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

Pennsylvania at the counter

"“Do you still love dolphins?” he asked, shoving a ten across the counter."
Illustrator Celeste Kelly, 13, for “Pennsylvania” by Grace McNamee, 13
Published July/August 2007.

A note from Sarah Ainsworth

Good morning!

Today I want to talk about writing with others. Writing doesn't necessarily have to be a solitary activity. In fact, it's very common for screenwriters, who write the scripts for movies, to work with a writing partner. But even with more traditional short stories, either written down or spoken aloud, it can be rewarding to work with others.

Have you ever collaborated on a story with friends, classmates, or your family? It may surprise you how much you can learn in the process of storytelling with others.

On fun way to create with others is to make a game out of it. When I way young, I would go on hikes with my family and one of our favorite games to play while walking was to create a story, with one person writing a sentence at a time. My older sister would start with a line that seemed straight from a fantasy novel: "Once upon a time, a dragon named George lived in a magical land.

And perhaps one of my parents would add some grounding details: "George lived with his family and went to school with three of his closest friends."

Then it would be my turn. What did I want to add to this story? Where did I want it to go? One of my favorite tricks was to challenge the person next in line to create something dramatic. I would say something like this: "George and his family and friends lived happily together in their magical world, until one day everything changed." And then, it would be up to my younger sister to decide what happened next (sorry, Isabella!).

This summer you might find yourself in situations with a group and in need of a way to occupy the time-- maybe on a hike, a long bus ride or in line to eat dinner at sleep-away camp. I encourage you to try to create a story this way, and see if it rethinks the way you tell stories. If you write it down on paper and like the way it turns out, please submit it to Stone Soup!

Happy weekend,


Highlights from the past week online

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

How much do you know about rats? Read Louis Spindler's post to test your knowledge. Although most people think of rats in a negative light, Louis points out that there are many benefits associated with the rodent as well.

We published a blog about basketball this week by Daniel: "Where's the Fight, Warriors? It's all in Game 5 of the NBA Finals." Though the Raptors may have won, Daniel details how the Golden State Warriors played a great game.

Contest and partnership news

Contest: write a book!

How are your books coming along? You still have more than a month to polish up your work to enter into our contest for book-length writing in all forms and genres by kids aged 14 and under. (We have extended our usual age limit for this contest.) The deadline for entries is August 15, so you have five-and-a-half weeks left to work on perfecting your book, whether it is a novel, a collection of poetry or short stories, a memoir, or other prose. There will be three placed winners, and we will publish all three winning books in various forms. Visit our Submittable entry page for full details.

Pennsylvania at the counter
"Do you still love dolphins?" he asked, shoving a ten across the counter

From Stone Soup
July/August 2007


By Grace McNamee, 13
Illustrated by Celeste Kelly, 13


I turned to watch the Ohio sign fade, merging with the endless road carrying me away from home. What am I doing? The thought swirled around my head, ricocheting off the few other ideas that popped up, shoving them away Restless, I picked up a book and then threw it aside. I loved to read but was too miserable to do any such thing at the moment. I shifted my favorite toy, Kelly, a dolphin, and spread out. My eyes scanned the car for anything of interest to do, skimming over the notebooks, books, Kelly, and the car upholstery till my eyes settled on the back of my dad’s head.

“Remind me why I’m moving?” I asked my father, longing to ask a different question: You left when I was two, why are you taking me away from Mom NOW? But the question remained in my head, jumping around. My father half-turned, lowering the volume on the radio but remaining silent. I flipped through memories in my head, trying to recall something of Dad from when I was two. But I’ve got no memories from before the divorce, before my mom swore she would never see my father again, before my father left in the first place. I knew some things, like the way my parents got into a huge argument and weren’t talking for weeks before the divorce. As far as I was concerned, I never heard of my father except when my aunt told stories, which my mother discouraged. Mom had refused to speak of Dad, hear of him, everything he did was wrong, and I agreed. No nice man would forget his two-year-old; no nice father leaves his daughter behind. . . ./more

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.