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"What I saw in the classroom surprised me"
Illustrator Elenia Henry, 11, for Rain Tears by Isabella Widrow, 11.
Published May/June 2014.

A note from William Rubel

I can't tell whether Elenia's drawing of a classroom is from life or from memory. Whichever it was, this is an exceedingly well observed drawing. Look at the stacked chairs, the detail on the instrument, the grille in the door, the writing and art on the walls. There is "sense of place" times one hundred in this work! It's so well done.

Whether you are a kid or a grownup, there is nothing like making a drawing of what you are looking at. What you do with a camera and what you do with a pencil are very different things. Drawing forces you to simplify and focus on what is important to you.

I encourage all of you this weekend--young and old--to go somewhere, even if it is only out of your own door, and draw. If there are children in your household, then go out and draw together.

My daughter and I draw together when we are on camping trips. What I find interesting looking at my drawings from those trips is how clear it is what I most wanted remember about the scene. Looking at a photograph it isn't always clear what had most interested you about the scene. Drawing forces you to focus on what is important to you.

And, of course, when you draw from life the memory of creating the drawing gets mixed in with the work. If you really will go out today or tomorrow and draw I know you will find that drawing will remind of this Memorial Day weekend in a very special way.

By way of equipment, all you need are a few pieces of typing paper, a pencil, a pencil sharpener, and a clipboard to place on your lap.

Updates from behind the scenes

It's been some time since I've talked about what is going on behind the scenes. At this week's staff meeting we reviewed the new Stone Soup home page. This is the first phase in revising the website. It is really beautiful and increases site functionality. I am sure you will all be pleased by it. While it is never safe to promise I am pretty confident it will be up before the end of the month.

You can pre-order the 371 page full color Stone Soup Annual 2017 now at amazon.com/stonesoup.

As we've mentioned in previous Newsletters, and noted also, below, we will be going to St. Louis next week to a teachers convention. If our internet connection is strong enough within the convention hall then we will do some live streaming. We'll let you know.

Until next week,


Meet us in St Louis

Calling all teachers! Will you be at the NCTE conference in St Louis, MI, next week? We will! Do stop by to talk to us at booth no. 434. We'd love to see you there, and hear about all the creative projects that have surprised and delighted you in your classrooms, and think with you of ways Stone Soup can help your students flourish.

If the internet connection is strong enough in the Exhibition Hall we will live stream. If we can make it happen we will  announce a live streaming time in next week's Newsletter.

Stone Soup Annual 2017 - pre-order now at our online store

We mentioned it last week, but we are so proud of it we hope you will forgive us if we mention it again--the first Stone Soup Annual, 2017, is now available for pre-order at our store. We are thrilled to see how many of you have already snapped up their copies. Thank you!

All of the authors, artists and honor roll recipients from 2017, along with a selection of our young bloggers and musicians, will have their work printed in this year's Annual. It occurred to us that you might want some extra copies of your work in print, so we have a discount doc for you and your families. If you haven't heard yet what that code is, write to us at subscriptions@stonesoup.com so we can let you in on the magic words.

From Stone Soup
July/August 2006

Revenge is Bittersweet

By Molly O'Neill, 13

Illustrated by Laura Gould, 13

It was a perfect shot.

I was standing across the driveway from the basketball hoop—just beyond where the three-point line would have been—and Matt, who was rebounding, gave me a nice crisp bounce pass. I bent my knees and sent the ball arching beautifully towards the basket. Everything about the shot was perfect—the timing, the follow-through, and the soft swish of the ball falling through the net.

And for once even Matt didn’t have any wisecracks to make. He just caught the ball and turned around to make a lay-up, which was about the highest compliment I could get from my older brother because I knew he would have tried the shot if he thought he had a chance at making it.

Just then Carla’s dad pulled his silver Saab into the driveway Matt tossed me the ball. “You’ll do great,” he said.

I hopped into the back seat of the car. Carla stopped listening to her MP3 player and said, “Nice shot.”

“Thanks.” I grinned. Carla knew how to give a compliment, how to make a casual remark into the most beautiful music. That was part of the reason I had talked her into trying out for basketball. She was my best friend, and I wanted her at the tryouts even if she didn’t make the team.

Carla and I were different... /more

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