To help celebrate the season, and snap us out of our mid-winter doldrums, the wonderful and talented Susanna Hill has conceived of, and orchestrates, the best-ever Valentine’s Day treat for kidlit writers and readers: the Valentiny Writing Contest.
With Hopeful Heart!
The 3rd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest!!!
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 Valentine’s 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 is hopeful! Your someone can hope for something good or something bad. 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 hopeful (can be the main character but doesn’t have to be) and is 214 words (get it? 2/14 for Valentine’s Day). You can go under the word count but not over! (Title is not included in the word count.)
Check out the many fabulous entries at Susanna’s site. And I hope you enjoy my heartfelt entry, coming in at 213 words (and posted on 2/13!),
“Another holiday? There’s too many holidays in this school,” Aaliyah grumbled.
She remembered the Thanksgiving feast. All of the food disappeared, except Mama’s Baba Ghanoush. She cringed as she recalled the winter concert, and the finger-pointing at Bibi’s abaya.
“What’s wrong?” asked Mama. She read the note Aaliyah held, slowly. Twice.
“It’s cards. For your classmates. You can make them. Here’s paper and your brother’s pens. They’ll be beautiful.”
Mama was right. The Valentines were beautiful, especially the one for Teacher. Aaliyah grinned.
She skipped into school on Valentine’s Day. But then she saw the chocolates on Teacher’s desk and her classmates’ store-bought Valentines. Tears trickled down Aaliyah’s cheeks. The homemade Valentines didn’t look as beautiful now.
She tried to hide the Valentines in her backpack, but Teacher said, “Please drop them in your classmates’ bags.”
“The bags look full,” Aaliyah mumbled.
“My tummy hurts,” Aaliyah complained.
“You can visit the nurse’s office, after you hand out the Valentines.”
With trembling hands, Aaliyah held out the last Valentine, for Teacher.
“What a gorgeous Valentine!” Teacher exclaimed. “Did you make it? Will you share your talent, please, and teach us how to draw these swirling letters?”
Aaliyah grinned, wiped her tears and hoped that the next holiday would be like Valentine’s Day.
I love this. Such a wonderful story.
Thank you David!
This is a sweet and hope-filled story. I wish you well with it.
Thanks so much, Lynn!
I love how in the end Aaliyah is not only left feeling hopeful, but feeling special and appreciated. Very nice! Best of luck with the contest.
This is such a relatable story. We all feel insecure sometimes about what we have to offer. I loved your ending. Best of luck!
Thanks so much!
So kid relatable. Great telling of the angst children feel when they doubt themselves. Love how you turned the story around for sweet Aaliyah 🙂 Good luck!
Thanks so much for reading & so glad you enjoyed my Valentiny!
Hiya .. loved the story line – being an individual and making the effort is almost always rewarded … so pleased for Aaliyah … warm and comforting – cheers Hilary
Thanks so much Hilary! Happy Valentine’s Day.
Such a sweet story. Handmade is always better! Good luck!
Thanks so much for stopping by & commenting, Nancy. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Loved that you included diversity! I really enjoyed your entry!
Thank you! It was written from the heart.
Beautiful, heartfelt story, Patricia! Good luck!
Thank you Gabi. So happy to learn that you felt the heart coming through.
Very relatable, it’s hard as a kid anytime you stick out (new, income, brians, size, etc.). I am so glad she had a sensitive teacher. Very sweet and inclusive story Pat. Best of wishes.
Thank you Maria. So true – it’s hard anytime you feel different for any of the many reasons kids notice.
The beginning of your story made me hungry with the mention of baba ghanoush. And the great ending left me satisfied. =) Good luck!
Nicely done Patricia. It’s hard to navigate first grade, especially when you feel different.
Thanks Lauri. I agree, it’s so difficult for kids who feel different.