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"Orange Landscape" by Eli Breyer Essiam, 10 (Cambridge, MA) Published in Stone Soup July/August 2018

A note from William

A quick note to begin: the second session for the Stone Soup and Society of Young Inklings summer writing camps is still open. If you might be interested, check out the schedule. The classes are starting again soon.

“Wildfire.” The elegant poem by Karinne Ulrey we are featuring today, paired with Orange Landscape by Eli Breyer, speaks to the power of words to change the world. But it also speaks to the need to remain focused with one’s message—a single word, a single sentence, may not be enough. This is true whether one is thinking about changing society as a whole or in just changing oneself. And, of course, sometimes the spark never actually takes.

The pairing of Eli’s painting with Karinne’s poem helps me see it as a complex work of art: The painting’s focus is on orange. Eli has done a beautiful job of working with orange tonalities. Imagine the painting with blues, or greens, or yellows. It would then be a very different painting. Paired with the poem, we read the orange as fire. But one can also read it as a landscape bathed in the hopeful light of dawn or the dying light of a vivid sunset. The sky can be read as smokey flames or as the orange light of sunset glowing in the fog, a common sight where I live in coastal Northern California. Eli’s landscape is well imagined and alive with detail—the trees on the crest of the hill, different styles of building, roads, a windmill. One can get lost in this painting: a dreamscape.

Saturday project
When an artist works in a limited palette, it is called working in a monochrome—mono meaning “one” and chrome meaning “color.” Artists rarely limit themselves to a single color; rather, like Eli, they work in a range of hues within a limited color range. This weekend, I want you to use colored pencils, markers, pens, or paint to create a scene with a single dominant color. Like keys in music, your choice of color will affect the feelings and emotions that your painting evokes.

As always, if you like what you do, go to our Stone Soup website and send it to our editor, Emma, to review for possible publication.

Refugee Project news
To remind you. Several of you generously donated money toward Stone Soup’s Refugee Project. Our goal had been to have a special issue of Stone Soup made up of work by refugee students this past spring. It isn’t just the pandemic that has caused the deadline to slip. It is taking time to build the relationships we need to bring in the work that will speak to the world. Laura Moran, who is in charge of this project, is doing a fabulous job maintaining momentum. We are talking with our web designers about designing a section of the website for some of the material we have received. To be honest, our web designers are very slow!  We are working with them on a general redesign of the site, including a space for refugee material. All I can say is that we are more impatient than you to see the site improved.

Though some of what has been sent to us is exceedingly disturbing, and we have several poems in Arabic that we are having translated, I think we will be able to start sharing material with you within a couple months.

The very best way to support Stone Soup is by subscribing. If you aren’t a subscriber, please join with us this weekend. Inspired by the poem “Wildfire,” I am asking you to join with us in all the great things we are doing with and for young writers and artists. Thank you.

Until next week,

Winners from Weekly Flash Contest #14

Weekly Flash Contest #14: Write a poem or a story where a sudden change in the weather provides a pivotal point.

The week commencing June 29 (Daily Creativity Prompt #71) was our fourteenth week of flash contests—and we would not have guessed so many of you would be inspired by the weather! We had a record number of entries (more than 50 this week, and we were, as usual, very impressed). Everyone brought to life various weather events, from blizzards to rainstorms, in varying forms—from poems (including concrete poems) to prose. The judges had a hard time battling through all that weather, but in the end we emerged, windswept and drenched, into the warm sunshine of decisions made. Well done to everyone who entered, but particular congratulations to those who made it with us through the storm as honorable mentions and winners.

You can read the winning entries for this week (and previous weeks) at the Stone Soup website.


“Cabin Catastrophe” by Isabel Bashaw, 10, Enumclaw, WA
“Michi and Kieto” by Lucy Berberich, 11, Oxford, OH
“Transformation” by Sofie Dardzinski, 9, Potomac, MD
“A Line of Cars” by Wesley Moniz, 9, Belmont, MA
“The Hotel of Angels” by Emerson Swift, 12, Mill Valley, CA

Honorable Mention

“The Flower’s Lesson” by Audrey Fan, 10, Cary, NC
“Driftwood on the Sea” by Meleah Goldman, 10, Oakland, CA
“Rain” by Misha Nasarpuri, 12, Portland, OR
“Rose After Rain” by Amruta Krishnan Srinivasan, 9, San Jose, CA
“The Money Rain” by Cici Zou, 11, Concord, MA

Highlights from the past week online

Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!

In her cartoon “The Virus Should Bring Us Closer,” Rebecca, 9, notes that even though we can't physically close to others, we can still connect virtually.

Michaela, 12, writes her story “The Writer, Artist of Words,” about a writer struggling in quarantine, in the unusual second-person narration style.

In her blog post, Vivian writes about how schools should step up and offer gender-neutral bathrooms for their non-binary and transgender students.

Manasi, 12, wrote about about how coronavirus has changed our lives: “Something feels different, go away COVID-19.”

Though we’ve published reviews of the entire Harry Potter series, Alexis’s review of The Goblet of Fire is the first review of an individual book from the original series that we’ve posted to our blog. Check it out!

For our last Writing Workshop, we asked participants to create two character sketches. Read the impressive work they came up with here.

Raeha, 11, wrote a powerful poem called “We Can’t Breathe” about George Floyd’s death and the desire for justice.

In “My Television Screen,” Enni, 13, writes about what happened when her family got rid of their TV and why she’s content without one. Could you do without your TV? Leave a comment and tell us why or why not.

Story, 13, answered one of our Daily Creativity prompts to depict coronavirus as a supervillain. Check out her drawing on the blog!

Daniel, 10, reviewed Laurie Halse Anderson’s Chains, a historical fiction book set during the American Revolution. Read his review to find out what he thinks of the book, which centers on the people often left out in the discussions of the American Revolution: those who were enslaved.

Prisha, 7, wrote a poem about the view outside the windows at her home, full of both happy observations and a sense of longing.

Have you heard of the book Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia? Kevin, 9, reviews the book and discusses how he was inspired to be more thoughtful and selfless like the main character.

From the Stone Soup July/August 2018


by Karinne Ulrey, 10 (Los Gatos, CA)
Illustrated by Eli Breyer Essiam, 10 (Cambridge, MA)

Say one sentence
An ember sparks
Say another
Wind blows and swirls
One more
A wildfire

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.


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