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Admiring Ocean
"Admiring Ocean" by Nataly Ann Vekker, 12 (Towson, MD), Acrylics Published in Stone Soup March 2020


A note from William

On behalf of Emma Wood, our editor, and the rest of our Stone Soup staff, I want you all to know that we will be here for you during these difficult times. My daughter, who is in eighth grade, and I have been in voluntary lockdown for a week already. We each are going to have to dig deep to find the personal resources to maintain our spirts!

Art is a treasure that becomes even more valuable in bad times. Stone Soup can offer you images that can take you to an evocative place, like this extraordinary painting of a wave by Nataly Ann Vekker, and fabulous stories, like “Slaying Monsters,” below, both in our current issue. Stone Soup can also offer you inspiration and goals for your own creative work. During this extended crisis when all of you are unexpectedly home from school, we at Stone Soup, with your help, intend to offer you a range of activities and opportunities to get creative and remain focused.

Yesterday morning we had a staff meeting via Skype to discuss ideas. We have come up with a few projects we can start next week, and have notions about others that are a little more complex.

Before deciding on everything, we also want first to hear from you. This means all of you—those of you who are 13 and under and parents, grandparents, teachers, and former Stone Soup authors and readers. Please fill out our questionnaire!

Use the questionnaire to rate our ideas, tell us yours, join a focus group later in the week, volunteer to help with outreach, and lots more.

If questionnaires are not your thing, then simply reply to this email with ideas or to volunteer and I will fold you into the focus group that we are organizing for later in the week.

Starting Monday we are expanding our offering:

  • Daily writing and art prompts will be posted at Stonesoup.com, on our Facebook page, and announced via Twitter. Let us know in the questionnaire if you would welcome a daly email about this as well.
  • Our entire Blog section will come out from behind our paywall, giving all visitors to Stonesoup.com unlimited access to our collections of book reviews, opinion pieces and other prose by kids, our activities pages, multi-media collections and more.
  • The monthly limit of free material from the Magazine available to non-subscribers will increase from 4 to 8 for the duration of the crisis.
  • We will implement a new Resources page at Stonesoup.com, of other websites to visit for creative inspiration, and
  • We are also bringing forward the launch of our second annual Book Contest.

Please share this news with other kids, parents, educators, grandparents and other relatives, community groups, and educators–anyone who you feel would benefit from the combination of reading material, writing activities and creative inspiration Stone Soup can offer at any time, and especially during this crisis.

Rather than suggest a new project this week, I’d like to refer you back to Editor Emma Wood’s thoughtful letter from last week’s newsletter. Her birth-year history project is a big one, and appropriate for this time. You can also make the most of all the Activities already on our website, Stonesoup.com, under the Blog section.

Stay safe! Look out for our first new project Monday and every day for your own use—or to forward to other young people who you know would appreciate it.

Until next week,


Highlights from the past week online

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

We published a short piece called “Observations on COVID-19” by new blogger Sofia, 9. It’s a scary time right now, without our normal routines. Take a look at Sofia’s blog and use the comments section to share what you think.

Sascha reviews the book Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga. Read what Sascha thinks about the book, which revolves around a young Syrian refugee who moves to the United States.

Do you have more time than usual on your hands? Are you getting a bit more reading done? Consider reviewing a book or writing a blog and submitting it to us!


Admiring Ocean

From Stone Soup March 2020

Slaying Monsters

By Liam Hancock, 11 (Danville, CA)
Illustrated by Nataly Ann Vekker, 12 (Towson, MD)

The usual morning fog is persistent today. The long jetty near Pillar Point is swallowed by the soupy grey, seemingly disappearing into the abyss. Through the panoramic view of my bedroom window, I see Half Moon Bay coming to life in the early morning. A man is taking a jog down the steep beach with his stumpy bulldog. A couple of early commuters’ headlights are slicing through the fog and heading into the overshadowing mountains. The occasional surf shop is lighting up and un-shuttering its windows. The ocean is roaring today, and an excitement bubbles up inside me as I remember that today is Mavericks.

I hear the hissing of bacon hitting the frying pan and the hum of the espresso machine. My mouth waters as I stumble down the stairs. Mom is plating up my breakfast. A pink box is set in the center of the table. Wait, a pink box? I settle into my chair.

“Donuts, Mom?” I ask, shocked. I open them up . . . My favorite—maple bars. “C’mon. An athlete doesn’t eat donuts on a day like this. My stomach will weigh me down more than the waves themselves!”

Mom gives me one of those mom looks. “Now, last time I checked, donuts don’t weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds. And I spent good money on these, so eat. Mom’s orders.”

I groan, then my wall caves in. If William Morgan has one weakness, it’s maple bar donuts. I dig in, cover the donuts with that greasy bacon, and feel that amazing feeling of a future heart attack. I swear, if this is what they eat in Vermont, I’m gonna move there someday. . . . more!



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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