A note from Emma
When I selected Three Days til EOC as the winner of our inaugural Stone Soup book contest, I didn’t know how close it would seem we were already to the end of our civilization—especially in our little corner of the world, in Santa Cruz, California, where the pandemic has teamed up with climate change-driven wildfires, suddenly forcing evacuees into proximity with others after months of social distancing. Our home is in the evacuation zone, but we are lucky to be in Connecticut staying with my parents for a few months; we have been watching everything unfold at home with sadness and fear for our community.
The fire has added a lot of uncertainty to an already uncertain year. We live in the mountains and even if our home is spared, we may be without power for months. Where will we live in the meantime? Will we need to leave Santa Cruz? And if we stay, what will it feel like up there, with some areas of the forest devastated and so many who have lost their homes trying to rebuild?
The circumstances we are experiencing now may be different from the ones described in Three Days till EOC but the situation is the same: our world is in crisis, and it is up to us—not just one person, but all of us—to save it. I’m so excited to finally share Abhi’s novella with you all, and I hope, when you read it, you will be inspired to write and to take action against climate change.
The official publication date is September 1, but you can preorder it now here, and at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your usual bookstores.
Winners from Weekly Flash Contest #21
Weekly Flash Contest #21: Write a poem about your favorite place
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.
“Cherish the Temporary” by Reagan Ricker, 13
“My Favorite People” by Chloe Song, 12
“My Mind” by Analise Braddock, 9
“A Place Yet to Be” by Anushka, 10
“My Favorite Place to Be” by Georgia Marshall, 11
“The Observation Deck” by Nicholas Buckley, 13
“Perfect for Me” by April Yu, 12
“In the mountains” by Quinn Peacock Brush, 10
“Winter in my Bed” by Nova Macknik-Conde, 8
“My Room” by Julia Marcus, 13
Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
Alice imagines life as a book in her post “A Different Kind of Chapter.” Maybe this chapter of our books is a little sad, but rest assured that more exciting chapters will follow.
In “Exploring Madame Tussauds,” Alex gives us an overview of the famous wax museum, including how the sculptures of famous figures are made.
Emma entered her poem “Mad World 2020” in our Flash Contest that asked participants to write a poem inspired by a song. She uses the lyrics of a song to discuss the chaos of the year.
One of our frequent contributors, Liam Hancock, writes “A Plea from the Red Zone.” Read about his experience with the wildfires in California and what he wants others to know.
Arshia, 10, writes a poem called “Thank You Doctors” as a tribute to the frontline health care workers who are working tirelessly during the pandemic.
Are you a fan of Hamilton? Olivia, 11, wrote a poem inspired by the King’s song from the popular musical.
Read updates from the latest meetings of our book club, including an announcement of the next book we'll be discussing.
“Today” by Grace, 11, is a hopeful poem that demonstrates how every day during the pandemic can feel completely different.
A call for reviewers!
We have three books to send to young reviewers who will commit to reading the book and writing a review for the website. (You can look at other book reviews on the website here.)
All three books are middle-grade realistic fiction, but for different age levels. We're looking for a reviewer age 11 or younger for the book that's similar to the Ramona Quimby series, but whose narrator is a young Black girl named Ryan Hart. For the next book, which is a book about disability and brotherhood that’s been translated into English from Dutch, we’re looking for a reviewer between the ages of 11 to 13. Then, our last book has some serious themes, so we're looking for a review age 12 or older. It has a mystery, an eccentric grandma, and gymnastics.
Get in touch with Sarah@stonesoup.com if you’re interested in reviewing any of those books.
Three Days till EOC
By Abhimanyu Sukhdial, 12
Winner of our 2019 Book Contest
Cover art: Stars, photograph by Grace Williams, 12
“Choose well. Your choice is brief and yet endless.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
* * *
Giant waves, riding on the backs of punishing 150 mph tailwinds, crashed on the empty beaches of Soledad and came roaring onshore. The few cafés and shops along the sandy shore collapsed like a child’s house of cards and were mercilessly swallowed by the hungry, monstrous seas. The residents ran amok—their hearts raced fast and almost leapt out of their bodies. The ground shook hard from the screams and yells coming out of their mouths. The endless onslaught of rain flooded the already eroding hillside and threatened to destroy the homes on the hilltop. The massive seawall originally built 50 years ago was holding up—for now.
It was the year 2100 and water, the thing that matters to all life, was wiping out life itself. A world so wondrous—with sea creatures, land animals, and humans of all colors, religions, and differences—was being annihilated, and it was soul-crushing to see. A year ago, the last surviving 1,000 humans were gathered and put on electric cargo ships to make the journey here to this hill. Many didn’t understand why it needed to end like this, even though the warning signs had been there for more than 100 years and alarm bells had been ringing for almost 50 years.
But the scientists understood. The scientists said, “Do it now. We will be best prepared if we are all together. The end of our time is near.”
The 1,000 now referred to themselves as “Earthlings,” a label none of them liked. But they understood the reason for it: they were likely the last group of people who would ever live on planet Earth. Were they the last who would remember all the history of this planet—the extinction of the dinosaurs, the ice ages, the three world wars, and now the end of the universe as they knew it?
On Earth, almost all of the land was gone—exterminated, like bugs in houses. Soledad was the last populated city on the planet. However, in three days, a Killer Super Cyclone with blistering winds of 250 mph was expected to make landfall. Nothing like it had ever hit the coastline; the chances for survival were slim to none.
It was three days till EOC—End of Civilization.
To read on, preorder your copy of the book now!
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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