“Umbrellas”. Photograph by Marlene Rohde, 12, the cover of Stone Soup, February 2019.
A note from William Rubel
I’d like to start this week’s newsletter by talking about the remarkable February issue. Our editor, Emma Wood, put together an issue that departs from our normal structure. You will find a novella, a poetry cycle, a cycle of four poems and a drawing about the seasons, and a varied selection of art throughout the chapters of the novella. The novella, by 11-year-old Harper Miller, is the core of the issue by virtue of its length—but all of the work was selected to form a harmonious whole.
It is an honor to publish Harper’s novella. Longer works of fiction are more difficult to shape and finish than shorter stories. As a writer myself, I can speak about this from experience. It’s increasingly easy to lose one’s way the longer a piece becomes. “Dancing in the Rain” rewards the attentive reader. The story is calm, but deep. I hope you all like it as much as I do. If any of you are working on a longer-form piece of fiction, please persevere to the end and then submit it to Stone Soup so Emma can consider your work. We are flexible about length, so don’t worry about how many pages it is.
William’s weekend project
Look at “Umbrellas,” the cover illustration for the February issue. Wow! A study of color. A study of spacial relationships—the very distant sky, the clouds, and the near but still-out-of-reach umbrellas all appear to be attached to separate planes. And which way are they curving? Looking at the photograph I feel stillness. Cold. Ethereal beauty. Balance. What are your responses to the photograph? Pick up your phone or camera and take your own photograph that captures at least one of your own responses, or write your thoughts about Marlena’s photograph in the comments section on our website. As I suggest so often, do this whether you are a Stone Soup-age reader or whether you are older. And, if you are a Stone Soup age writer or artists, consider sending us your work using the Submit button.
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!
The review of Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy, by Nina Vigil, raises interesting questions about how as a reviewer one should best approach reviewing a book series.
Two interesting pieces by Stone Soup bloggers. The first is a poetic work by a young writer called “The Blue Chair.” This piece is a reminder that very young children can create work that makes you think. “Sledding,” by Maya V., reminds me of the years during my childhood when we lived in Washington, DC. It didn’t snow often, but when it did snow enough for sledding—as Maya describes—we’d immediately go to a sledding spot. Being able sled was so rare, and I was always so excited!
From Stone Soup
Dancing in the Rain: A Novella
By Harper Miller, 11
This book is dedicated to my little brother, Theo, for encouraging me to try.
Hi! My name is Harper Miller, and I want to be an author when I grow up. I live with my very old dog, Oscar, my Mom and Dad, and my little brother, Theo (with me in the picture above), who is three years younger than me. I started my book on May 11, 2017, when I was 10 and finished on November 27, 2017, and now I am 11. I worked a lot on this book, and I want to say thank you to my Mom and Dad, who helped make this possible. Also, thank you to my editor (and close friend), Mackenzie. You might wonder why I wrote about a girl going through a drought. Here is my answer. I wrote this book to show that a child can make a difference in the world, even when things might be looking pretty bad. Writing this book was one of the many highlights of my life so far. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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