A note from William
New June issue: don't miss the latest issue—which includes the final of the three parts of Elana, the novella that won third place in last year’s book contest. This final instalment of Hannah Nami Gajcowski's novel is highlighted below. Congratulations, Hannah! I have been enjoying reading your work.
Black Lives Matter. As readers, writers, artists, as citizens of the world, we cannot ignore what is happening in the United States right now. Many of us are at home self-isolating, and for this, and reasons that are obvious looking at news videos, are not directly taking part in demonstrations even though our hearts are with the demonstrators. For students all the way up to middle school age, we recommend that you look at the website for Illustoria. Illustoria and Stone Soup share common goals with respect to creative young people. They have good projects this week to help you safely participate in social action. The post that I include a link to here is a letter-writing campaign. Real letters. Real stamps. Real mail. It seems old fashioned. It is. And yet, over time, letter-writing campaigns have proven effective forms political protest.
Summer school programs. Our Society of Young Inklings and Stone Soup summer writing workshops are now full with waitlists—except for the newest class that we opened for our own Stone Soup’s Laura Moran. Laura’s class has space for more students. It a class that is very different from what creative writing classes for young writers are usually about. So! If you want a challenge, if you want to be stretched as a writer in ways you may not have previously been stretched, sign up for her class. As with the other workshops, the cost is $200. Laura is a cultural anthropologist. In this class you will write about your COVID-19 experiences using the techniques that social scientists use when doing field research. This is an unusual, innovative class. Laura is a wonderful teacher. You cannot go wrong taking Laura’s class. Registration is through the Society of Young Inklings.
Friday Writing Workshop. The Friday writing workshop is open to young writers ages 8 through 14. The new time is 9 a.m. PDT. It will run at this time on Fridays through July and it will then shift to Saturday for the duration of the 2020/21 school year. The work these students are producing is extraordinary. This workshop is free—it is a service provided by Stone Soup. We are posting written work by the students on our blog, which we encourage you to read (see link below). We are also working on posting stories read aloud by the class on our YouTube channel. In the meantime, please trust me. This is a class not to be missed. It is made up of a very strong group of young writers. I am usually the instructor, although sometimes we have guest instructors drawn from the students in the group. Get your Zoom invitation by signing up for the Daily Creativity Prompts—link at the bottom of the page.
Saturday writing project. With so much terrible happening around us, I suggest this weekend that we all take a few moments to explore a completely different mental space. I want you to go outside—wear a mask if going anyplace public—and sit where there is a spot of nature. Whether that is in your yard, a park, or even some weeds growing through a crack in the sidewalk, I want you to sit, be quiet with yourself, and see what you see. A line of ants. A bee. A hover fly. A cloud passing over casting its shadow. Focus. Pull your mind away from the pandemic, from political and social unrest, from the fact that school just ended (or is just about to), and focus on what you are seeing. I don’t mean stare. I mean look and open your mind and imagination to the world around you. And write what comes to you in that time. As always, if you like what you write, then please submit it to Stone Soup so Emma, when she returns from maternity leave, will be able to consider it for publication.
Winners from Weekly Flash Contest #8
Weekly Flash Contest #9: Write a mystery story.
The week commencing May 25 (Daily Creativity prompt #46) was our ninth week of flash contests, with another record number of entries. It was also the second contest based on Stone Soup contributor and reader Anya Geist’s writing prompt, which meant that we got to work with her again to judge the contest. Anya’s prompt inspired a really terrific batch of entries, and all the judges were impressed with the diverse ways in which the entrants approached the idea of writing “a mystery.” Thank you, Anya, for wise judging and for setting a great writing challenge!
Congratulations to our winners and honorable mentions, listed below. You can read the winning entries for this week (and previous weeks) at the Stone Soup website. Don’t miss out on these posts: the writing is really great!Winners
Isabel Bashaw, 10, Enumclaw, WA
Nick Buckley, 12, Needham, MA
Liam Hancock, 12, Danville, CA
Enni Harlan, 13, Los Angeles, CA
Michelle Su, 13, Sudbury, MA
Amelia Barth, 10, Elgin, IL
Amelia Pozzo, 11, Arnold, MO
Mihika Sakharpe, 11, Frisco, TX
Sophia Stravitsch, 10, Katy, TX
Michela You, 11, Lexington, MA
Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at Stonesoup.com!
We published another cartoon by Natya, 12, about how things have changed because of COVID-19. In this case, Natya illustrates how graduation ceremonies have changed.
With his poem about the pandemic called “Our Fate is Sealed,” Otis, 12, was inspired by the work of Robert Frost.
Have you read or watched the movie Wonder? On the blog, Marilena, 9, reviews the book and compares it to the movie adaptation.
On Wednesday we published a well-researched piece by Daniel, 10, about how the National Parks in the United States are woefully underfunded.
Another comic from Natya—this time about what friendship looks in the time of social distancing.
Simran, 6, imagines how the story of Snow White would be different if she had contracted COVID-19.
J.K. Rowling has been releasing her new book, The Ickabog, on her website chapter by chapter. Anya, 13, reviews the story and why she thinks it provides such a nice escape in our trying times. Plus, Scholastic is holding a contest where your illustration could be included in the print version of the story! Learn more about the contest here. And you can read The Ickabog here.
“Reading and writing / Language and math / It all must get done / To Avoid Mommy’s wrath,” Liam writes in a short rhyming poem about learning from home.
From Stone Soup June 2020
By Hannah Nami Gojcowski, 9 (Bellevue, WA)
Art by Rebecca Wu, 9 (Medina, WA)
Elana knew that there was a high chance of somebody finding her. If only I could hide my bright red hair, she thought.
Then she came up with a great idea. She sat on the ground, made a bunch of lightning rope appear, and began to weave. Elana didn’t know how to sew, but she was an excellent weaver. Soon enough, she was finished with her new work: a wig! Elana put the wig on her hair and tugged on it. Some strands of her hair peeked out, but she figured it just looked like red highlights against the wig. Elana didn’t worry about her face; she didn’t think anyone would recognize her.
Elana hurried along the hall and suddenly came to a stop when she saw a maid who was about her age. The girl had long, curly black hair and a patchwork dress. She wasn’t looking ahead and ended up bumping into Elana.
“Oh!” the girl exclaimed in a startled voice. “Didn’t see you there. Well, I thought you didn’t notice me either. After all, when you get blinded by the lightning that Casey makes, you are instantly under her command. If the lightning doesn’t strike you, she’ll come after you and try to put you under her mind control.” Elana froze as the talkative girl carelessly babbled on. “Now she’s trying to get this girl named Elana in the dungeons, but she must’ve escaped. I mean, she’s not in there anymore. Have you, perhaps, seen her? She has red hair, blue eyes, and a high-pitched voice.”
Elana froze in terror. She hoped her disguise worked. Then, using her deepest voice, she lied. “I saw her in the kitchen. She was trying to help the house staff polish the silverware.”
The maid grabbed a hidden phone from her pocket and then said, “Casey, someone knows where Elana is.” She paused, waiting for an answer. After a few seconds, the maid said, “Okay, okay, I’ll ask her.” Then, speaking to Elana, she inquired, “What’s your name?” . . . /MORE
To catch up on what happened in the earlier parts of the series, read the April and May 2020 issues of Stone Soup.
Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
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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.