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Bicycle, Elevated (Canon EOS Rebel T7) by Joey Vasaturo, 12; published in Stone Soup January 2023

A note from Emma Wood

Hello all,

I can still remember the first story my daughter, Margot, told: “Once upon a time, Sawyer [her brother] went to sleep.” That was back in June and now, at two years and nine months old, her stories have grown increasingly complex. Last night, she was telling me an incredible tale about a bunny-frog who couldn’t find its way home and ran into an abominable snowman. After a few exploits involving a mountain, a cave, Rudolph (the reindeer), and a chandelier, they went home together and had tea.

Watching her learn how to use language has been thrilling and inspiring in the same way that reading submissions for Stone Soup is thrilling and inspiring: she, and all children in the Stone Soup age range, often use language in totally novel and original ways. Sometimes it’s unintentional—a kind of “happy accident”—but other times it is more than that: she is trying to make a metaphor or simile. “What does it smell like?” I asked her the other day about a cookie she held up to her nose: “It smells like chocolate pancakes!” She’s never eaten chocolate pancakes: she made them up. She reminds me every day that children don’t have to try to be creative and totally original—that creativity and originality are intrinsic to childhood.

As I take the helm of Stone Soup, I have been reflecting on our mission. I see what we do at Stone Soup as valuable in so many ways: we affirm and cultivate that natural creativity of childhood. But we also do so much more: we give children a voice and a platform; we encourage them to read and to write, which in turn fosters critical thinking and deep feeling; through the magazine or our books, we offer an opportunity to slow down, to turn off the devices, and practice true focus.

As I work on updating our mission statement, I would love to hear from you: What makes Stone Soup valuable to you and your family? Write to me at emma@stonesoup.com or join us at our Donor Meeting on January 14 at 10 a.m. PT.

I can’t wait to hear from you.

New year, new term!

We are happy to announce the continuation of our virtual classes for the Winter 2023 term beginning January 21st, 2023! They will run weekly through March 25th.

We are additionally thrilled to once again present Isidore Bethel's filmmaking workshop and are incredibly grateful for his continued partnership with Stone Soup. Also on offer is Conner's popular writing workshop!

For the year of 2023, we plan to alternate Conner's and William's workshops to consolidate and boost enrollment. If you were looking forward to William's class, check back in the spring and try out a course with Conner or Isidore in the meantime!

Introduction to Short-Form Filmmaking with Isidore Bethel, meets at 9 a.m. Pacific Time every Saturday. Isidore is an award-winning filmmaker who will guide students through the process of making their own film. Discussing and writing about other filmmakers and their work will complement the students' own filmmaking journeys. Sign up here for Short-Form Filmmaking.

Conner's Group: At 11 a.m. Pacific Time every week, Conner Basset will teach his writing workshop focusing on the nuts-and-bolts of writing. Conner teaches English at Albright College and has experience instructing younger writers. He is a poet and translator in addition to being a brilliant teacher. Sign up here for Conner's workshop.

From Stone Soup December 2022...

The Story of the Puddle and the Frog

By Ava Shorten, 12

There was once a river. For years, this river had flowed gently all the way from the top of a great mountain down into a forest, where it joined up with tributaries and eventually ran into the sea.

Until, that is, it stopped. The river had been blocked up with sticks and stones at the place where it ran out of the forest and into the sea. No matter how much the poor river tried, it could not trickle in or around this blockage.

The river began to dry up. The sun became high in the sky, until at last the river was nothing but a puddle in the shade of a large willow tree. The puddle was within sight of the ocean, and every day he yearned to reach it, and yet he couldn’t.

One warm summer’s evening, a young frog hopped up to the puddle and began to splash around. The puddle spoke to him.

“Have you ever been to the sea?” he asked the frog. The frog looked around in surprise, and then realized it was the puddle speaking.

“Yes,” replied the frog. “Many times. Have you?”

“Once I was there every day,” said the puddle mournfully. “Until my river was blocked, and I dried up to the size of a puddle. Tell me of it,” he begged. “I long every day to be able to flow into its wonderful coolness, and yet I can’t.”


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.


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