A note from Ryan
A Little Bit About Me
Since this is my first newsletter as the editorial intern for Stone Soup’s Editor-in-Chief Emma Wood, I wanted to take a moment to briefly introduce myself. I’m a rising junior at the University of Richmond, where I’m double-majoring in Journalism and Leadership Studies. I currently reside in my hometown of Chicago, a few blocks away from the mailbox where I submitted my first Stone Soup story, which appeared on the “Honor Roll” of the September/October 2016 issue. Aside from being a passionate writer and avid reader, I enjoy running in my neighborhood, playing soccer, and going on walks with my friends and parents.
Now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, we find ourselves immersed in the middle of the summer. Characterized by its longer days and warmer nights, this stretch of the year is effectively captured by Cyrus Kummer’s pastel drawing Ember Cube—its vibrant orange tones evoke the sweltering heat of summer. There is something comforting about the heat, enveloping you in a warm hug the second you step out your front door.
As you head out, I urge you to grab the latest edition of Stone Soup and flip the pages to the first few chapters of The Other Realm by Tristan Hui, the 2020 winner of the Book Contest. The novel, which chronicles two friends battling familial conflict and discovering the meaning of home, engages readers from the beginning with descriptive details of the rooms within their respective homes. This week, I invite you to write about your favorite place, whether it be a room in your home, a store in your town, or a family-favorite vacation spot, and capture the small details in the environment. Think about the sounds in the location—can you hear a whisper of voices nearby or the cars rumbling past? Notice if there are any specific aspects within the place that you wouldn’t find elsewhere—is there paint missing on the walls from hanging photographs or are there rings on the coffee table left behind by mugs filled with warm beverages? Write down everything you observe there. You can use your written description to fill in the setting for a longer story or novel, or it can stand on its own as a brief vignette or poem.
Till next time,
Book Contest 2021
To submit your manuscript, please visit our submittable site.
Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
Ismini, 12, wrote a glowing five-star review of V.E. Schwab’s 2020 historical fantasy novel The Invisible Life of Addie Larue.
Make sure to read April’s (13) review of Marissa Meyer’s 2016 novel, Heartless, a speculative prequel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Priscilla, 8, wrote about her experience seeing Machu Picchu viscachas for the first time.
Calling all 9-14-year-olds to Virtual Summer Camp!
It's not too late to join our summer classes with Young Inklings–we have a few spaces left in all our July classes. Each interactive writing camp runs for two hours per day, Monday through Thursday, with plenty of prompts and activities for you to take away and use outside class, too. Have fun writing and learning with us this month!
July 12-15 (starting this Monday!) - join our founder and original teacher William for his Playwriting class
July 19-22 - practice creative Food Writing with Jane (grab a lemon and click the image on the right to try a sample activity)
July 26-29 - learn from two generations who have started journals before in Start Your Own Literary Journal - with Stone Soup '20—21 intern Anya & Jane
July 26-29 - get a new perspective on Creative Writing Through Art with Jiang
By Tristan Hui, 15 (Menlo Park, CA)
Illustrated by Rosemary Brandon, 10 (Nashville, TN)
Chapter One Continued
All About the Two Realms introduced the concept that there was more than one realm in existence, that there was another realm below the one in which Montero sprawled, made up of people similar to humans but not entirely the same. This was possibly the detail that sank the idea—no one in Montero was ready to welcome an alien race to their city. According to Dr. Colton, if you believed in both realms, it was possible to travel between them when a black moon coincided with a low tide—and in the lower realm, it was common knowledge that the upper one existed.
Dr. Arnold Colton and his book were banned from Montero and the surrounding region almost immediately after its release, the publishers pulled out of their contract with the city’s library, and most anyone who had previously been fascinated by this new worldview stowed the book hastily somewhere dark and never spoke of their infatuation with it again—but Henry Morroe felt no shame in taking instruction from a banned book, and neither did his daughter.
It was said that this realm held an island that provided the perfect star-charting vantage point, with spectacular views of a few planets not yet known to the people of Montero. The sleek black rock rose up out of the water and gave way quickly to dense forest—not a grain of sand to be found, despite the vast desert that stretched out across the strait. Apparently, this enclave was no tropical vacation spot but the trade capital of the realm and abuzz with all nature of activities. People of all shapes and sizes flocked to the isle to sell a variety of colorful, extraordinary goods, and many of them liked it so much that they simply stayed. The capital city loomed not far from the harbor, and beyond that green hills, interrupted only by the occasional tiny hamlet, ambled along, grasses swaying. Not many people lived around there, and the sky was pitch black—that, Dr. Colton claimed, was the place where you could see the stars with your naked eye.
Henry was certain that if he were to bring information from this wonderland to his lab, they would surely take him back. And Azalea, wishing to bring her father happiness in any way possible, agreed.
Although Azalea Morroe was no longer a child, she had not yet discerned the difference between insanity and sanity, had not yet realized that her father was edging closer and closer to the former. She still took his word for truth without a second thought, looking to him for guidance as a flower to the sun—unaware that he too relied on her.
Most of the time, the two lived contentedly together in their little flat, and for the fifteen years that Azalea had been alive, the occupancy of the place had never exceeded two people. Her mother had run off as soon as Azalea was born, but she was missed as often as father and daughter fought. There were no photographs of her, and Azalea often wondered if her mother had given her the hair like coffee grounds that kinked tightly when it was braided, or the shortness of her figure—Henry was straight-haired, previously blond, and tall. But for the size of their home, the number of inhabitants was plenty. There was one bathroom at the end of the hall, then the study, then Henry’s room, then Azalea’s across from it, and finally the tiny kitchen and the living room. Books and papers covered every available surface. If you looked out the living room window, you could see one of Montero’s cobblestone streets below, and the window box of the family who lived in the flat beneath them filled to the brim with hardy flowers. The Morroes had filled their window box with books.
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.