A note from Laura
I would like to start by extending our congratulations, once again, to former Stone Soup contributor, author, and activist, Sabrina Guo, who will today be reading aloud her commended poem “65 Cybele” at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). This is an extraordinary accomplishment, and we could not be more proud of Sabrina!
There is much to report on the Refugee Project. Most importantly, THANK YOU to all who donated to the September fundraising drive. Your generous donations have made it possible for us to continue this work and provide a platform for refugee youth to showcase their abundant creative talents and share their work with the world. Our first collaborative teaching engagement is set to launch with the support of Hands On Art Workshops. Through this collaboration, I will be delivering a writing workshop on Deep Observation to young refugees in Kakuma Camp, Kenya. I look forward to sharing the results of this workshop on the Refugee Project page of our website. To see the full collection of creative works contributed thus far, visit the website here.
Now to the November issue. This week I’d like to draw your attention to Sophia Hammond’s personal narrative, “The Read Aloud.” Who among us has not experienced exclusion, humiliation, a soul crushing challenge such as that described in “The Read Aloud.” Sophia’s rich, evocative description brought me right back to a braided second-grade classroom rug and all the various obstacles and joys I encountered while sitting on it! What’s especially exciting about this story is how it captures the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge and meeting it head-on. “The Read Aloud” reminds us that sometimes our salvation comes in unexpected ways through accepting the help of a stranger, or even a classmate, who we’d not yet thought to consider a friend.
This weekend, I challenge you to write about a challenge! Tell us about a time you’ve faced an obstacle and how you’ve worked to overcome it. Write about frustration! Write about fear and dread. Write about the freedom that comes with accepting when things don’t come easily, and in finding the help you need to face an obstacle. As always, if you’re happy with what you’ve written, I urge you to share your story and submit it to us via Submittable!
Until next time,
Highlights from the past week online
Don't miss the latest content from our Book Reviewers and Young Bloggers at on our blog!
Savarna, 13, wrote a glowing review of James Ponti's novel City Spies.
Check out the latest Book Club Report, which centered around When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed.
Super reviewer April, 13, reviewed Curse of the Night Witch, first novel in the Emblem Island Duology made famous by #BookTok.
By Sophia Hammond, 11 (New York, NY)
There I was, sitting in my second-grade classroom in the School of the Blessed Sacrament. I was in the front of the room, crisscross applesauce on the yellow square of the rainbow rug—my favorite color. I was holding my Charlotte’s Web book. I heard one of my classmates read aloud. I was silently wishing I was the one reading. I looked around the room and saw my tiny gray desk with my pink pencil case on top. Yellow was rather close to the teacher, so I could smell my teacher’s lemon perfume.
My teacher’s name was Mrs. Romeo. Mrs. Romeo had long brown hair and brown eyes. She was obsessed with her cat, Obby, and would talk about him every day. She had pearly white teeth and always had a big smile on her face, but she had favorites. I was not one of them, but she liked me.
This was one of my worst years at Blessed Sacrament. It was not that I did not have any friends, or that I got bullied. It was because I felt excluded from our class read-aloud. In second grade, I was not a great reader. I struggled to read chapter books.
When I was in kindergarten, I was the first one in my class to read 100 books. That was a big achievement for me. In kindergarten, I felt I was the best reader in my class. Why did it go downhill from there? I wondered.
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.