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Canadian Beach
"Canadian Beach" by Tessa Papastergiou, 11 (Kitchener, Ontario, Canada) Published in Stone Soup, February 2019

A note from Jane

First things first: this is the final weekend for everyone working on a book for our 2020 Book Contest to make their final edits, take a deep breath, and submit their manuscripts via Submittable. The contest closes on Monday! Emma, our editor, is back from maternity leave and can’t wait to starting reading through the contest entries.

After the strange year we have had, you might think you have all earned a rest this summer—whether you have submitted your art, music, or writing; completed a book for our contest attended our writing workshop; responded to our Daily Creativity prompts; and/or entered our weekly Flash Contests. But no—we have a new challenge for you through the rest of August! Poetry submissions will be free of charge for the rest of the month. Polish up some poems, write some new ones, and send them in for Emma to consider. Now is the time! Seize the day, keep on writing, and send us your poetry soon.

This week we are highlighting another poetry collection that placed second in last year’s Book Contest, and which makes up half of our the Stone Soup summer issue: Searching for Bow and Arrows by Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer. It is also available in our online store and on Amazon as an individual ebook. These are poems about family and collective memory, reflecting deeply on experiences past, present, and future. The poem we are sharing in this weekend’s newsletter has evocative imagery, and (for me at least) is filled with melancholy:

People toss wet seaweed, as if it’s a joke
To lose one’s memories.

We have talked before about how different individuals can experience apparently the same things completely differently, and what rich matter that is for creative work—whether it’s how we see a color, experience a flavor, feel about an event, or interpret a person’s character. This poem represents the possibilities of these differing perspectives in such a subtle, beautiful way. One person’s carefree beach game is another’s painful experience of loss, or at least a pause for thought. While we sincerely hope you are all having many, many carefree moments this summer, we also hope that you will take the time to write or make art in your more reflective moments, and that you will be bold and share your work with us when you do!

Until next week,

Winners from Weekly Flash Contest #18

Weekly Flash Contest #18: Choose one of three opening lines from classic novels, and use it as the starting point for your own short story.

The week commencing July 27 (Daily Creativity Prompt #91) was our eighteenth week of flash contests, and produced a lot of entries. Our entrants took the opening words of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, or I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, in all sorts of creative directions. The pieces we received ranged from stories about extreme weather to family and family history—and to some introspective narratives. We immensely enjoyed reading all of the writing we received; well done to everyone for your work on this challenge.

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.


“Wash the World Away” by Fern Hadley, 11 (Cary, NC)
“Streaks” by Rachel Feldman, 10 (Narberth, PA)
“My Manderley” by Anna Haakenson, 12 (Beach Park, IL)
“A Letter” by Shuyin Liu, 8 (Kirkland, WA)
“Pour Your Heart Into the Sink” by Alice Xie, 12 (West Windsor, NJ)

Honorable Mentions
“No Possibility” by Katherine Bergsieker, 12 (Denver, CO)
“The Light Will Come Through Again” by Sneha Jiju, 12 (Chandler, AZ)
“Dream and Dream More . . .” by Prisha Aswal, 7 (Portland, OR)
“In the Kitchen Sink” by Allie Dollar, 11 (Monticello, FL)
“Deadly Heat Wave” by Nishil KC, 10 (Chantilly, VA)

Highlights from the past week online

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

In her poem “Gas Mask,” Madi captures a scary scene in just a few words.

Samson, 13, writes a similarly frightening poem, perfectly describing the feeling of “Overwhelming Panic.”

Grace, 11, reviews the book The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart. Read her post to learn why it’s one of the few books that has “truly spoken” to Grace.

Check out Aaron’s digital artwork—a portrait of him as an island. Plus, read his paragraph that explains the work, including how it relates to the pandemic.

Read Jackson’s short, humorous piece called “Quarantine Robbery.”

We posted an update from our writing workshop #18, where the topic was writing about food. So many creative pieces written during the workshop!

Have you ever been to Norway? Vivaan writes his latest travelogue on his time in the Scandinavian country, with beautiful pictures of the fjords and some recommendations for where to visit.

Julia, 13, wrote a story called “My Starduster Friends,” which tells the tale of one girl’s time in quarantine and the book series she picks up and can’t seem to put down.

In “The Invention,” Mckenna, 8, dreams of a world where a young girl creates a machine to make life during coronavirus much easier.

Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer

From the July/August 2020 issue of Stone Soup

Memories Caught in Seaweed

by Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer, 13 (Brookline, MA)

From Searching for Bow and Arrows,
awarded Second Place in our 2019 Book Contest! 

>Wet feet on the sand
Touching the seaweed.

Memories dissolve in the tide,
People toss wet seaweed, as if it's a joke
To lose one’s memories.

Yet when the seaweed dries in the sand,
It forms a grid
And returns to life . . .
Memory restored.

To read more of the collection, go to your copy of the Summer issue of Stone Soup, or purchase the ebook version of Searching for Bow and Arrows in our online store or at Amazon.

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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