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Dandelions by Alicia Xin, 13 (Scarsdale, NY), published in Stone Soup November 2019

A note from William Rubel

Did you know we have a special offer running all Thanksgiving weekend? 25% off annual print subscriptions! Visit Stonesoup.com, click the Subscribe button, and get a year of stone soup delivered to your home for just $67.50. It will go back to the usual price of $89.99 at midnight on Monday, so please consider doing your Holiday shopping now!

Thanksgiving! My best wishes to all of you on this Thanksgiving weekend. I am writing to you from Guanajuato, Mexico, where I came with my daughter for the Thanksgiving school break. It is a lovely town!  I cannot recommend visiting more highly.

News! Our latest anthology has just been published! The Stone Soup Book of Science Fiction, edited by Jane Levi, is now available at our online store. It is 222 pages and includes the best science fiction we have published over the past 45 years, including some fantastic recent material. Copies are in stock, and shipping next week. With the addition of this brand new volume we now have nine anthologies for sale. This is over 1,800 pages of amazing writing by Stone Soup authors. Besides science fiction, titles include anthologies on the themes of friendship, sports, animals, fantasy, historical fiction, family, festivals and holidays, and a volume of poetry.

Other publishing news: The Stone Soup Annual 2019 is at the printer and will be available to ship in time to get copies to you for the holidays. It frightens me to write it—but the 2019 Annual is 458 pages! And, that is a Yikes! It is a big book. It is a heavy book. It is a colorful book. It is a great book. The Annual includes all 11 published issues of Stone Soup plus an issue’s worth of some of the great blog posts published during the year. I’d like to thank Sarah Ainsworth and Jane Levi for their hard work putting this year’s volume together. We put in the work to publish the best writing and art by kids in a quality format so that can read it and be inspired. But, only you can actually be sure that our Stone Souppublications end up in the hands of kids. Thank you.

A Brilliant Poem: Weekend Poetry Project

William Chui’s poem, "Playroom," published in the current issue of Stone Soup does something that is very hard to do. It is an elegant evocation of the mundane–the everyday around the house–and at the same time achieves one of poetry’s ultimate goals: to help us see beyond the surfaces of everyday life to deeper feelings. To deep insights.

  My favorite sound: Lego pieces falling onto

          the smooth, polished hardwood, little souls

          trapped inside and unable to help themselves.

As you read William’s poem, please listen to the beauty of his language. Let his images form in your minds’ eye. Smell the scents, touch the fabric. This is a poem that reads like prose. The lines don’t rhyme. The cadence is prose-like. And yet, and yet, it is not prose. William creates a density of imagery, of voices, of feelings, of thoughts that is one of poetry’s hallmarks.

          And the moist lemon and herb tea,

as savory as a summer salad.

The steam rising from the tea links us to a warm summer day and then the “savory” which William uses to describe a a good tasting summer salad is also an herb with a strong smell which brings us back to the scent of the steam rising from the tea cup. And this is only one way one is drawn into this sentence. Within the few lines of William’s poem there is, indeed, a novelful of experience, thoughtful observation and deep feeling. Thank you, William!

After reading William’s poem several times, and I recommend reading it aloud, I want you to put it down and go about your day. Then, sometime later today or tomorrow, sit down in a favorite spot—which could be lying on your bed!—and let your thoughts flow. The only way I want you to control them is that I want you to put them on paper in the form a poem. Let the act of creating a poem force you to really focus your imagery, focus your words so that with only a sentence or two you can suggest so much more.

As always, if you like what you achieve, please submit it to Stone Soup so Emma can consider it for the magazine.

Until next week,

The brand new Stone Soup Book of Science Fiction
Available in the Stone Soup online store now!

We are thrilled to announce the publication of another book in our series of themed anthologies: The Stone Soup Book of Science Fiction.

It's a brand new collection, with some brand new work, as well as some old favourites from our archive. You can read all about it and check out the list of authors and contributors here,where you can also pre-order your copies (it will be ready to mail out next week). Congratulations to all our authors–we are so proud of all of you, and we love this new book!

P.S. for all the Sci Fi authors in this collection: remember to use your special code to get a 50% discount on all copies you buy! If you don't have the coupon code, write to us and we'll remind you.

Current Contest: Personal Narrative

The way we approach fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as both readers and writers, is drastically different. For this reason, we're happy to announce that Stone Soup is partnering with  Society of Young Inklings in our very first nonfiction contest and that, in 2020, we will begin to publish all nonfiction under its very own label in the magazine.

What makes this contest extra special is our partnership with Society of Young Inklings (SYI): we are very excited to share that their team of professional writers has designed a mentorship experience for both the youth and the educators who take part in this contest. Check out the details on our website here, including links to SYI's video series to help in writing a personal narrative.

Contest deadline is December 15th!

Highlights from the past week online

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

"These things, the things that shape our beliefs in life, I call lenses. Like a lens in a camera, it frames the world in a specific way, and maybe even filters it, so that everyone sees the world in a different way." Read Anya's blog post "My Jewish Lens" to read more about how she sees the world. Do you have your own "lens"? Leave a comment and let us know!

William Chui
William Chui, 12
Mill Valley, CA

From Stone Soup November 2019

In the Playroom

By William Chui, 12 (Mill Valley, CA)

The silver and bronze chessmen
wait to be set against one another,
next to Lego soldiers who defend their base
from giant robots while starfighters stage dog fights.
Facing themselves in an otherworldly mirror
like an alien monument to primitive gods.
While the slow whirr of the foot massager
comforts my mother as she texts her friends.
A big centerpiece, a shiny, often-out-of-tune piano
on which “Für Elise” was mastered in a month.
Opposite, a huge window with sunsets galore
and at night, I can make a game of
finding how many moths plaster the window.

When I am down, I can always escape over here,
away from all the excitement and hubbub of outside
and indulge in dear playtime and my own fantasies.
Ah, the sweet smell of fond memories,
of earthy, waxy incense candles burning,
fit for meditations at a Buddhist monastery.
And the moist lemon and herb tea,
as savory as a summer salad.
The spicy jalapeño chips contrasting
with the clean air of the heater
warming me while I type this on the Mac.
When stuck on writing, I chew on my comfort food,
cheesy, nutty, spiced crackers,
and feel the hairy fuzziness of the piano sheepskin cover for inspiration.
My favorite sound: Lego pieces falling onto
the smooth, polished hardwood, little souls
trapped inside and unable to help themselves.

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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