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Abhi with his family at the award ceremony

Some great news from one of our Stone Soup contributors

All of us at Stone Soup were thrilled to hear that Abhi Sukhdial, Stone Soup blogger, reviewer, and artist, was the 2019 Oklahoma recipient of the Nicholas Green Distinguished Student Award. The award is given each year to one deserving 3rd-6th grade student in each of the 50 states. 5th grader Abhi (described at the ceremony as a "writer, artist, musician–and black belt!") formally received his award at the annual OAGCT (Oklahoma Association for the Gifted, Creative and Talented) event on February 16th in Edmond, OK.

When his mother shared the good news (and some pictures) with us, we were so touched by what she said in her letter:

"Thanks to the whole Stone Soup team for supporting Abhi’s love for creative self-expression. We, as his parents, hope he will continue writing, and creating works of art that inspire him and others..."

The team at Stone Soup certainly hopes so too! Thank you, Sukhdial family–and many, many congratulations to you, Abhi, on your great achievement!

About the award

The Nicholas Green Distinguished Award, a $500 award, is designed to recognize excellence in young children and is awarded to one student in each state who is in grades 3, 4, 5, or 6, and has distinguished himself or herself in academics, leadership, or the arts. Originally the award program was established through funds provided by Maggie and Reg Green in honor of their seven-year-old son Nicholas, who tragically died during a family vacation in Europe. The Greens feel it is important to recognize gifts and talents in children who are now at the age that Nicholas was when he passed away. In Oklahoma, the award is conferred by OAGCT (Oklahoma Association for the Gifted, Creative and Talented). Details can be found at www.oagct.org.

Abhi's essay

“Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Already Taken.”

-Oscar Wilde

When I write, I feel I am most myself. I’m a very quiet kid, but when I write, my ideas explode with imagination. I love writing and thinking about my own thoughts as no one is there to bother me. I started to read when I was two years old, and began writing a few years later, first with a pencil/pen, and then later on my home computer. I have so many stories and ideas for stories that I keep going back to time and time again. I especially love to write stories about great adventures. I also love to read, and I’ve gotten so many ideas from different books I’ve read. For me, reading and writing are two related things. Because reading a book can give you great ideas for your own book.

This year, for the first time, several of my stories as well as some art pieces I created were published in Stone Soup, a children’s literary magazine (written by and for children 13 years and younger). I love that Stone Soup allows you to write whatever you want in your own style, so I became a blogger and started writing and submitting video game, book and movie reviews hoping they would get selected. When my first piece (a book review of Holes) was published online and then was later chosen to be included in the 2018 Best of Stone Soup Annual (Print Edition), I was extremely astounded and it motivated me to write more.

Below is a list of stories, articles, and art that were published in 2018 and/or awards I have received:

Stone Soup Magazine ( https://www.stonesoup.com/)
- “Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild” (video game review)
- "The Breadwinner " (movie review)
- "Holes" (book review)
- "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" (book review)
- "The Crossover" (book review)
- "Holes" included in selected blog pieces in the Stone Soup Annual 2018
- “Summer in India 2018” (diary pages with drawings)
- “Pink” (abstract art drawing); printed in Stone Soup magazine, June 2018 issue and included in the Stone Soup Annual 2018

KidsWorld Fun International Short Story Contest (http://www.kidsworldfun.com/)
-“All about Abhi” chosen as one of the Outstanding short stories in sub-junior category (7-9 years old)

Skipping Stones Magazine (http://www.skippingstones.org/)
- Art piece “Sun” published in Autumn 2018 Youth Honor Awards Issue, September 2018

PTA Reflections Arts-in-Education Program (http://www.pta.org/)
- “All about Abhi” selected as city wide and state winner in Literature category (2016)
- “Diary of a Hindu Hero” selected as city wide winner in Literature category (2017)
- “Dadaji” selected as city wide and state winner in Literature category (2018)
- “The Chosen” selected as city wide winner in Literature category; advanced to state round of competition (2019)
- “An Unusual Sunday,” an original film, selected as city wide winner in Film/Video Production category; advanced to state round of competition (2019)

Writing has always shaped my ideas. I want to show my friends the cool stories I write so that they will be really surprised. When I grow up, I want to be a writer and have my stories published worldwide.

My strong interest in reading/writing and math has helped me get straight A’s so far in elementary school, and this past December (as a 5th grader), I received for the first time a 7.4 in STAR Reading and >8th grade level score in STAR Math. I am really proud of this, and I hope I can continue working hard and doing well in school.

While I really love creative writing, I also want to talk about two other interests of mine. 1) After five years of taking karate classes, I finally passed my Black Belt karate exam on December 1, 2018 and am now an official “black belt” in karate. Karate has taught me how to defend myself if someone ever bullies or attacks me. 2) I started taking both piano and violin at five years of age, and in 2018, I entered my first piano competition and earned I+ (the highest score available) in both the District and State piano competitions sponsored by the Oklahoma Music Teachers’ Association (OMTA). I earned these for a creative, modern piano piece called Wild Robot.

As I start middle school, I hope to continue writing, playing music, and just keep challenging myself both mentally and physically. And so I will end this essay with one of my other favorite quotes.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Albert Einstein

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