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"Patterns" by Analise Braddock, 9 (Katonah, NY) Published in Stone Soup November 2020

A note from Emma

Wow! For us, the shiniest silveriest silver lining of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders has been reading all of the incredible manuscripts that were submitted to our second annual book contest—it is clear that everyone who submitted was able to channel all that time at home into powerful creative work. Although we are only able to give official recognition to some of those writers, all of us were amazed at the attention and skill evident in every one of these manuscripts. Writing a book is HARD. If you submitted, regardless of the outcome for you personally, I hope you will take the time to celebrate your achievement.

Our winning novel, Kansas by Tristan Hui, opens when Azalea Morroe falls into another realm—the realm her father claimed he needed to explore to keep his job at the astronomy lab. Though disoriented, Azalea is intent on completing her father’s quest in order to save his livelihood—and his sanity. To reach the perfect vantage point to view the night sky, she must cross an empty, haunted desert in a broken-down truck with a runaway fifteen-year-old as her guide. Their adventure ultimately forces us to consider what makes a home, or a family.

In the end, we found we weren’t able to pick just one, so we will also be publishing another novel as an “editor’s choice”: Anya Geist’s Born on the First of Two. In the book, Maya has lived with her aunt in the Land of the Clouds for as long as she can remember, but she was born on Earth—and can’t stop dreaming about traveling back down to it. Earth was where her parents lived, and where they died. One day, desperate to understand the mysterious message on a necklace that belonged to her mother, Maya runs away to Earth, determined to figure out her destiny and her past.

Both books will be forthcoming in 2021. We can’t wait for you to read them!

Until next week,

Congratulations to our 2020 Book Contest Finalists

Kansas, a novel by Tristan Hui, 14

Editor’s Choice
Born on the First of Two, a novel by Anya Geist, 14

Earth Matters, a poetry collection by Benjamin Ding, 9
Oliver Garner and the Rebellion of Traitors, a novel by Liam Hancock, 12
Get Myself a Rocking Chair, a novel by Nora Heiskell, 12
The Trials and Tribulations of Swifty Appledoe, a novel by Ariana Kralicek, 12
Alternate Names for Autism, a poetry collection by Rainer Pasca, 14

Journey with Wolves, a novel by Raya Ilieva, 10
Until the End, a novel by Ela Kini, 11
Falling Through a Cloud, a poetry collection by Summer Loh, 8
The Lost City, a novel by Sruti Peddi, 14
Poetry Collection, a poetry collection by Soheon Rhee, 12
Shapeshifted, a novel by Camille Rico, 12

Last Year's Winner

Don’t forget—the winner of last year’s book contest, Three Days till EOC by Abhi Sukhdial, is available for purchase in our online store.

Abhi’s book is a climate-fiction thriller that author Zillah Bethell said had her “gripped from start to finish.”

Reading from a Stone Soup Author

Tatiana Rebecca Shrayer, whose poetry collection Searching for Bow and Arrows won second place in last year’s book contest, read aloud some of her work for the Brookline Public Library. She was joined by her father, Dr. Maxim D. Shrayer, who is also a published poet. Check out the recording of the event here.

Tatiana’s poetry was published in the July/August issue, but did you know you can also purchase it as an eBook? You can find it at the online Stone Soup Store.

Highlights from the past week online

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

Pragnya, 12, reviews The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. Find out why she thinks the comedic story about aliens and adventure is worth a read.

Check out the update from our twenty-first book club meeting on Saturday. The next book we’re going to read is The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. We hope you can join us for our next meeting on December 5!

Have you read the book Wish by Barbara O’Connor? Audrey, 10, writes in her review of the book that she thinks it’s one of the best books she’s ever read. Learn why Audrey’s so fond of the book by checking out her review.

We’ve published a review of Holes by Louis Sachar before (you can find it here). But that doesn’t mean we can’t publish another reviewer’s opinion! This time, Cici, 12, advocates for the book enthusiastically. In her words, “Read Holes! You won’t be disappointed! It sounds like I am advertising, but it’s actually true!”

There are many middlegrade books about bullying, but it’s not so common for them to have them written from the perspective of a bully, as is the case for The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. In her review of the book, Prisha, 8, notes this approach and discusses the message she thinks the book imparts to the reader.

November Flash Contest--deadline tomorrow!

Check out the flash contest prompt for this week below:

Write a short story that begins with “Once upon a time, in a land far away . . .” and ends with “. . . and they all lived happily ever after.”

You can submit to the contest here until noon Pacific Time on Sunday, November 8. We can’t wait to read your entries! Watch this space next week for the winners.

Galen Halasz
Galen Halasz, 13
Saranac Lake, NY

From Stone Soup
November 2020

We the People

By Galen Halasz, 13 (Saranac Lake, NY)


People want to say a lot of things.
People think they know a lot of things.
People want always to be in the right.
People think they’re always on the good side of every fight.
People say be open to new ideas.
People mean their ideas.
People are stupid.
I am stupid.
We are stupid

Read more from the November issue here.


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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