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The Picture Book Buzz

Susanna Hill's 7th Annual Holiday Contest

In this busy season of cleaning, baking, decorating, shopping, and wrapping it's important to find time for yourself. Why not take a moment away from everything and read some wonderful holiday stories. Check out the links, but also be sure to scroll through the comments for some great surprises.

The rules are: Write a children’s holiday story (for age 12 and under) about A Holiday Surprise! Any kind of surprise – anything at all! – the more unexpected the better! 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

I surprised myself and managed to create one just in the nick of time. My entry is based on my favorite winter flower and a picture in a coffee shop that refuses to leave me alone.

© Maria Marshall


by Maria Marshall

Today was the worst day ever.

Kids teased Becky about her ragged haircut – she’d slept on gum.

They teased her for her shabby clothes.

And she doubted if Santa could even find her at the shelter.

At recess, Becky dashed across the playground. She plopped on a bench and pulled a bag over

her head. Maybe if they couldn't see her, they wouldn't tease.

“Who do we have here?” a small voice said.

“Nobody,” Becky said.

“Well, Nobody, I love your snowflake laces.”

No one else had noticed the new laces the shelter woman had given her that morning, to make up for cutting her hair so badly. “Who’s there?” Becky asked.

“Take off your bag and see.”

“NO. You just want to laugh at my haircut, too.”

“Come on, I promise not to laugh.”

Becky inched the bag a little higher, but she still couldn’t tell who was there. “NO!” she cried.

“Never ever, until recess is over.”

“I have a surprise for you.”

Becky lifted the bag a little more. A white flower wiggled at her.

“It’s a Christmas Rose.”

Becky removed the bag. In front of her stood - an ELF.

“I’m Gabby. Santa’s gardener. I grow these flowers and poinsettias for him. If you’re Becky, I’m to

tell you he knows where you’ll be staying for Christmas.”

“I am,” said Becky. Hugging Gabby, she whispered, “Thank you.”

Becky carried Gabby’s flower for the rest of the day, a shield of hope and promise.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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