Contests used to scare me. It takes bravery to put yourself out there! But the contests in the Kidlit Writing Community are a blast no matter the outcome! I can't wait to read the many outstanding stories, highlighting the bold spirit of Valentine's Day. You can find out more about Susanna Leonard Hill here, and, below, you can check out my entry:)
The Brave Little Conversation Heart
By Laken Slate
Word Count: 211
Stuffed in a box,
there were lots of candy hearts,
with plenty to say.
“Wink, Wink” said a pink.
“Be True” said a blue.
“Just Right” said a white.
But Little Purple Heart was blank.
The others didn’t understand.
“Hug Me” said a green.
But Little Purple Heart said nothing.
Soon they were shouting in anger:
Their words were sweet, but the tone was sour.
They wanted Little Purple Heart to leave.
She squeezed out of the box,
and onto a shelf,
in a dark grocery store.
The next morning, a man grabbed the box of hearts.
“A treat for my valentine!” he said.
“Oh, no!” thought Little Purple Heart. “They’ll all be crunched if I don’t move quick!”
She toppled from the shelf,
bounced off a bag of grapes,
and landed on top of the candy box.
When the man went to check out, Little Purple Heart tumbled onto the counter.
“Uh, oh! Looks like this box is open,” said the man. “I’ll go pick another one.”
The cashier placed the candies behind the counter.
Out popped a blue that read “Thank You!”
Other hearts cheered:
Little Purple Heart didn’t reply,
But they knew she loved them too.
I look back to the many times in life I felt my success celebrated: winning student of the year, getting "Employee of the Month" at McDonald's (they spelled my name wrong on the plaque, but it's fine), the several after-season parties with soccer teams in elementary school. Celebration feels great. Celebration prompts reflection. Celebration is important.
I've posted before on the value of feedback, and celebration is a major component of feedback. When children feel celebrated, they are proud of the work they've done, and propelled to move on to even greater projects.
I experienced this propulsion last week. I had the honor of being featured as one of Amanda Davis' "Rising Stars in Kidlit." Leading up to the feature, I felt anything but starry. I had been doubting my writing and wishing I knew more of what was sought after in the publishing industry.
It felt so nice to re-read my interview, last week, because it was written at a time I felt more hopeful. I had so many kind responses to the feature, from the amazing writing community on Twitter. Just a simple celebration of the progress I had made, motivated me to make more. You can read the full interview here, if you'd like:)
When I return to the classroom, I will remember how much this celebration meant to me. I can't wait to help students see how far they've come, so they can lift their chins and charge even further!
My name is Laken Slate. I was an elementary school teacher for six years, before becoming a mom. I am set to graduate with a master's in Curriculum and Instruction in July 2021! Someday, I would love to be a picture book author. I am represented by the world's greatest literary agent, Joyce Sweeney :)