Entry for Susanna Leonard Hill’s 7th annual 2022 Valentiny Contest
Rules: Must be 214 words or less, have a full plot arc, include the feeling of pride, and be appropriate for ages 12 and under.
By Daniella Kaufman
Word Count: 208
The third-grade class all write their names
and doodle heart designs
on baggies colored red and pink
which hold their valentines.
They peek into each other’s bags
and chat about the treats.
Today they’ll exchange cards, but more
importantly eat sweets.
Millie glances nervously
at snacks her classmates bought.
She made cute cards with special notes,
but cards were ALL she brought.
Twenty unique valentines
she’d worked so hard creating them
she’d missed what kids like best.
One by one, the class delivers
mail to each other.
Candy wrappers crinkle as they
swap with one another.
Millie’s cards are tossed aside
for lacking sugar loot,
and her (once beaming) confidence
dwindles…dims… goes mute.
But then a nearby classmate shouts,
“Oops! This card fell behind.
No candy? Hmm… this one is from…
Millie!! You’re so kind!”
The whole third-grade then drops their treats
to shuffle through their piles,
and as they read what Millie wrote,
the room fills with sweet smiles.
“She likes the way I heart my i’s.”
“She noticed when I shared.”
“Millie saw I learned to draw!
I thought nobody cared.”
Millie shines as her friends say
they never would have guessed,
that candy’s nice, but feeling proud
is what they all like best.