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"Perspective (Pencil) by Grace Williams, 12 (Katonah, NY), and published in the May 2021 Issue of Stone Soup

A note from Sarah

Feedback Survey
Have you participated in a writing workshop? We’re asking former participants and those who may be interested in attending a workshop in the future to fill out a feedback form, available here, so we can see what has and hasn’t been working. We really appreciate you taking the time to let us know what you think.

Weekend Project
Did you know that Stone Soup has published a ton of food writing over the years? William and Jane are both experts on food writing, and Jane is even offering a summer camp later this year on the subject! Rubina Davila’s personal narrative from this month’s issue, “The Bakery,” (excerpted below) has elements of food writing woven in, with the descriptions of the pan dulce and soda she buys at an East LA bakery.

I particularly like how Rubina includes so many sensory descriptions into her story. These details, like how “the pots and pans clanked loudly” and “the lights shone brightly on the sweet breads,” paint a picture for the reader that allows them to imagine that they too are inside this bakery with Rubina.

But more than just describe a scene filled with delicious food, Rubina also ties it all back to her family. She wonders what it was like for her family members who lived in the same neighborhood decades before. So much can change in a neighborhood in a few generations, but how can food tie us all together?

My challenge for you this weekend is to write a story about food and family. Rubina’s story “The Bakery” offers a great model to use as inspiration, but feel free to branch off and experiment. Maybe there’s a specific family recipe that you want to write about. Or maybe you want to take a more research-oriented approach, in the vein of Ezra Bernhardt’s blog posts from a year ago, when he dug into the history of foods like pasta and cured meats.

There’s so many angles you could choose to approach food! Whichever way you choose to think about it, we encourage you to submit the work you produce to Stone Soup for consideration either in the magazine or on the blog.

Until next week,

Writing Classes and Book Club

Are you looking for classes to inspire, improve, and practice your writing with great teachers and a group of like-minded young writers and readers? Join us! We do charge fees for our clubs and workshops, but we try to keep them as low as possible, and we offer discounts to subscribers and scholarships to students who need them. Contact us at education@stonesoup.com with any questions.

Writing Workshop: we have two new writing groups for spring/summer, starting April 17, that will meet via Zoom every Saturday except for the last Saturday of the month. Come write with us and share your work with your peers. Find out more and register for a workshop at Eventbrite. To see some of the great work produced by current workshop members, read contributions published at Stonesoup.com, or join us at one of our free public readings!

Book Club: a book club for writers that meets via Zoom on the last Saturday of every month, with a new season starting on April 24! Find out more and register for book club at Eventbrite. Check out which books we are reading on our website.

Young Author’s Studio Summer Camps: we are offering a wide range of classes through the summer jointly with the Society of Young Inklings. Each camp runs for two hours per day, Monday through Thursday. All details and bookings via Society of Young Inklings.

Book Contest 2021

For information on submitting to the Stone Soup Book Contest 2021, please click here.

To submit your manuscript, please visit our submittable site.

Highlights from the past week online

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

As part of AAPI Heritage month, Young Blogger Priscilla Chow wrote a personal narrative surrounding her creation of a Chinese lantern for the Chinese Lantern Festival.

Young Blogger Daniel Chu wrote a compelling essay on the prejudices faced by women in science.

Blogger Sita Welt took the initiative to interview author Kate Milford about her newest book, The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book. A transcript of their interview can be found here.

perspectiveFrom Stone Soup
May 2021

The Bakery

By  Rubina Davila, 13 (Sierra Madre, CA)
(Illustrated by Grace Williams, 12 (Katonah, NY))

When I walked into the bakery on Cesar Chavez Avenue in East Los Angeles, my lungs were instantly flooded with the sweet air of butter and sugar wafting from the kitchen while pots and pans clanked and banged loudly and voices called out in Spanish. My mouth watered as my eyes scanned the many kinds of pan dulce displayed in neat rows. The lights shone brightly on the sweet breads. I could feel the heat from the pot of homemade tamales, and I craved one of the Mexican sodas in the glass fridge. I clutched my $5 bill, knowing I could walk out with a large bag of pan dulce for my family and a soda for myself and still have change.

I ordered three kinds of pan dulce: elote, concha, and a large cuerno, named for their corn, shell, and horn shapes. I reached into the white paper bag of treats, the bottom stained with warm grease.

My papa always said, “If the bottom is greasy, you know it’s good.”

I bit into the concha, and the familiar sweet smell and ridged texture flooded my senses. The top of the bread crumbled and filled my mouth with its sugary flavor. The center of the bread was especially warm and soft. The smell reminded me of my Aunt Lulu’s kitchen. I wondered what it was like for my father to walk to this bakery at four years old, clinging to the hand of my great-grandfather, Agustín, and to taste the delicious concha for the first time.

. . . /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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