What Sayeth My Heart? – The 8th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest for Children’s Writers!

Guess what?

Roses are red

Violets are blue

Valentinies rock

And so do YOU!

It’s time for. . .

The 8th 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 skeptical!  They can be skeptical in a good way or a bad way. They can be skeptical about themselves, or skeptical of someone else. They can be skeptical of a situation, event, occurrence, behavior, or performance, 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 skeptical (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 Tuesday February 14th by 11:59 PM Eastern.  There will be no regularly scheduled posts for the duration of the contest (Tuesday Debut 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 using the handy CONTACT button in the menu above and I’ll post it for you. If you do so, please copy and paste your entry into the body of the email and include your title, byline (that’s you – who it’s written by), and word count. NO ATTACHMENTS (they will not be opened!)

The Judging: over the following days, my lovely assistants and I will narrow down the entrants to around 12 top choices depending on number and quality of entries which will be posted here and voted on for a winner as soon as we can get them up.   The winners and Honorable Mentions will be announced a few days after the vote. (I’m not even going to try to hazard a guess on exact dates!)

Judging criteria will include:

  1. Kid-appeal/Kid-friendliness – remember, this is a story for kids!
  2. Creativity in using skepticism, and success in making us feel the skepticism! Skepticism must be central to the story line, not just mentioned briefly in passing in a story about something else entirely.
  3. Valentine’s Day appropriateness – this is a VALENTINE story and Valentine’s Day must be central to it!
  4. Quality of story – we will look for basic story elements and a true story arc
  5. Quality of writing – use and flow of language, correctness of mechanics, excellence of rhyme and meter if you use it, PROOFREADING!
  6. Originality – surprise us with something new and different! 😊
  7. How well you followed the Submission Guidelines – agents and editors expect professionalism. This is a chance to practice making sure you read and follow specified guidelines.

The Prizes:  Oh! What wonderful prizes!!!!!

⭐️ Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course – Renee LaTulippe Renée M. LaTulippe is the author of The Crab Ballet (Cameron Kids/Abrams, 2022) and Limelight: Theater Poems to Perform (Charlesbridge, 2024) and has poems published in many anthologies including No World Too BigNight WishesSchool People, National Geographic’s The Poetry of USOne Minute Till BedtimePoems Are TeachersThankU: Poems of Gratitude, and A World Full of Poems.

⭐️ Free Ticket #1 to Writing Picture Books With Heart Webinar – Rosie Pova

This webinar will explore the elements that give stories that edge, and the power to tug at the reader’s heartstrings, so that they stay with the reader long after they’ve closed the book. 

The webinar will offer tips and practical advice on how to write stories with heart as we use mentor texts and pinpoint the right ingredients of a heartfelt story. A handout PDF is included, and it will provide a long list of titles to use as additional mentor texts.

⭐️ Free Ticket #2 to Writing Picture Books With Heart Webinar – Rosie Pova

This webinar will explore the elements that give stories that edge, and the power to tug at the reader’s heartstrings, so that they stay with the reader long after they’ve closed the book. 

The webinar will offer tips and practical advice on how to write stories with heart as we use mentor texts and pinpoint the right ingredients of a heartfelt story. A handout PDF is included, and it will provide a long list of titles to use as additional mentor texts.

Rosie Pova is the author of IF I WEREN’T WITH YOU (Spork, April 2017), SARAH’S SONG (Spork, September 2017), SUNDAY RAIN (Lantana Publishing, March 2021), THE SCHOOL OF FAILURE: A STORY ABOUT SUCCESS (Yehoo Press, May 2022), and for Middle Grade readers, HAILEY QUEEN PRANKING MAKES PERFECT: THE ALIEN ENCOUNTER (Spork, April 2017)

⭐️ 30 Minute Picture Book Zoom Critique Session with 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)

⭐️ Rate Your Story Speed Pass from Lynne Marie

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Tina Shepardson, author of WALKOUT (Clear Fork Publishing, September 8, 2020)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyming PB or Children’s Poem) with focus on rhyme and meter from Suzy Levinson, author of ANIMALS IN PANTS (Cameron Kids/Abrams, April 11, 2023) and contributor to many poetry anthologies!

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Katie Munday Williams, author of POET, PILGRIM, REBEL: The Story of Anne Bradstreet, America’s First Published Poet (Beaming Books, August 2021)

⭐️ Winner’s Choice: Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming) OR a 30 minute ask me anything from Kari Ann Gonzalez, author of HOW TO HATCH A READER (Gnome Road Publishing, August 15, 2023)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Shelley Kinder, author of NOT SO SCARY JERRY (Spork, September 19, 2017), GOD AND ME AT THE SEA (Kregel Children’s Books, May 17, 2022), and THE MASTERPIECE (Sprok, November 27, 2018)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Jenny Buchet, author of LITTLE MEDUSA’S HAIR DO-LEMMA (Spork, May 11, 2021)

⭐️ Picture Book Manuscript Critique OR signed book (winner’s choice) from Aimee Isaac, author of THE PLANET WE CALL HOME (Philomel Books, March 21, 2023)

⭐️ A signed Copy of the gorgeous MY GRANDPA, MY TREE, AND ME (Yeehoo Press, March 6, 2023) from author Roxanne Troup

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat (anything relating to writing/publishing) with 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) as well as the forthcoming SPIDER LADY: Nan Songer and Her Arachnid WWII Army (Astra/Calkins Creek 2025) and another as yet unannounced 😊

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything Zoom Chat (anything relating to writing/publishing)- Becky Scharnhorst, author of MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Flamingo Books, July 2021) and THIS FIELD TRIP STINKS! (Flamingo Books, August 2022)

⭐️ 30 Minute Ask Me Anything with Rebecca Gardyn Levington, author of BRAINSTORM! (Sleeping Bear Press, 2022), WHATEVER COMES TOMORROW (Barefoot Books, Mar 7, 2023), I WILL ALWAYS BE…(HarperCollins, Spring 2024), and AFIKOMAN, WHERE’D YOU GO? (Penguin/Rocky Pond, Spring 2024)

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 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 so you can jump to them easily. Anyone who feels nice can start at the bottom of the list so those entries get read too! 😊

1. To The Moon – Sarah Marhevsky

2. Giant Valentine – Heather Kinser

3. The Princess Is A Scientist – Anne Lipton

4. Dung For Valentine’s – Vashti Verbowski

5. Oh Mr. Groundhog, It’s Valentine’s Day – Susan E. Schipper

6. Tiny The Turtle – Chel Owens

7. ODD Love – Corine Timmer

8. My Stuffed Valentine – Elizabeth Meyer zu Heringdorf

9. The Valentine’s Cloud – Elizabth Meyer zu Heringdorf

10. The Word Party – Kelly Clasen

11. Be Mine? – Spider – Andi Chitty

12. The Valentine’s Day Vulture – Jany Campana

13. Valentine Cookies – Bru Benson

14. Love Punch – Sarah Meade

15. Bulldog and Cat Come Upon a Party – Sarah Meade

16. Baby’s First Valentine – Carrie Karnes-Fannin

17. Hand-wrapped Love – Laura Wippell

18. Daddy, Do You Love Me? – Debbie Meneses

19. Groundhog Oversleeps – Elizabeth Thoms Charles

20. Valentine’s Day Dance Moves – Stephanie Henson

21. Dragons Are NOT Welcome! – Maria P. Pope

22. Guessy Bessy – Valentine Matchmaker – Glenda Roberson

23. Card Tricks – Deborah Foster

24. Sleeping Beauty Wakes Up – Kelly Kates

25. Where Are The Valentines? – Sherry Roberts

26. Valentino’s In Love! – Marty Bellis

27. Poof Poof! – Stephanie K. Mena

28. Gloomy Gus – Marty Bellis

29. Love Is An Adventure – Lauri C. Meyers

30. Fantastic Fox Father – Kathleen Jacobs

31. Amy Ate My Valentine – Ruthie Nicklaus

32. The Great Valentino – Steve Jankousky

33. Sallie Skunk Skips Valentine’s Day – Elyse Trevers

34. P. S. I Like You – Emily Holi

35. Tucker Turtle’s Valentine’s Day Doubts – Nikki Del Vecchio

36. A Skeptical Skunk Named Scottie – Sally Yorke-Viney

37. A Perfect Valentine Card About You – Kay Medway

38. A Sticky Valentine’s Day Invitation – Angela Calabrese

39. Matilda’s New Job – Jesse Anna Bornemann

40. Skeptical V-Day – Isabel Cruz Rodriguez

41. Groundhog’s Party – Mary Rudzinski

42. A Recipe For Friend Chip – Cheryl Simon

43. A Valentine’s Surprise – Sue Lancaster

44. No Mail For R-E-X – Dawn Young

45. Refridgerdating – Jenna Elyse Johnson

46. Chip, Chip Hooray! It’s Valentine’s Day – Jenna Elyse Johnson

47. Ms. Tate’s Tots On The Matter – Jenna Elyse Johnson

48. The Skeptical Receptacle – Ryann Jones

49. Rhino In Love – S. Lee

***Comment Page 2***

50. There’s Nothing Nice About Zachary – Megan Emmot

51. Pilfering Parrots – Katie McEnaney

52. A Valentine For Sassy Cassy – Brenna Jeanneret

53. Cupid Who? – Linda Staszak

54. Milly And The Collywobbles – Colleen Fogarty

55. Capture Cupid – Nicole Garnett

56. Love Litter – Laura Bower

57. A Sister’s Valentine – Tiffany Hanson

58. The Real Surprise For Badger – Cindy Greene

59. Let’s Party – Barbara Renner

60. An Unbelievable Valentine – Susan Eyerman

61. Convincing Cupid – Daniella Kaufman

62. Love, Doug – Abby N. Wooldridge

63. A Snort For A Heart – Sharon Jackson

64. A (Not So) Nice Love Poem – Krista Harrington

65. School Daze: The Valentine Card – Jill Purtee

66. Rosas For El Senor Perez – Carmen Castillo Gilbert, PhD

67. Decisions, Decisions! – Paul Kurtz

68. An Eco-Valentine’s Day – Marla Yablon

69. Too Much Of A Good Thing – Paul Kurtz

70. Prince, Down! – Donna Kurtz

71. Doubting Thomas – Susan Gleeson

72. A Blue Valentine Story – Dwight Evans

73. Cookies, Candy and Cards – Dianne Borowski

74. Valentines: Stamped With Love – Tonnye Williams Flitcher

75. Strange Valentine – Jessica Strahan

76. Love Takes Root – Serena Gingold Allen

77. Teddy Bears Are Real! – D. Eric Herrington

78. Love Jar – Suhasini Gupta


80. A Valentine For Two – Colleen Fogarty

81. The Universe Isn’t Big Enough – SJ Korzelius

82. Bug Me – Danna Zeiger

83. Goojeepers and Mistdoo – Eleanor Ann Peterson

84. Willie’s Heart – Jean Martin

85. Universal Truth – Kara Williams

86. Can We Love Without Our Words? – Jessica Milo

87. Valentine Horse – Emmie R. Werner

88. My Heart Is Yours! – Donna Kurtz

89. The Valentine Box – Ranessa Doucet

90. Loved To The Bone – Celeste Peterson

91. Cranky Old Cranston – Linda Jacobs

92. Tippy’s Magical Forest – Linda Jacobs

93. Love Day – Poupette Smith

94. Chocolate Covered Mealworms – Amanda Perry

95. One Last Valentine Invitation – Lynn Moore

96. My Homemade Valentine – Katie Lee Reinert

97. Tula Tango – Jessi Kay

98. I Don’t Think So – Joan Leotta

99. Roses are red… – Deborah Kim

100. The Love Cookies – Suhasini Gupta


102. A Jellyfish Valentine’s Day – Debi Boccanfuso

103. Chocolate For Valentine’s Day… Again? – Renee Bolla

104. Finding Stray Love – Pamela Swanson

105. Untitled – Deborah Williams

106. Valentine Smile – Ellen Akemi Crosby

107. Heart-Shaped Pancakes – D. Eric Herrington

108. Trick Or Treat? – Colleen Murphy

109. Stupid Cupids – Liisa Walimaa

110. The Valentine’s Day Shoebox – Alison Marcotte

111. It’s Just A Flower, Right? – Kathleen MacEachern

112. Land Meets Sea – Julie Hauswirth

113. Cupid Shmupid – Denise Seidman

114. 2nd Grade Casanova – Kimberly Horch

115. Ladybug Footprints – Kelly Adamson

116. Thanks For Being My Valentine – Sherri T. Mercer

117. Fish Out Of Water – Bridget Magee

118. Dad’s Heart – Kendra Bell

119. Mother’s Valentine Message – Sharon McCarthy

120. The Flavor Of Love – Connie Bergstein Dow

121. Fireworks At Deadman’s Bluff – Aly Kenna

122. Shiver Me Timbers! – Nadia Ali

123. Gifts From The Heart – Helen Lysicatos

124. The Power Of Love – Barbara Kimmel

125. Divine Valentines – Gayle Veitenheimer

126. You’ll See – Lori Dubbin

127. Me And My Best Friend – Mona Pease

128. Wings-a-glow – Jessie Raspbury

129. Pepper’s Perfect Poem – Bri Lawyer

130. Love At First Light – Patricia Finnegan

131. Glenn’s Valentine’s Hope – Nicole Loos Miller

132. Bear’s Chocolate Valentine’s Heart – Anglea Hawkins

133. I Love You Mommy! – Lisa M. Horn

134. Valenterriable – Aundra Tomlins

135. Valentine – Julie Kurtz

136. The Lonely Heart – Anne Bromley

137. Trick Or Treat – Jessie D. Phillips

138. Sally’s Two Valentines – Una Belle Townsend

139. Words Matter – Elizabeth Volkmann

140. How I Almost Forgot Valentine’s Day! – Julie Fruitticher Schroeder

141. Jaden’s Surprise: A Valentine’s Story – Susan Schwartz Twiggs

142. Groundhog’s News – Judy C. Hughes

143. A Change Of Heart – Jill Sbi

144. All You Knead Is Loaf – Alicia Meyers

145. Cupid’s Skeptic – Becky Goodman

146. (Probably) Stolen Valentine – Hannah Kruman

147. A Big Valentine For Little Friends – Marie Key?

148. Just Cal – Elizabeth Muster

149. What Love Looks Like – Ashley Sierra

150. Love Is. . . – Ashley Sierra

151. Peaches’ Valentine – Thelia Hutchinson

152. Valentines Gone Astray – Elise Teichert

153. Kind Hearts – K. Olmstead

154. What Was Up With Valentine’s Day? – Reed Ambrose

155. Lexi’s Plainly Special Valentine – Lisa Billa

156. Stay Away, Red Heart Day! – Terri Dorow

157. Otto’s First Valentine’s Day – Annette Bethers


159. Heart Balloon And Its String – Kate Rehill

160. Jaded Cupid – Effie Koliopoulos

1,021 thoughts on “What Sayeth My Heart? – The 8th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest for Children’s Writers!

  1. Elizabeth LaGrange Muster says:

    Just Cal
    By Elizabeth Muster
    WC 212

    “Why aren’t you wearing red today, Cal?” asked Mom. “It’s Valentine’s Day.”
    “I hate the color red,” said Cal, “and I hate Valentine’s Day. It’s all mushy and stuff.”
    “Don’t be so cynical,” said Mom.
    “What’s that mean?” asked Cal.
    “Being negative all the time.”
    Cal shrugged and headed off to school in his favorite blue hoodie and jeans.
    When Cal entered the classroom, hearts decorated the windows and the walls and even hung from the ceiling.
    During morning work, the students decorated their boxes with stickers and construction paper. Cal used blue paper and wrote his name with black crayon. Then he put his head down on the table.
    When it was time for the party, Mrs. Lindor asked Cal if he was ready to pass out his Valentines.
    “Why bother,” replied Cal. “I doubt anyone’s going to give me any.”
    “Don’t be so skeptical,” said Mrs. Lindor.
    “What does that mean?” asked Cal.
    “To be full of doubt and to have a lot of questions.”
    “Well, I do have a lot of questions,” said Cal. “Why do we even have to celebrate Valentine’s Day?”
    “It’s to celebrate love.”
    “Well, Mrs. Lindor, I don’t love anybody but my mom and my dad. I’m not cynical. I’m not skeptical. I’m just Cal.”

  2. Ashley Sierra (@AshleySierra06) says:

    by Ashley Sierra
    189 words

    I forgot to do my Valentine’s Day homework. And today’s Valentine’s Day!

    “Layla, we’re leaving for school soon.”

    Oh no. I need to write what love looks like in my home.

    “Mom, where’s love in our house?”

    “Try looking in the living room.”

    I run. I search. I see . . .

    Just the cat and dog cuddling. Mom must’ve made a mistake.

    “Mom, I didn’t see any love there.”

    “Check your sister’s room.”

    I sprint. Love can’t get away from me this time.

    I scan. I peek. I spot . . .

    Just Lily hugging her favorite sloth toy.

    I think Mom doesn’t know what love is. It’s not where she says!

    “We’re leaving in fifteen minutes, Layla!”

    “But Mom . . . I can’t find any love!”

    “Look a little closer.”

    I’m starting to think Mom doesn’t understand the assignment.

    I look EVERYWHERE!

    But I just see heart-shaped pancakes,

    scraps from our Valentine’s Day boxes,

    and cards we made with Mom.

    I didn’t find any love. I head back to Mom again when . . .

    I know what love looks like!

    I draw. I color. I write . . .

    “Love looks like the one who’s always there to help: Mom.”

  3. Ashley Sierra (@AshleySierra06) says:

    LOVE IS . . .
    by Ashley Sierra
    210 words

    Sloth peered out of the gift bag and saw a smiling face.

    “A new friend?” Sloth thought.

    “A sloth stuffy! My favorite!” Lily said. “Thank you, Mommy.”

    “Happy Valentine’s Day! You’re totally SLOTH-some,” Mommy said with a wink.

    “I will love Sloth SLOOOW much.”

    Lily giggled.

    “I can’t wait to be loved!” Sloth thought.

    Lily hugged Sloth.

    Tight. Tighter. Too tight!


    Sloth tilted her head.

    “Love . . . hurts?”

    “Look, Sloth. Smell the vinegar and cinnamon I put in my own cookie dough,” Lily said.

    Sloth wrinkled her forehead.

    “Sniff. Sniff. P-U. Love . . . stinks?”

    Suddenly, Sparky snatched Sloth.

    “ARF! ARF!”

    “Sparky! Give Sloth back!” Lily yelled.

    Sloth slowly gave Sparky side-eye.

    “Ow. Ow. Love . . . bites?”

    Sloth slumped in Sparky’s slobber.

    “I don’t want to be ‘loved.'”

    Lily grabbed Sloth from Sparky’s snout and hugged her.


    But this time, Lily’s hug wasn’t too tight. It felt just right.

    “Ah. Maybe love is . . . soft?”

    Lily served Sloth a box of chocolates.

    “Sniff. Sniff. Maybe love is . . . sweet?”

    “Arf. Arf.”

    “No more love bites!”

    But Sparky gently nudged Sloth.

    “Hehe. It tickles. Maybe love is . . . funny?”

    Lily, Sparky, and Sloth colored cards, made clay bouquets, and crunched on heart-shaped candies.

    “Love is . . .,” Sloth thought, gazing at Sparky and Lily. “HANGING around with you.”

  4. Thelia Hutchinson ❤️ 💖 💗 💘 💝 (@TheliaHutchins1) says:

    Peaches’ Valentine
    By Thelia Hutchinson
    212 words

    Peaches loves Valentine’s Day.
    However, she worries that she will not receive any valentines since she is the new kid.
    She talks to the other kids but wonders If they will give her a valentine.
    “Valentine’s Day is just a few days away,” she thought.
    Peaches mopes around for the next few days. She then decides she will make the best of it and give valentines to all her classmates. She realizes that the best valentine is one that will make someone else’s day. She did not need a valentine to prove she is special, because she already is.
    When Valentine’s Day arrives, everyone receives a lot of valentines.
    Peaches could not help but feel a little sad. She did not receive any valentines and wants to cry but puts on a brave face… and pretends to read a book.
    Someone then taps her shoulder.
    Peaches looks up and sees a basket full of valentines.
    “We were once new too,” says her classmate, Lia. “We did not forget you. These are for you”.
    Peaches smiles. She looks at all her classmates and all the valentines. “This is the best Valentine’s Day ever. I’m so grateful to call all of you my new friends,” she says, and she hugs every one of them.

    • Teacher on Hiatus says:

      I really like these lines: “She realizes that the best valentine is one that will make someone else’s day. She did not need a valentine to prove she is special, because she already is.” They’re great messages for kids (and everyone else)!

    • Patricia Finnegan says:

      Your story captures the way many children (and adults) worry that nobody loves them. How mature of Peaches to realize that she is specials even if nobody gives her a valentine (but I’m so glad that her classmates did).

  5. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Valentines Gone Astray
    By Elise Teichert

    The school day was over.
    The day was done.
    Valentines were given by everyone.

    The weather was bad.
    A storm was brewing.
    “Let’s dash, skedaddle and run!”

    The rain was splattering. The wind was strong.
    Big gusts blew hats, hair, scarves and


    There go Valentines in the air.
    Blowing, blowing everywhere.
    Watch them, watch them
    Up they go.
    Valentines blowing everywhere.

    Valentines in the sky.
    Sailing, sailing way up high.
    Catch them, catch them
    Reach your arms.
    Valentines flying up so high.

    Valentines fleeing in the rain
    Sinking, falling, way down low
    Sinking falling, low,

    Valentines floating in the puddle.
    Floating, sinking, sloshing, mushing.
    There is Betty’s.
    There is Bart’s.
    There’s the one with a candy heart.

    We cried,
    We bellowed
    “It’s just not fair.”

    Then we picked up.
    We all gave a hug.
    Hands were held.
    Hearts were shared.

    The sun tried to shine.
    The clouds moved aside.
    Making way for a joyful rainbow
    High in the sky.

  6. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    Kind Hearts
    by K. Olmstead
    wc 212

    I was writing out my valentines.
    “Everyone has a kind heart.” Mama said.
    I wasn’t so sure.
    “You just have to look.”
    Not so!
    I know some really MEAN kids.

    I’m pretty fast but my friend, John, not so much.
    He trips a lot.
    But kids still push him anyway.
    They laugh even if he comes up bloody.
    One time, I helped take him to the nurse.
    Now mean kids try to push me.

    Mama said. “Ask someone for help.”
    Some days, we still end up at the nurse.
    That’s just how it goes.

    Valentine’s day, I “spied with my little eyes” Big Jake.
    He picks on us a lot.
    He was strangely alone.
    His face was red and blotchy.
    John and I moved closer.
    Big Jake was wiping his eyes.
    We didn’t say anything.

    We just started playing climbing tag.
    Suddenly, Big Jake tried to tag me but missed.
    I laughed. Then Big Jake laughed.
    He said, “Your monkey moves rock.”
    John replied to Jake, “Cool moves, Bro. Tag!”
    We played all recess.

    After school, Jake quietly handed us both Spiderman valentines.
    Since then, Jake no longer pushes or calls names.

    Maybe, everyone does have a kind heart.
    Some buried deeper than others.
    You just never know unless you look.

  7. Reed Ambrose says:

    By Reed Ambrose
    181 Words

    Something was up…

    There was a young Cupid who filled up one vase.
    What was up with filling one vase?
    He held it up.

    On top of the vase, he flipped up two cups!
    What was up with flipping two cups
    On top of the vase?
    Would it stay up?

    On top of the cups, he lit up three candles!
    What was up with lighting three candles
    On top of the cups,
    On top of the vase?
    Would it burn up?

    On top of the candles, he stacked up four plates!
    What was up with stacking four plates
    On top of the candles,
    On top of the cups,
    On top of the vase?
    Would he give up?

    On top of the plates, he tossed up five flowers!
    What was up with tossing five flowers
    On top of the plates,
    On top of the candles,
    On top of the cups,
    On top of the vase?

    He got tripped up!

    And then it all fell… right into place.

    To his mother’s surprise, he set up a date.
    What was up… was Valentine’s Day!

  8. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by Lisa Billa
    213 words

    It was almost Valentine’s Day. Everyone was busy.

    Baking hearts. Folding and cutting them. Tracing, stamping, printing, stringing, even making handprint hearts.

    Lexi wanted to give Mama the most beautiful valentine, only none of her shapes looked right. Mama would love whatever she made, but Lexi needed something extra special.

    She put away the glue and crayons and spoiled papers and went outside. Maybe she could find a heart-shaped rock or leaf or flower…but snow covered everything.

    Lexi headed back in. She pulled off her boots, turned around for a last look- and saw it! Her footprints made a big, beautiful heart, covering the whole wide yard.

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Mama opened gifts and cards. Lexi peeked outside.

    She could still see the outline of her giant heart- but it didn’t seem special enough. The painted hearts, lacy hearts, and wind-chime hearts were all beautiful and dazzling and decorated. Hers was…plain.

    Wait! Lexi ran back out, stopped at the bird feeder, and traced her tracks again. Happy birds followed.

    “Look, Mama!” Mama looked, smiled a big smile, and gave Lexi a heart-shaped hug. Lexi smiled back.

    It wasn’t a valentine Mama could wear. It wasn’t a tasty treat. It wasn’t a painting with heart-shaped flowers. But it WAS made with lots of love.

  9. Susanna Leonard Hill says:


    by Terri Dorow

    February. The stupidest month. Full of love words. Full of hearts. Red hearts, pink hearts, chocolate hearts! The shape of love. Stupid love.

    Valentine’s Day’s just a made-up day. It’s like a fantasy. At school we even had to give everyone a stupid Valentine.

    But what if fantasies were real? I’d get rid of Valentine’s Day and hearts and flowers and anything that is red. I would start a new day called, “Stay Away, Red Heart Day!” and it would be on February 14th, too. And I’d make everyone say, “Roses are red, Violets are blue, Valentine’s Day’s stupid and so are you!”

    But fantasies aren’t real. So, I’ll just keep walking home.

    Then I hear my name. “Jessie?”

    Should I pretend I don’t hear her? Probably, but I decide to turn around. It’s the new kid at school.

    “I have something for you. You looked kind of sad when everyone was passing out their valentines. Here.”

    It was a chocolate heart, a red rose, and a card that said, ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, we could be friends if you want to.’

    Maybe fantasies can be real after all.

  10. Annette Bethers says:

    “Otto’s First Valentine’s Day”
    By Annette Bethers
    214 words

    Deeply asleep in his warm burrow, Otto, a young marmot, was suddenly startled. “Wake up!” someone shouted outside.

    “Go away until spring!” Otto shouted. “I’m hibernating.”

    “It’s an emergency!”

    Otto hurried outside. There, between two mailbags overflowing with valentines, stood Blossom Opossum, Woodland’s postmistress. “I need your help to deliver all these valentines!”

    But it’s cold,” Otto grumbled, “and I’m sleepy.”

    “Don’t be selfish,” Blossom said. “Think about all the happiness we’ll be delivering!”

    “I doubt an envelope can hold happiness,” Otto muttered. “And I don’t get Valentine’s Day.”

    “That’s because you’re always asleep! Come see what you’ve been missing.”

    Otto shrugged. “I’m awake. Might as well.”

    They trudged through the snow, leaving valentines in mailboxes. “Still don’t get it!” Otto complained.

    “Patience,” Blossom said.

    Otto finished his deliveries. “I’m pooped,” he said. “And still don’t get it.”

    “There’s one more,” Blossom said.

    Otto groaned.

    Blossom smiled. “It’s for you!” She handed him a big red heart that said,

    Happy First Valentine’s Day, special friend! Love, Blossom.

    Otto’s heart swelled with happiness. He gave Blossom a big hug. “I GET IT!”

    Together, they watched the happy Woodlanders gathering valentines from their mailboxes. “From now on, I’m setting my alarm clock for Valentine’s Day every year,” Otto said, “so I can deliver happiness with you.”

  11. Kate Rehill says:

    Kate Rehill
    WC: 198


    Heart missed Josiah
    and how they used to spend
    time together.

    Heart waited, but Josiah rushed by.
    Heart waited some more, but Josiah left again.
    Heart waited even longer, but Josiah piled up too many things to even see Heart at all.

    Heart got tired of waiting.
    Tap. Tap.
    “Who was that?” asked Josiah.
    No one answered.

    Swively wively.
    “How did I get all wrapped up?” asked Josiah.
    Silence answered.

    “Clumsy me,” said Josiah.
    “Oh. Hi, Heart. It’s you.
    See you later!” Josiah said.

    Heart hugged and hugged
    and wrapped and tugged

    “Ouch!” said Josiah.
    “Okay, okay, Heart! Do you want to hang with me?” asked Josiah.
    Heart nodded and jumped a big fat yes.

    Heart reached out once more for Josiah’s hand,
    and Josiah squeezed Heart’s string right back.

    Heart bobbed along,
    happy to finally be with Josiah.

    Together, Heart and Josiah
    experienced new highs

    and lows.

    Until Josiah suddenly disappeared.
    Heart deflated.
    “Wanna play tic tac toe?” Josiah said.

    They found new ways to
    spend time together,

    and be there for each other.
    Heart thought this
    was much better than chasing Josiah.

    Best of all, they got close.
    As closest as close can be.

  12. effiekoliopoulos says:


    By Effie Koliopoulos

    214 words

    Cupid was tired of mean kids at school.
    Each year on Valentine’s Day, boys and girls seemed to get crueler and colder.

    He pulled all the stops to stay home.
    But his parents didn’t buy he was sick.

    So, Cupid was punished and sent to wait for the bus.
    The halls felt lonely.

    Classrooms filled with snickers and sneers.
    Lunchtime left Cupid as a party of one.

    Love amongst his classmates didn’t exist.
    He walked home forlorn and…

    “Give people a chance,” said his mom.
    The next day, Cupid did have one person in mind whom he dreamed to gift candy hearts.

    Her name was Candy Crush.
    Though he was certain she would not be nice.

    Everyone else was mean to him.
    Why would she be any different and not crush his heart?

    Cupid was blue as a violet.
    With his head down, he dragged his feet across the pavement.




    Cupid’s face met the ground, and his candy hearts shattered into a million pieces.
    Laughter erupted and echoed for miles.

    But then a warmth met his shoulder, and a hand extended out in front of him.
    Candy Crush smiled.

    “Here let me help you up,” she said, holding a red rose.

  13. ericherrington says:

    *Please use this copy instead. The formatting on the other one was broken up. Sorry!

    By Eric Herrington
    Word count: 214

    “We’re going to have a Garage sale this Saturday!… Yay! Yippee!…don’t all celebrate at once!” Dad mimicked. Screens and pressing video games paused.
    “But it’s already Monday, there’s no time, we’ll have to get up early, and no special whip cream, banana, maple syrup, heart-shaped pancakes!” Thomas whined.
    “And Oh, how clutter-free the house will be and we’ll actually be able to find stuff!” Dad stared off and imagined a minimalist half-empty house. “You can, You will, You must troops!”
    Thomas shrugged and shuffled his feet back to his room. “Oh boy! This will be fun.” Thomas mocked. He chose some easy stuff first – dusty army men, old legos, a chess game with a bishop missing, and an old broken race track. “Here it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m not feeling it! Worst Valentine’s day ever! No pancakes and I’m getting rid of toys. I thought Valentine’s was a time for caring and love, fat chance pbbbt!” Thomas grumped.
    A boy approached in torn and misfit clothes. He was thin with a bruise on his face. He marveled at Thomas’ old plastic toys. Head down, he scooted some pennies on Thomas’s table. Is this enough? He cupped his hand and whispered.
    “Yep that’s just right.” Heart-shaped pancakes didn’t quite measure up in heart matters.

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