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Sunny Beach
"Sunny Beach" (Procreate) by Emi Le, 13 (Millbrae, CA) and published in the March 2021 Issue of Stone Soup

A note from William

Today, from me, mostly news—which is appropriate for a newsletter.

Exciting news! Our very own Abhi Sukhdial’s novella, Three Days Till EOC, the winner of our 2019 Book Contest, has been long-listed for the Green Earth Book Award under Young Adult Fiction! So, congratulations are in order to Abhi and his family.

This news comes just one week after Three Days Till EOC was given a glowing review by author Adam Rex, which you can check out here. Dan Bloom, one of the founders of the cli-fi (climate science fiction) genre and  editor of The Cli-Fi Report, wrote in his review of Three Days Till EOC that he, “at the age of 71-going-on-72 enjoyed every page” and proclaimed Abhi “a young writer to watch!”

Summer classes: The schedule for summer classes will be sent out toward the end of the week. Like last year, we are teaming up with Naomi Kinsman’s wonderful Society of Young Inklings. I am also very very very excited to be able to tell you that our brilliant editor, Emma Wood, will be teaching a writing class, as will her husband, Conner Bassett, also a published writer and a creative writing instructor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Two other Stone Soup staff are also offering classes: Laura Moran, from the book group, is offering a class that takes an anthropologist’s approach to personal narrative, and Jane Levi is offering a class in food writing. Saturday writing classes will continue during the summer.

What if the classes fill? All classes will have a waitlist. Naomi has a number of teachers already on her staff, so we anticipate being able to meet increased demand.

Next-session Saturday Writing Classes: Registration is going to open soon for the next session of Saturday Writing Classes. This will take us from April to the summer. The fabulous news is that we are expanding the program! Conner Bassett, who I mentioned above, is going to begin teaching on Saturdays. Conner has a reputation as a brilliant and inspiring teacher. I am so excited that he is joining our team. Registration will open soon for existing students; after existing students are taken care of, we will open registration to everyone else. We are now committed to expanding the program to meet demand. The limit to our expansion, obviously, is the need to retain the same level of quality.

Weekend Project: The main problem for me about this newsletter is that, by custom, newsletters are supposed to short and I find short hard to do! The evocative digital painting Sunny Beach by Emi Le is the perfect illustration for Raya Ilieva’s “Sand and Sea.” I really like the ambiguity in Emi’s painting. I live near the Pacific Ocean. She captures the feel of the foam advancing (or retreating) from the sand.

Please please please read Raya’s “Sand and Sea.” Yes, I cried at the end. But I want you to read the story for the clarity of Raya’s descriptive language. The first paragraph one can say is pure “sense of place.” Note the use of language that creates pictures in our heads—smooth waves, foamy blue sea, empty beach, gritty crystals, etc. Note, too, the description of sand on Kate’s feet. Those of you who have been to the beach will recognize what she says about this.

In the next paragraph Kate, the main character, is given a physical description—of her eyes. Brilliantly, Raya ties in her description of Kate’s eyes both with her emotional state—a hint to us of things to come—and where she is. Raya continues with a clear descriptive vision from the beginning of her story to the end. I want you study how Raya brings alive her character and her world.

“Sand and Sea” is also a classic in the sense that the problem that Kate is dealing with is one of these life problems that many of us have experienced. So, I’d like you to write a story that begins with a paragraph that sets up the scene where the story is opening; then, in the second paragraph, share with us at least one key aspect of how the character looks, and then let the story flow, trying throughout to be precise with your descriptions.

As always, if you feel your work turned out strong, then please go to Stonesoup.com and submit the work so that Emma can consider it for Stone Soup.

Until next time,





Highlights from the past week online

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

Georgia, 11, wrote a lovely "Ode to Books." Do you feel the same way that Georgia does about books?

If you were a fruit, what kind would you be? Trevor, one of our bloggers, explains why he thinks his mom would be a Dragonfruit. Check out his post on the blog.

Contest, partnership & project news

There's still time to submit to the Monthly Flash Contest. Here's the prompt for this month, by Contributor Molly Torinus:

Write a story set somewhere you’ve never been. It could be set in outer space, Antarctica, or even an alternate reality!

And here's where you can submit your entry.

Sunny BeachFrom Stone Soup
March 2021

Sand and Sea

By Raya Ilieva, 10 (Belmont, CA)
Illustration by Emi Le, 13 (Millbrae, CA)

Smooth waves of water crested up out of the foamy blue sea and crashed down on the empty beach, rushing out along a darkened strip of sand, and then were sucked back into the depths of the blue ocean. Kate paced the rough sand, gritty crystals coating her bare feet and tickling her ankles. A heavy fog hung over the beach, covering the sky and the air in a thick gray mass that did nothing to help lighten Kate’s mood.

Her usually warm light-gray eyes were stormy, dark, and wild and focused on the never-ending expanse of sand and water before her, dotted by washed-up shells and pieces of driftwood. Her strides were purposeful and determined, carrying her across the beach in a direction that seemed to go on forever. Kate was fine with that. She did not want to go back to her house, now just a small blue dot on top of the hill. Kate walked faster.

While normally Kate would stop to brush the sand off of her feet before continuing on, such a thought never even entered her mind now. She was set only on walking as far away from her house as possible. She tried not to think about the things she loved about it: the creaky stair; the fading blue paint that she herself had picked out; the kitchen table with many scratches from her cat, Rocket, who refused to use his beautiful scratching post and instead ruined their furniture; her bedroom with the glow-in-the-dark star stickers and pale blue bedspread, among some things. The reason Kate did not want to think about her house was because she was leaving. Forever, at least in her mind.

. . . /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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