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Dream Bedroom (colored pencil) by Rohan Jayakrishnan, 12 (Downingtown, PA) and published in the April 2021 Issue of Stone Soup

A note from Jane

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that the winner of our 2019 Book ContestThree Days till EOC: a Novella by Abhimanyu Sukhdial, has been named the sole Honor Award Winner for the 2021 Green Earth Book Award in the Young Adult Fiction category! Congratulations, Abhi. We are so, so proud of you.

It’s an exceptional achievement for any author to win an award for their book—even more so when it is your first one! But Abhi’s achievement is greater still. There were 74 books in the competition, and 73 of them were written by adults. This absolutely sums up what Stone Soup is all about. We know that young people’s creative abilities are extraordinary and often far exceed those of adults. We see this every week in our writing workshops, in the comments and discussions that take place in our book club, and as we read the submissions to the Stone Soup magazine and blog. All our Stone Soup authors can celebrate and take encouragement from the silver glow of this badge of honor, awarded by an independent panel of distinguished judges who were expecting to read works only by adult authors. Well done, Abhi, and thank you for trusting us with your work.

It goes without saying that if you haven’t read Abhi’s book yet—you should! You can buy it in hardcover and ebook versions in the Stone Soup online bookstore, and all booksellers.

This week’s featured story is a classic redemption tale. Tom Green, a horrible, spoiled, lazy young man loses all his money and privilege, and through a series of misfortunes and hard work over several years becomes a better person. In the end, he finds happiness not in the material things that were all he cared about in the beginning but in a simpler, more compassionate life spent helping others. What makes this story extra special is the writer’s style: Zahra Batteh tells the story of Tom in a natural, almost conversational voice, but without wasting a word. Every short sentence moves the action forward and paints a picture of Tom’s life and character. In just four pages, Zahra manages to make the reader feel as though they know everything about Tom and how he has spent four whole years of his life. I think she achieves this feat partly though the spareness of her language. She doesn’t hint, or judge, or indulge in long, flowery descriptions; she lays out the facts plainly and simply, showing us who Tom was and who he becomes without ever telling us what she thinks he is like. It’s a great example of the power of “show, don’t tell.”

This weekend, read the tale of “Tom Green.” Invent your own flawed character and think about what might lead them to redemption. Then, try to write their story as simply as you can. Show us, don’t tell us, who your main character is. As always, if you love what you’ve written, share it with us.

And, before I go, it has to be said just one more time: yea Abhi!!

Until next week,

Writing Classes and Book Club

Are you looking for classes to inspire, improve, and practice your writing with great teachers and a group of like-minded young writers and readers? Join us! We do charge fees for our clubs and workshops, but we try to keep them as low as possible, and we offer discounts to subscribers and scholarships to students who need them. Contact us at education@stonesoup.com with any questions.

Writing Workshop: we have two new writing groups for spring/summer, starting April 17, that will meet via Zoom every Saturday except for the last Saturday of the month. Come write with us and share your work with your peers. Find out more and register for a workshop at Eventbrite. To see some of the great work produced by current workshop members, read contributions published at Stonesoup.com, or join us at one of our free public readings!

Book Club: a book club for writers that meets via Zoom on the last Saturday of every month, with a new season starting on April 24! Find out more and register for book club at Eventbrite. Check out which books we are reading on our website.

Young Author’s Studio Summer Camps: we are offering a wide range of classes through the summer jointly with the Society of Young Inklings. Each camp runs for two hours per day, Monday through Thursday. All details and bookings via Society of Young Inklings.

Book Contest 2021

For information on submitting to the Stone Soup Book Contest 2021, please click here.

To submit your manuscript, please visit our submittable site.

Highlights from the past week online

Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!

Young Blogger Gia Porwal published a riveting travelogue of her family trip through Saudi Arabia!

Lila, 11, wrote an observational poem, “Spring in Central Park,” as part of our April Flash Contest.

Arjun, 9, wrote a poem, “Life Inside a Staircase,” as part of our March Flash Contest.

A writeup of the Winter/Spring Writing Workshop Showcase is on the website. Check it out for information on who read and links to their terrific work.

From Stone Soup
April 2021

Tom Green

By Zahra Batteh, 10 (Washington, DC)
Illustrated with Dream Bedroom by Rohan Jayakrishnan, 12 (Downingtown, PA)

Tom Green was very proud to say that he had the best life any human could wish for. He would wake up in his cushiony white bed and then head down his marble staircase, where a delicious breakfast was waiting for him, prepared earlier that morning by his personal chef. If he were to have something involving chocolate, the chocolate would be from Switzerland, where, he believed, the best chocolate came from. If he were to eat something involving berries, the berries would have been freshly picked that morning. Everything had to taste amazing in Tom’s house. If there was ever something that didn’t meet his taste buds’ expectations, it would instantly hit the bottom of his trash can with a small thud, and the chef would be off to prepare a new and better dish.

However, this morning was different. When Tom went downstairs to eat his breakfast, there wasn’t anything there, except for a note. If he were like his other wealthy friends, he wouldn’t have known how to read the note because he and his friends all knew that reading was just a waste of time. There were far more important things to do out in the world, like making people do what he wanted them to do.

But no, he wasn’t like his friends. He knew how to read. The reason for this was because his parents (whom he had banned from his life) had made him go to school when he was young. That being said, it would have been possible for him to get a job earlier because he had an education, but he had forgotten all his math and facts years ago, and the only thing he remembered how to do was read. Now you may be thinking, “If he didn’t do any work, where did he get all of his money?” and here is the answer: he threatened his parents by saying that if they didn’t give him money, he would reveal to the world that they had killed their last servant, but he wouldn’t tell everyone that it was in self-defense.

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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.

Stone Soup's Advisors: Abby Austin, Mike Axelrod, Annabelle Baird, Jem Burch, Evelyn Chen, Juliet Fraser, Zoe Hall, Montanna Harling, Alicia & Joe Havilland, Lara Katz, Rebecca Kilroy, Christine Leishman, Julie Minnis, Jessica Opolko, Tara Prakash, Denise Prata, Logan Roberts, Emily Tarco, Rebecca Ramos Velasquez, Susan Wilky.

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