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The Stone Soup Annual 2017 cover artist, Kathleen Werth, with her copy of the Annual (with thanks to her mom for the photo)

A note from William Rubel

The 2017 Stone Soup Annual has arrived at many of your homes. You see here in the photograph Kathleen Werth, the young artist who painted our beautiful cover, reading her copy. Note the bookmarks at all of the stories she wants to get back to! At 370 pages the Annual provides hours of reading. If you don't have your copy yet we will be able to ship it to you after Christmas. And, the 2018 Annual can be pre-ordered now as a stand-alone volume or as part of a digital print bundle.

For those of you who prefer reading the issues as issues we have just put up a page under the main menu bar containing all the issue PDFs for 2017. This page is only available to subscribers. Subscribers can go to the page and download the same PDFs used to print Stone Soup issues and which make up the print Annual. I think the best way to read PDFs is on your iPad or other tablet. So, if you have a tablet, look at this page from your tablet. I have an iPad. I read my Stone Soup issues in iBooks.

Tastes of Christmas

If you haven't already read and cooked your way through the December Food Issue, why not spend some time eating with Stone Soup over the holidays? There is a whole range of fantastic recipes for you to try, including some specifically for Christmas. From our December issue you can try Catherine Gruen's spicy and soothing Ponche Navideño (Christmas Punch) and Ella Martinez Nocito's crumbling Christmas Cookies, while the latest post from our young blogger Sarah Cymrot conjures up the warmth of Christmas baking and family traditions in Traditions and Monkey Bread. What are your favorite foods from this time of year? Post a comment on our website to let us know about the tastes and smells that evoke the holidays for you - and if you try out any of the Stone Soup recipes, post a picture and tell us how it turned out!


Creativity in the Holidays

Stone Soup is about creativity. You kids are used to being "asked" in school to write a story, write an essay, write a poem, draw a picture, etc. And, of course your parents, grandparents, and other adults you encounter in your life, including your teachers, when they were kids they were creative, too. They had to be because their grades, like yours, depended upon it.

Stone Soup is about moving the motivation to use the arts outside of the school room to record, interpret, and deepen your real-life experiences. While we hope that you kids who read Stone Soup will be inspired to be creative yourselves --- "hey, I can write as well as that" or "hey, I'm a better writer than that" -- we also hope to inspire the adults in your lives to be brave and sit down and write or draw or use their phone to take a photograph that is thoughtful -- an image intended as creative expression, not just a snap, just like you do.

So. The December issue was our first food issue. Everyone gets four free articles a month at stonesoup.com, so I hope that all of you have at least looked at your four free articles, and homed in on the food. Nearly 600 of you have received copies of the Stone Soup 2017 Annual. Look at the food issue in December.

Now, as food food food is the theme of this school holiday, what I'd like to be able to write about next week is the great work that you kids AND your parents, aunts, uncles, close family friends and grandparents have done to make this 2017 Christmas week a creative one.

I'd like you to send me photographs, drawings, paintings, and recipes that are about the holiday. As food is central to most of our holiday and Christmas celebrations I'd expect a lot of the work you do to be centered around food. I think that recipes are a good kind of a project for joint family efforts. Adults and kids can work on recipes that include a headnote -- the story that precedes the recipe -- illustrations for the recipe in the form of photographs, drawings, or paintings, and the recipe itself. When you send me recipes please be sure to note if it is a family project.

If you are on a family vacation, then share with us something about that. Again, I'd like you kids to try to get parents and grandparents involved, too. In this case, remember that what is easy for you might be hard for them. As an incentive to the adults in your life -- I would like to be able to feature at least one family- or friendship group-produced creative project in next week's newsletter.

OK. The "where to send" details. If you think you have something you'd like to see in an issue at stonesoup.com and then in the 2018 Print Annual, you should submit it to Stone Soup the standard way. I will look at the submissions this week, too. But if you made something that you simply want me to consider as a one-off to share with the Newsletter audience, then send it to me at newsletter@stonesoup.com.

Until next week,



From Stone Soup
November/December 2007

A Calf for Christmas

By William Gwaltney, 12
Illustrated by the author

It was Christmas Eve, and everything was ready. Presents had been purchased with great care months before. Yesterday they had been wrapped in dozens of pretty papers and decorated with beautiful bows. Now they sat like sparkling jewels in a pirate’s treasure chest, under the fragrant boughs of a giant spruce. The farmhouse was filled with tinsel and holly and light.

The dining room table was covered with a white tablecloth, and red and green candles stood in silver candle holders waiting to be lit. Golden streams of light poured down from the dining room chandelier onto plates heaped high with frosted cookies in the shapes of snowmen and reindeer and elves. Soon these plates would need to be moved to make way for the huge Christmas Eve feast that was almost ready.

From the kitchen came the smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, and of a golden brown turkey almost too big for the oven. On the stove, every burner was in use. Steam was pouring out from underneath the lids on various pots, fogging up the windows in the farmhouse kitchen. The sink was filled with pots and pans and utensils, and the counters were happily cluttered. As the mother worked, chopping, stirring, and checking the pots, she sang along with the Christmas carols coming from the nearby radio.

Suddenly the door to the outside burst open and happy voices filled the air. Having finished their evening chores, the children rushed into the house, each trying to be the first to reach the Christmas cookies in the dining room. Max, thinking himself too old for such childish behavior at twelve, slowly removed his shoes and walked seriously into the kitchen. He called out to his younger sisters, “You leave those cookies alone! You’ll all spoil your appetites for supper!” His mother grinned.

“Now you sound like me,” she said. “Before I know it, you’ll be taking over my kitchen and doing the cooking as well.” .../more

Reader Interactions


  1. The absolutely best opportunity ever. Kathleen and her family will forever cherish this photo of her with her art on the Annual 2017’s cover with its TREASURE of select children’s creativity over the past year.

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