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Beauty Among Ancient Walls | Peri Gordon, 11 (Sherman Oaks, CA) published in Stone Soup December 2021

A note from William

Laura Moran, who runs the Stone Soup Refugee Project and wrote the beautiful letter below, had her first Skype session with the girls at the Angela Jolie primary school at the huge Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Thanks to those of you who donated to this campaign and made this happen. More news on this forthcoming. I’d also like to thank all of you who have so far donated to our 2021 Annual drive. As you know, this year we are hoping to raise $50,000 for Stone Soup, which is a lot for us. In a sense, we are asking you to help provide us with the fishing pole we need to once again be self sufficient. To achieve this goal we have a donor who is matching your funds up to $25,000. We have also just signed up at Patreon! You will find two levels — one is a “buy us a coffee” amount, $3.85 a month— and the other is for $10 a month. Thank you.

A note from Laura

As the nights grow longer and the days grow colder, what better time to curl up with the December issue of Stone Soup. And what better place to begin than the beginning! Avital Sagan’s opening story, “The Lonely Radio,” is a punchy, fast-paced story that will catapult you smack into another world. It’s the world of Floracion-a world turned upside down in which an overlooked and bewildered radio must come to terms with its fate.

This story is at once playful and dark. The radio is resilient as the story opens, finding hope, fulfillment, and connection in what’s described as a stagnant existence. Ultimately, the radio surrenders to a sense of helplessness it cannot overcome. It is, after all, a radio. And herein lies the rub…

Can we live our potential without validation from others? Without even a sense of recognition? How can we fulfill our destiny without agency?

Ultimately, this is a story of perspective. As our Stone Soup editor, Emma, reminds us in the Editor’s note, seeking alternative perspectives can increase our sense of understanding and empathy for others with whom we share the world and our lives. Awareness of perspective challenges us to realize that everyone, everything even, serves some purpose or role that exists outside of themselves (or itself!).

This weekend I invite you to take this story, and others in the December issue, as a launching point to play with perspective. Take a photograph as though you were a giant and then an ant. Write a story, or even a section of dialogue, from the perspective of two different characters. Draw the same piece of scenery in the morning and then in the evening. You get the idea! As always, if you’re happy with what you’ve written or created, we would love for you to share and submit it to us via Submittable!


Highlights from the past week online

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

Super reviewer April Yu is back with a glowing review of Stephanie Burgis' brand new novel, The Raven Heir.

Avital Sagan
Avital Sagan, 12 Ithaca, NY

From Stone Soup
December 2021

The Lonely Radio

By Avital Sagan, 12 (Ithaca, NY)

Radios have become old-fashioned. I know that through the snippets of conversation I hear as I sit on my table. Despite that, they’ve never done more than talk about replacing me.

There’s a man who uses me the most often. He has an impressive mustache and is often referred to as “the Communicator” by the people who talk through me.

I connect people who are far away. It may not be the most exciting job—I care very little about human politics—but it’s fulfilling to know what I’m doing is helping people.

And when people aren’t using me, I can look out at the island of Floracion. My room is near the top of a skyscraper that towers over the rest of the city. There are impressively tall buildings and people constantly going about their business, but that’s not the best part. The best part is the flowers.

Floracion is overrun with moonflowers, aptly called “gigantics,” white flowers that only bloom at night and sometimes grow over a dozen feet wide. People make room for them everywhere. On the sides of buildings, in storefronts, on roofs.

Most people are awake during the night to see the flowers, and I can’t blame them. It’s spectacular.

And the Communicator comes into my room every day. He, like me, has an important job. He has to stay awake during the day to communicate with nearby cities and countries. Like me, he’s made a sacrifice—for me, my mobility, for him, his sleep schedule— but we’re both improving Floracion. Together.

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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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