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A note from William Rubel

Submissions! Wow! Many of you were certainly busy over the holidays. We received a spate of submissions in the first couple of days of the New Year. Thank you!

The January issue of Stone Soup is the first issue of our 46th volume year! The issue has been completely redesigned by our wonderful London designer, Joe Ewart. The all-new design brings a fresh look to Stone Soup in PDF and print formats. Subscribers have access to the PDF of every issue from the first of the month. I like to read my Stone Soups on my iPad in iBooks. This issue, and all issues for the year, will be part of the 2018 print annual.

Subscribers can download the PDF from our homepage, and non subscribers can read a couple of articles online to get a taste of what they are missing.

I am sure you will all enjoy the art, poetry and stories in the issue as much as I have. For the Newsletter, I'd like to share with you this month's Editor’s Note from Emma Wood:

I write to you before a crackling fire. It is officially winter in the Santa Cruz mountains, which, for us, means rain, not snow. But I grew up in the Northeast, and so I am dreaming of snow this time of year. And these poems and stories reflect that: many of them are full of the white flakes, bitter winds, and ice. A few, however, reflect the winter we enjoy in California – crisp but still beautiful, a kind of paradise. As for the art: while there are a few wintry images, I worked to bring a splash of color to the short, dark days. Enjoy (perhaps with some hot chocolate!)

In the north, this month is all about the weather! For those of you living through this weekend's extreme weather events in the US (that the meteorologists are calling a "winter bomb") please take photographs, draw pictures, write stories, write poems, compose music, dance, make a documentary film -- use the experience as a source for your creativity. And, of course, please do the same if your climate is completely different at this time of year! Wherever you are, if you make something you think is really really really great that you'd like to share with Emma, then do send it to Stone Soup.

New design

As this is our first redesigned issue in ages I want to talk a little more about the design. Here is the opening contents page. Our designer worked to combine type and color in the pages in truly original ways, that carry through from cover to contents to the pages of work themselves. He thought through every part of the pages; every caption, every layout, and every credit line. We hope you think it is as elegant and beautiful as we do. Thank you, Joe.

Book Club!

Good things keep happening from the NCTE conference we went to in November. Jane Levi and I just had a constructive conversation with the publisher Harper Collins about working with us to create a book club. Harper Collins is willing to send advance copies of books to Stone Soup Book Club members -- these are books that are about to be published but are not yet on sale -- as well as to send us classics from their back list -- like Charlotte's Web.

We are also talking with Harper Collins about setting up author interviews or discussions that club members could participate in. If any of you are in book clubs already and have some ideas for a Stone Soup Book Club - like what you 'd like to get out of such a club, and what kinds of book you'd love to read and review and discuss - let me know by replying to this email.

And, at last, the books we collected at the NCTE convention for you to review have been sent out to many of you who requested books. Thank you for being so patient! They will be arriving this week--and if you don't get one this time, please don't worry, there will be more soon.

Until next week,


first impression two girls
She cuts me off. “It’s Rowen. And I’m busy. Good luck.”

This week's story from the archive... from Stone Soup September/October 2015

First Impression

By Eloise Wendt, 12
Illustrated by Phoebe Wagoner, 12

The white moving truck with faded blue letters pulls into the driveway behind us. I stare ahead at the one-story house that is now ours. Unbelievable. I look down, into my folded hands. The never-ending car trip seems like a bundle of candy right now. Will things keep getting worse?

“Bay,” my mom says gently. I look out the window, oblivious to her coaxing voice. Diandra lets out a snicker. Fine. Let my only sister think I’m an idiot. Works for me. I close my eyes, remembering California. The waves rolling in, the sun beaming down. I take a glance at the harsh reality. Snow falling. Short houses. Lakes, not oceans. Why Minnesota?

Mom deserves the silent treatment. She caused the divorce. She caused the move. Diandra doesn’t care, Mom doesn’t care, and Dad’s all the way on the other side of the world, deciding to live his life in Australia. Why didn’t he take me with him? Why did Mom have to package me up and ship me to the opposite of California with her?

I unbuckle my seatbelt and get out of the car. I hold out a finger and let a snowflake land on it. The delicate thing melts at my touch. Shivering, I tug my scarf tighter.

Diandra hops out of the car, swinging her backpack after her. Only a few more years, I remind myself as she whips her dazzling blond hair around herself. Just a few more years before Diandra can drive off, searching for boys or something. Mom is out next, turning off the car, the old engine stuttering to a stop. She hurries around the car, her high heels clicking as she moves in a strangled run, working against her impossible shoes. I brush aside my mess of dirty-blond hair that is in two knotty braids.

“Bay,” Mom repeats, raising her eyebrows in exasperation. I turn away, facing the street. No cars pass. An occasional jeep or something rolls by, a trail of exhaust following. “Come on, let’s be rational. What can be so bad with change?”.../more

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