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This painting by a Jordanian child shows her mother standing in a room with a bowl on her head. In many cultures people walk carrying loads balanced on the top of their heads, which we find exotic. I have traveled to many places where the only people with backpacks, and the only people in torn jeans, are the tourists. Our costume. We tend not to think of as the way we dress as a costume, nor the way we carry things as particularly interesting. But, in fact, how we dress and even how we carry things reflect the culture and times we live in.

The backpack that most Stone Soup readers wear to and from school is part of an overall look that is very much of today.  When I was in elementary and middle school in Los Angeles, California, in the 1950s and early 1960s, I did not have a backpack. Nobody did. I think we had something like a briefcase! And we wore clothing that was a little different from what you wear today.

I want you to make a photograph, drawing, or painting of you or a friend dressed for school. Create this portrait thinking of it as a letter to someone in the future (10, 20 or 30 years from now). This, your picture says, is how we dressed for school in 2017.

This continues to be a busy time for us here at Stone Soup, with lots of exciting changes coming up.

One decision we made this week was to increase the frequency of publication for Stone Soup Online from 6 issues per year to 11 issues per year. Beginning in September, Stone Soup will be published monthly during the school year, with a combined July/August summer issue.

This means a significant increase in the amount of material we publish.

We are thinking that at least some of the issues should be organized around a theme. We'd like your input on whether having themed issues is a good idea, and we'd like to know what you think of some of the themes we are considering. If you have ideas we don't list, please tell us what they are.

Our Short SurveyMonkey Questionnaire

Another decision we made this week was to revise the look of stonesoup.com. Is there a website you like a lot that you think we should take inspiration from? Do you have some great ideas of your own? If you do, please let me know by replying to this newsletter's email address. Send me a link to a great website (it doesn't have to be a magazine, but it could be), and explain what you think is so good about it.

Thank you for help.

Until next week,


From the Stone Soup issue:

September/October 2005

Forever Untitled

Written by Margaret Bryan, 10
Illustrated by Ashley Burke, 12

The feather fluttered to the ground. I looked about me, as if affirming that no one would deprive me of this precious trinket. A red-breasted robin broke out in song. I closed my eyes and breathed in the lightly fragrant aroma of its music.Music. One of the few things in life that can’t be described in words.

I relished the robin’s tune for a few short minutes, clutching the feather (which had a texture of raw silk) for the whole experience. The tender autumn air rustled my hair ever so slightly, like that of the first sunshine of spring.

The sensation of autumn flooded through me, and “Forever Untitled,” as I had decided to call the robin’s melody, rang through my veins. It seemed as if this day of bliss would never come to an end.

But there were other things to be done that day. I slowly strolled home, not wanting to pop the magical bubble which nature had conjured.

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