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A Glimpse of Winter
"A Glimpse of Winter" by Hannah Parker, 13 (South Burlington, VT), published in Stone Soup December 2019

A note from William Rubel

For our adult readers

Firstly, I'd like to thank those of you who have so far given to our Annual Fundraising Drive. Your vote of confidence in us is much appreciated. Thank you.

Donations are a huge help to us. Like most cultural organizations the basic charges–like the entrance fee, ticket price, or in our case, subscription revenue–don't fully cover our budgets. The bulk of our income–and the way we further our nonprofit purpose–comes from selling subscriptions to Stone Soup, and through selling books by kids. By and for children. That is what Stone Soup is all about. Empowering children to read and to be creative by publishing the best work by their peers.

Books make the best gifts

Our newest anthology, The Stone Soup Book of Science Fiction is shipping now! This brings the number of Stone Soup anthologies to 9: over 1800 pages of short stories and poems by young authors; treasure trove of reading material. The 2019 Annual (all 458 pages of it!) is also shipping as I write. Take advantage of the special holiday discounts we have on both groups of books:

-Buy the Stone Soup Book of Science Fiction at full price ($10); get any other anthologies for just $6.50 each.

-Buy one Stone Soup Annual 2019 at full price ($34.99); get $10 off 2018 and $15 0ff 2017.

These discounts will be automatically applied in our Online Store while stocks last. You can also buy all our books on Amazon (at full price). If you buy on Amazon, please consider making Children's Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc. your selected Amazon Smile charity.

Please also keep Stone Soup subscriptions in mind for the Holidays. Monthly and Yearly Subscriptions are available at our website.

And now–on to the main subject of today's Newsletter!

For everyone–William's Weekend Project

The story we are featuring today, "There Goes the Sun," from the current issue of Stone Soup includes a recording of the story read by the author, Phoebe Donovan. The recording is a really fine one and joins the many other audio files posted to the Stone Soup SoundCloud account. I encourage more of you to explore this treasure trove of spoken word and musical compositions by Stone Soup's authors and composers. I haven't mentioned young composers for some time. Your compositions are always welcome. There is a submission category for music on the Submissions page.

Phoebe's "There Goes the Sun" includes passages of incredible intensity. I call your attention in particular to the opening scene in the subway car. This is a brilliant evocation of the sensation of sitting in a subway, bus, car, train, airplane, where you are at once very present–registering every detail of your surroundings–and at the same time your mind is wandering.

And, when you get up and leave the vehicle you were in to re-enter the world, you are often in an in-between state. The word for this is a "liminal" state: not exactly here, and not exactly there. This is how Phoebe captures this moment:

He wobbled off the subway and into daylight. The sun against his skin felt like an electrical shock. How was it that he felt so weak and vulnerable?

The strength of Phoebe's writing is her ability to make her characters seem real through brilliantly imagined feelings–bodily feelings and emotional feelings.

I don't want to say more about "There Goes the Sun" because I don't want to give the premise or the unfolding events away. Read it for yourself. And then, I'd like you to write a story that brings a character to an in-between state. A liminal state. The classic liminal state that we all experience is when we may be falling asleep or waking up but are experiencing a feeling of being neither asleep or awake! Or, there are often points in relationships when you are becoming friends or stopping being friends where you might not really be sure–are you friends? Yes? No? Something in between? Some of you reading the Newsletter are tweens (an official label that more than hints at in-betweenness!), and feeling that you are not quite a kid but also not quite a teenager.

I want you to think about this "in-between" idea, and then incorporate it into a story or a poem. When you are happy with something, you know where to send it. We look forward to reading it.

Until next week,

Highlights from the past week online

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

On Monday, we posted a review by Arielle, 13, of Langston Hughes's poem "Dreams" (which you can read here). She discusses how Hughes expertly uses repetition and metaphors to make the short poem meaningful.

Then on Thursday, Keshav reviewed E. B. White's classic children's book The Trumpet of the Swan. Keshav writes: "With elements of humor, suspense, and realistic imagery, The Trumpet of the Swan is a classic that many people will easily relate to and that you just can’t read too many times." Read the rest of the review here.

Personal Narrative Contest Closes Tomorrow!

Are you ready to submit your entry? Get it in before tomorrow's closing date!

Read more on our contest page, and submit at the link here.
Winners will be announced in early 2020.

And remember, everyone has access to the free series of tips for improving your writing, made specially for this contest by our partners at the Society of Young Inklings. The video series and the tips for revision are helpful for this contest and for writing projects in general.

A Glimpse of Winter
Nikon Coolpix L830

From Stone Soup December 2019

There Goes the Sun

By Phoebe Donovan, 11 (Boulder, CO)

Robin stared at the orange plaid subway seat across from him, thinking about his father. How he always liked listening to “Yellow Submarine.” How after all that Robin had been through, his dad’s favorite song was still played all across the world.

The subway seats went fuzzy as visions and voices swam into focus. It was as if he’d been transported somewhere else entirely without moving an inch, somewhere strange and unpleasant, yet oddly familiar. And as quickly as it came, it left, and he found himself staring at the empty seat cushion, where he saw only fabric and thread and heard only the grinding of the subway wheels.

Robin almost fell out of his seat. His head was spinning. He felt like he was going to be sick.

As the car took a long lurch, his trumpet case nearly slid away from the grasp of his feet. He lifted it to his lap and went over the notes to a C Major scale in his mind until the speaker called out the stop for Ms. Merry’s neighborhood.

Robin collected his things (and with them his thoughts) and readied himself. He had decided not to mention what had just happened to Mrs. Merry. He didn’t think she would believe him. He wasn’t sure he believed it himself.

He wobbled off the subway and into daylight. The sun against his skin felt like an electrical shock. How was it that he felt so weak and vulnerable? .../MORE

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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