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In the Wind
"In the Wind" Photograph by Abigail Craven, 13 (Harland, WI) Published in Stone Soup Magazine June 2020

A note from Jane

Welcome to summer
The work we are highlighting in this week's Newsletter, both from the fabulous June issue of the Magazine, are all about summertime. The bright red of the basketball hoop against the blue sky and high clouds in Abigail Craven's photograph above; the poetic evocation of summer nights "cool like ice cubes / melting in your mouth" in Juliet del Fabbro's poem below. Most of you in the USA are now finished with school for the year, and it's the start of summer vacation; for others, holiday time is not far away. It's the start of an unusual summer for everyone, with many of the plans we'd made and things we'd normally do thrown into question by the pandemic response. But this poem and photograph in their different ways focus our minds on some of the timeless, unchanging things about the different season, things that we can always enjoy and respond to: the weather, the color of the sky, the feel of the summer breeze. We wish all of you a happy, creative summer.

To help with that creative summer, our weekly Book Club meetings and Writing Workshop are continuing through the summer, free to subscribers. If you do not have a digital or print+digital subscription to Stone Soup, you are welcome to try out the class before you commit to a monthly or annual subscription. We look forward to seeing you all and working with you through the summer!

Printer running late
Like everyone, we have had to face a few obstacles at Stone Soup in recent months. Most of our work is already automated, so we've been luckier than most small non-profits. But one big area that has been disrupted for us is the printing of physical issues and books. Our printer has increased its lead times not once, but twice, since the start of the pandemic–both times, without notice. The time between our sending them the files, to the issues being printed ready to be shipped to our mailing house (who then sends them on to all of you) has gone from 5 days before March, to 10 days in April, 15 days in May, and now to 22 days! This means that although the issue was ready and our print order went in even earlier than usual, it was still too late for us to guarantee the issues being ready to send out to you on June 15th as normal. At this point, we think we will not have the issues ready to ship until the end of the month, so print subscribers will probably receive the July/August Summer double issue in the second week of July. We are very sorry; and we assure you we are going as fast as we can. We'll let you know how it progresses and what to expect.

Summer camp
Last week I was lucky enough to be the Stone Soup team member who got to drop into the first week-long writing summer camp with the Society of Young Inklings, to chat with Naomi Kinsman, the incredible leader of the sessions, and the participants. I arrived on the day that everyone had dressed up as the main character in their fantasy novel: the costumes were amazing, and I was so envious of how much fun everyone was having! Congratulations to everyone in the class–we can't wait to read what you've written. To all of you booked in to future camps in June–you are in for a treat. For everyone else, we will try to get some additional dates organised as soon as we can–more news on that next week!

Weekend project
This weekend, to celebrate the freedom of mind that comes with the end of school, I want you to work on something free form and abstract. Try making some marbled paper, like the kind in old-fashioned book end-papers or on beautiful stationary. There's a technique for doing that (as well as some other fun stuff) at the Tate website. Then, spend some time really looking at the patterns and color combinations you have made. What does it bring to mind? A poem, a piece of prose, an idea, a portrait? Whatever it is, write or draw it on that same piece of paper.  Let yourself be free to express whatever you feel, and make something beautiful to inspire yourself through summer.

Until next week,

Winners from Weekly Flash Contest #10

Weekly Flash Contest #10: Write down 5 ideas for some impossible characters – space frogs, singing clocks, walking cactuses – the more unlikely the better. Pick 2 of them. What would happen if they met? Write a story about it.

The week commencing June 1st (Daily Creativity prompt #51) was our tenth week of flash contests, and our entrants rose to the double challenge of inventing some crazily impossible characters, and putting them together in bizarre situations. Well done everyone for your wildly creative stories and ideas! This was such a strange and fascinating group to choose from, that we found it just too hard to narrow down the number to share with you. So, this week we have 6 winners, whose work is published below, and 4 very honorable Honorable Mentions. Congratulations to them all! You can read the winning entries for this week (and previous weeks) at the Stone Soup website.


Isabel Bashaw, 10, Enumclaw, WA
Lucy Berberich, 11, Oxford, OH
Federico Lynch Ferraris, 11, New York, NY
Lila Laton, 10, New York, NY
Tilly Marlow, 10, Bristol, United Kingdom
Alice Xie, 12, West Windsor, NJ

Honorable Mentions

"Enchanted Woods" (story and drawing) by Amelia Barth, 10, Elgin, IL
"The Mathematician and the Songstress (A Story Told from 2 Points of View)" by Anna Haakenson, 12, Beach Park, IL
"Polka Dots" by Samantha Lee, 10, Thomaston, CT
"The Eerie Cat-Man Thief and the Gucci Bunny" by Daniel Wei, 13, Weddington, NC

Highlights from the past week online

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

Do you know the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes? Read Daniel's poem "Trust" on the blog, which was inspired by Hughes's work.

Another COVID-19 related cartoon from Natya, 12. This one is called "Latest Fashion–the Mask."

Read excerpts from Ryan's journal, documenting his time during coronavirus.

Leila, 8, drew a piece titled "Pandemic Prohibitions" that illustrates how we're no longer allowed to hug our friends.

Mehr, 13, sees herself as part of the "Quarantine Generation" that will change the world once all of this is over. Read her piece "The Quarantine Generation: the World on Reboot–From the Lens of a Teenager" on the blog.

Cali, 9, wrote a poem dedicated to the NHS, or the National Health Service, if you're not familiar with the healthcare system in the UK.

In "Re-Looking at a Masterpiece," Madelyn talks about her favorite painting, and how each time she looks at it, she notices something new.

"Something Smells Fishy" by Daniella, 13, is a story that takes place during the time of coronavirus and social distancing.

Read the work created at last week's writing workshop, where the theme was Fairytales-with-a-Twist. Thanks to Lena for leading!

Madeline, a Stone Soup blogger, got the chance to interview Damian Dibben, the author of the book series The History Keepers. Read their conversation, where Dibben talks about the books, his writing process, and more!

Read updates from the Stone Soup Book Club on the blog. Consider joining one of our Wednesday meetings!

Vaishali, 10, writes a cautionary tale of contracting COVID-19 after not following proper safety measures.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is a well-known middlegrade book that also got turned into a movie. Eunice, 10, reviews the book on the blog, and talks about her personal connection with the story.

Leif, 10, wrote "The Wish" while his family has been at their cabin because of COVID-19. Read the story on the blog, plus Leif's explanation of its significance.

Juliet Del Fabbro

From Stone Soup June 2020

summer nights

By Juliet Del Fabbro, 11 (Richmond, VA)

summer nights
are cool like ice cubes
melting in your mouth
stars paint the roof over our heads
rewriting the world
the breeze lays low
sneaking its way
like a serpent
parting armies of ivy
nights like paintings
the nights you’ll remember

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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