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Saturday Newsletter: October 23, 2021

Aspiration, by Audrey Li, 12 (Scarsdale, NY), published in Stone Soup October 2021

A note from Emma

This week, I’d like us all to turn toward Sarah Süel’s story “Treacherous Climb.” Occasionally I get letters from young Stone Soup readers and writers (and some parents as well!) telling me that the work we publish is too serious and sad. It is true that much of what we publish is heavy, not light. But that is because literature often emerges from those heavier topics—experiences that prompt loneliness, introspection, and reflection—and also because it is those difficult experiences that prompt conflict and change (both of which help create plot!). Finally, it is simply more difficult to write about lighter topics or in a light or funny style. On the page, jokes can easily fall flat.

So, I’m always thrilled when I come across a piece like “Treacherous Climb”—one that is light-hearted, energetic, and whimsical while also being full of interesting words and ideas. “Treacherous Climb” tells the story of Kate’s mission to scale a seemingly impossible mountain, nicknamed Mt. Treacherous—with her pet mouse, Hammy. The adventure that ensues is as fun as its premise promises. But it’s also full of the most wonderful metaphors:

  • milk that looked like the milk that comes out of a dandelion stem when you pull it out of the ground to make a wish
  • an idea popped into my head like popcorn does when it’s roasted over a fire
  • a wrecking ball of wind
  • [the ledge] was like water to hold on to
  • The squeeze made me feel like a lemon getting squeezed into lemonade.

...And many more you’ll discover as you read the story! It is these moments that made me decide to publish the piece in the magazine.

This weekend, I challenge you to write a light and fun story, personal narrative, or poem that is still seriously literary! One that has a fun premise and has fun with language, and that I will have fun reading. We need more pieces like this for the magazine; I look forward to reading what you write.

Till 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!

Ian, 12, wrote a review of the PBS documentary series Asian Americans, which provided an inside look into the full extent of hardships experienced by the Asian American community.

Olivia Shekou, 12, wrote "We're the Resilient Generation, Not the COVID Generation," a hybrid essay/book review that highlighted the strength of both Generation Z and Generation Alpha throughout the pandemic.

Chloe, 9, wrote her poem, "Coronavirus," in hope for a better tomorrow.

From Stone Soup
October 2021

Treacherous Climb

By Sarah Süel, 10 (San Diego, CA)


I was feeding my pet mouse, Hammy, some savory cheese I’d ripped off my sandwich. My eyes, as blue as the sea that peeked over the top of the trees and poked around the mountain that loomed above us, gazed affectionately at him. His cheeks were ballooned up, his eyes were bright and full of life, his fluffy grey fur was glowing in the morning sun, and his tiny but sharp claws held the cheese tight. I was sitting with my legs crossed on a bench as rough as sandpaper, but it never had given me a splinter. I wore a light dress and simple shoes. My cheeks were as pink as a rose, and my hair went from brown to a gold like the sun when it has just risen. I wore earrings the color of the lovely lavender that grows in a clearing in the forest; they are made out of a pearl and shaped into a heart. I had my hair in a braid to keep it neat while I worked.

After we were done with our breakfast, I put Hammy in my pocket and went out to milk the cow.

I came back a few minutes later holding two buckets full of milk that looked like the milk that comes out of a dandelion stem when you pull it out of the ground to make a wish. I gave the buckets to my mother to strain and make into cheese.

I went outside and grabbed a dandelion. I blew a warm stream of air at it and watched the fluffy seeds float into the sky till they disappeared. I gazed across the freshwater lake that was right outside our village. As I gazed there, I remembered that I wished for an adventure and, if I looked, I would find one. And if I did, I would be ready.

Continue reading more of "Treacherous Climb" 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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