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When the World Becomes a Flame looking at fire
"'Josh, there's a big fire going off a little ways from here!' said Eric in a panicking voice." By José Chardiet, 13 (New Haven, CT), published in Stone Soup July/August 2007 Illustrating When the World Becomes a Flame by Connor Pickens, 13 (Shakopee, MI)

A note from William

Dear Friends,

I cannot see the fires approaching Santa Cruz from my house, but for days the sky has been filled with smoke and a light rain of ashes has been falling. At this point we are all fine.

I am going to keep the newsletter short today.

Stone Soup news: In early September, the heretofore Friday Writing Workshop is shifting to 9 a.m. PDT on Saturdays. The Wednesday Book Club meets one more time this week and then will meet once per month thereafter, also on a Saturday. Time and registration information will be provided in next week’s newsletter.

As school starts up again, we are also changing the schedule for the Flash Contests and the Creativity Prompts. The Flash Contest will now be monthly. Starting in September, the Flash Contest will be announced the first week of the month. The creativity prompts will shift from daily to weekly.

I’d like to give a special thanks to Jane Levi, who took on the burden of the Stone Soup COVID-19 response. Jane has published 108 creativity prompts and managed twenty flash contests. Thank you, Jane. Thanks also to Sarah, to the several students who helped write prompts, and to Anya Geist, also a student, who is interning with Stone Soup this summer and is also helping process the many blog posts you have been sending in.

Please read the poem and listen to the music composed and performed by Fern Hadley, one of the winners of the Flash Contest #20. The music and poem are posted in the Flash Contest section below.

Until next week,

Winners from Weekly Flash Contest #20

Weekly Flash Contest #20: Write a poem inspired by a song

The week commencing August 10 (Daily Creativity Prompt #101) was our twentieth week of Flash Contests. The prompt asked our entrants to write a poem inspired by a song they’ve been listening to a lot. The entries we received included poetry set to the tune of a certain song; poetry inspired by a theme of a song; and poetry inspired by classical music, contemporary music, musicals, and even our entrants’ own musical compositions. We greatly enjoyed reading the many entries we received. Well done to everyone who submitted to this prompt.

Congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions, listed below. You can read the winning entries for this week (and previous weeks) at the Stone Soup website.

“Satisfied” by Savannah Black, 9 (Yuba City, CA)
“First Flight” by Fern Hadley, 12 (Cary, NC)
“Requiem” by Joyce Hong, 10 (Oakville, ON)
“Mendelssohn’s Voices” by Eric Liang, 13 (Sherborn, MA)
“Last Night” by Daniel Wei, 13 (Weddington, NC)

Honorable Mentions
“The Lovely Birds” by Nova Macknik-Conde, 8 (Brooklyn, NY)
“Christmas Carols” by Ashvant Daniel, 11 (Portland, OR)
“Mad World 2020” by Emma Hoff, 8 (Bronx, NY)
“The King of the Snow” by Kyler Min, 9 (Vienna, VA)
“Dance Monkey” by Sophie Yu, 12 (Houston, TX)

Highlights from the past week online

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

Lyla, 10, writes a short, heartbreaking poem entitled “Gone.”

Check out the update from our Writing Workshop from last Friday, where we focused on character sketches. Remember, for the last two weeks of August we are taking a break from the workshop, but we will resume in September.

In “The Dust Cloud,” Arshia, 10, writes about her feelings about online school and her fears about the virus.

Prisha, 7, asks in the first line of her poem, “What if there was a healing virus?” Read the rest of her lyrical poem on the blog.

Have you thought about where you want to vacation when the pandemic is over? Chloe, 12, imagines trips to Spain and Japan in her blog post.

Hazel writes a powerful poem related to Black Lives Matter called “Hundreds at Least.” Take a minute to read it and take it in.

With her poem, Alisa, 12, appeals to the coronavirus itself in a plea to stop attacking us.

Fern, 12, wrote a beautiful song called “First Flight.” We’ve published a video of Fern performing it, plus the sheet music and lyrics if you’d like to cover it yourself.

From the Stone Soup blog November 2018

My Soccer Game Went Up in Smoke

by Lukas Cooke

As many people know, the state of California has burned with some 7,600 fires this year [2018]. Many of these were large and leveled entire towns, leaving thousands of people homeless. California’s recent largest-recorded fire ever was the Mendocino Fire. The fires have cost about 2.975 billion dollars in rebuilding and fire-suppression costs.

I live in California. Yesterday morning, I woke up to a blanket of smoke covering the landscape outside my window. Later, when I went outside, I could hardly breathe through the fumes, which made my throat burn. I was supposed to have a soccer game at noon. It was canceled due to the air quality. My school was scheduled to have a volleyball game against a school in Paradise, a town razed by flames just a week ago. That was canceled. I began to wonder why there were so many fires. I didn’t have to look far for the answer.

Climate change, or global warming, has become a growing concern for the world these past couple of decades. Severe weather patterns, large fires, flooding, erosion, and droughts are only some of the disasters that are becoming more and more common . . . /More

Georgia Marshall, 11
Marblehead, MA

From the Stone Soup blog May 2020

We are Strong

by Georgia Marshall, 11 (Marblehead, MA)

Fires burning across the globe
Porcelain crashing
True loves forced to see each other,
only through windows.

And when the sky is falling
Through a cracked glass mirror,
We have only a ray of hope
Shining through the storm.

We can find a way to breathe again,
If we stay strong.
We are strong, glowing warriors in masks.
We can make it through
Stop this virus.

We will link arms again
We just need to hold on
We are strong.


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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