A note from William Rubel
This week the newsletter coincides with the release of our new December issue: our second annual food issue! It is filled with evocations of food in all its possible guises, and some fully tested (delicious) recipes that you might want to try over the holidays. There is so much to like about this issue that it’s hard to know what to call out. I’ll focus on the photography and mention Ula Pomian’s photograph, "In the Land of Bananas". As with all of Ula’s work, you can see that she has a very clear point of view. Brilliant! The wrap-around cover photograph, "Snow in Clouds", by Hannah Parker, also the photographer of our much-loved June cover ("Red Fern", the goat), is beautiful with a complexity that makes this an image you can come back to many times. I urge you to click the link to see the whole picture. The image is of snow falling through bare tree branches at night. But I could also see the clouds at the top of the photo as interstellar gas clouds, with the snowflakes being stars. Thank you, Hannah.
I’m not going to try to improve on Editor Emma’s introduction to the complete issue:
Print subscribers should be receiving their issues now (they were mailed in mid-November: ours arrived yesterday), and digital subscribers can log in now to read the full issue. And you can always order additional print copies in the Stone Soup online store. Don't miss it.
The 2018 Annual, along with the new fully revised, expanded, and redesigned Stone Soup Books of... are all shipping out to those who preordered them, as I write. All products are mailed out within two days of your order.
One of the pleasures of a small business is that you develop personal relationships with suppliers. The Annual and other books and products in our online store are shipped by my now longtime friend Martha Macambridge. Martha and her team have been mailing Stone Soup on and off over the last 40 years! The photo shows one of her assistants, Joaquin Garcia-Magallanes, stuffing the 2018 Annual into envelopes earlier this week. Thank you, Joaquin!
For holiday gifts: All print subscriptions and other book and product orders ship within two days of being received.
- Print and digital subscriptions, monthly or annual, via our website and fulfilment house
- Annuals, anthologies, notebooks, and sketchbooks in the Stone Soup online store
Food For Thought
This week, I’d like to focus on one of our regular bloggers and Stone Soup author Sabrina Guo, who just posted an extraordinary essay. Sabrina, as those of you who follow her blog posts know, often writes about Syrian war refugees. In this post she really outdid herself. She actually set up Skype calls with Laura Doggett, who runs a photography and filmmaking collective with Jordan refugee camps. Through Laura she spoke with a couple of young women caught up in the Syrian War.
In her own introduction to her blog post Sabrina writes,
“Through speaking with them, I began to see the importance of storytelling as a way of connecting and forming bonds with others.”
In a profound way, this is what Stone Soup is about. Storytelling as a way of making sense of your own life and of making connections and bonds with others. I don’t want to summarize what Sabrina wrote—please read it yourselves here: "Amplifying Voices with Another Kind of Girl Collective". It’s an important piece of work.
Inspired by Sabrina’s work, we have decided to have a special Stone Soup issue in 2019 featuring the creative work of children caught up in war, wherever they are in the world. We will plan the issue in more detail in the early part of 2019, and we will reach out to those of you who may want to help with the issue. In addition to the special issue, we will create a dedicated space on our website where the voices of children caught up in wars can be heard. Donations made for our refugee project will be dedicated to this important work.
Until next week,
The first free subscriptions have already been awarded in our 45th birthday promotion! Congratulations and thank you to K. Newlands!
Stone Soup was 45 years old this year. We are celebrating that birthday and celebrating being back in print with an offer to our loyal readers. Can you help us meet our target of 1,000 new print subscribers by the end of the year? We are offering free subscriptions and extra prizes at various points along the way, all tied into our age.
- Every 45th subscriber will receive a free subscription (and we are so close to the next threshold, it could be you this weekend!)
- The 450th and 900th subscribers will receive a free subscription, plus copies of all ten of the Stone Soup books in our collection (8 anthologies and 2 Annuals).
- And, the 1,000th will receive all of that, plus a free site license for the institution–school or public library–of their choice.
It's easy to subscribe: visit this page. This particular promotion will continue until we meet our target or get to the end of the year, whichever comes first. Please share this with everyone you think would benefit from joining the readership of Stone Soup.
We have an exciting partnership in place with Miacademy, the interactive learning site for K-8th grade. Writing from Stone Soup is being featured on their site, and Miacademy subscribers have the opportunity to submit their work to us. As part of this partnership, our friends at Miacademy are offering generous discounts to Stone Soup subscribers: 20 to 40 percent off, depending on which type of subscription you purchase. To find out more about Miacademy and explore the various services on offer, visit their website and read the information for parents. If you choose to join, simply enter the code STONESOUP2018at the checkout to receive your discount.
Secret Kids contest
This is our regular reminder to young, long-form authors that we are running a contest in partnership with Mackenzie Press: the Secret Kids Contest. All of the details are on our website–suffice to say, that if you are under the age of 18 and working on a book-length piece of writing, you should be thinking about getting it ready to submit by the end of the year to be in with a chance of winning one of the amazing prizes–a publishing contract.
From Stone Soup
By Margaret Bryan, 11
Illustrated by Haluk Akay, 11
“Pomegranate, apple, or bunch of grapes?” Mom asked, just asking out of sheer politeness, as she knew what the answer would be.
“Pomegranate, please,” her three daughters said in unison. Mrs. Loft sliced the brilliant red fruit in quarters, passed each girl a quarter and took the remainder of the sphere for herself.
The two younger girls picked the seeds from the white, inedible and bitter “meat” of the fruit, but Elsabeth, the eldest of Mrs. Loft’s three children at thirteen, looked down at her slice with distaste and surprised her mother on a sudden whim.
“Mom, do you have any leftovers of last night’s blueberry pie, or did Lucille and I finish it this morning?”
Mrs. Loft blinked, surprised by her daughter’s sudden inquiry. Shaking her head and regaining her usual calm senses she looked intently about the interior of the hamper. “No,” she said to Elsabeth, “I’m afraid there is none left.”
It was then that Mr. Loft turned his head slightly from his driving. “I’ll have Elsa’s quarter of pomegranate if she does not care to eat it,” Pa spoke in a bittersweet, chocolaty voice, which made Mom turn her head the opposite way to hide the scowl that had shattered her usually composed features. She detested her husband’s voice, because in her opinion, it was too fictional. No voice was like that in real life. But she had made up for her disapproval by being known to say that, other than his voice, Mr. Loft had no other visible faults.
Road signs protruded from the cold snow every few feet on either side of the vehicle. The wintry white scenery was like a giant blanket spread over a vast expanse of flat terrain, or an electric blue tarp keeping the plants safe from a harsh frost, the heavy wrinkles forming what makes the continental crust of our Earth land: hills and valleys, mountains and even minute anthills.
The Confederation Bridge loomed into sight as Dad plucked a scarlet pomegranate seed shiny in luster and held it up to the light before popping it into his mouth. Elsabeth, slightly paranoid for her thirteen years, looked up in alarm.
“Pa, I would watch closer at where I was going, if I were you,” she said irritably, before adding hastily, “I don’t know much about driving of course, as I have only just reached my teens.” Mr. Loft was very particular about what others had to say about his maneuvering abilities. However, he heeded his daughter’s warning, and placed the remaining pomegranate into the cup holder next to him. He grasped the steering wheel tightly, and screwed up his eyes in mock concentration. Eve laughed at her father’s false expression of serious deliberation.
A claret red car passed the Lofts’ vehicle, its bright hue reflecting off the colorless, almost transparent shade of mystic silver of the automobile’s exterior. Its speed was impregnable, and the crimson car wobbled back and forth on the smoky gray road, every now and then passing a boundary of brilliant yellow, the line that separated the two obscure lanes.
“Well I’ll be!” Mr. Loft said . . . /more
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