Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In

The Little Mermaid
"Little Mermaid" by Rebecca Wu, 9 (Medina, WA)

A note from Sarah

Did you catch Amanda Gorman’s powerful poem at the inauguration earlier this week? If not, I highly recommend you check it out here. Gorman is the first ever Youth Poet Laureate for the United States.

And that’s not the only inaugural poem this week! Sofie Dardzinski, 10, wrote “Notes on our Nation,” which we published on our blog this week. Take a minute to read that one too, if you missed it.

Though there is much that could be said about these two poems, I’m going to keep my analysis brief because I believe the words of these young poets speak for themselves.

Thematically, these two poems cover similar territory. Both young poets wrestle with the inheritance of a divided, “unfinished” nation. Gorman presents us with visual metaphors, like a “never-ending shade” that has felt impossible to escape in recent years. In contrast, Sofie uses the language of music. “Dissonant chords and jagged notes” characterize the music that Americans have been playing, according to Sofie’s poem.

And while both poets use expressive language to describe the “imperfect union” that is the United States, they also end on a hopeful note.

I thought of both of these poems when I read Ronit Plank’s article in The Seattle Times about the hope she felt reading entries for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards (which some of our contributors have gone on to win). These are difficult times to grow up in, but as Plank notes, young writers prove again and again how “Writing, creating and thinking of another path forward is its own kind of light in the darkness.” Or as Gorman puts it, “For there is always light, / if we’re only brave enough to see it / if we’re only brave enough to be 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!

Pragnya, 12, reviewed Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. Read her review to find out why she found the book full of interesting characters and relatable situations.

As we mentioned above, Sofie wrote a lovely inaugural poem, “Notes on our Nation.” Take a few minutes to read it and reflect on her words.

We posted another Stone Soup author interview to the blog! This time Anya interviewed Enni Harlan. The two young writers talk about writing novels, researching for historical fiction, and so much more.

Vivaan writes about the enduring appeal of Sherlock Holmes, and why the character and his “Theory of Deduction” is so fascinating.

The Little Mermaid

From Stone Soup
January 2021


By Rose Amer, 10 (Belmont, MA)
Illustrated by Rebecca Wu, 9 (Medina, WA)

Sawterra had a terrible name. She wished she had been called something beautiful, like Janis or Jasmine. But no. She had to be named Sawterra.

Sawterra, I am sorry to say, looked exactly like her name. She had matted brown hair, muck-green eyes, and a sallow, drooping face. She had a height of nearly six feet, but was far wider than she was tall. She was flabby and sallow and drooping, and she wished more than anything to be beautiful.

One day, as Sawterra was walking along, dragging her feet in the mud, she came across a stone gargoyle stuck deep in the ground. It was a tangle of scaly gray legs and arms and claws and tails, and its huge, gaping mouth looked wide enough to swallow a bowling ball. Sawterra took a great liking to it, as it looked so much like herself.

“I feel sorry for that gargoyle,” she said aloud, though no one else was around. “I know what it feels like to be ugly.”

And she pulled the gargoyle out of the ground and carried it home in her thick, floppy arms.

. . . /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.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.