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Grand View (pencil) by Analise Braddock, 11; published in Stone Soup February 2023

A note from Emma Wood


Tomorrow, my son Sawyer will turn one! In addition to being the "baby" of our family, he has felt like a baby much longer than his sister did—slow to crawl, slow to talk, and he's still not walking or waving!—so it's hard to believe that, by tomorrow, his age will no longer be measurable solely in months. The rational side of me knew that of course, he would grow up, but the irrational side didn't really believe this—part of me believed he would always be a baby. Our baby!

I've been thinking a lot in the past couple of weeks about how drastically different my experience of the first year of Sawyer's life was from the first year of my daughter's life, and the role that writing played in that. I loved Margot fiercely but my depression and anxiety prevented me from really enjoying her. During her first year, I wasn't writing at all—and in fact, it wasn't until I began writing again that the mental fog began to lift. But during this past year, Sawyer's first year of life, I never stopped writing—even if the writing was sometimes only notes dashed on my phone while I nursed him or rocked him at 2 a.m. And that made all the difference.

This in turn has hammered home just how important writing and art-making are to mental health—and consequently how valuable and vital Stone Soup is. Writing is not just a way to... beget more writing. It is not "just" a means to develop creativity or critical thinking or to get better grades. It is a way to improve mental health, to nourish the mind and soul. Research has long shown that expressive writing has a major impact on mental health in both adults and children—it reduces stress, helps process trauma, improves self-confidence, and helps instill a sense of agency. Encouraging kids to develop a regular writing practice is one way to help combat the mental health crisis we are currently facing. My dream is to bring Stone Soup to as many kids in the country as we can—to get them reading and writing creatively, to change the world one writer at a time.

A little over a week ago, we launched a GoFundMe to help realize this vision. As many of you know, like all print publications, Stone Soup has been in transition as digital media continues to change the publishing landscape. Now under new leadership for the first time in its history (that would be me!), we are poised to re-launch for the next generation. But you need your help to do so. We hope you will consider joining our GoFundMe campaign and help us continue to build the future we all want for our children and grandchildren.

And for those of you have already contributed—my deepest thank you.

Sending you warm wishes from Connecticut where we are experiencing record-low temperatures!

Youth Advisory Board

If you are under the age of 18, have ideas about how Stone Soup can grow or improve, and are interested in learning more about how nonprofits operate, please fill out this interest form.

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.


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