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Stella holding the review pile



A note from William Rubel

We are back from the National Council Teachers of English (NCTE) convention in St. Louis. It was a very good experience for us. We spoke to lots of teachers—and we met a few old Stone Soup friends and made quite a number of new ones. We came away from the convention with fresh ideas that we will be working on and sharing with you over the next few months.

To begin with, my colleague Jane Levi went around to other publishers who were exhibiting asking for books for Stone Soup readers to review. As you can see from the photograph of my daughter, Stella, holding a stack of them, they were more than happy to oblige. I asked for reviewers last week and quite a few of you wrote saying you are interested—thank you—but just look at that pile of books! We have mysteries, historical fiction, graphic novels...all kinds of fantastic books that are just waiting for a Stone Soup reader to get their teeth into them and then tell us in their own words what they think.

Quite a few of the books are pre-publication, which means that no-one can buy them yet, and we can't even publish your review until the books go into stores in the first few months of 2018. If you want to review brand new books, or a copy of an old favourite that's been signed by the author (a few of them have), then write to us and let us know. If you have a special interest (like graphic novels, history, nature, sci-fi) please tell us about that, and also give us your address so we know where to mail the books to.

Stone Soup Book Group?

One of the ideas we came back from St. Louis with is setting up a Stone Soup Book Group. We know lots of you are great writers, and even more of you are great and avid readers, so a book group where we can share those experiences makes sense to us. The authors and publishers we spoke to about it were excited, too. What do you think? We’ll share our ideas for your input before the end of the year when we have worked out a little more.

Wishing all our readers very happy holidays.

Until next week


Business updates

New Stone Soup order form

As of this week we are officially back with ICN, the company who used to handle subscriptions for the print editions of Stone Soup. We know that our customer service has been a lot less good than we'd wanted since June. We were trying our best with what proved to be a poor choice in subscription programs. I’d like to thank my colleagues Sarah Ainsworth and Jane Levi for having gotten us through a tough few months, and thank all of you, our subscribers, for your patience with us and with them.

I’d also like to thank Bobbi Bortz of ICN who managed the project of setting up ICN as our fulfillment house. We are ICN’s first fully digital magazine so some fancy programming had to be done. Tan Ha was the lead programmer and was assisted by Raven Cole. Thank you Bobbi, Tan and Raven! We feel our subscribers are back in very safe hands.

Stone Soup Annual
The Annual is now printed, and will arrive at our mailing house next week, which means we'll be able to start shipping to everyone who pre-ordered it a little sooner than we expected. It feels good to be ahead of schedule on something!

From Stone Soup
March/April 2010


By Cashen Conroy, 12
Illustrated by Tiger Tam, 11

On the dark wood table, a plain plate lay inches away from Abigail. Her blond hair flounced around her shoulders. Her light blue dress with darker flowers brought out the bright blue in her eyes, which contrasted strangely with the rich brown of Hope’s. Hope, on the other side of the room, was sweeping the grimy floor with a homemade broom of stiff bristles. Abigail was watching Hope’s every move disconcertingly. Suddenly, she ordered, “Fetch me that plate.”

Hope’s eyes bore fire into Abigail’s. Abigail ignored Hope and her smug nose tilted up into the air as Hope replied with no choice, “Yes ma’am,” though Abigail was only a year older than her. But Hope did as she was told.

After Abigail had the plate in her hands, she leaned against the kitchen wall, holding it. Hope could feel her disapproving gaze upon her working back.

“Abigail,” someone said in a harsh voice from another room, “are you doing your embroidery?”

“Yes, Father,” Abigail replied stiffly, reaching for her sewing on the chair. Hope’s gaze averted to the floor and she swept faster.

“Good,” the tall man said as he came into the room. “I am going into town,” he declared, straightening his overcoat. “Be good. I’ll be back soon.”

Abigail gave a small nod and looked into her busy father’s eyes.

He left the room briskly and it gave way to silence. Then all Hope could hear was the scratch of the broom on the floor. /...more

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