Category Archives: Susanna Hill’s Contests

Hester Saves Christmas – Susanna Hill’s 8th Annual Holiday Contest

Dust off the decorations. Strike up the band. Bake, bake, bake and bake some more (especially if it’s chocolate). It’s time for

Susanna Hill’s 8th Annual Holiday Contest!

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as age 12 and under) about A Holiday Hero!  Your hero’s act of heroism can be on a grand scale or a small one – from saving Christmas to leaving a fresh-baked loaf of Challah bread for a homeless person to something like Gift Of The Magi where two people give up the thing most important to them to be sure someone they love has a good holiday.  Your hero can be obvious or unlikely.  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 250 words.  Entries are posted, or linked to, Susanna’s post. Grab some cocoa, scurry over & enjoy some wonderful holiday stories! You’ll be glad you did (and so will the writers, if you leave comments).

And now, for my 246-word entry…

Hester Saves Christmas

Hester loved jingling bells, the scent of sparkling pine trees, and the promise of present-filled stockings hung by Farmer O’Neill’s chimney. She especially loved stories of Santa and his reindeer.

“Mama, can I can pull Santa’s sleigh next year?” Hester asked.

“Flying reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh, Hester. And everyone knows Highland Cows can’t fly.”

But I can dream, thought Hester. And practice.

She hopped over heather and thistles.

“Ouch!”

She jumped across rocky streams…almost.

            SPLASH!

She trotted uphill, leapt, and…

tumbled down a steep slope.

            Moooo…

Hester kept trying…

and trying…

and trying…

but not quite succeeding.

As Christmas drew near, Hester turned her nose from pine trees and looked away from the chimney. She hung her shaggy head. Large tears fell, freezing like a glistening beard.

“A blizzard,” sighed Farmer O’Neill on Christmas Eve.  “No presents tomorrow. Santa’s reindeer can’t fly through this mess. Into the barn, girls.”

All but one shuffled into the warm barn.

Hester trudged through deep snowdrifts. She shivered in the blustery wind and slipped on icy paths until…

She heard a faint jingle-jingle. She scrambled and spied…

Santa in his sleigh with eight grounded reindeer stuck in a snow pile.

Hester pulled, tugged and led the reindeer, sleigh and Santa along the snowy trail.

The next morning, presents filled stockings.  Laughter rang like jingling bells across the farm.

“Merry Christmas, Hester,” Farmer O’Neill said.  “Wake up! Somehow Santa came!”

Hester yawned and wondered,

Can a cow hide Easter eggs?

 

 

Another Holiday – a Valentiny Contest Submission

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!!!

valentiny-writing-contest-2018

Quoting Susanna:

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

“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.

“There’s space.”

“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.

♥♥♥

Monster! A Halloweensie Tale

Happy Halloween! That day when all things pumpkin flavored, scented and colored rule; when every dog who has ever shared our home cowers under covers as the doorbell rings again, and again, and again; and when writers of picture books converge like a coven of witches and warlocks to stir 100 words into Halloweensie treats for kids of all ages.

The rules as stated on Susanna Hill’s site are simple: 100 words (not including the title); kid-friendly; using the terms monster, candy corn (counted as one word), and shadow. Entries are linked at Susanna’s site – read as many as you dare! I double dare you to comment on as many as you can! I trust you won’t be disappointed – they’re much more satisfying than anything you’ll find at the bottom of a treat bag.

And now, without further adoooOOO..

MONSTER! (100 words)

Jeremiah whispered, “I vant to drink your blood.”

But then he bumped into Jessy’s desk. Milk spilled across her homework.

She yelled, “Monster!”

“No! I’m not!”

He stumbled down the stairs, smashing into Gran’s favorite planter. CRASH!

She cried, “Monster!”

“No! I’m not!”

Jeremiah tripped and toppled the candy corn dish.

Jimmy hissed, “Monster!”

“No! I’m not!”

Lips quivering over bloodied fangs, Jeremiah squinted at his blurry shadow.

“What do they see that I don’t?”

He sighed. “Everything.”

Jeremiah straightened his cape, grabbed a sack, and put on his thick glasses.

“I’m no Monster! This Vampire vants to trick or treat!”

 

 

 

 

 

Phyllis’ Valentine’s Day Mystery

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day ♥

Today is a special day, a special opportunity to spread a little love AND share my entry to Susanna Hill’s Second Annual Pretty-Much World-Famous VALENTINY Contest. Valen-tiny because the stories are not very long and are written for little people 🙂

valentinywriting-contest2017

The Rules? Straight from Susanna…

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 is confused!  

The Other Entries: Read more entries at Susanna’s site to get into the holiday spirit.

Without further ado, my 213-word entry…

Phyllis’ Valentine’s Day Mystery

Phyllis leapt from her cozy cot, her sleepy shadow trailing behind.  Rose-colored hearts laced with pin pricks littered the dirt below. A gooey stream of strawberry cream oozed from a broken chocolate heart above. Crimson balloon bits festooned snow-covered pines outside the den door.

“What creature made this mess? These dreadful deeds must be addressed. But who will solve this mystery? And how?”

“Whoo! Whoo!”

“Who indeed? I know! He’s hidden somewhere in this snow.”

Phyllis searched high and low for Oscar Owl. He’s so wise, she thought. He’s Forest President so he’ll surely solve this problem.

Oscar surveyed the scene and said,

“My dear, you have an enemy, but I believe I have the remedy. Roll out the Armadillos! Buzz the bees! Summon Sword Fish! Then there’s one more thing I wish: A wall, a HUGE WALL. A wall will bring Safety for ALL.”

Soon a tall timber wall was erected. Snug inside, Phyllis now was secure. But those outside? They felt rejected. Dejected, they watched, waiting for their chance to slip inside. At the back of this pack crouched Harry Hedgehog – sniffling, snuffling, quills quivering. In his tiny paws, he clutched a pin-pricked, strawberry cream-stained sign:

============================

PLEASE LET ME IN,

I LOVE YOU, PHYLLIS

♥♥♥ ♥♥♥

WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?

============================

 

The Twelve Days of Happy Holidays

Drumroll please:

Come they told me
Pa rum pum pum pum

New holiday stories to read
Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest stories we write
Pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the judges
   

Pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum…

The 6th Annual Holiday Contest!!!!!

Thanks to Susanna Hill, we have the chance to enter a contest AND read all of the other entries posted at the link. Now that’s what I call a holiday treat! 

The Contest:  Write a children’s holiday story (children here defined as approximately age 12 and under) using the basic format/concept of The Twelve Days Of Christmas!  Your story may be poetry or prose, silly or serious or sweet, religious or not, based on Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, but is not to exceed 300 words.

So many possibilities! So many winter holidays! How could I choose just one? So I didn’t! Thankfully, a daughter has studied world religions and worked at the Pluralism Project, whose mission is “to help Americans engage with the realities of religious diversity through research, outreach, and the active dissemination of resources.”

I then did some further research, including the pages of the United Religions Initiative for Kids. Please note that in a few cases, I’ve highlighted holidays that are celebrated at other times of the year, either to include a particular religion or to highlight a religion’s primary or better-known holiday. Without further ado, I present:

Twelve Days of Happy Holidays

On the first day of Christmas,

My Father shared with me:

A Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🌟

On the second day of Pancha Ganapati,

Lord Ganesha gave to me:

Two spicy Vadai,

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🐘🐘

On the third day of Eid,

An Imam shared with me:

Three juicy dates,

Two spicy Vadai,

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

☪️☪️☪️

On the fourth day of Vesak,

A Buddhist monk revealed to me:

Four noble truths,

~~~

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🎆🎆🎆🎆

On the fifth day of Soyaluna,

The People of the Pueblo showed to me:

Five Turquoise Rings;

~~~

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🌄🌄🌄🌄🌄

On the sixth day of Diwali,

The Swami showed to me:

Six candles flickering,

Five Turquoise Rings;

~~~

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯

On the seventh day of Kwanzaa,

My parents gave to me:

Seven heartfelt Zawadi,

~~~

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁🎁

On the eighth day of Hanukkah,

The Rabbi shared with me:

Eight oil lamps glowing,

~~~

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🕎

On the ninth day of the lunar new year,

My Teacher read to me:

Nine Confucian texts,

~~~

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖📖

On the tenth day of Maghi,

My Guru sang to me:

Ten sacred Kirtans,

~~~

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶

On the eleventh day of the Winter Solstice,

A Wiccan presented to me:

Eleven Yule logs blazing,

Ten sacred Kirtans,

Nine Confucian texts,

Eight oil lamps glowing,

Seven heartfelt Zawadi,

Six candles flickering,

Five Turquoise Rings;

Four noble truths,

Three juicy dates,

Two spicy Vadai,

And a Savior’s bless’d nativity.

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

On the twelfth day of the bleak midwinter,

Our Creators asked of me:

Pray for peace and religious harmony.

☮️

🌟🐘☪️🎆🌄🕯🎁🕎📖🎶🔥

Learn more about the faiths represented and the holidays featured:

 

.

 

Another Halloweensie Tale & Halloween Treats

At long last,  it’s time for the one and only, sixth-annual (and counting), 

Great Halloweensie Contest

(crowds of little people, and little-people lovers, cheer)

to wit, to write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (title not included in the 100 words, children here defined as 12 and under), using the words spider, ghost, and moon.   And if you visit Susanna Hill’s blog, you’ll find more entries like the ones below (and many, many more that are better!).

Wait! “Ones below?”

Yep – I wrote two this year. After I learned on Sunday that *gasp* trick-or-treating is cancelled due to the outbreak of a rather nasty stomach bug in our school community, I was inspired to write the second story. Enjoy!

happy-halloween-2

 

Another Halloweensie Tale

(97 words)

“Another Halloweensie tale, please?”

“Just one, then bedtime…”

“Little Miss Muffet”

“So last century.”

“Sat on a Tuffet;”

“A tough-what?”

“Eating her curds and whey.”

“No way! Why not a Halloween treat?”

“A Milky Way, Mars Bar or Moon Pie!”

“Along came a spider…”

“The HERO!“

“Who sat down beside her…”

“SAT? We creep, climb, spin, but NEVER sit.”

“And frightened Miss Muffet a…”

“WAIT! One itsy, bitsy spider scared that curd-chewing, tuffet-sitting Hag?”

LOOK! That moonbeam shines right through her.  She’s pale as a

GHOST!!!”

“Creep! Climb! Spin! Up the Water Spout! Onto the Web!”

NOW!”

 
pspiderweb

Halloween Treats

(99 words)

Ghost clicked off the light and stacked her sheets. Spider unsnapped his web from the porch and rolled it into a ball. Witch doused the flames under her simmering brew as a cloud of bats blanketed the Moon.

“Another Halloween, and no trick-or-treaters braved our door,” Ghost sighed.

“We had tasty treats ready,” squeaked Spider.

“I guess we’ll have to wait another year,” Witch sniffled.

Moon struggled free from the bat wrappings. She lit a path towards town.

“Follow me!” Ghost exclaimed.

“Trick or treat,” the trio proclaimed. They delivered the tasty treats to costumed kids throughout the town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sleeping Grump: A Valentiny Tale

When I read the rules for the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest hosted by the lovely Susanna Hill (kid-friendly, 214 words max, with a grumpy character), I thought immediately of an old family favorite – The Sleeping Grump: A Cooperative Game (Family Pastimes, 1981). While the Grump in this Valentiny story may or may not be a giant ogre and while the goal may not be to steal his treasure (while leaving some for him in the spirit of true cooperation and sharing), I hope I’ve captured his sleepy, grumpy character and the essence of the game.

Note: some of you may recognize the characters. Margaret tried to arrange the perfect picture for Mama in Perfect Christmouse Pic’, as brothers Mick and Tim thwarted her every move. Can the trio work together on Valentine’s Day to out-manoeuvre the Sleeping Grump?
images

The Sleeping Grump: A Valentiny Tale

Outside, snowflakes swirl. Wind roars; Grump snores. Inside, red glitter scatters, red candies crunch underpaw.  Red tempers flare.

“Give it back!”

“That’s mine!”

“Fuddliwinks!”

“One more to make. Then we’ll put on our red shoes! Dance! Party,” Margaret shimmies.

“Party-schmarty,” Mick teases. “You’re just making a Valentine for Wondermouse!”

Mick and Tim prance, grab Valentine, chant, “Margaret has a boyfriend!”

Margaret snatches Valentine, scampers outside. Screech! She freezes. Tiptoes around snow-covered

“Grump,” she whispers, “Asleep!” Grump stirs. Margaret scurries inside.

“No need to fear, Mighty Mouse is here,” Mick cries, swipes crumpled Valentine. “Grump can’t seize me! I’ve got a cloak for invisibility.” Mick twirls outside. Cloak swirls across Grump’s eyes. They open, shut. Mick disappears inside.

“I’m an Alien! This is Major Mouse, dropping through!” Tim flies, nabs Valentine, catapults

Flop! Ker-plop! Nosedives!

“Ha-ha-ha-chew!”

“Eew! Goo! Smarmy Alien, coming through.”

Grump snivels, sobs, pokes goopy nose inside.

“There’s gotta be a better way,” Margaret reasons. “If together, we…and then…until finally…”

Margaret tiptoes towards Grump. Mick carries cloak-covered bundle. Tim catapults with

“Valentine? For me,” Grump asks.

“Cookies,” Mick reveals. “For you,” Margaret smiles, “Please let us pass.”

“Valentine! For me,” Grump grins.

The trio trudge past…into drifts. “Too much snow! No party, no-how,” Margaret sighs.

Grump grins.”Snow-schmo! On my back! Let’s go!”