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I am often asked, are there Stone Soup authors who have gone on to be published writers? The answer is, yes. We always like to hear who they are, and now that we have this weekly newsletter, we have an easy means of passing on the news to you.We just heard from the parents of Stone Soup author Allison Trowbridge (1988), with a copy of Allison's first published book, Twenty Two: Letters to a Young Woman Searching for Meaning. It is a work of non-fiction written as a series of letters. The work is very personal and is appropriate for its intended reader -- young women who are just embarking on their post-school adult life. One thing we look for here at Stone Soup is writing from the heart, and this is certainly a work that speaks from Allison's deepest feelings. She chose a letter format. She created a fictional reader to whom she addresses her letters. This is an original structure for a book of advice about life. It is a good idea! Congratulations Allison on your first book!As a writer myself, I can say that while I don't write books that are explicitly in the form of letters, I do think of my books and articles as letters. I always have a clear idea who I am writing for, and as I write I imagine myself talking to that reader.

My first book, The Magic of Fire, a book about cooking on a fireplace, actually literally started as a letter. I spent a month sitting in a Paris café working about four hours per day writing a letter (a long letter) to my friends Ga Lombard and Judith Milton. They had shared many, many meals at my house that were cooked on the fire and wanted to know how to do it themselves.  I never did send that letter as it took some years to finish it, and by that time it had grown to some three hundred pages.

Whatever you write, it will be stronger if you at least imagine that you are writing to someone. I think this is true whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction. As you write a story for Stone Soup, think about someone actually reading it.

Writing for Stone Soup is different from writing in school. Your teacher commands you to write and you don't have a choice. Even when you don't feel like it, in school you have to write that story and turn it in. Writing for Stone Soup is a choice. I hope that whenever you choose to write for us that you do so because you have something to say that you want others to read.

Allison's parents sent us her book along with a letter in which they talk about how important it was to Allison to be published in Stone Soup. They wrote, "Allison's experience of being selected for Stone Soup Magazine was such a huge encouragement to her that she still talks about it today." That is almost thirty years later!

It  actually easy to get your work published in Stone Soup. If writing is your passion, and you have something to say that you think Stone Soup readers will want to hear -- a story that will take them deep into your imaginary world -- then please do send us your work.

Parents, grandparents, and friends of Stone Soup who are also reading this newsletter: you can try to encourage the young people in your life to write by giving them a journal for the summer. Of course, if you live with a young person, then there is nothing like modeling behavior. In other words, sit down together so you are both writing -- by hand or on a computer.

The art. The amazing drawing in this newsletter is by a fourteen-year old Egyptian boy, Moustafa Mouhamud Hussein, and it was drawn in 1977. I'll write more about it in another newsletter. For today, I just want you to start thinking about the drawing you might make of a complicated space with lots of people, like a ball game. Notice the different colors between the many people watching the parade.

Until next week,


Survey Results from Last Week: I am very pleased that 78% of the respondents to last week's survey on reviews in Stone Soup are Stone Soup readers age 14 and under. The results are very useful. Thank you!

The results: You are interested in book reviews (every respondent!), then music, followed by art and movies. What you were super not interested in are reviews of video games and apps. I don't know whether this is because your parents were looking over your shoulder (or you really aren't interested in reading reviews of video games - given how many video games my daughter plays I had thought that video game reviews would be a good idea, but maybe there's less to say about them and its more fun just to play!) Apps were also not of much interest.

As you all know, we have been publishing book reviews for decades. But what your enthusiasm for book reviews suggests is that it would be a good idea for us to have a full blown book review section on our web site. We'll see what we can do.

Many of you suggested titles of works you'd like Stone Soup to review. We will do further work on the survey results this week and hopefully next week we'll be able to begin posting works we'd like to see reviewed -- and clarify what kinds of reviews we are looking for.

Thanks to all of you who helped us out with your opinions.

From the Stone Soup issue:

May/June 2010

Wave Song

Written by Anna J. Mickle, 12

Illustrated by Ida Otisse McMillan-Zapf, 12

A vast land
Small enough to comfort me

Not an ocean,
too big
Not a pond,
too small

A meadow of green
A field of waves

So loud, so soft
So big, so small
Green Lake is a blanket

*          *          *

I am standing on a cliff made of sandstone that crumbles into the lake. I watch branches that sway on the trees; their visible roots are a baby’s arms, clinging to its mother. I gaze at a skyline where a bright ball of fire is suspended, as if by a string, from the heavens.

I am standing on a cliff made of sandstone that crumbles into the lake . . . .

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