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Racing Coconuts children playing
I feel the thrill of the moment as my coconut wobbles, surprisingly fast, past me

Illustrator Ester Luna, 12 for Racing Coconuts by Rachel Barglow, 10. Published July/August 2015.

A note from Emma Wood

Announcing the winners of our short short fiction contest

First Place:      "The Pendulum" by Sabrina Guo, 12

Second Place:  "The Sycamore Tree" by Mira Johnson, 8

Third Place:     "A Dinner Party" by Anyi Sharma, 10

Fourth Place:   "The Hummingbird" by Clare McDermott, 12

Honorable Mentions:

Symbiotic by Madeline Pass, 13

Potato Diaries by Christian Goh, 10

The Mystical Trees by Hannah Lee, 10

A cat literally watching time pass. A magical tree that heals and protects an injured bunny being chased by a dog. A mysterious hermit who throws a lavish dinner party. A hummingbird whose light, joyful presence delights the whole forest.

These are descriptions of the stories that won our short short fiction contest—and a very small sample of the range of stories we received. I was amazed, reading these submissions, at how much can fit into 300 words. Some of you chose to focus on describing a moment or scene in sparkling, clear prose. Others chose to tell an action-packed narrative. Both types worked, and both felt much longer than the word limit. Short short fiction, or flash fiction as it is also called, reminds me of a clown car: each story managed to pack in so much more than I thought possible.

I want to directly thank everyone who had the inspiration to write a story and the courage to submit it to our contest. Your excellent, imaginative writing made our choices very difficult. We encourage all of you to continue writing and to submit your work to us again soon. Flash fiction is an excellent genre to work in, especially if you are new to writing fiction. Repetition is the mother of learning—and the shorter the story you are writing, the easier it will be to keep repeating and keep learning.

Until next week

Read the latest updates on our blog

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

This week, Sabrina Guo - who also happens to be our flash fiction contest winner! - has written a thought provoking, compassionate and informative article on The Refugee Children Crisis. Please read it and share your thoughts with her and with us on the website.

Racing Coconuts two coconutsFrom Stone Soup
July/August 2015

Racing Coconuts

By Rachel Barglow, 10
Illustrated by Ester Luna, 12

“Truth or Dare?” my best friend Jackson challenges me. I glance around at my circle of friends like they might have an answer.

“Dare,” I say confidently. My friends and I always get together Saturday evenings. We’re gathered around a campfire eating marshmallows on a beach in Florida. Just then, Jackson grins wickedly at a tall palm tree with four coconuts cradled under its huge green leaves, and then back at me.

“Simon—I dare you to a coconut race with me. Take it or leave it.”

“I’ll take it,” I say, feeling my face turn red like it always does when I’m excited. Jackson and I know the drill. We each jog over to separate palm trees and shake them vigorously. When the tree gives up a coconut, I catch it as it falls. Jackson also gets a coconut. Then we drag our feet in the sand, creating one wide racetrack going for maybe twenty-five feet down a hill. The hill is steep enough to give the coconuts momentum. Jackson and I go to the starting line and bend down, the coconuts barely touching the ground. I feel the tense feeling of excitement in the air, my heart beating quickly. Everyone has their eye on our coconuts. A surfer shouts loudly to a friend in the distance. No one budges, no one hears. I will win this race. I will.

“On your mark, get set…” Jackson starts, my heart beating even quicker.

“On your mark, get set…” everyone cries, “Go!”  .../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.

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