely hilarious. Well done in every way. Please not me this time made me laugh out loud. Well done doing so much with so few words.
Oh my goodness! You just made my day. Thank you so much!
Love this silly, funny skunk story, Glenda! I especially love the line, “Umm, no! You’ve lost your stink!”
Thanks so much, Sarah! I enjoyed both of your stories.
A rollicking read! Loved it!
Thank you, Kathleen!
This was a blast to read! Awesome job!
Thank you, and thanks for reading!
UNDERNEATH IT ALL
by Carrie Charley Brown
My hood doesn’t feel fluffy anymore.
It’s wet with tears and sticks to my face.
“Are you okay?” Ms. B asks.
“Valentine’s Day is yucky!” I say.
“You know, a Valentine can be anyone and anything,” she says.
The bus-steps feel like a mountain.
I fall into a seat and close my eyes.
Can a Valentine really be anything?
Every bump and turn remind me of the places I’ve bounced.
Foster home to foster home. Never really belonging to any of them.
“Jordan, this is your stop.” My bus driver rouses me from rest.
Yes, it’s my stop, I think. For now.
His face is missing the smile I know he wears under his mask.
And that’s when I get my idea.
I dig in my backpack to see what I have.
A few broken crayons.
A few paper-scraps.
It’s a start.
I lean into the curve of each smile I draw, and notice. I’m smiling now, too.
I find some scissors, but only enough tape for me.
In the morning, I admire the smile on top of my mask, knowing I wear one underneath, too.
My hood is fluffy again, so I snuggle in on the bus ride, thinking about the smiles I’ll deliver on this Valentine’s Day.
I LOVE the imagery of the bus-steps being a mountain and falling into a seat! BEAUTIFUL!
Lots of heart. Love it!
There’s so much heart here; I was instantly empathizing with your character and can’t wait to see the friends he makes with his smile.
God bless the bus drivers! Beautiful story!