Rise and shine, my friends!
I know it’s Monday.
I know it’s freezing cold and snowing… AGAIN!
I know someone in your house probably snagged the last Poptart and you’re stuck eating All-Bran for breakfast. . .on a frigid Monday morning. . .in the snow!
I am about to cast a ray of sunshine into your freezing, snowy, All-Bran-y, Monday morning!
Here comes sunshine and heart-warming happiness because I am going to SING YOU A SONG! 🎶🎵🎶
🎶How much are those Poptarts in the window,
So sugary sweet and divine?
I’m brave, but not brave enough to offer
All-Bran to my sweet Valentine!🎶
Ok, how about
🎶Oh, my darling,
Oh, my darling,
Oh, my darling, Valentine!
I will give you all my Poptarts
If you promise to be mine!🎶
Oh no, wait! I’ve got it!
🎶I’m a little Poptart filled with jam
Some say I’m sweet and it’s true! I am!
But my Valentiny also true –
No one else is sweet as you!🎶
I don’t know what’s happening here.
Apparently someone (who is not a good singer) has Poptarts on the brain.
Who could that be?
But never mind, because GUESS WHAT?
It’s time to announce the WINNERS of
The 6th Annual Valentiny Writing Contest
~ for children’s writers ~
First of all, I want to thank EVERYONE who took the time and care to write an entry for this contest. You all did a fabulous job and provided great enjoyment for so many! As always, I was thrilled to see so many wonderful stories! It is amazing and inspiring, not to mention VERY entertaining! There is just so much talent out there amongst you all! The other judges and I are blown away anew each time!
Second, I’d also like to thank EVERYONE – writer, reader, or both – who took the time to go around and read as many entries as you could and leave supportive comments. This means so much to the writers who worked hard on their stories. It helps them see what they did well, as well as giving them the joy of knowing that their stories were read and enjoyed. I hope you all got as much delight and entertainment out of the reading as I did! Plus, we got to meet quite a few new people which was a wonderful added bonus! 🙂
Third, I want to say again how difficult it was too choose! There were so many amazing entries. Really. I could find at least something terrific about every single one. The sheer volume of entries meant that many good ones had to be cut. We chose 14 finalists, and around 35 Honorable Mentions which we also loved, and even with those 49 total there were over 200 entries we couldn’t list! So if yours didn’t make the final cut please don’t feel bad. You’re in good company! There was a huge amount of competition. Judging, no matter how hard we try to be objective, is always subjective at a certain point – we all have our own preferences for what makes a great story. And the fact that you didn’t make the final cut DOES NOT mean you didn’t write a great story. Everyone who plonked their butt in a chair and worked hard to write a story for this contest is a winner! You showed up. You did your best work. You practiced your craft. You wrote to specifications and a deadline. You bravely shared your writing with the world. And you have a brand new story that is now yours to expand beyond 214 words if you like and maybe submit at some point to a magazine or as a PB manuscript. So bravo to everyone who entered!
Because it was such a hard choice, and there were so many wonderful stories, before we get to the winners, my assistant judges and I would like to award bragging rights, recognition and a small prize to the following authors for the following merits:
1. For Honorable Mention In The Competition As A Whole: (entries we truly wrestled with not including in the finalists!)
Elizabeth Volkmann for Class List
Melissa Trempe for The Most Terrible, Awful, Icky Valentine Ever
David McMullin for Brave Brave Brave (also funny 😊)
Laken Slate for The Brave Little Conversation Heart
M.R. Haqq for Soon
Mia Geiger for Peanut’s Brave Valentine’s Day
Ashlee Hashman for The Wildflower
Lindsey Hobson for U R Brave
Audrey Day-Williams for Legendary Valentine
Sara Ackerman for Arrrrr Is For Valentine
Amy Leskowski for A One-of-a-Kind, Just-in-Case, Not-at-All-Pink Valentine’s Day
Donna Kurtz for The Owl and the Kitty-Kat
2. For Great Kid Appeal: (not already mentioned in the finals or other categories)
Una Belle Townsend for Six Secret Valentines
Jan Suhr for The Lost Valentine
Kaylee Gwarjanski for Mission: Cancel Cupid Call
Gregory E. Bray for A Valentine’s Day Quest in the Land of Moore
Elizabeth Muster for W-R-I-T-E For Each Other
3. For Original POV:
Molly Ippolito for Cardamom’s Courage (POV of cardamom)
Rozana Rajkumari for Lemon-Tine (POV of a lemon)
4. For Humor:
Kelly Conroy for The Monster’s Valentine Buffet (dark 😊)
Catherine J Lee for The Valentine on My Shoe
Karyn Curtis for The Valentine’s Quest
Tracy Curran for The Wibbler (also great POV – jelly!)
5. For Well-Written, Fun Story With Great Sibling Interaction:
Brenda Whitehead for Step-Brother Battle
Shannon Howarth Nelson for Super Brothers
Danielle S. Hammelef for Scaredy-Cat
6. For Beautiful Writing:
Ciara N M Greenwalt for The Gift Tree
Sandhya Acharya for Sarla Asks A Question
Jyoti Rajan Gopal for A Cocoon of Love
Amy Flynn for Tilly’s Great Big Heart
7. For Best Short Valentiny Story:
P. J. Purtee for A Simple Valentine
8. For Sweet Valentiny:
Kelly Swemba for Brave For Gigi
Anne Bromley for Caleb’s Heart
Carmen Castillo Gilbert for Roses From Valentina
9. Best Story From A Young Writer:
Sophia Zafra for Bravery Is From The Heart
Congratulations to all of you for fantastic elements of your stories! You may all email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com subject line Prize Winner to collect your award badge and prize, which is five dollars in a format that can be emailed for you to put toward something you’d like at a large online store (and I’m being cryptic because when I did this for Halloweensie I got a ton of problematic spam mail because of the way I worded the post, but hopefully you can figure it out. The store starts with the letter A 😊) I know it’s not much, but hopefully it will come in handy for something!
…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
The announcement of the WINNERS OF THE 2021 VALENTINY CONTEST as voted on by you, our devoted readers!!!
In First Place…
Winner of the whole shebang…
who gets first choice of all the prizes…
Lemur in Love!!!
Congratulations, Sarah! We had such fun reading this aloud! Terrific job 😊
In Second Place
Jana’s Valentine Visit
Congratulations, Sarah! So believable! You get to pick your prize after Sarah.
In Third Place
Nancy Derey Riley
Congratulations, Nancy! What a perfectly rhymed and timely story! You get to pick your prize after Sarah and Sarah.
In Fourth Place…
Valentine’s Gotcha Day
Congratulations, Jessica! So sweet! You get to pick your prize after Sarah, Sarah, and Nancy!
In Fifth Place…
The Ballad of Bad Bart
Congratulations, Carrie! What a Valentine bargain! You get to pick after Sarah, Sarah, Nancy, and Jessica!
In Sixth Place...
Nicole Loos Miller
Stella & Hank
Congratulations, Nicole! You must have a cat and a dog to write them so well! I’m sure you get the idea of how the prize picking goes by now 😊
In Seventh Place…
Congratulations, Paul! You made us laugh You get to pick next 😊
In Eighth Place…
Congratulations, Chambrae! Happy ending for shark 😊 You get to pick after Paul 😊
In Ninth Place…
Congratulations, Janie! So beautifully written! You get to pick after Chambrae!
In Tenth Place…
Most Valuable Valentine
Congratulations, Anne! You did a masterful job of turning history and racial justice into a Valentiny story! And in rhyme! You get to pick after Janie!
In Eleventh Place…
Congratulations, Katie! We could just see the picture book your little mail truck would make! You get to pick after Anne 😊
In Twelfth Place…
Lauri C. Meyers
Congratulations, Lauri! You had us at the title! And we laughed at the ending 😊 You get to pick your prize after Katie.
In Thirteenth Place…
Brave Little Friends
Congratulations, Judy! Little Racoon was certainly very brave! 😊 You get to pick after Lauri!
In Fourteenth Place…
Valentine’s Day Rocks
Congratulations, Samantha! We loved Marjorie for her kindness and understanding, and Roger for bravely (and intelligently) coming up with valentines that worked for him!
All the winners should email me at susanna[at]susannahill[dot]com with the subject heading Prize Winner so we can work out details for you to receive your prizes! (The sooner the better!) And for your convenience, the whole prize list is included at the bottom of this post.
Congratulations again to all our winners – it was a stiff competition!! – and congratulations to EVERYONE who wrote and entered a story in the contest. You all deserve a huge round of applause and a gigantic chocolate heart… or lots of little chocolate hearts… or both… really, you can never have too much chocolate 😊 . (Or, can I interest you in a Poptart? Maybe a chocolate Poptart… 😊 )
Thank you to everyone who helped make this contest SO MUCH FUN, whether by writing an entry, reading people’s stories, leaving comments for the authors, and/or voting in the finals. It’s because of all of you that this contest was such a success, so many, many thanks from the bottom of my heart!
Have a marvelous Monday, everyone! 😊
The Prizes: Swoonworthy!
Hannah VanVels – Agent, Belcastro Agency – PB MS Critique
Hannah will offer one lucky winner a PB MS critique. The winner may submit fiction or nonfiction, rhyme or prose – Hannah is open to anything!
Winner’s choice of Renee LaTulippe‘s Lyrical Language Lab Intensive Rhyme & Meter Self Study Course OR a one-hour ZOOM consultation with Renee to get feedback on a manuscript of your choice, ask questions about writing in rhyme/lyrical prose, or spend however you like!
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (Rhyme or Prose, Fiction) from Dawn Young, author of THE NIGHT BAAFORE CHRISTMAS (WorthyKids 2019), COUNTING ELEPHANTS (Running Press Kids, March 2020), and THE NIGHT BAAFORE EASTER (WorthyKids January 26, 2021)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (fiction) from Kirsti Call author of The Raindrop Who Couldn’t Fall (Mazo Publishing, January 2019), Mootilda’s Bad Mood (Little Bee, September 2020), as well as COW SAYS MEOW (HMH) and COLD TURKEY (Little Brown) which will release in 2021.
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Melissa Stoller, author of SCARLET’S MAGIC PAINTBRUSH (Spork 2018), READY, SET, GORILLA! (Spork 2018), THE ENCHANTED SNOW GLOBE COLLECTION (chapter books) (Spork 2017), and SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES (Spork, October 2020)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction) from Becky Scharnhorst, author of the forthcoming MY SCHOOL STINKS! (Philomel Books, July 6, 2021)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique from Ellen Leventhal, author of A Flood Of Kindness (WorthyKids April 2021), DON’T EAT THE BLUEBONNETS (Spork 2017), LOLA CAN’T LEAP (Spork 2018), and HAYFEST A HOLIDAY QUEST (ABCs Press 2010)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (non-rhyming, fiction, fewer than 800 words) from Rebecca Kraft Rector, author of SQUISH SQUASH SQUISHED (Nancy Paulsen Books, February 16, 2021) (which means it’s coming out in the middle of our contest!😊) and the forthcoming LITTLE RED (Aladdin, Simon & Schuster, Spring 2022) and TRIA AND THE GREAT STAR RESCUE (Delacorte/Random House)
– Picture Book Manuscript Critique (nonfiction PB or rhyming PB) from Julie Abery, author of LITTLE TIGER and LITTLE PANDA (Amicus Ink 2019), YUSRA SWIMS (Creative Editions February 2020), LITTLE MONKEY and LITTLE HIPPO (Amicus Ink February 2020), THE OLD MAN AND THE PENGUIN (Kids Can Press, December 2020), and the forthcoming LITTLE PENGUIN and LITTLE ZEBRA (Amicus Ink, March 2, 2021) and SAKIMOTO’S SWIM CLUB (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)
A Picture Book Manuscript Critique by gifted author and former Holiday Contest prize winner, Jenna Waldman, author of the forthcoming Larry’s Latkes (October 2021) (originally written for the Holiday Contest!) and Shark-bot Shalom (August 2021) She is on twitter at @SarafinaDesign
– Either a signed copy of WHEN A TREE GROWS OR a Picture Book Manuscript Critique – winner’s choice! – from Cathy Ballou Mealey, author of WHEN A TREE GROWS (Sterling April 2019) and the forthcoming SLOTH AND SQUIRREL IN A PICKLE (Kids Can Press, May 4, 2021)
– a personalized signed copy of SUNDAY RAIN from author Rosie Pova PLUS a personalized signed copy of DEAR GRANDMA from Yours Truly.
– a personalized signed copy of DON’T HUG DOUG: (He Doesn’t Like It) from author Carrie Finison PLUS a personalized signed copy of CURIOSITY’S DISCOVERY from author/illustrator Nancy Derey Riley!
– a personalized signed copy of The Night Baafore Easter from author Dawn Young PLUS a personalized signed copy of Hop To It: Poems To Get You Moving from poet Sarah Meade!
Please join me in thanking these very generous authors and other writing professionals for contributing their books and writing expertise as prizes by visiting their websites and blogs, considering their books and services for birthday, holiday or other gift purchases, rating and/or reviewing their books on GoodReads, Amazon, B&N, or anywhere else if you like them, recommending them for school and library visits, and supporting them in any other way you can dream up! 😊
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