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Chaos (watercolor) By Ashley Jun, 13 (Short Hills, NJ), published in Stone Soup March 2022

A note from Laura

First, a small bit of business. The fabulous Naomi Kinsman, founding director of the Society of Young Inklings, a brilliant writing program for young authors, is leading her Design a Novel workshop next weekend, Saturday March 26th and Sunday March 27th from 10-1 Pacific/ 1-4 Eastern! The workshop costs $200. However, if you cannot afford the class, then please write to Tayleigh@stonesoup.com. We want any student interested in starting a novel to be able to attend this workshop.

This week I’d like to draw your attention to the beautiful and honest personal narrative, Bar Harbor, by Lila Carpenter. I am drawn to this story for its rich detail, imagery and exacting language that captures the emotion of the moment so precisely. I am also drawn to it because I have two children, about the same age apart as Lila and her sister appear to be—my heart wrenched while reading and imagining my son and daughter in the weight of this moment. When the piece opens, the author, while in the company of her mother and sister, is alone in her angst and frustration. Forcing her attention away from her feelings, she agrees to explore, with her family, the place that will be her new sister’s home. On their walk together, the author’s attention is drawn to the ocean and the rhythm of waves against rocks. “Lost in the rhythmic roaring and bubbling of the ocean” she begins to accept the complex tangle of her own feelings, and in doing so, their intensity dissipates allowing the strength of her connection with her sister to surface and take precedence.

For your weekend project, I invite you to follow Lila’s lead and observe something in nature until the details of your daily world dissipate into a meditative state. See where it takes you. Then capture that space, state of mind, realization, or observation in whatever medium you chose.

If your work captures something you’d like to share, please do so and submit it to us via Submittable!

Until next time,

Congratulations to our most recent Flash Contest winners!

Our March Flash Contest was based on Prompt #194 (provided by contributor Molly Torinus), which challenged participants to craft a frame narrative—like a story within a story—for their submissions. This delightful prompt readily invited experimentation with form, and we weren't disappointed—one story went "Behind the Scenes" to show the editing processes and inner workings of the story itself! Others ranged from riffs on creation myths to campground misadventures to conferences wherein time travelers presented on their unique eras. As always, thank you to all who submitted, and please submit again next month!

Congratulations to our Winners and Honorable Mentions, listed below. You can read the winning entries for this contest (and previous ones) at the Stone Soup website.

"The Element" by Kimberly Hu, 9 (Lake Oswego, OR)
"Speakers of the Past" by Sophie Li, 11 (Palo Alto, CA)
"A Way Out" by Lui Lung, 12 (Danville, CA)
"The Last Chapter" by Savarna Yang, 13 (Outram, New Zealand)
"Nightbear" by Melody You, 11 (Lake Oswego, OR)

Honorable Mentions
"Useless Sidekick" by Dalia Figatner, 11 (Mercer Island, WA)
"Hope and Amelia" by Noelle Kolmin, 10 (New York, NY)
"How the Skunk Got Her Stripe and the Kangaroo Her Pouch" by Nova Macknik-Conde, 10 (Brooklyn, NY)
"Behind the Scenes" by Emily Tang, 12 (Winterville, NC)
"Earthquake in a Book" by Karuna Yang, 11 (Outram, New Zealand)

Highlights from the past week online

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

Young Blogger BlueJay wrote a beautiful poem, "Wild," and supplied it with accompanying original photos.

Lila Carpenter

From the Stone Soup Blog
March 2022

Bar Harbor

By Lila Carpenter, 11 (Weston, MA)

All the boxes were in the apartment, and we got a good look at it for the first time. It was small but cute, with its baby-blue wallpaper and overstuffed crimson armchair. Alex cast delighted glances around the room, barely able to stand still. “Oh my god, Mom, it’s so cute!” She ran across the small apartment and hugged her.

No one seemed to notice I was there, or that I glared at both of them. Shrouded in frustration, I sank heavily into the armchair. Why is my own sister, who I won’t be seeing for at least a couple months, refusing to acknowledge my existence?! I didn’t notice my sister and mom leaving the room as I sat in a stew of misery. They were just meeting with the landlord, but I didn’t know that. I pulled out my iPhone and tried to busy myself, but even Tiny Wings couldn’t distract me from my pit of loneliness.

My thoughts were wandering as I halfheartedly glanced at the bright flashing screen in my hand. Why does feeling sad feel so wrong? Every person has the right to be sad. My thoughts lodged themselves in a memory from the summer. Alex and I were poring over poems, inhaling the smell of books and dusty summer air. A slant of golden sunlight poured onto the poem we were reading, “When I Am Among the Trees.” I had to read that poem and explain it to Alex, who was pretending to be a younger child who didn’t know anything about it.

“I’m bored. Can we do something else?” she asked, playing her part. I had given her a sharp flick on the shoulder for this, but it had only made me care for her more. She had giggled and patted me on the back. And now that can’t ever happen again, I thought in misery, sinking deeper into the armchair.


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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